So, you’ve made the decision to purchase a property abroad, or maybe just testing the water to see if life overseas is for you. Once you have decided on an area, the next step is to arrange a viewing trip.
It’s important to ‘try before you buy’ as there are many aspects of living abroad that won’t be explained on an estate agency website, and you can’t get a true feel for the place until you’ve been there.
Things to consider before you book your viewing trip
Your intentions for the trip; are you going out to get an idea of properties and locations, or are you set on making an offer? Deciding your intentions before you go will help you stick to a plan and avoid getting swept away by the gorgeous weather and the excitement of owning your own place abroad.
Decide what type of property you want so you can make the most of your viewing trip; a few things to consider are the type of property you’re after (beach cabin, town house, rural villa), level of refurbishment required, location, local night life, ease of access for yourselves and visiting family, local transport and amenities, and if there is an established expat community in the area. Think about which of these aspects are the most important to you and what you might be willing to compromise on.
Find a good estate agent or property finder
It’s a good idea to do some research before arranging your trip, get in contact with an agent and give them the details of what you’re looking for, use their responses as a way to gauge how helpful you think they will be along the way.
How are you getting around? Your main options are hiring a car, or using public transport, your agent may also be able to help with this so it’s worth asking the question, it’s in their interest to help you view as many properties as possible after all!
Have a good idea of what you are willing to spend before you go and avoid looking at properties outside of this, time will fly while you’re out there so it’s important that you use it smartly by looking at realistic options.
What to take
- Note book – this will be really useful to jot down any questions you have and will help you remember what you thought of the property.
- Property information sheets and Checklist – it's hard to remember everything about a property so having a list of important points to tick off is really useful.
- Camera – take photos of the property to jog your memory when you get home.
- Phrase book – know what questions you want to ask and how to ask them before you go!
- Measuring tape – it's always handy to take your own measurements if you're thinking of purchasing furniture or decorating your new home.
With all of the above taken into account, your trip is likely to be a busy one so it’s important to take some time to think everything over, and enjoy your trip too! Maybe plan to stay for a day or two extra with no appointments to go over the notes you’ve made and recap on the important points you raised before making the trip. A pros & cons list is useful to make at this point, whilst you’ve got the properties fresh in your mind.
Take care also not to get carried away with a property that seems fantastic but doesn’t tick enough boxes for it to be the right one - if you stated before your trip that you wouldn’t buy a property with less than 3 bedrooms for example - stick to your guns. It could be tempting to overlook the negatives and make an offer so you feel like your trip was worth it, but remember that the time and expense it will take to book another viewing trip is far less than if you were to buy the wrong property and find out further down the line. This is a very exciting, potentially life changing decision so take as much time as you need.