Things to keep in mind when purchasing property overseas

There seems to be an unprecedented number of Australians choosing to invest in property overseas at the moment.  And who can blame these buyers? With the current strength of the Australian dollar, as well as the relatively low prices of some international real estate, I can definitely understand how offshore property may look attractive. 

Purchasing a property overseas however can definitely be a complex process and there are a few things that investors should keep in mind, in order to make the experience as stress-free, and profitable, as possible. 

It may seem obvious, but you would be amazed at how many people quickly buy into an area without a good deal of research first.  If you are looking for an investment property then you need to ensure that the location of your intended purchase is a popular spot for renters and has displayed a good rental return in the past.  Areas containing universities and a generally young population are often good places to start your search.  You may also wish to avoid locales that have historically experienced inclement weather conditions with some frequency.  Such environments could increase the repairs needed to your property. 

Taxation is an important point for consideration when buying overseas.  If possible, look for countries that have tax agreements with Australia, as the existence of such a relationship should make it easier for you to facilitate your ownership of the property, both during the buying process and into the future.    

If you decide to go through an international buying agent, take care to make substantial enquiries to ensure legitimacy before transferring large sums of money to an offshore party.  There are some horror stories out there about unsuspecting buyers purchasing hugely inflated properties from such people, or just simply being ripped off, and having no legal recourse.  I’m not saying that such players are not of use – they are often hugely helpful and can help to make your purchase an easy process.  Just be careful and try to choose an agent who is accredited and comes recommended. 

Before buying a property overseas, make sure you consider all the additional charges that will be associated with doing so.  These can include travelling offshore to view properties, legal advice both in Australia and abroad, the costs of a buyers’ agent if using one, and the actual transactional costs related to the purchase.  These costs can often add up, sometimes substantially reducing the return on the property from what your initial feasibilities had indicated. 

Lastly, check to see if the country of your choice has online information sources with advice for overseas investors.  Such websites can be hugely helpful and inexpensive to access and are an ideal place to begin your search for an international destination in which to invest. 

Making an investment in overseas property has the potential to be an extremely profitable venture.  Just take care to consider all the steps involved to make sure your purchase is a viable and stress-free one.

Posted by Charles Tarbey on 18/01/2011 at 11:13 AM | Categories: Buying -


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