What to Look Out For When Buying Real Estate abroad

People all over the world buy real estate in countries other than their own…Sometimes it may be because they want somewhere warmer to stay in the winter months, or because the property market in that country looks a lot more promising as from an investment perspective, or they may want to buy abroad simply be for tax-dodging opportunities.

Whatever the reasons, there are some pitfalls that buyers must be aware of, whether they be scams like those covered in the land buying post or just different laws to those you usually abide by.

Here are some things that are important for you to consider when buying abroad:


Make sure your finances are properly organized. The process of getting a mortgage varies from country to country and can take a lot longer in some than others. It’s important that you understand the process in the country you’re buying in before you start making offers. It’s not unheard of for people to lose their deposits buying abroad simply because it took them far too long to get their finances in place.

Contracts and Titles

A lot of people tend not read contracts thoroughly, but when a contract is in another language it’s important to make an extra effort to understand exactly what you’re signing. It’s important to ensure that the property is being bought with the correct Title. Can you be sure that you’re handing over your money to the real owner? Are the exact details of what you’re buying clear? A good example of this is that in some European countries the property can carry debt and not the individual. You could easily purchase a property and with it, a mortgage someone else took out.

Hire an independent lawyer that speaks the local language so your interests can be put first. Whatever you do, don’t use a solicitor that the developer or estate agent recommends because it will not be in their interest to warn you if there is anything wrong with the property or that there are plans for a power plant in your back garden.

Buying off plan

There are many cases of people buying off-plan and their property never being built. Buying off-plan can be a great way to get some really good deals but is also a common scam – simply sell some apartments that don’t exist and then disappear with the money. Again, consult with an independent solicitor before signing anything and stick to more reputable companies. But even then, something like this isn’t completely risk-free and therefore it’s your decision whether you’re willing to accept the risks.

“If it’s too good to be true…”

Buying property involves making decisions with large sums of money and therefore attracts people looking for ways to take that money off you. If you find a great deal, always try and find out why. If you can’t find a reason, stay away.