With around 35,000 Brits buying property abroad each year, it is vital that investors seek advice and do their research before travelling overseas to carry out viewings.
To help prepare buyers on this journey towards purchasing their dream home, the overseas property experts at YourOverseasHome.com have dug deep and revealed what not to do while on your first home viewing trip abroad.
While a viewing trip is, quite simply, a trip overseas to look at properties, the website says it can vary significantly from the buying experience in your home country.
It adds that buying abroad can be much more difficult with a different language, currency and legal system to take into account, so it can quickly become overwhelming.
Chris Nye, overseas property expert at Your Overseas Home, explained: “Looking to purchase a home in another country can come with unexpected stresses and surprises. From being shown the wrong kind of property to facing hard-sell tactics and even scams, there’s a lot to be aware of.
“To combat this, we can’t emphasise enough that doing your research and due diligence before making that all-important first viewing trip is vital. It’s important to familiarise yourself with country-specific advice and source experts to assist you on your buying journey.”
Here are five things not to do when viewing your first home abroad, according to Your Overseas Home.
DON’T just pop in and wander around…
If you’re making the journey and effort to view property abroad, don’t do it without a clear checklist in mind. Reaching the destination and realising that you and your spouse disagree on what you want, or the estate agent doesn’t have an idea of your requirements, is not ideal.
One good way to ensure you’re on the same page is to look at the property websites independently and copy the links to properties you love (or hate), then swap lists. To ensure the agents know what you’re looking for, agree on where you want to buy, list the essentials of the property, and work out what you can afford in GBP before calculating what that is in the currency of your country of choice.
DON’T just do everything yourself…
Buying abroad can be more complicated, and like purchasing any property, you’ll need industry experts to lend you a hand along the way, so make sure you arrange this beforehand. For a successful viewing trip, remember your golden three: an estate agent, an independent property lawyer, and a specialist currency company.
Having a good agent goes a long way in making your process seamless. A good agent will have local knowledge and may even get early access to properties coming onto the market. Prior to booking with an estate agent or agents, make sure that they understand your specific requirements and have properties that fit your profile. When it’s time to make an offer, you also need to be prepared with a lawyer and a currency company to assist with the purchasing of your property.
DON’T lose focus…
When viewing a property, it can be easy to get swept up in the excitement of it all - but it’s important to not lose focus. You’ll have a lot to see and take in, and it can quickly become a bit of a blur.
To avoid this, take photos of each property. When you’re seeing a lot of homes, you can mix up features of one with another, so this is especially useful when differentiating between them. It can also be helpful to take notes and bring a friend with you to have a second pair of eyes and note down anything you think you may forget.
DON’T leave without asking questions and checking facts…
While a home can appear perfect and as if it checks everything off your wishlist, it’s still necessary to ask key questions. Before making an offer, make sure you check the facts. For instance, developers and agents may tell you that the garden is south-facing, but you can double-check using your smartphone’s built-in compass! Or there may be building plans you don’t know about, like a dual carriageway or a new development going up nearby.
Don’t be afraid to check and verify these ‘facts’ online, perhaps at a town hall or online forum. In this, be sure to keep your eyes peeled at the viewings and ask important questions. Is the agent trying to avoid questions? Does the development all seem a little too quiet for the time of year? Is the property struggling to sell? If so, why? Does it simply seem too good to be true? Take a close look at communal areas and how they are maintained. If a lot of units are being sold on as resales, ask yourself why this is the case.
DON’T make an offer without negotiating…
Once you’ve viewed all your homes and decided on the perfect one, don’t go all in without negotiating. While the home may fit your desired area, location, views, and so on, the bottom line is it needs to be the right price.
Be nice but firm. Do your own market research and keep up to date with local prices. List similar properties that have sold and see how yours compares. Make sure you aren’t coming off as too keen - you don’t want to come across as though you’d pay anything to get this property.