Entering the property market in any capacity is a decision that needs to be carefully considered, but especially if you’re purchasing property abroad. This type of investment requires time and planning, as well as a thorough understanding of the market you’re entering into. Location is an incredibly important factor in any property purchase and you need to think long-term about the neighbourhood you’re buying in. Fixtures and fittings can be changed, but your location is set, so it needs to be a priority in your decision-making process. Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right location when buying property abroad.
The first tip to choosing the right location is not to rush. Make sure that you thoroughly do your research, as your judgement can be clouded by a property and you might be tempted to jump in without really knowing much about the location. Look at the economic and political stability of the area, as well as how close schools, shops and amenities are. This is particularly important if you’re buying a property as an investment rather than a home to live in. Is the location a growth area or already established as a popular residential spot? The latter could mean you pay more for your purchase, compared to up and coming areas where prices might be lower, making your budget go further.
Creating a strong community spirit can be difficult, and not every location has a sense of culture. But local communities create a sense of support and respite from the daily stresses and struggles of everyday life, so it makes a big difference to where you choose to live. Choosing a location where culture and a community spirit is fostered by residents can help you feel at home abroad, so it’s wise to consider what sort of feel you want from your new setting. Are you someone who enjoys hustle and bustle? Perhaps you’re better suited to a city location, while those who like a tighter-knit community may prefer smaller towns and villages where you get to know your neighbours and forge lasting friendships.
Are you looking to buy property in an area where you have a good understanding of the local language? And do you understand the national legal system well enough to buy confidently? It’s a good idea to brush up on where you stand legally when you’re buying in a new location, but you should also seek out an independent translator or interpreter so that you’re fully aware of what’s going on at each stage of the buying process. If you choose to use a British lawyer or estate agent, make sure they’ve got experience in operating in the country you’re intending to buy a property and that they specialise in international transactions.
Many people buying property abroad are doing so as an investment, with a view to renting out the property as a source of income. If that’s the case, you need to crunch the numbers and research average rental income per square metre for the area you’re choosing to buy in, so you know what you can expect to get for the property each month. Even if renting it out isn’t a long-term plan, owning in a high rental income location can improve the value of your asset when you want to sell in the future. Likewise, look at the vacancy rate of the area, as a high vacancy rate can mean that the area is less-sought after which could make your property difficult to find tenants for.
The road to choosing the perfect property abroad doesn’t end with finding the right location, but it’s a factor that plays an important role in so many aspects of the property search. From the likelihood of finding tenants if you’re purchasing a buy-to-let to the sense of community you want from your new abode if it’s your new home, location should be a top priority when you begin your search. As with any big investment, seeking professional advice and guidance can always be helpful when choosing a property, but it can also be helpful to speak to locals too and get a sense of how they feel about the local area.