Once your investment strategy is in place, you can start zoning in on the countries that interest you. The endless possibilities can be overwhelming - for example, how do you decide between France and Spain, both culturally rich and fascinating countries? The answer is: only through detailed research.
Each country has different property laws, taxes and unique financial circumstances. Here’s some useful tips to help you with your international property research:
Country and Region
Draw up a shortlist of countries where you want to purchase a property. Speak to experts about foreign purchasing laws and property ownership liabilities - these conditions might automatically negate some options on your list.
Take a look at websites like Expatica and GOV.UK. They’re excellent resources that provide overviews on a country’s political, economic and cultural circumstances, as well as the employment, education and healthcare conditions.
Unless you’re an experienced investor, it’s wiser to buy in more established rental markets in Europe. Coastal properties in Spain or slick apartments in city centres like Paris or Hamburg are good investment options. Remember, a market with proven growth makes it easier to secure a good mortgage deal and procure tenants.
Get a clearer idea of what your budget allows by surveying general property prices. When it comes to buying international property you need to take every cost into consideration. You might find a property at a reasonable price, but low rental income and capital gains tax could make it less profitable. Make sure you know what the full legal and financial obligations are before you land up spending more than you budgeted for.
Visit the Area
Never buy an international property without viewing it in person. Online brochures can be deceiving, and you don’t want to be conned by phoney developers. You should visit your chosen area in off-peak season to see what it’s like during a less popular time of year. We’d also recommend meeting with local travel operators, residents, expats or even business owners to get a well-rounded view of the neighbourhood.
Forums are wonderful sources of interesting and less accessible information. It’s a good idea to trawl the internet for community discussions about local issues in the area where you plan to buy. If you want trusted information, it’s revealing to see what’s discussed by the people living in the neighbourhood. You won’t often get this type of information on traffic, crime, or infrastructure from developers or real estate agents whose main objective is to sell.
Location and Rental Market
A prime location usually has a healthy market for tenants. Long-term tenants often look for easy proximity to schools and work while tourists opt for nearby cultural or environmental attractions. Search online to see what other properties like yours are being sold or let so you can work out what return to expect.
Also, you don’t want your international property to be in a market that’s over-supplied with newly built properties. Speak to locals and estate agents to determine what the future of your neighbourhood looks like and who your potential rental market would be. Just remember that the market can always change, so there are no guarantees you’ll get the rental income or resell value you’re expecting.
It takes thorough research to find an international property that’s a fruitful investment. Before you’re lured by crystalline beaches and exotic villas online, we’d advise you to download our ebook, A Foreign Property Investment Guide for in-depth knowledge to help you define your investment strategy and make your purchase. While you’re at it, take a look at our favoured property for sale in Costa Blanca on Spain’s coastline. It’s long-term capital appreciation and popular rental demand is highly lucrative for property investors.