Investing in a property abroad can be very exciting. Most people dream about having their own home abroad － a place far away, somewhere to escape to, but still call your own.
Once you’re done with the calculations and have decided you can afford to invest in your dream vacation home, there are still a few things to consider.
1. Finding the right location
Finding the right location is key. What’s the point of having a beautiful house abroad if you don’t like the surroundings? Make sure you find a place you will definitely want to return to and can see yourself spending a lot of time in.
The fact that you visited a location once and it “seemed nice” is not enough. You must really love it. But that’s not all. Going somewhere on holiday once is one thing but living there for an extended amount of time is something completely different.
Are there any shops nearby? Will you need a car to get to your house? What’s the public transport like in the area? How easy will it be to get there from your hometown?
For example, moving from New York City to Paris can be simpler than from Scranton, Pennsylvania to a small Italian village away from everything. It will probably involve a lot of taxi rides, long haul flights and car rental.
Calculate all the costs that come with this too, renting a car for a week or two is much cheaper than having to rent it for a month or two each time you move to your holiday home. Perhaps it’s easier to buy a place which doesn’t require you to have a car.
So take some time to really think about this decision. If possible, visit the town once or twice before you invest in your new home there and try to think of all the obstacles you may encounter and how you could deal with them once you are a happy homeowner.
2. Taking care of your property while you’re gone
This brings us to the second point. What will happen with your holiday home overseas when you’re back in your home country?
Imagine this scenario: you decided to buy a house in France, found some great luxury real estate properties for sale in Provence, went to visit, bought a house, spent a few wonderful weeks refurbishing it and redecorating, maybe even invited some friends and family to spend some time with you. But then the vacation is over and you have to go back to your home country. What do you do with your beautiful new house then?
It’s different when you leave your house for a few days and have trusted neighbours to look after it when you’re gone. But what happens if you are leaving for several months and you haven’t established close relationships with your new neighbours yet?
Don’t worry － there are companies that can take care of your house for you when you’re gone. They can install security cameras and alarms, come once in a while to check if everything is okay and even schedule a cleaner to make sure the place is ready for you when you arrive. However, that’s another cost to consider and add to your list.
3. Overcoming the language barrier
If you’re a native English speaker you are in a convenient situation where half of the world’s population speaks your language. Even if they are not fluent, they can at least understand some English and communicate with you.
But if you’re buying a house in a foreign country don’t assume people will speak your language. They are in their home country and they can easily communicate with others in their native language. It is you who needs to overcome the language barrier.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you need to speak fluent French if you are buying a property in France, but it will make things much easier for you if you learn at least some basics. Once you’re there you’ll have to do groceries, go to restaurants, meet your neighbours or hire a plumber or a gardener. Not all of these people will speak or understand your language so it will be very useful to learn some important phrases and words in their native tongue.
The good news is once you are there it is much easier to pick up a new language when you’re surrounded by people speaking it. You’ll see and hear it on the streets, TV and radio. Sooner or later you will naturally pick it up.
If you have already considered these and many other important things and you are still sure that owning a property overseas is for you, then go for it. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to buy a house abroad, so if it is the French coast that you’re dreaming of, go to the South of France with its villas for sale and find your dream home!