A Place in the Sun Manchester: why now is the time to buy property abroad!

Despite a very snowy scene in Manchester this weekend the sun was shining on Manchester Central, where A Place in the Sun hosted its Northern exhibition, helping Brits realise their dream of snapping up their very own corner of sunshine abroad. Well, not literally! But the scent of sangria (we may have imagined this!) and suntanned property experts lining up to offer guidance, certainly helped us escape the wintery reality of the UK this weekend.

So, what was the talk of the town? What’s the inside scoop? And of course, the age-old question – what affect is Brexit having on the overseas property market?

Here are some of the key things we took away from the show…

Now is the time to buy!

Property prices are on the rise! The foreign property market is becoming increasingly more international, which has contributed to driving up property prices. In Spain, for instance, The Spanish Institute of Statistics predicts that property prices will increase by up to 5 per cent in 2018 and a further 3 per cent by 2019. So, if you’re planning on making the move the sunnier climes, buying sooner rather than later could save you thousands!

In addition, Citizens Advice Bureau Spain asserts that establishing a life in Europe before the Brexit negotiations are complete, rather than holding out to see what happens post-Brexit, could work in your favour. After all, many non-Europeans are already happily living and working abroad without the benefits that EU membership brings.

There are also rumours that Brits could be subject to higher taxes once we leave the EU, so buying before these potential new tax regulations are applied could also save you money in the long term.

Make sure you seek reputable legal advice

This is nothing new, and it may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people try and cut corners or get swept up in the excitement of buying their dream holiday home. While property prices can be much lower abroad, the buying process itself can seem pricey compared to the UK, so it can be tempting to try save money on legal costs. Ultimately however, this could cost you significantly more in the future. Don’t get caught out by signing paperwork prematurely or get duped into committing to buy a property, which might be subject to planning disputes, for instance. A good and reputable lawyer will know what questions to ask and what to look out for to protect your interests.

Do your maths

It’s important to be aware of the costs of the entire buying process: legal fees, taxes, land registry fees, mortgage broker fees etc. Don’t assume that UK rules apply abroad. For instance, while in order to get a mortgage in the UK you may be able to put down a deposit for as little as 5 per cent, minimum deposit for overseas mortgages can be much higher. For example a cash deposit of at least 20% is required in France and Portugal, 30%  in Spain and 40% in Italy.

It may also be worth considering whether getting a mortgage abroad is the best option financially. It could be more economic to re-mortgage an existing property in the UK to finance a home abroad. A good mortgage broker can help you figure this out. We can help out you in touch with an approved mortgage broker abroad, just give us a call on 01244 478 911 or email info@totalbuyingabroad.comto find out more.

Think about the future 

No one wants to think about the inevitable, especially when you’re in the throes of realising your dreams. However, making a will is a crucial part of securing the future for your nearest and dearest and avoiding complications with your estate further down the line.

It’s really important that your will in your new country works in conjunction with your UK will, if you have one. Often the default position in a will states “I revoke all other wills”, therefore, when making and/or revising your will, make sure your solicitor(s) knows about your assets abroad and ensures that any necessary amendments are made to all wills. It could save your loved ones a whole lot of stress at what can already be a very difficult time.

Depending on your plans for the future of the property, it is also worth considering whether buying a property in the name of your offspring might be more cost-effective than buying it in your own name. In the UK the ‘7-year rule’ (in which the value of gifts made are not counted towards the value of your estate after seven years) could mean that putting your overseas property in the name of your children, could minimise you UK inheritance taxes. However, it’s also important to ensure that your assets are protected too. To find out how a lawyer can help you decide and draw up the necessary legal documents to protect you and your family, call us on 01244 478 911 or info@totalbuyingabroad.com.

To find out more about buying abroad download our Guide to Buying Property. There are also country specific versions available to download for buying property in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy.

Article published: March 20, 2018