Legal Advice Buy Property Abroad


The fact is buying abroad can be fraught with danger if you are not legally represented. The buying legal process is likely to be different from country and your lawyer will be able to help you with all of the necessary tasks for a smooth purchase. Just a few of the tasks that most lawyers will take on your behalf may include

Choosing the right lawyer 

You need somebody who understands the law of your chosen country and speaks the language fluently. Don’t use someone recommended by your developer or estate agent, they may not have your best interests at heart. When buying a place overseas, you should take proper legal advice from a reputable local specialist – and someone who speaks good English. You should also ensure they are up-to-speed on the laws and rules of the country in which you are buying. In addition, it is essential that you choose someone who will protect your interests – and not someone recommended by the estate agent.

What the legal representative should do for you

Your solicitor must also check that you have the right planning consent and licences, your property has the correct title, and you are registered as the official owner. 

Use a good solicitor you should expect to

  • Translating and interpreting all legal documents
  • Gain full understanding of handling and placing of deposits and other fees
  • Understanding and if needed, amending contracts to safeguard your interest
  • Drawing up a Power of Attorney if you are unable to attend the final signing
  • Checking over the searches and the final conveyance document that will transfer ownership of your new home to 

Get a Property Valuation

You should pay for an independent valuation as you would with a property at home, purchase one to highlight problems such as subsidence and boundary disputes

Legal questions around ownership & inheritance

Depending on which country you intend to buy a property abroad. The law will differ when applied to your ownership & inheritance position regardless of which particular property you choose to buy. It is therefore useful for any prospective purchaser to ask the following:

  • What is the purpose of the purchase? Will this be a permanent residence, holiday home, future residence, investment, or commercial enterprise?
  • Who is the purchaser? Are you planning to purchase in a sole name or jointly with a partner, wife or husband?
  • Is there a benefit in purchasing through a property-owning company?
  • How is the purchase going to be financed?
  • Who does the purchaser wish to inherit the property?

Legal Costs of Buying a Property abroad

A good lawyer will help you assess the full costs of the purchase which will include additional costs.  You will incur a range of other costs besides the purchase price when purchasing a property overseas.

These may include:

    • fees for a financial adviser to manage your tax affairs both in the UK and overseas. You may be liable to pay tax if the property is sold.
    • fees for a chartered surveyor or quantity surveyor
    • mortgage fees – these may include a mortgage broker fee, an arrangement or opening fee, and an administrative fee for the bank to appoint a representative to manage payment of taxes and inscription of the title in the property register
    • international bank transfer fees, which you should discuss with your bank in advance
  • bankers’ draft/bank-guaranteed cheque fee, which you should discuss with your bank in advance
  • fees to arrange power of attorney if required
  • furniture, shipping and insurance costs
  • legal fees to make a will, which may be mandatory in some countries
  • translation fees
  • connection fees for water, sewage, electricity etc

More at Guide For Buying Abroad

Buying Property Abroad

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