5 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home Abroad

For many people, buying a home in another country is a dream come true. But this is also not a commitment that you want to enter into lightly. Otherwise, you could find yourself confused by the small print and legalities of the agreement you have entered into, and not sure about whether or not you have bought a place in the right area. So, it is always going to be worth taking a step back, pausing for a moment, and being sure in your own mind that you are making the right choice. Here are just a few of the most common mistakes that you need to avoid making if you are considering buying a home abroad.

Not Spending Time in the Place

How can you possibly know if you want to keep going back to the same vacation spot year after year if you have not spent any time there in the first place? So, before you consider buying in that location, you should at least visit a couple of times to make sure that you are happy with the place. Otherwise, you may find that you don’t actually like the neighbourhood, the people, or even the country as a whole as much as you had initially thought. If you get the chance, it is worth speaking to other expats who can give you an honest assessment of the place, so that you can tell whether or not it is all it is cracked up to be.

Not Knowing What You Can Afford

Many people buy a vacation home to give themselves a regular spot where they can escape from the stresses of everyday life. But your stress levels are likely to go through the roof if you end up investing in a place that you can’t afford comfortably. Even if you can afford the property, you need to think about how it will impact any other financial goals which you have in mind for the future such as retirement. Don’t just focus on the bottom line price. You also need to bear in mind any other expenses involved such as insurance, tax etc.

A Lack of Understanding of Local Property Laws

Even if you understand the real estate market in your own country entirely, this doesn’t mean that you know what is going on abroad. As well as the different taxes involved, you also need to look closer at the different types of housing out there such as resale HDB . The internet is a highly useful place to start when it comes to giving yourself a basic overview of the rules and regulations that are out there – check out forums to have your specific questions answered and see some of the mistakes that people have made in the past. But you can find out more by consulting with professional realtors and anyone you know who has bought a property in the country in the past.  

Making an Emotional Decision

Vacations tend to be a very emotional time in general. You are surrounded by loved ones in a beautiful place – it is very easy to get swept away by the moment. But this is the way that you are much more likely to make poor financial decisions. So, rather than being ruled by your heart, your head needs to come into play as well. Make the decision after many weeks and months of deliberation and research, and you are much more likely to make a choice that is right for you. Think about whether or not you want to commit yourselves to holidaying in this spot in the long-term or if you are the kind of person who prefers to go somewhere different every year. Perhaps you already know people in the local area and this will make your decision that little bit easier. Ultimately, make sure that you maintain a degree of rationality in what you are doing.

Not Thinking About the Hassle Involved

When a lot of people think about getting a vacation home, they think of long stress-free days spent in the sun. And while this is part of it, you shouldn’t forget that many of the hassles of your primary home will be involved in your second one. For example, who is going to look after the property when you are not around? How much money do you plan on pumping into the place on an annual basis?

Maybe you are planning on renting your home out for part of the year to generate a second income for yourself. If this is the case, will you use a property agent or take care of all the rentals yourself? And how are you going to handle those problems tenants who make your life so much more difficult? Don’t forget, many cities and communities are clamping down on organisations like Airbnb as a way of maintaining the character of the area, and you need to check the rules and regulations in detail.

Even with everything else considered, many people find investing in a vacation home to be a highly rewarding experience for themselves and their loved ones. However, as we mentioned at the start, this is not something that you want to enter into lightly. Hopefully, the points listed in this article have helped to provide some clarity on what you will be letting yourself in for. You are always better off taking the time to make sure that you have made the right choice rather than charging head first into buying a place through an emotional choice. After all, just think about all the stress and thought that went into buying your first home. All of this will be repeated when you are investing in another one. The more satisfied vacation home owners are the ones who truly love returning to the same spot year after year and carve out something of a second life for themselves while they are there.

Meet Sarah

Sarah Ruhlman is the founder of SarahScoop.com. Contact: sarah@sarahscoop.com

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