Having recently had a baby, I sometimes think buying a property abroad is a bit like having a child. First of all there's the tentative suggestion from one of you that maybe it could be a good idea, followed by the serious thinking about it, buying a few books on the subject maybe, and then there is the step of deciding “Right that's it, let's give it a go” and dedicating a lot of time, effort and fun to the process...
Finding the house of your dreams is a bit like seeing that little blue line on the pregnancy test, pure unadulterated bliss – followed by months of anxious waiting until the final push (which a lot of the time can be agonising) particularly if you're buying in a country with a lot of red tape. Then there's the bit when you get the keys to your house/bring baby home from hospital, where you both look at each other and think “What the hell have we done?”, crossed with “Yippeeeeee”
A lot of you reading this might well be in the early stages. Maybe you're reading this whilst at our exhibition (if so, come and say hello) or perhaps you have returned from a summer holiday with no intentions of buying but have somehow found yourselves clutching a lot of brochures. If you are in the early stages of buying, there are lots of things you need to consider before that final push. First of all, step back and take a long deep breath and really consider the reasons you have for buying. Do you still have that holiday feeling? Are you being pressurised by developers/estate agents? Are you worried you might lose the picture postcard house of your dreams? If any of the above ring true, my advice is don't rush into something you could later regret.There will always be a place of your dreams and if it goes, you will find another. Rushing into such a big purchase could be a huge mistake.
Weigh up the pros and cons. Ask yourself a lot of questions. Can you afford it? Will you rent it out? Will you be able to afford it if you don't rent it out? How long will it take you to get there door to door ? Who will maintain it when you're not using it? Are you planning a permanent move? Even if you're not a big list maker, it's a really good idea to go and buy a big notebook and write down all the thoughts that are running around your brain.
A lot of companies offer inspection trips and you will see some of them at our exhibition. I think they can be a fantastic opportunity to experience the area and try before you buy, so to speak, but if you do plan on taking one, go in with your eyes fully open and don't be persuaded to part with any money until you decide it's exactly what you want. Some companies do go in with the hard sell and if you are easily swayed it might be an idea to take a friend with you to keep an eye on you (and more importantly your wallet!)
Buying a property abroad can be hugely rewarding and something you will enjoy for years to come but you must make sure you have all the facts in place before you part with your hard earned cash. That way it becomes a joy and not a burden and, much like children, will bring you years and years of happiness and in all likelihood just a few grey hairs! Good luck.