4 Things to Consider When Buying a Second Home in a Foreign Country

Fairytale house in Park Guell in bright purple lavendel flowers frame. Famous location summer weekend sunset. located on Carmel Hill, Barcelona, Spain.

Buying a second home in a beautiful locale is something a lot of people dream of. Some people may want somewhere they can unwind during the summer, while others may want something for retirement.

Getting a second property in a business hub could also be beneficial for business owners who want access to foreign markets. But buying property in another country can come with many caveats, and be nearly impossible in some cases. Others will have significant but surmountable hurdles you’ll have to face. Let’s take a look at a few things to consider when buying a second home in a foreign country.

Where Do You Want to Buy?

One of the most popular destinations right now for expats who want a second home for business is South East Asia – Singapore in particular. Singapore does have some great real estate left, but you have to know what you can and can’t buy as a foreigner in the region.

The good news is that Singapore allows foreigners to own property, unlike neighboring countries such as Thailand, but there might be restrictions. While you may be able to find great lots, a lot of them will be HDB flats, and these are usually reserved for Singapore citizens. So, you will either have to have the lease in your Singaporean partner’s name or apply for permanent residency.

Know, however, that some of these flats are removed from the HDB schemes, and are available to all investors. So, you will have to work with the right people to know when these open up and find top HDB units if you find a way to become eligible. If you want to find a great team, we suggest you check out Property Guru. You’ll be able to find a maisonette for sale and many other types of properties for all types of investors in and around Singapore. Not only that, but they’re a great resource if you’re looking for information on how to invest in the country, or how to apply for financing.

Why Do You Want to Buy?

The reason why you want to buy will also make a difference. Someone who wants a house to retire will have different needs than someone who wants to do some speculation. Speculative investors may want to look at development opportunities as well, while people who are looking for a place to live should focus more on location.

If that’s your goal, we suggest that you visit any area you were thinking of staying in at different times of the year. Research neighborhoods and see how they feel during the high season. Check the level of activity at peak hours as well. This will give you a better idea of the true ambiance and feel of a city, town, or neighborhood before you decide to make it your home.

Buying as an Investor

If your goal is to buy as an investor, however, there are plenty of things you’ll have to look at. One of them is the economic outlook. You should go for an area with bright prospects but which hasn’t reached its peak yet, so you don’t end up investing in a bubble.

You should also be very careful of areas that are moving mainly because of foreign interest. You never know where this interest will be a few years from now, so bank on markets with significant domestic demand as well.

As well as this, you should pay attention to inventory supply and demand. There are times when supply has difficulty catching up with demand. But there are also times when there’s a flood of units on the market softening it down. This could lead to great dips and prime opportunities for investment for those who keep their eyes open.

Another thing you should look at when choosing a place to invest in is the path of progress. Many suggest investing in areas that are seeing massive developments, like new highways, airports, or even sports stadiums. These are usually signs that a market is on the up, but it still has to be put against other metrics.

Lastly, you should consider diversifying your investment. This means not only investing in different cities, areas, or types of properties. It means looking at different countries altogether. This could allow you to get exposure to new markets and opportunities. Farmland might not be that lucrative in one place, but it’s a goldmine in Brazil. So, broaden your horizons and don’t focus on one market only.

Cost of Disposal and Acquisition

People will often dismiss these as details, but you have to take the cost of acquiring and disposing of a unit into consideration when buying in another country. You also have to know how long the procedure can take and the red tape involved.

Depending on the country, you might have to pay for things such as notary fees, legal fees, registration fees, title insurance, and stamp duty, just to name a few. These could end up eating into your investment, so be aware and account for them before you invest.

More people are thinking of investing in foreign countries, and it can be advantageous for many reasons. Just make sure that you’re prepared for the challenges that come with it and be ready to be flexible.

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