What Should You Know Before Buying Property in a Different Country?

a group of buildings with a river running through it

Being a homeowner in a foreign country is a dream for many people. The idea of owning a condo on a tropical island or a lodge nestled in a mountain near a ski resort can be very appealing, especially in that country you love. Today, more than ever, that dream could be a reality. With that in mind, before you go looking for flats there are a few things you should know.

Do the numbers first.


Money is always going to be a factor in the property you purchase. However, most people don’t do a home insurance compare and contrast before buying a property in a foreign country. Homeowners’ insurance can cost a premium if you aren’t careful. Also, you’ll want to have an idea of how much coverage you need. Using a search engine to find multiple home insurance quotes can put you at an advantage for finding the best rate. Using a search engine to find your coverage options can also lead to bundling opportunities. Not only could you get home insurance, but you could potentially get a discount on some of your other belongings you’ll need in a country where you’re buying a home. Finally, it’s a good idea to see if the level of coverage you are looking at covers natural disasters like earthquakes or floods. You could be moving to an area known for these and you don’t want exclusions to your coverage on your new home. Make sure you run the numbers and do some cost comparisons to see what you’ll actually be spending.

Narrow down your list to a single location.

Once you have a better understanding of your expenses from getting some insurance quotes, it’s time to start narrowing down the country you’ll want to purchase. Most travelers have a wish list of several destinations that they want to own property in. However, too many options can make it difficult to plot your course of action. If you are looking to buy properties in Pakistan, for example, there are a wealth of opportunities available to you in that country alone. Islamabad has dozens of great properties itself. Start with the country you want to live in, then begin to consider what region of the country you want to settle down in.

Learn the local laws of the area.

One mistake many buyers make when looking for the best deal in foreign property is not looking at the local laws closely enough. In Spain, for instance, squatters have different protections than they do in the U.S. If you are only living in your home three months out of the year, and a squatter begins living in your house, you may have difficulty removing them without a legal fight. In Mexico, it is illegal for foreign citizens to own a coastal dwelling. Therefore, many people will purchase land through a trust so they could have the property, but circumvent the law. Talk with your broker and local attorney about some limiting laws in the region you are interested in.

Understand that there will be renovations, even minimal.


As with most real estate purchases, there are going to be a few upgrades you’ll want to make. Factoring in replacement costs, new appliances, and other renovations needs to be a priority. The last thing you want to do is underestimate the actual cast value of the upgrades you need to make.

Find someone to watch your property while you’re away.

The final thing you should seek when buying a property in a different country is a trusted person to watch the estate in your absence. Though insurance will cover your personal property, having a set of eyes to notice damages early and keep an eye on valuable items is important. The number of bad scenarios that could be avoided by someone watching your property is well worth the peace of mind.

Buying a property in another company doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. From Islamabad to Athens, wherever you’ve set your sights can be yours as long as you look into mortgage companies, insurance companies, and budget in for new appliances and other upgrades.

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