The possibility of buying a dream home abroad used to be for the rich and famous, nowadays the possibility is open to many more people. There are thousands who retire abroad each year and may more who seek a different and often cheaper cost of living in countries ranging from the old favourites - USA and Australia (limited to approx. 200.000 entrants this year) to newer destinations such as Bulgaria and other old Eastern block countries.
Although there is no 'one size fits all' answer to buying a property abroad, there are some tips that would prove helpfull in any country.
It is worth knowing that hardly any country (with the acception of the US) will include in the mortgage lending process, any reference to rental income on the property you are hoping to purchase.
Before you begin, make sure you seek specialist advice from independent solicitors, surveyors and architects.
Arrange the mortgage finance in principle before agreeing to purchase any property.
Once you have decided on the property you wish to buy and are arranging the finance on the property, ensure that this is clearly on any contract and that you have an opt-out clause if the loan is not agreed. This will ensure that any deposit you have paid will be reimbursed. Most mortgages will need to be arranged in the country you are moving to.
There are three ways to buy abroad. Firstly to pay cash, secondly to take out a new mortgage in the country that you are buying in and thirdly to remortgage your existin UK residence to release the funds required. With interest rates so low extending your mortgage or remortgagingis presently a cheap way of raising cash.
When you open a bank account in the country that you are moving to make sure you get a certificate of importation for the money you will be bringing in.
Make sure that you do not inherit any debts on the property you will by buying. A developer may have borrowed money from the bank and had the sum allocated to each plot as additional security to the bank.
The estate agent or vendor should be able to advice you of any additional costs charged by the legal and government authorities for the purchase of your property. Taxes, insurance and lawyers fees will all be met in your host country. Set up standing orders in a local bank account to meet any other costs.
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