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Searching for Your Home Abroad - Finding Out About the Best Deals

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 14 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Abroad Overseas Travel Property Buying

When you decide to look into buying a property overseas, it is important to think about what type of property you require - are you looking for an investment, or do you plan to live these at some point? Are you happy to travel for a few hours to get there or do you want a home abroad that you can get to easily by low cost airlines? Do you plan to rent out your property to gain regular rental income or do you see it as a future investment?

Too many people decide to 'live the dream' and buy a property abroad when they are on holiday and fall in love with a particular property that they see for sale. It is important to remember that there will always be a lovely little house to fall in love with, where you can just imagine long, lazy lunches and family barbecues in the sun.

Rather than wait until you find your dream home and then have to start putting the practicalities in place, think about what you hope you gain from your home abroad. Sit down with your partner or family and talk about the type of experiences you wish to have - Do you want people to be able to come and visit, or have your own little private hideaway? Do you want to be near the sea or in a town or village?

Allow everyone in your immediate family to be able to have their say about your exciting new adventure and then take on board the following suggestions to make the most of the good deals around when buying a property abroad.

Go Out Of Season

Estate agents are used to hordes of potential UK expats coming into their offices at the end of their two week holiday, desperate to buy something. This is all well and good - the sunshine and local wine can be quite a romantic combination - but it is not how you find the best deals. The best time to go to an overseas estate agent is out of season - in Europe and the US this usually means around February. People who have had their houses on the market will be keen to sell and you will not get ripped off like any other non-clued up property buyer.

Talk to Locals

Once you have identified the area you wish to invest in, take a week or so to drive around at random times to see the place at its best and worst. Do kids hang around the town with cans of lager, just like at home in the UK? Are there terrible traffic jams at the end of the lunch break? See if there is anything that may put you off.

Take your lunch or supper in the local bars, bistros or tavernas and try to get talking to the locals. Do not be one of those loud talking, terribly patronising English people we have all overheard and cringed at, but try to be friendly and open. Ask where the good places and bad places are; see what people think of their town.

Join Mailing Lists

The internet has brought with it the rise of the on-line mailing list, which is an invaluable source of information for buying property. When you have found the websites of interesting international estate agents in your target area, join their mailing list. You will usually get notification of new properties on their books so you can act quickly if required.

You can also join the mailing list of new build overseas property companies, if appropriate. If you are prepared to buy off plan or wait until developments are nearly full, this can be a great way to get a good deal.

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