Want To Buy And Renovate A Property Overseas? 9 Things To ConsiderWritten By: Jaymi Naciri
If youve ever seen a movie like Under the Tuscan Sun, youve undoubtedly had your own Italian farmhouse renovation fantasy. But how real is it to think about buying property in a place that requires changing currency and a long plane ride?
"Buying and restoring a fixer-upper in another country...It can be an appealing idea," said Huffington Post. "Houses in need of some tender loving care can be bought below market value and, when renovated, can resell for a nice profit. This is especially true in countries where labor costs are low. Using local labor and local materials hardwoods, stone, etc., you can add a lot of perceived value for not a lot of money."
But, that doesnt mean the process is easy. Think: Permit issues, trying to manage a delicate process from halfway around the world, and all the typical issues associated with renovating an older property - magnified by all that international intrigue. Still interested? Were breaking down the particulars.nbsp;
Carefully consider the location
The image above is of a multi-use building next to the Trevi Fountain in Rome. The first floor comprises several shops, a cafeacute;, and a Gelateria. On the second floor: Apartments. The two remaining floors are empty and in need of major restoration and renovation. Imagine the potential of these apartments, simply for the views alone. And, imagine the undertaking But mostly, imagine the demand for modern, renovated apartments here, right in the center of town, mere footsteps from one of the citys most spectacular sights.
"Location, Location, Location. The old adage about location is true," said Expat Focus. "Picking the right location is as important as the property. Picking the wrong one can be a nightmare. Think carefully about your requirements and if an abandoned property in the middle of nowhere seems remote on viewing, it will be even more so when living there."
Work with professionals who specialize in renovating older properties
Yes, moving to England for a year to renovate your old farmhouse sounds dreamy. But, lets be practical. There are few among us who can uproot our lives that way But, if you do it, please take us with you. Bucket list aside, there are far more reasons to consider purchasing an overseas property to renovate than because youre having an Eat Pray Love moment. And whether youre looking to move into the property some day or renovate it sell for profit, you want to do it right, which is why working with the right people is so important.
"London is filled with period homes, and owning one of these homes has become a hot commodity in the London property market," said The Resident. "The issue, however, is that while the outside of these homes are timeless and grand, the interiors dont always match up." Property management company Huntsmore focuses on renovating these period homes. "Very often we will assess a property and the walls and floors arent straight, or the original plaster work is out of shape," they said. "Many of these period properties have been converted, sometimes very badly, into flats, with no regard for practicality or aesthetics. We see odd pipework boxed in, poor space configuration and many of the original cornicing and fireplaces removed. One of the main issues is that many of the problems associated with renovating a period home are not identified until the works have started and the property has been gutted. We try to identify as many of these possible hurdles as possible in the design phase to avoid delays and keep the project on track."
Make sure its legal
Buying an international property may not be as easy as hopping on a plane, and, in some cases, it might not even be legal. Different places have different requirements, so be sure to check before you go off and purchase an old Victorian on a whim while on vacation halfway around the world. "Non-Bahamians must register any purchase with the Foreign Investments Board, and special permits are required," said International Living. "Non-Croatians can purchase real estate in this country if they have approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."nbsp;You can check International Living for a country-by-country guide.
Get your finances in order
"One of the biggest hurdles to buying real estate in another country can be coming up with the capital required to close on the purchase," said U.S. News amp; World Report. "In much of the world, financing isnt easy to organize. In some places financing is not possible at all for foreign buyers." Cash is king around the world, and, in some places, its not just king, but also emperor.
Know your buyer
Youll likely have a more limited buyer base in an international market, and knowing precisely who might bite on your home will drive your renovation. Are you in an area that attracts families, or are you mainly looking at retirees seeking retirement far from their current reality?
"Unless you plan to live in the home forever yourself, do your best to imagine who your resale buyer might be from the start, before beginning the restoration work," said Huffington Post. "If you plan tonbsp;rent the property, identify your target renter. If your resale buyer will likely be a retiree, youll make different choices than if you think you might be reselling to a family with children, for example. The differences have implications for both the work you do and the location you pick."
Make a friend
Finding a potential goldmine when it comes to any renovation project is often about who you know. Keep your eyes open when traveling, and talk to the people you meet. Sure, there are real estate companies who can help you locate properties for sale, in addition to helping you renovate, but they may not know that the great aunt of the neighbor of the shopkeeper where you bought souvenirs is thinking about selling her incredible old place with the impossible view of the Aegean.
Think about power
Buying an international property can come with a number of particulars you may not previously have thought about, and electricity is a big one. "Unless you want to get embroiled in a lengthy and costly planning application, avoid properties not connected to main electricity," said Expat Focus. "Despite some estate agents claims connection is just a telephone call away, this is not the case most of the time."
If youre buying abroad, youre almost certainly buying an older property. That can mean charming period details, but it can also mean outdated function and features. Remember when youre renovating that you dont need to ditch all the old to bring in the new. Save what you can and put it back, or use it in a whole new way. Working with tradespeople who are committing to reusing and recycling materials will save you money, aid the environment, and help you create a standout property.
Pay attention to local zoning laws
You can be the most experienced renovator in your state, or country, for that matter, and still feel completely out of your element when you go international. That could mean rules and laws youre not aware of.
"Check to see if it is a listed historic or heritage building," said Plaza Estates. "If it is, there may be some restrictions on what you can do when renovating.
"Beware of the local planning laws. Depending on the type of renovation you are undertaking, it would be wise to check with the local planning authority. Not all renovations will require planning permission, but its prudent to check if you are planning a major renovation."
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