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Having Your Dream Home Built Abroad

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 25 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Home House Dream Plans Blueprints

What do you do if you've set your heart on your holiday dream home in a certain area but can't find the right property? The blueprint is firmly in your mind but the right house in the right location just isn't there.

Having a home built for you could be a viable option, if you can manage it properly. As well as usually being cheaper than buying an existing house, you can specify exactly what you want in the plans too. But managing a construction project isn’t for everyone, so you need to make connections with people you can trust to do the work for you.

Get Construction Permits Properly Sorted

The first stage is to make sure that the plot is viable for building on and that planning permission can be obtained. In many countries you ought to be able to agree a conditional sale, in that the full amount of the land purchase isn’t passed over until the plans have been approved.

How you actually do this will differ from country to country so you need to find a bilingual lawyer, if possible someone recommended by the ex-pat community in the area.

Mortgage Options for Your Dream Home

Raising a mortgage, if you need to, might be tricky. In the UK there are now a number of mortgage companies who have products designed for the people building homes, where different chunks of finance are released as each agreed stage is finished. The country you've chosen for your dream home may have similar products, but if not, the best option might be to raise a new mortgage on your property back home to finance the building.

Plans and Blueprints are Critical For Building Overseas

Planning your dream home will be easier if you have an architect or building technician to help you out. The roles differ in many countries to the way it's done in the United Kingdom so it’s a good idea to invest in a book about buying homes and building houses in the relevant country. There are books available on most of the countries that are popular with UK buyers, look for adverts in magazines that specialise in the region.

Unless you're going to be living nearby and can manage construction projects, you'll need to spend a lot of time agreeing the blueprints and other plans so that your build will progress smoothly while you're away. With broadband now very widespread it will easier for your architect or project manager to keep in touch with you by emailing photographs and documents so that you can monitor the construction from back home.

Managing a Remote House Building Project

You will almost certainly want to make changes as you go along and having computer-based blueprints might well help that process. Your architect can send amended blueprints for you to approve, and that will stop arguments later over who agreed what.

Don't expect it all to work remotely though. Regular inspection trips are a must, and if you have a kindly neighbour who will keep an eye on things, and let you know if the workers disappear for weeks on end then that will help too. And don’t be tempted to cut corners on the red tape either. Look at the owners of homes in Southern Spain who are having to watch their houses being pulled down because of corruption at a local and regional level.

Dream Homes Need Persistence

It's not going to be easy but in your plans are done properly and you can find good people to work with you, in the end you will have a dream home to be proud of.

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