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Five factors to consider when buying overseas property

Home buyers looking to purchase foreign property may want to enlist the help of an experienced overseas estate agent

A sustainable home - or 'eco villa' - in Andalucia, Spain. UK-based buyers looking to purchase Spanish property are encouraged to contact local estate agents for practical help and support 

Overseas property agents, in particular those in Spain and France, are reporting a rise interest and a steady flow of clients from the UK visiting to view potential properties. UK buyers searching for a dream holiday home in the sun should expect nothing short of excellent service from overseas estate agents, especially when it comes to post-purchase services.

UK buyers searching for a dream holiday home in the sun should expect nothing short of excellent service from overseas estate agents

Ideally, anyone buying abroad for the first time should check that their estate agent can assist with service connections, home improvements and other requirements after the sale has gone through, if help is required.

“As buyers flood back to Spain, it’s important they start out on the right foot as a new homeowner somewhere foreign – some simple things done from the outset, ideally before flying back home, can save hassle in the long run,” said Kieran Byrne, MD of HomeEspaña, an agency based in Spain’s Costa Blanca.

“Our after sales department is expecting a busy year. Recent statistics show that foreigners accounted for a record 21 per cent of property purchases in Spain last year, with the Valencian Community – home to the Costa Blanca – being the region that saw the highest rise in sales to overseas buyers.”

HomeEspaña has identified five key areas that new owners of property often require assistance with after signing along the dotted line.

Buildings and contents insurance is a must for all property owners, but especially overseas buyers. If the property is left vacant for long periods or let to holidaymakers, owners must ensure they have adequate cover.

A good estate agent can assist with insuring properties through an English speaking UK based insurer or a local insurer. It is not unheard of for agents to deal with insurance claims on behalf of absent clients, for example a property flooded by a broken boiler, and help with arranging motor and moped insurance.

Changing locks
It is not uncommon for security conscious foreign owners to change the locks of their new foreign property. Your estate agent should be able to assist with arranging a locksmith to visit a property or purchasing replacement locks. They can also help with having an alarm fitted or key-holding, both of which non-residents typically choose to do.

TV, phone and internet connections
Buyers should not take it for granted that all properties in a foreign country are sold with telephone or broadband connections, or Satellite TV. Again, a decent estate agent will help you get connected and suggest suitable service providers, if need be.

A recent HomeEspaña client, Tim Dehaney from Bristol, said in March: “HomeEspaña were great, right down to getting a Satellite dish put up at my new apartment in Villamartín and organising for a charity to take away the furniture I didn’t want.”

Air conditioning
Stinking hot summers mean air conditioning is a common requirement for most homeowners in Mediterranean countries. If a property is without it or the existing units need replacing or repairing, ask your estate agent to suggest reliable local firms. Buyers of property on a new development may be able to choose whether or not to have it installed before completion.

Property improvements
Redecorating, replacing a kitchen, retiling the patio or having a swimming pool put in – it’s common for new owners to have improvement plans for their overseas property. An estate agent’s contact book should include local building firms, and they should also be able to suggest suitable places to purchase white goods and furniture.

Richard Way is the Editor of The Overseas Guides Company, 0207 898 0549.

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