Buying property abroad can seem like an alluring idea. Owning a beachfront villa on the west coast of Barbados or having a cottage in a rustic Italian village are both dreamy, and here are a few basic tips to help you get started.
Sure, staying at a resort for a week can lead to a perfect experience in paradise, but that will not paint the full picture of what's going on in any country. Make sure to spend time with locals off vacation properties. Keep up to date with economic trends and the politics of the country so you know what you're really dealing with.
Ok, so you've done your due diligence and really understand the country you want to buy property in; excellent. The next step is to do online research to understand the best brokers in the area. You can go with an international realtor like Sotheby's that has connections worldwide, or go with someone local who might be more of an independent expert. Either way, you want to go with someone you trust and feel comfortable with.
Set parameters with your broker about what you're willing to pay for. For instance, resort properties in private communities are appealing, but they often come with heavy annual resort fees that can increase at any time. On top of that there are possible housekeeping costs, legal fees, property taxes, insurance costs, etc.
Once you've found the perfect property, think about what you really want it for. Do you plan to move abroad immediately, or in the future? Will you spend significant time in the destination if it's just a part-time residence? Factor in transportation costs and make sure that the investment makes sense and that you'll really be able to enjoy and benefit from the big purchase.
Make sure that you have a grasp on how to advertise your property (assuming this isn't a permanent residence). The popularity of vacation rental websites have made finding occupants for vacation properties a much easier task than it once was. Some top sites are Airbnb and Homeaway. Do competitive research and see how other people are promoting their properties. Stay seven nights, get one night free, or throwing in a free add-on, can help sway potential renters.
Although it can seem like a daunting feat (and it is nowhere as easy as HGTV international house hunters makes it out to be), it can be a fun and rewarding process once you find your dream property.
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