Things to look out for when buying property overseas

Money Advice Service

Buying property overseas is usually more complicated than buying locally. You’ll need to consider a number of risks and might need to work out how to get a mortgage for a property abroad. This guide explores the difficulties you might face as well where you can go for advice.

Know the risks when buying property abroad

  • Tax – make sure you account for all the tax you’ll be liable to pay, both in the UK and in the country where you have the property.
  • Check the paperwork – make sure that you have all the necessary permissions, licences and planning consents before you sign any form of contract or agreement.
  • Exchange rate changes – even a small change to the exchange rate could drastically affect the value of your purchase. This could make a property – or your mortgage repayments, unaffordable overnight.
  • Beware developers and the hard sell – don’t succumb to heavy pressure to sign up with a deposit before you’ve had a chance to think carefully and get independent advice.

Getting a mortgage for a property abroad

If you have a mortgage where you’re making repayments in a foreign currency, the lender must tell you if the exchange rate fluctuates by more than 20%.

These rate fluctuations could affect your ability to meet your future mortgage commitments.

To protect borrowers, lenders must offer you the option to repay the mortgage in another currency.

Get independent advice

“We strongly recommend that prospective purchasers of overseas property seek independent legal and financial advice at all stages of their purchase.”

Source: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Always seek legal advice from a lawyer who is independent of everyone else involved in the deal including:

  • The seller
  • Developer, and
  • The estate agent

Ensure your lawyer is fluent in both English and the local language, and that they understand property law in the country where you’re buying plus how it relates to non-residents.

If you’re appointing a UK legal firm, check that they’re registered with the Law Society in the UK and specialise in international transactions and property conveyancing.

If you’re appointing an adviser in the country where you’re buying the property, you should be able to find lists of English-speaking professionals on the website of your local British Embassy.

Check the British Embassy website for lists of local English-speaking lawyers and qualified translators

Financial advice

You can find an independent financial adviser via the links below.

All of the following websites let you search by postcode and some let you search for specialist advisers only:

MyLocalAdviser website

unbiased website

findanadviser website

If you’re not sure how to go about choosing the right financial adviser, see our guide Choosing a financial adviser.

If things go wrong when buying abroad

An overseas property purchase is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) so you’ll not be protected by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong.

Even if you use as FCA-registered financial adviser or mortgage broker in the UK to make the deal on your behalf.

Next steps

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Join Rest Less Money Club

Helpful tips and guidance for making the most of your money – straight to your inbox

By providing us your email address you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the link in our emails.

Join the Rest Less Money Club

Helpful tips and guidance for making the most of your money – straight to your inbox

Good luck with your application

Before you go, we’d love to stay in touch to find out how you get on. Sign up to Rest Less today to get free job alerts and inspiring content sent straight to your inbox.
By providing your email you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time through the link in our emails.