What To Consider When Looking at Overseas Houses for Sale

8 mins read

As a real estate agent specialising in overseas houses for sale, we realise this is a significant lifestyle endeavour. The dream of owning property in a foreign country is tantalising. Aside from that, properties for sale overseas make an excellent real estate investment if done right. Whether it’s a vacation home, an investment opportunity, or a lifestyle change, buying property overseas can be an exciting and rewarding endeavour.

However, this life decision should not be taken lightly, as it involves many factors, considerations, and government policies. This comprehensive guide will delve into buying property overseas, providing valuable insights, facts, and figures to help you make an informed decision.

About Overseas Houses for Sale

overseas houses for sale

1: Benefits of Owning Property Abroad

Diversification of Assets: Owning investment properties abroad is a hedge against your home country’s economic volatility.

Potential for Capital Appreciation: International property markets in some foreign destinations may offer substantial capital appreciation thanks to better average prices.

Rental Income: With the rise of platforms like Airbnb, single homeowners looking to generate additional income from their real estate purchases have more than one outlet to do it.

Vacation Homes: Many people buy international property intending to use it for summer holidays. This physical asset can also become a dream family home.

Retirement Destinations: Additionally, many people keep their property purchase and eventually retire overseas for better life, healthcare, pleasant climates, and cost savings.

Cultural Enrichment: In today’s age, where cultures meet, owning property abroad gives you perfect opportunities to learn new languages and connect with local communities.

Tax Benefits: Some countries offer tax benefits, and home buyers diversify tax exposure by spreading assets internationally. Many countries also have agreements to minimise double taxation.

2: Personal Finances and Budget

Many people look at various property types and get their hearts set on a country before the research and planning stage, which is vital. If you are not a cash buyer, deciding on your source of finances is first. Lenders offer various types of loans, both domestic and international. Additionally, the loan process varies from country to country. Include the mortgage payment into your monthly household bills for all types of loans.

Also, don’t just consider the house purchasing price. There are additional closing costs and monthly household bills to consider. Setting realistic budgets, even for cash buyers, is highly important because your financial goal should be a wise investment. If you plan on living overseas full time, check out the tax liability with tax experts and source international payments experts for better exchange and transfer rates.

3: About Overseas Mortgages

Research and Choose Your Destination: Start by selecting the country where you want to purchase an overseas property. Research the local real estate market, property laws, and mortgage options available in that country. Ensure you can buy property as a foreigner, as ownership regulations vary.

Currency Exchange and Exchange Rate Risk: Be aware of currency exchange rates, as your mortgage may be in a foreign currency. Exchange rate fluctuations can impact your monthly payments and the overall cost of the property.

Mortgage Lenders, Terms and Types: Research and identify local mortgage lenders in the foreign country and the types of loans they offer. Some countries have international banks or lenders that cater to foreign buyers. Understand the types of mortgages available, including fixed-rate, equity loan, variable-rate, and interest-only mortgages. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Discuss the mortgage terms with potential lenders, including the loan amount, interest rates, and duration.

Loan Process: Down payments normally range from 10% to 50% or more, depending on the country and lender. Many lenders will require professional appraisals of the property to determine its value. Submit your mortgage application and the required documents to the lender. In many countries, property transactions require notarial procedures and legal documents. Convert your funds into the foreign currency needed for the property purchase and mortgage payments. Be aware of the closing costs, which may include notary fees, property transfer taxes, and other expenses associated with the property purchase.

After the Purchase: Comply with local tax laws and any legal obligations related to owning and financing property overseas. If available, implement strategies to manage the currency risk of real estate prices, such as forward contracts or currency hedges. Consider your exit strategy, including selling or paying the mortgage if you move or no longer want to own the property.

4: Developer Financing

If an overseas mortgage doesn’t appeal, consider various developer financing options. This is where off-plan properties are sold with a 20% to 40% deposit and staged payments over 1 year to 5 years with interest-free credit. Ensure that any real estate development offering has bank or government insurance. Please chat with us if this is one opportunity that appeals to you.

5: Local and International Real Estate Research

This is exciting because after sorting out personal finances, look at countries. The real estate markets vary from country to country and major cities to villages, so take your time. European countries are popular with overseas house buyers; however, in later years, places like Turkey have also risen in the ranks.

When looking at any foreign country, consider the climate all year round, and whether there will be a language barrier or culture. Understand local laws and regulations. Within the country, research various destinations because every country offers diversity. Do you want a rural retreat, to live in affordable cities, a mountain home or a penthouse by the sea? Consider public transportation, healthcare facilities and schooling if you are a family moving abroad.

6: Legal Considerations for a Foreign Investment

For foreigners, one big essential to research is visa/residency requirements. For example, many countries say that to spend more than 90 days there, foreigners must swap from tourist to residency visas. Property ownership is the same concept in some countries, whether home buyers are citizens. In other countries, the rules differ for foreign buyers. Also, check out inheritance laws because you might need to make a will.

7: Property Types and Ownership Structures

Many people look at a 3-to-4-bedroom villa for sale, so families have somewhere to stay when they come out. Other people build their unique villas or opt for an apartment or penthouse. Whichever market you consider, research the various property types and obligations that come with them. For example, that 3-bedroom villa for sale might be your dream home, but you must manage the swimming pool and gardens.

Likewise, in many countries, apartments come with communal maintenance fees collected by a management company that is a whole other ballgame. Also, consider ownership structures as to whether it is freehold or leasehold. When you use our real estate business for your foreign purchase, we explain all local markets in depth. Get an idea of what to expect and average prices by browsing our portfolio of real estate deals of houses for sale in many countries.

8: Due Diligence and Property Inspection

In recent years, a popular option in the selling process for investors has been remote viewing; however, we prefer the old-fashioned way of visiting a property in person.  Overseas markets are a completely different ball game, so get a feel for that property to ensure you pay a reasonable price. Don’t forget to inspect for damages and structural problems of pests. In most property markets, a wide range of houses are for sale, so don’t compromise and look for a property with a good return on investment.

9: Legalities

Some countries require valuation reports, others don’t. Some countries also require lawyers, some don’t. However, we strongly recommend employing one to protect your legal rights. Lawyers will conduct title deed searches and verify property ownership and boundaries. They will check for any encumbrances or legal disputes in the house. They will ensure the property complies with local environmental laws and has all building licences according to government regulations. Legal advice from solicitors also gives many people confidence and peace of mind in purchasing.

10: Transaction Process and Costs

So, once you find the house to buy, it is time to get down to business. In most countries, making an offer on the sales price is accepted, and once done, pay the deposit and arrange contracts. Some countries allow home buyers to pay in foreign currencies, while others insist on the domestic currency.

Most countries require home buyers to obtain a tax number and open a bank account. The buying process varies from country to country. Still, when using our expert services, we provide detailed breakdowns of what to expect and transaction costs, including transfer taxes, stamp duty, notary fees, other tax liabilities, and agent commissions.

11: Taking Ownership

Ah, the best part of any real estate deal is taking ownership. Once you sign those title deeds and pick up the keys, get accustomed to your new house. However, don’t forget the small details. Utilities need to be changed into your name and set up monthly payments. Also, remember to ensure your property and schedule in your tax returns if living in the country.

12: Property Management and Maintenance

At the beginning of your endeavour, you should have checked out government policies on inheritance laws, so now make a will. Also, plan how to manage your property. If you don’t plan on living in the country, consider employing a management company. They will carry out repairs and check for any structural damage, for example, when a rain storm occurs. Sometimes, management companies arrange cleans and welcome packs if you rent your property out.

Popular Countries to Buy a House Overseas

Beach sides of Spain: Always popular with foreign buyers, especially from the UK and European countries, Spain offers a wide range of beach and rural places to buy a house. Some people buy in an apartment building, but villa living is also popular. Given Spain’s international and domestic popularity, this is an excellent financial asset, but still do your due diligence. If a beach house is your dream home, famous places include the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca.

Turkey for Budget Buyers: When looking at an apartment for sale, Turkey comes up trumps for average prices, which are much cheaper than European countries. Head to the central city of Istanbul for the type of developer financing. But otherwise, popular places for a holiday home or permanent retirement include Fethiye, Bodrum and Antalya. Turkey has much potential for a reasonable return on investment over long-term periods.

Cyprus: Cyprus offers a straightforward and transparent process for property acquisition. Foreign nationals can purchase property relatively quickly, and the legal framework is designed to protect investors’ rights. The island’s Eastern Mediterranean location makes this destination, attractive for those secure and stable real estate markets. The Cyprus property market is diverse, from beachfront villas and luxury apartments in bustling cities like Limassol and Paphos to traditional houses in charming villages.

Sunny Portugal: Portugal’s property acquisition process is relatively straightforward, and the legal framework protects the rights of local and foreign buyers. This, along with Portugal’s status as a member of the European Union, makes it a secure and appealing destination for property investment. The Portuguese property market is versatile, offering an array of choices, from historic homes in picturesque villages to modern apartments in vibrant cities like Lisbon and Porto. With beautiful beaches and golf courses, the Algarve is famous with international buyers.

Dubai for Luxury Buyers: Dubai’s property market is characterised by cosmopolitan lifestyles, high-quality construction, and favourable tax environment. It is open to local and international investors, with foreigners able to own property in designated areas. This accessibility, strategic location, and political stability make Dubai a sought-after destination for property investment. Buying property in Dubai, the glittering gem of the United Arab Emirates is a captivating proposition for those seeking luxury, modernity, and investment potential.

Also, About Buying Property Overseas

Best Countries for Real Estate Investment: Knowing the best countries for real estate investment is not a task to be taken lightly. With technological advancements, increased accessibility, and growing global economies, real estate investing has transcended national boundaries, opening many possibilities for foreign buyers willing to explore beyond their domestic markets. Additionally, one has to look at the future to ensure there is potential for their investment to grow.

How Do Online Estate Agents Work: The main buzz in real estate markets these days is about online estate agents versus the high street estate agency model. From old-fashioned days, when selling and buying houses via your local agent, selling property on the internet has changed how markets work. From traditional high street estate agents to online-only agents, sellers now have more choices to work with, so their property gets sold quickly and smoothly.

About Us

Are you dreaming of owning paradise in a foreign land? Look no further! Looking at overseas houses for sale is an exciting venture but can be filled with complexities and challenges. That’s where we guide you every step of the way. Our experienced team profoundly understands the international real estate market, and has a vast network of connections to help you find the perfect property.

We’ll assist you in navigating the legal, financial, and logistical aspects of purchasing property abroad, ensuring a smooth and secure transaction. From negotiating the best price to handling paperwork and dealing with local regulations, we’ll be your trusted partner overseas.

About Natalie

Natalie is a dedicated real estate professional currently working at Spot Blue International Property. With over a decade of experience in the industry, she has acquired a wealth of knowledge and expertise regarding global properties.

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