Important Considerations when Buying Real Estate Overseas
While some people prefer to purchase property in the United States, others are more interested in making an overseas purchase. Obviously, there are many exciting opportunities but there can also be challenges. Therefore, it is important to consider a number of things that will ensure the deal is legal, safe, and easy.
Knowledge of the Market
Regardless of where in the world an individual is interested in moving or purchasing a vacation home, values are always going to go up and down. For instance, housing prices in the United States are reasonable and interest rates low, thanks in part to a strengthening economy. However, there are other countries in deep financial trouble and with extraordinarily high home prices such as China.
For this reason, someone interested in overseas property needs to know the housing market for the area of interest. Usually, this information is easily accessible by conducting an online search but there are professional realtors and brokers all over the world who would be more than happy to offer insight.
Something else to consider is that there are certain places in the world that pose limits of foreigners. As an example, in Paris a foreigner interested in purchasing a home is required to complete and pass a very detailed physical. Again, if information about restrictions cannot be found online, a knowledgeable realtor in the US or one overseas can help.
- Translation - A critical aspect of purchasing real estate overseas is getting everything translated. If necessary, a translator should go along on home tours so no detail is missed. In addition, all documentation needs to be professionally translated. One small mishap could end up being extremely costly, or even bringing the entire deal to a halt. At no time should any documentation be signed unless it has been completely translated in the potential buyer’s native language.
- Mortgage – When purchasing a home overseas, the mortgage should be secured in the buyer’s own country, with the funds then transferred over. Ultimately, this will make the process of securing a mortgage loan easier but also provide a level of protection.
- Tax Liability – Every country has its own tax laws and legislation so prior to jumping in feet first, all conditions of the purchase need to be fully understood.
- Independent Valuation – Just as home inspections are critical when buying in the US, a valuation conducted by an independent professional will help uncover any major defects such as structural integrity.
- Title and Ownership – To be on the safe side, as a foreign property buyer it is essential to be careful when discussing certain issues to include title and ownership. For instance, if money had been borrowed by a developer on the property but never repaid, you might be held liable.
- Property Security – If the property being purchased overseas will be used as a vacation home, there is the issue of safeguarding it while gone. For this reason, some type of security or property management firm will need to be hired for protection and general upkeep.