Buying real estate

REAL ESTATE AND INVESTING: Buying a house overseas is a tempting offer. Many people go on vacation and fall in love with a particular area, thinking to purchase a second home. It is a wonderful way to see your favorite place anytime you want and save money on hotels, vacation rentals or other lodging.

However, there are many things you need to take into consideration before purchasing a home overseas.

Number one, know the facts. Property laws vary depending on where you are. You should do your research thoroughly before purchasing anything. Some countries may have strict rules and regulations for foreigners that wish to acquire property.

Number two, language. You should know that anytime you plan to purchase something in another country, the documents will most likely be in that country’s language. Unless you are already fluent in the language, you will most likely need a translator.

You will also have to be “fluent” in real estate language. This includes documents of property laws, regulations, restrictions and taxes. If you are not, there are many real estate professionals that can be of service.

Do your homework before using these services. There are many fraudulent companies that prey on clients, overcharging them or not disclosing information about your property. Many people continue to be cheated simply because they did not take the time to research 100%. Make sure you ask for references, never pay 100% upfront for services and ask to see credentials and history. It may be necessary to get a second, third or fourth opinion. Ask around town to find out if these services are reputable.

For example, there was a couple from the UK that purchased a property in Portugal with a pool. It was their plan to build on the land, which is what they did. However, after some time passed, they found out that their land was a protected area, which could not be built upon. They had to destroy what they had built.

Number three, documents. If you plan on staying in your new country for extended stays, usually 90 days or more, you may need a visa or permanent resident card. This will usually require a valid reason of why you wish to stay longer, such as work, family, government business or study abroad. Tourist visas can be extended, providing you do not work or plan on studying, but will require sufficient funds to prove that you can support yourself.

(between Italy and USA)

Investing in certain countries may allow you to waive certain visa requirements or give you tax benefits.

Whatever choice you make on where to purchase, make sure you research all aspects. It’s better to take your time and know the facts.

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