Unique Living
October 2nd, 2018 | by Serge Cowan

Advice for the International Property Buyer: How to Know You’re Making the Right Choice

Buying a property abroad is a huge decision, and understandably, you want to make sure you get it right. Here’s our advice about how to feel confident about your choice and know that you’ve made a great purchase for the future.

Make Sure it Feels Right

We all talk about our ‘gut response’ – and quite frankly, it’s a powerful tool when buying a property. In our opinion, it’s vital to spend time in the country that you’re planning to invest in. Walk around the local neighbourhood, sample the restaurants, bars and amenities and get an instinctive feel for the place.

It’s important to visit right now, rather than relying on a trip you made several years ago. Places change; sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Don’t rely on press or online articles; they’re other people’s opinions and they don’t reflect your personal lifestyle. For example, if you’re thinking of writing off Spain because you’ve heard it’s changed a lot, be aware that the changes might actually suit you. There might be more greenery for example, or more drives into the countryside or more of a nightclub scene.

Always check it out in person and listen to your intuitive response.

Does it Match Your Future Lifestyle?

It’s great if the property ticks all the boxes for your current way of living. However, it needs to work for you in the future too. For example, if you’re planning on having kids, is the property (and area) suitable for young people? If you think you might want to rent it out a few years down the line, will it appeal to holidaymakers?

Of course, no-one can predict with certainty what the future might hold. But it’s a wise idea to consider what your most likely requirements might be in three, five or even ten years’ time.

Don’t be Railroaded

Buying a property abroad can be a pressurised experience. You might encounter an agent who’s very keen for you to sign the contract, so they can make their commission. Likewise, your family might be putting pressure on, in a bid to get their holiday home as soon as possible.

This isn’t a decision to rush into. Take your time with it, view as many properties as possible, and ask all the right questions. Don’t let yourself be hurried into anything – it won’t benefit you in the long run. Negotiations can take a while anyway, so there’s plenty of time to review your decision.

Work with the Right Agent

A good agent is focused on listening to your requirements, then finding a range of properties that might fit the bill perfectly. They’ll also offer alternatives – encouraging you to think outside the box and explore other avenues. For example, we’d encourage you to look at all suitable properties on the market, not just those on our portfolio. This is all part of the process of working out what your real priorities are, and what areas you’re happy to compromise on.

Bring the Whole Family to the Viewing

First, we’d recommend viewing alone, with one of our local representatives to show you around and go over the details. It’s a good chance to absorb important information and get an initial, uninterrupted feel for the property. Then, we’d recommend revisiting with the rest of the family in tow. This not only gives you all the opportunity to see if the house works for you; it also gives us a good taste of how you’ll be using the home. Most luxury villas can only be viewed outside of peak season – however, this is a great way to get an idea of what the area’s like outside peak season.

Don’t Aim to ‘Keep Up with the Joneses’

Social media presents us with a myriad of images of people enjoying their idyllic international properties and lifestyle. Remember, it’s nothing more than PR and spin. Your purchasing decision should be about your own life, experiences and objectives – and what you want from it should be paramount.

Our job is to help you find the property that’s going to work best for you and your family; not just at this moment in time, but for the long-term future too. That’s the most important thing of all – anticipating where you’ll be further down the line and investing in a property that reflects that. We’ll also focus on ensuring you have access to 100% of the market, not just the properties currently advertised publicly. But don’t just take our word for it – read what our happy clients have said about our service.

Serge Cowan

Serge Cowan

Managing Director and Founder

Serge has an extensive marketing background, after a broadcasting career, Serge moved into marketing where he worked for BSkyB & a number of leading Public Relations agencies.
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