Adam was first involved in overseas properties in 1990. I was working as an Estate Agent in Shepherds Bush when I came across a French Property Show in the Novatel in Hammersmith and couldn’t believe the prices compared with London!
Then we used to only receive black and white faxed details, we begged for colour and more information but only received a Gallic shrug in reply.
The overseas property invasion by the Brits and other Northern Europeans seeking the sun and cheap food & wine escalated to its peak in the mid 2000’s.
The prices have seen a large decrease in the last 5 years but now we have seen Spain turn a corner and my business associates on the main Costa’s are reporting a huge surge in business, especially from the Belgians & Scandinavians. Prices in deepest rural France remain low and now is the time to grab a bargain, resist the “project” and go for something where all the hard work and expense has already happened. Mark can always advise in France on Planning Permission but it is quite localised, each prefecture having its own rules.
I recommend you research your location unless you already know where you want to be because of relations or previous visits.
Use this simple method to find a location, always remember why you going. If you are an avid early morning sea swimmer do not buy inland because it was cheaper! Remember buying costs abroad are 10% + , you are bound to lose money if you want to sell within 5 years in a normal market.
- Check your nearest airports / ports and see who services the routes regularly to your chosen country. Eliminate the destinations according to your criteria.
- Try to aim for 8 hours max door to door; otherwise you will soon find reasons not to go as the travelling becomes too much for a long weekend.
- Be sure to buy if you can in an area that has lots amenities both for socialising, shops and things to do. These will all help if you need to rent it out or sell quickly as well as for your own benefit.
- If you dream of a remote rural hideaway think about security when you are not there and how you might get there late at night if you are not keen to drive abroad.
- Get a competent lawyer to check permissions about past planning the property might have had, check all the licenses have been granted and the current location is not falling within a new zone that will make selling on in the future a problem ( Spain is currently rezoning some forest areas across the country and restricting tourism licenses or charging a tax to let out your home).
- You have to have certain surveys for infestation mainly but don’t be scared to get a building survey as well before you buy.
- Meet the locals, learn the language, ask some questions – you will be surprised how much you can learn by talking to people.