Important Considerations Before Buying an Overseas Vacation Home

by : Donovan Carter

Buying a home overseas can mean owning a small piece of vacation paradise, but it can also equal a major headache. From differing ownership and property title laws to navigating an overseas market, foreign home ownership can be complicated. If you're thinking about purchasing an international vacation home, keep reading for some tips that will help save you money.

1. Always Hire a Local Lawyer

Don't settle for just an estate agent or a lawyer that may be recommended. Instead, hire your own local real estate lawyer - local, that is, to the property. An experienced legal mind can help you understand all the title and residency requirements you'll need to know as a foreign owner and investor.

2. Consult a Local Immigration Lawyer

Having a vacation home in the south of France, for example, won't help you if you're not allowed to live in it. Before you purchase foreign property, make sure you are aware of all the residency and immigration rules, particularly if you plan to spend the majority of the year in your overseas vacation property. Regardless of which home is your primary residence, there are tax implications to take into account.

3. Hire a Property Manager

If you're purchasing an overseas vacation home that will be dormant or empty for the majority of the year, give serious consideration to hiring a property manager to take care of the grounds, opening the house during the season, keeping an eye on the property and watching for potential problems.

Alternatively, if you plan to rent out your overseas home as a vacation spot, a local property manager can help you take care of passing on keys, maintaining the property, screening potential renters, keeping an eye out for vandalism, and overseeing payments. The property manager will take a percentage of your rental profits, but a reliable person will be well worth the expense when you are perhaps thousands of miles away.

4. Be Aware of Hidden Fees

From increased transfer taxes to outrageous capital gains taxes for foreigners, every country is different. Before you buy in a particular country or area of the world, make sure you understand all the potential costs, taxes, service fees and future taxes associated with that purchase.

From real estate agent commissions to lawyer fees to closing costs, these will all vary depending on local laws. Remember, every real estate purchase should be an investment, not a surprising liability. Do your investigative homework prior to purchasing so you know your realistic income and expenses ahead of time.

5. Ask Before You Build

Before you consider building a potential overseas vacation home, make sure you understand all the coding, permit and building laws in your particular area. Also, always try to respect the local residents, whether it's neighborhood aesthetics or the impact of a major build.

In short, buying an overseas vacation home is a great way to create your own getaway, but it can also be complicated. If you hire the right help locally and stay informed throughout your purchase process, you should find that your purchase is a real benefit.