‘Makes a surprising difference’ Expert shares property purchase tips for British expats

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Express.co.uk spoke to a property expert to find out what British expats should be aware of before buying overseas. Spain is one of the most popular destinations for Britons.

Marc Pritchard, sales and marketing director at Taylor Wimpey España, said there are a few ways to make the process less “overwhelming”.

He told Express.co.uk: “Divide the task up into manageable chunks, so that it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

“Start by focusing on identifying the location that will suit you best. What do you want from the local weather, language, scenery, cuisine, amenities, social life, healthcare system and so on?

“Writing all of this down can be a very useful exercise, both to narrow down what’s important to you and later to check that your chosen property meets all of your criteria.”

He added: “Think about the kind of property you want too. Do you want a tumbledown farmhouse, a pristine apartment in a gated community or a swish new villa with a pool?”

Since the pandemic, many British expats are prioritising outdoor space due to fears of any further lockdowns.

One option for expats who are concerned about security is to consider a golf course property where this is likely to be 24 hour staff.

Marc said: “Set a realistic budget and see what you can afford. Remember to factor in all the fees associated with the purchase, as these can quickly mount up and impact your overall cost.”

While it might be tempting to strike out alone, Marc advised expats to work with legal and financial advisors.

He said: “When it comes to the purchase process, engage legal and financial advisors at an early stage.

“Each country has its own requirements in terms of the paperwork you’ll need to complete and the hoops you’ll need to jump through to buy a home there.

“Understanding these from the outset can save you plenty of headaches later on.”

Recently, around 200 British expats have been struggling with issues with their properties in Murcia.

The homes had been built without planning permission and the expats believed they would one day become legal.

However, two decades on the homes are still not considered legal. Working with advisors should help British expats avoid issues.

Marc told Express.co.uk: “Your professional advisors can also advise on the most cost-effective way to buy – whether on your own, with a partner or through a company, for example – and on other matters, such as whether you’ll need a visa to use the property year-round.

“It’s also a good idea to think about currency conversion at an early stage in the process. These kinds of decisions can make a surprising difference to your costs.”

He added: “If you’re buying a new build property, it’s a good idea to seek out an established developer that’s used to selling properties to Brits.

“They will be able to advise you in English about the purchase process, legal requirements and practical details, which will be invaluable if you don’t speak the local language well.”

Chris Nye from Property Guides, told Express.co.uk that many British buyers are looking for new builds at the moment.

He said: “The difficulty and expense of getting a builder right now means many buyers are looking for pristine properties with no work required.”

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