Buying a Home Overseas: Practical?
For those of us that have been lucky enough to travel to Europe, Asia or Australia from North America, we have seen some of the most beautiful land on Earth. The people, the sights and especially the food make international travel one of the most exotic and special things you can do. But what about making that trip to another country permanent? If you can afford a second home and the thought of spending your summers in the Hamptons isn’t doing it for you, what about buying a little place in Italy? Or Ireland? Here are some tips on making your dream a reality.
First off, rest assured that you’re not the first person to do this. It’s estimated that about four million US citizens live abroad right now. The first thing you should do is check the local country’s property rights. There are websites run by the International Real Estate Association that can tell you if it’s even legal for non-residents of a country to own land there. You should also check with the US Government about the stability of a particular region. Remember, if you vacationed somewhere nice, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe once you leave the resort.
The next step would be to seek out a real estate broker in that particular country for help. This is when a possible language barrier could be a problem. Luckily, there are websites available that will have links to international brokers who do speak English. A broker who is familiar with the local laws and customs of the region you’re looking to move to will be able to help you find out how the local laws work when it comes to real estate.
Another good tip is that you should expect to pay cash. Most countries don’t have as sophisticated a system for loans and mortgages as the US and Canada, so you are looking at either paying cash or if you are looking to move somewhere where you might be able to get a loan, a down payment of almost 50 percent wouldn’t be unusual. If that’s too rich for your blood, you might want to think twice about the whole thing.
Being able to retire in that pretty Tuscan villa overlooking the vineyards is a dream millions of Americans have, and while it may only become a reality for a select few, you CAN make it happen with proper planning, a helpful heaping of common sense and a few tips to help you on your way.