Buying or renting a property abroad

Before starting your search for a new home overseas, ensure you set yourself a budget to stick to. Money can be very tight if you do not get work straight away.

Ensure you include costs such as renovations, legal fees during the process and the estate agent. It is recommended that you allow yourself an extra 10%- 15% on which to fall back on, if costs prove to be more than initially expected.

Checking out the property market in the country is important so you have a good idea of what you are getting yourself into. Start your research early by searching the internet for suitable accommodations. Look at a few different sites to compare prices. When looking for a residence to rent or buy opt to perform business through larger reputable companies. Request references if necessary. If it is possible you may request to speak to people who have previously done business with the company.

For each property you make a serious enquiry about ensure you request a detailed description and/or photos. A floor plan can also be requested. Ensure you enquire about the surrounding neighbourhood and any facilities you may require such as access to shops and public transport. Ask as many people as possible for advice, particularly any contacts in your future country. Remember, this will be your new home so it is important that you find a location you can be happy and comfortable with.

The embassy representative in the intended country may also be able to provide information on buying or renting homes in the country.

Whilst there is no typical process when buying or renting abroad as it will vary from country to country. Here are some basic steps that may give you an idea of how to proceed.

Estate Agents

Look for someone who makes an effort to determine your areas of interest, your budget and your needs. Obtaining an estate agent will allow you to view a variety of locations in which to buy or rent. The estate agent should also be able to provide you with further contacts to aid you in the later stages of purchasing or renting your home.

Property viewing

During this stage it is important to remain objective and keep and open mind. Do not fall in love at first sight. Gather as much information about the property as possible.

Price Negotiations

Depending on the country (in some countries negotiating is looked upon as offensive or illegal) you may be able to negotiate a price.

Sign preliminary contracts and pay a deposit

Once a price has been agreed on a preliminary contract is required. Before signing anything it is recommended that you obtain the services of a solicitor in your intended country, to offer another opinion and ensure all proceedings are legal. Your estate agent may try to persuade you that a solicitor is not necessary and that they will be able to take care of all aspects of the deal.

Obtaining the services of a solicitor would be more beneficial as the estate agent does not have the correct qualifications to aid you in the legal and financial side of buying or renting your home. The representative embassy in your new location will be able to provide you with a list of solicitors from which to choose. If you elect to not employ the services of a solicitor, ensure the following:

At this stage you will be required to make a deposit or pay bond. If you are building or buying off a plan, you should not be required to pay the full amount up front. Many factors may affect the length between the signing of the preliminary contract to completion. Before signing the contract ensure you enquire as to the exact processes that will occur in regards to your home.


This stage requires the signing of further documentation and contracts and the payment of the final balance (if buying a home). May financial institutes recommend that people borrow and pay in the currency of the country they are buying in, in order to minimize risk and confusion. It is important to use official channels to transfer money during all transactions as this will provide you with records in order to claim insurance or refunds if necessary.