Wouldn’t it be great to have a little place in another country that was all your own? Waking up to rolling hills or sandy beaches every day? Plus, many other countries have property values and a cost of living that is far less expensive than it is here in the states. If an international vacation home is something you dream of, keep these important tips in mind when you are ready to buy:
1. Compare several areas
International markets don’t all move up and down at the same time. You will find that the housing market in one country may be seriously inflated at the same time another has excess inventory. Instead of focusing on a country, think about the environment and the amenities you want. For instance, someone who wants a place on the beach may have the best luck looking at places in Mexico, the Philippines and other countries, as well.
2. Consider the places where your dollar goes farthest
One of the great things about traveling internationally is the chance to get more for your money through differences in currency value. If you pick a place where the currency is weaker than the dollar, you can enjoy more house for less.
3. Think of all the amenities and features you’d want
Sometimes it’s easier to narrow down a location by choosing what you want in a home. A garden you can tend during extended stays? Night life in walking distance? A view of hills or water? Make a list of your dream amenities and features before you look.
4. Figure out how you are going to finance your purchase
In many cases, bank financing may not be available. Mortgages like those that are available in the United States are not common in many parts of the world. In areas where bank financing is available, there may be restrictions on foreign buyers.
While a bank loan may not be an option, there are other ways to get the funds together, and budgeting strategies remain largely the same. Borrowing on your first home’s equity may give you the funds that you need for your home abroad. Others choose to use funds out of their retirement accounts. In still other cases, it may be possible to find seller financing in the country were you want to find a vacation home.
5. Learn the real estate processes of the region
In many parts of the world, there is no MLS service. To ensure that you are seeing all the properties that fit your needs, you should probably work with more than one real estate agent. Licensing requirements for real estate agents may be different than in the states; in areas where there is no license or where agents don’t get a lot of training, look online for reviews before settling with an agent.
6. Research average housing costs
In an area far from where you live, it can be hard to know what’s a good deal and what prices are inflated. See if there are local sales records available. You should also study listings for awhile and break down the cost per square meter for the sorts of listings you like. This will help you know which prices are in line with the average.
By finding answers to the big questions early, you can be better prepared for the house hunting and buying process. The time you spend preparing can add to the anticipation and the excitement of finding your international vacation home.