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Buying a foreign property – Top Tips

Getting Started...

So where do you begin?

Ok, so you think you know which country you want to buy your property in - most people will have visited a country and region many times before deciding to buy there.

Many people will be buying with a husband / wife / partner, so it is vital that both are aligned.

Our Top Tips to ensure you are both ‘onthe same page?

Each take a blank sheet of paper and a pen and sit in separate rooms. Then answer the following questions and compare results.

Both happy? Aligned? No? Then you need to talk…

Questions to ask yourself:

What are you PRIMARILY buying this property for:

  • Holiday home

  • More of a financial investment –to be mainly rented out

  • To retire  now

  • To retire later with some mixed holiday / rental use

What do you each see yourselves doing in the region, facilitated by your property?

  • 100% time together relaxing

  • Boys golf trips (how often..?)

  • Girls weekends away in the beach (how often..?)

How often do you think you will visit your property in the first year, 3rd year, 5th year, 10years?

When your property is not occupied by your friends and family will you rent it out?

How long will you rent it for and for how much?

What NET rental income must your property realise after cost of servicing, taxes,running costs and other deductions?

Note: You know you always under estimate how much money you will spend whilst on holiday? yep, owning and running a foreign property is pretty much like that too. Put a comprehensive budget together.There are no right or wrong answers - just the answers that give you both clarity of purpose and direction as to what is the right property that meets your own individual needs.


You may not intend to rent your property out but circumstances can change - a property you personally fall in love with but is out of the main tourist areas can be difficult to rent / manage should you later wish to do so.

The likely rental value that you may achieve should be considered before purchase - also who you might rent through.

Key Players - AGENT

It is often said that the biggest mistake foreign buyers can make abroad is assuming that things work the same as they do back home. But there’s truth in this, and one of the biggest pieces of advice one can give is to some how find the right person to hold your hand through an alien buying process.

So whilst all countries have their own quirks and foibles, let’s kick off with the key person in yoursearch: the agent.

Agents exist to sell property for a client – whether a private vendor, a particular complex or a developer. They might market this property in the locality, or they might travel around promoting it at trade fairs and exhibitions, or they could be based in one of the key markets for their project, beit the UK, China or Sweden. 

In return they of course receive a commission, and that commission will vary on the country and whether the property is resale or new-build.

When you buy abroad agents will usually have to do a lot more legwork: picking you up at the airport, driving you around areas for comparison, fielding questions about a menitiesand transport routes as well as frequently translating everything you encounter.

So when choosing an agent you are going to need to know whether the person is going to be capable, and prepared, to do all of the above – if you require it.

It’s a sensible idea that you meet a prospective agent face to face and clarify their knowledge and rolefrom the word go.

Source: AIPP Buying Guide

Here are some faces that you should meet in the Algarve !

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