When it comes to investing in real estate, most people only think in terms of their immediate surroundings, or sometimes their country. However, it’s a big old world out there, and there’s plenty of property investment opportunities across the globe! However, there are more rules that you need to follow. When you don’t have an inbuilt, deep understanding of the place where you’re buying property, then there’s more chance that something will go wrong. And given the amounts of money involved in real estate, there’s not a chance that you want to take. Below, we’ve put together some useful tips that’ll help increase the likelihood of your overseas property venture being a success.
Have Your Finances In Order
This is unlikely to be your first property purchase, so cast your mind back: do you remember how expensive the whole process was? The property itself wasn’t cheap, but then there were all the other payments you had to make, too. When you’re buying a property overseas, then some of the things you’re paying for may be different, but that’ll tally up to around the same amount – or at least you should expect them too. If they don’t, then that’s just some good luck! So before you begin looking forward to the potential revenue streams your property might bring in, get your finances in order. Buying any property is not something you should be looking at if the purchase is going to stretch your finances: you should be able to comfortably meet all the payments – emphasis on “comfortably”!
Visit the Place
If you had any notion that you might buy a property without having first visited, then close this browser, find a bucket of ice water, and pour it over your head. It’ll knock some of those silly ideas out of your head! You can make anything look good with clever photography tricks; what you see in a brochure or online might not be an authentic representation of what you’re buying. In some cases, the place they’re showing you might not even exist – it’s happened before! As such, take the time to visit the property; it’ll give you a much better sense of what you’re investing in.
Know the Country
Getting a good look at the property is a good start, but to increase your chances of investment success, you’ll need to take a look at the country as a whole. Part of what makes the world so interesting is that cultures are so different! So by having an understanding of the local attitudes to property, trends, and so on, you’ll develop a sense of whether it’s the right cultural environment for your investment.
Speak With Other Expats
You’re not going to be the first person to invest in a foreign country, and you won’t be the last. As such, one of the best tools you have at your disposal will be the advice of people who have completed the journey before. People are generally friendly everywhere, so they should be all too happy to help! Useful questions to ask include finding out any problems they had, what they would have done differently, and whether, if they had the opportunity, they would do it all over again.
Look Up the Additional Costs
You might have a good understanding of what everything is going to cost you, but remember: there are always surprise costs. And if you’re trying to get things organised only by telephone, then these additional costs might prove to be pretty stressful! Try to make a list of everything extra you’ll have to pay, such as one-off taxes and the like. If you have an overview of all the expenses, you’ll have a better sense of whether the investment is worth your time or not.
Have a Plan
It makes no sense to make a big investment without also having a long-term plan. So you’ve found your property: what are you going to do with it? Will you live there, rent it, or sell it on quickly? If you’re thinking of selling it in the not too distant future, then look at the general selling price now, and the future trends. If you’re investing in a Singapore property, you can take a look at the average HDB resale price to get an idea of how much growth there is in the market. If you’re investing in America, a good indicator of future value is to see what infrastructure plans are in line for the future: a place near a large city that’s soon to have a train or subway connection, for instance, will fare better in the market than a home that is not near these amenities.
Also be aware that the rules surrounding renting a property will be different from where you live, too. They may be more complicated, or they may be more straightforward. In any case, they’ll be different, so make sure you know exactly what the process of renting entails before making that the central part of your grand plan!
Beware the Exchange Rate
Remember: you’re not going to be paying in your local currency, which means you’ll be at the mercy of the exchange rate. If you agree a deal for one price, but then a week later, the exchange swings out of your favour, then you’ll be paying more for a deal you’re already locked in to. Of course, the exchange rate could swing in your favour, too!
Find Trustworthy People To Work With
It takes a lot of work to keep a home in full working order. If you’re already a homeowner, then you’ll already know this: try as you might, there’ll always be little things that can go wrong. The issue you’ll face when you’re not living nearby is that when there’s a problem, you’re not able to go around and assess the damage. And if you’re renting the property to others, then you’ll need to do something! As such, you’ll be well-served by finding trustworthy handy people you can call upon to take care of any slight issues. If you build up a good relationship with them, you can be confident that you’re not getting ripped off.
When You’re Not There
If you’re not living nearby, and there’s currently nobody renting the property, then you might encounter a problem: your property is standing empty. While you’ll hopefully have picked a corner of the globe where burglary is unlikely, even the safest places on earth experience crime from time to time! As such, you’ll need to take steps to ensure that your property is secure while you’re not there. You can do this in a number of ways. You can hire a trustworthy security firm to monitor your grounds while you’re not there. You can install a security camera, motion sensor lights, and leave nothing valuable on display. You should also plan to visit every now and again, so the home isn’t standing still for months on end; this will also help ensure that you’re able to stay on top of maintenance and other issues, too.
There’s always going to be an element of risk when it comes to investing in property. There is no such thing as a “sure thing,” no matter what some people might try to tell you! Yet while there are some obvious additional risks when it comes to overseas property, remember that there’s plenty of scope for that investment to be a solid financial move, too. Take the steps above, stay smart, and you’ll be on the successful international property owners.