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9 things to think about when buying overseas properties.

When going through life planning process, one dream that comes up a lot is second property/overseas home. Buying in the UK is much more straightforward than overseas purchases.

If done well, it can be one of the best experiences and uses of your money you'll ever have.

I've got great experience in this area as I own other properties, in UK and in Italy (owning two houses) and have previously bought in Thailand (worked out well) and off-plan in Spain (after court battle of 5 years worked out slightly out of pocket). Here would be my main things to think on/consider when looking to buy another home:

1) for the money investment to be worth it, you've got to look at the new home as somewhere you could live permanently. It has to be the right place for now and for your future self. Can your 80 year old self live in this dream house in the middle of nowhere?

2) you need a network of good people around you to finish a project. We never would have bought our dilapidated farmhouse (for a song) if we did not have the right builders already in place with architects and notary etc. This was purely down to a lady who has been established in Abruzzo for 20 years and had these contacts to hand.

3) you need to likely buy another car if buying overseas. This is something we are looking at doing in the coming weeks as the pandemic has made hiring a car uneconomical; this brings extra costs upfront and on an ongoing basis.

4) houses need to be lived in. Due to the pandemic, we returned to Italy after a 21 month absence to find a lot of issues with the house. You have to come to use your house a lot to keep the maintenance costs down.

5) there are always jobs to be done. If you are coming for say, 2 weeks, be mentally prepared that for 3-4 days of that break, there will be admin and other things to attend to. If you add in the 2 days of travelling, you've almost lost a week of your "relaxing holiday".

6) you need to learn/speak the language. If you want to buy in rural France, Spain or Italy then English won't be the first language. A lot of residents won't even know any English so you'll need to get acquainted with language classes or apps otherwise life will be harder for you.

7) be prepared for things to take longer. We have workmen who say they'll be here at 10am but don't come until 10am the next day sometimes ! I find this frustrating but other places in the world don't run on the same clocks as us Brits.

8) get your currency sorted for your purchase. Thankfully, I bought a contract that means I fulfilled my purchase at a rate of 1.36. The risk was I had to provide £100,000 at a fixed date. If we were buying the house today it would cost me an extra £19,000. On large sums of money currency movements can mean a big difference.

9) make sure you are clear on the rules for coming and going. Brexit has changed things in Europe, hence why I am applying for my Irish passport.

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