MONEY MATTERS with Scott Woods

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Thinking of buying abroad?

Buying a property abroad is a lifelong dream for many of us. With the possibilities of a better climate, cheaper property and a lower cost of living, it is easy to see why it is so appealing. I found this 10 step guide from Hargreaves Lansdown:

1. Plan your finances – what can you afford?

2. Do your research – where do you want to buy? What kind of house? How much should you expect to pay?

3. Find your perfect location and property – visit the country. Once you find an area in which you want to buy in, visit it at different times – is it a seasonal place? Will it be deserted in the winter months (with no shops open) or will it be over-run in the summer? Will you use your property to let out, live permanently or as a holiday home?

4. Get a good lawyer – find a lawyer fluent in both languages, with local knowledge and no ties to the vendors.

5. Do your checks – is the house legal? Can you build on the land? Lawyers perform different functions in different countries.

6. Open a local bank account – this will give you easy access to your money in the local area. If possible choose one where the bank manager speaks English.

7. Find a currency broker – a good currency broker could save you thousands in comparison to a high street bank. You might also want to fix the exchange rate to protect against fluctuations.

8. Arrange a deposit – as once you find your perfect property you will want the vendors to take it off the market while all the legalities are finalised.

9. Exchange contracts – sign the contracts and, depending on where you buy, and the type of property, pay in instalments or in a lump sum. You will also need to insure your property.

10. If emigrating – organise removal from UK. This will involve notifying the tax authorities, arranging for your UK post to be forwarded, arranging to keep your UK voting rights, planning pension provisions and all the associated factors that will vary depending on your circumstances and reason for buying abroad.