Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming of retirement in rural Italy or rehabbing a beachfront property in Costa Rica? Despite what you’ve seen on House Hunters International, purchasing real estate abroad is not often a simple feat. In addition to the normal real estate considerations like size, location, and price, you also must navigate a market and legal process that’s likely foreign to you. Nevertheless, you can ease the process by keeping a few tips in mind.

Italian villa that must be nice

Lean on local professionals
First, lean on Sarah Marrinan’s world wide network of real estate agents and brokers in the area you would like to purchase. They can familiarize you with the market and help you find the best deal. Secondly, contact a local lawyer to help you deal with legal matters specific to the area you’re considering.

Consider your tax liability
Every country has its own tax laws. Some may require you to pay title transfer tax, land tax, repay the inheritance tax, or even the stamp duty at the time of purchase. You may also be liable to pay additional taxes in your home country. These potential costs need to be added to your budget, so you are financially prepared and don’t face any legal penalties.

Securing financing
Securing financing will likely be your biggest hurdle in purchasing real estate abroad. If you aren’t paying cash, securing a mortgage through a foreign bank can mean a potentially high interest rate. To get started, obtain an “Agreement in principle” before making any purchase, as it will safeguard you if you can’t secure a loan.

Bridge the language barrier
Language barriers can easily lead to miscommunication and delays in the home-buying process. Even worse, you could pay a higher price or lose a deal entirely. While it’s possible to overcome this issue by learning the relevant language, it’ll be far more effective to hire a broker or attorney fluent in both your native tongue and that of your new host country.

 

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This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.