How to get a second home abroad...! *

10 December 2020

* This post was written by a contributor. *

If there’s a particular part of the world that you love going back to time and time again, and you have the financial freedom and flexibility to make a big purchase, you might be considering setting up a second home in that location. It’s something some people do - and many more dream of doing it.

But what do you need to consider and get right, when you're looking to set up a second home in another country? It’s not something to rush into if you’re serious about getting it right. So, let's give you a few tips and warnings here...

Photo by Silvia Trigo from Pexels.

Choose an accessible property. First of all, you’ll want to choose a place that’s accessible and is surrounded by the amenities that you’ll want to use when you’re there. If you’re going to be visiting your second home for weekends and little breaks, it’ll make your life much easier if it has all of the things you need nearby. Otherwise, you’ll waste a lot of time traveling to a distant shop to stock up on food etc. Accessibility is one of the most important things to take into account here.

Understand your mortgage options. Understanding your mortgage options and knowing which route you’re going to take when it comes to financing the purchase of a second property is something that’s very important indeed. Be sure to explore the different options out there and think about the logistics of borrowing money in another country, if that’s something you’re going to need to do. Do some research and speak to a local mortgage broker if you’re not sure where to start with this.

Take care with transfers. Taking care when transferring currencies is another important thing to think about. Exchange rates can vary depending on where and how you transfer your cash. And if you’re going to need to transfer a large sum in order to pay for a new home, you’ll definitely want to do your research and take care. You don’t want to get burnt by big fees and bad rates of exchanges if there are other options out there to take advantage of. It’s a way in which many people lose out, so be careful.

Understand the legal restrictions. There might be some legal restrictions that you’ll need to take into account when choosing to buy a home in a foreign country. Some countries have restrictions on who can buy properties and how the whole process plays out. It’s important to understand that and to take action when finding a place that you feel confident you can legally buy. If there are restrictions in place that cause problems for you as a buyer, talk to a professional and see if there are ways around them that are safe and legal.

Do ALL your research. It’s important to do as much research as you possibly can before going ahead and making a purchase. Your research should be exhaustive. That way, you can be sure that you don’t miss anything and don’t make any potentially costly mistakes. Research the market and everything else related to property and finances in the location in which you’re looking to buy. The more you know and the more knowledge you’re armed with, the fewer mistakes you’ll be likely to make.

Explore the option of renting it out. You might want to think about the possibility of letting out the property once it’s yours. After all, if this is a holiday home of sorts, you’re not going to be there all the time. You might be able to make some extra money by renting out during those periods. There are regulations regarding renting out properties in most countries, so you’ll need to understand and navigate these if you are interested in renting the place out when you’re not there.

Plan for maintenance. Maintenance should be considered, especially if you’re not going to be there a lot of the time. You want to make sure the property stays in good condition throughout the year and is prepared for the particular challenges and problems that might arise as seasons change. You could hire someone to take care of maintenance tasks for you while you’re away if you can find someone you feel able to trust with those tasks. It’ll be one less thing for you to worry about.

Look for discounted and subsidized options. If you’re looking for a home in a place that offers HDB HLE properties or something similar, you might want to see if you’re eligible for those kinds of discounts and subsidies. You might be surprised by what you find. There are lots of ways to save and reduce your overall financial exposure, and all of these avenues should at least be explored and considered if you’re working with a relatively tight budget. None of us can afford to throw money away.

Make it secure for when you're away. It’s important to think about how you’re going to secure the property when you’re not there. You can’t afford to ignore this because security is a major issue when you’re owning a property overseas, especially a second home. Security can be taken care of with the help of modern technologies as well. With modern alarm and camera systems, you can connect them wirelessly to your phone or computer back home, allowing you to keep an eye on things even when you’re not there.

As you can see, there are lots of things that need to be done in order for you to set yourself up in another country and create a second base there. But despite the work involved, you shouldn’t be put off. For many people, it’s one of the best and most rewarding decisions they ever make - and it could be for you too!

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