It may just be a pipe dream for many of us, but more and more people are choosing to up sticks and move to sunnier climates. Perhaps it’s out of a sense of boredom, or just the desire to experience change. Whatever the reason, living in a foreign country is often a fantasy. And it’s just not the overworked retirees that are living out their dreams.
However, there are certain considerations that need to be made before you make any impulsive decisions. With different lands come different laws, and you don’t want to be caught out by blissful ignorance. An unfortunate reality is that, in some countries, standards and practices are not as strict. You don’t want to hand over your life savings before realising that your new home is untenable, do you?
Here are the things you need to consider before you begin your quest to find a new home in a foreign country:
1. Spend Time In The Area
It should go without saying, but you should already have good experiences in the area you’re looking to buy in. And I don’t mean spending a week or two on holiday there. You should look to spend a few months over there, where possible, to get a feel for the good, the people and the culture. Try to avoid living like a tourist. Your goal should be to try and get an authentic feeling for what life will be like living there permanently.
2. Shop Around
A lot of estate agents in foreign countries are deliberately targeted at English speaking natives. They know that enticing them to live in their country could be very lucrative indeed. Avoid falling in love with the first place you find. If possible, seek the advice of someone that has already moved to the area. Their experiences (both good and bad) could save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run.
3. Hire An Independent Surveyor
Depending on the location, you may find that inspection laws aren’t as transparent as you might hope for. Hiring an impartial third party to thoroughly inspect any property you are interested in is a bare minimum requirement. As horrible as it sounds, don’t place your trust in anybody that may be looking to benefit from your naivety.
4. Understand Transfer Laws
When you send money abroad, you can be liable for all kinds of processing fees and taxes. Brush up on your knowledge of the law, so that you can avoid getting caught out by any unexpected costs. You should also be wary about granting access to your bank details to outside sources. You may find yourself the victim of fraud if you aren’t careful.
5. Watch Out For Red Flags
Human judgment is, without a doubt, our greatest asset. Listen to your instincts, and walk away from any deal that goes against your gut feeling. Chances are, there’s a reason you don’t feel completely comfortable. That said, living abroad can be one of the most fulfilling experiences you can imagine. So, try not to be too put off by the potential pitfalls.