“Most of us wouldn't buy a property in the UK if we weren't sure of the area. But when people buy abroad their judgement can sometimes be a tad on the cloudy side...”
I love the A Place in the Sun Live exhibitions as they are a chance to meet and greet genuine househunters and find out what people are looking for in an overseas home.
At the recent Earls Court exhibition the question I was asked more than any other was, “Where in the world should I buy, Amanda?” Phew, that is such a big question and I am surprised that so many people actually have no idea of where they want to buy. I have to say, it is one of the – if not the – most important considerations for any overseas property-hunter.
Most of us wouldn't buy a car if we didn't have an idea of the make and model we wanted, or indeed buy a property in this country if we weren't sure of the area. But somehow when people buy abroad their judgement can sometimes be a tad on the cloudy side. One lady in particular said to me at the show, “I just want to make money, where is the best place in the world to do that?” Aha, if only I knew that I'd be writing this from my private island in the Maldives.
If your sole purpose for buying abroad is to make a huge profit quickly, now is probably not the best time to try and achieve that. Before you even start the house-hunting process you need to sit down and think long and hard about why you are buying abroad. There are so many fantastic places in the world for you to visit and enjoy, but far fewer that would suit your individual needs as home-owners, since everyone has a different idea of the perfect destination.
A good idea is to sit down and start writing a list of all the reasons you are buying abroad and what you hope to achieve from the purchase.
The next thing you have to ask yourself is a number of questions regarding how you plan to enjoy your home. How often do you plan on using it? If the answer to that question is frequently, you need to think about access. Try and work out your door to door travelling time, i.e. the time you leave your home in the UK to the time you get into your place in the sun. Europe is always a good bet for those wishing to use their home a lot. Try and look at places where access to airports is easy and fairly reasonable in terms of fares.
Major cities across Europe have a number of airlines flying into them, therefore the flight prices are competitive. If you choose somewhere where only one airline fl ies you are at the mercy of that particular airline. If rental is important to you, you have to think about who you are aiming your rental property at. If you are buying a property that you hope will appeal to families, make sure there are lots of facilities close at hand.
I think Florida is a good option to look at right now for rentability as properties prices out there are extremely reasonable. If you choose an area close to the theme parks, a high rental yield is fairly easy to achieve. However a nine-hour flight to get there means that you yourself probably won't be making too many visits.
If you are planning on leaving our shores permanently there are lots of factors to take into account. Would you be prepared to learn the language? Do you want to work? If you're retiring, how about health care? All of these factors need to be taken into account.
I have said this before but there really is no such thing as too much research, carry out as much as you can before you even think about parting with your hard-earned cash and most importantly decide where you want to go before you start. I chose Italy for my own place in the sun as I have always loved the country, adore the people and the lifestyle and it's only a short flight away (very important with a 15-month old daughter!).
In fact, I'm off there tomorrow for my very first visit, I'm so excited I could pop! I will report back upon my return, so until then, good luck with your search, the perfect place is out there for you, you just have to know where to find it!
This feature was taken from the latest issue of A Place in the Sun magazine, on sale now at all good newsagents