Buying Property Abroad

Here are our top tips and guidance for buying property abroad

Are you ready to invest wisely?

With the overseas property market becoming more complicated and competitive, prospective buyers buying property abroad are being urged to undertake thorough research before committing to a sale.

Overseas property expert Simon Conn has seen an increase in the number of buyers not carrying out proper checks before signing on the dotted line and has put together a list of the top issues to look out for.

Scroll down to read Simon’s general tips, and if you have a specific country in mind for your property purchase, take a look at the country-specific guidance available for:

 

  • Australia
  • Cyprus
  • France (includes translations of useful words and phrases)
  • Italy (includes translations of useful words and phrases)
  • Portugal
  • Spain (includes translations of useful words and phrases)
  • Turkey (includes translations of useful words and phrases)
  • UAE (including Dubai)
  • USA

Free Overseas Mortgage Assessment

If you require a mortgage for financing your overseas property, please complete our questionnaire and we will let you know if we can assist further.

Top Tips & Guidance

General tips and guidance applicable to most countries where you might buy overseas property

fa-
Ask questions about where a property has been built.

For example, if it has been built on an area that should have been set aside for green belt or agricultural land, then the chances are there is a risk. Make sure you take advice from an independent, English speaking lawyer – preferably not from the same area as the property. 

In some cases, there can be problems with properties that have been constructed with the wrong permits, granted as a result of corruption, or with no permits at all. An independent lawyer should be able to save you the heartache of seeing your newly purchased dream home demolished. 

fa-
Always obtain an independent valuation.

Poor construction is a common problem. Always obtain an independent valuation, ideally from a professional surveyor expert in that country, even if it is a new property, as this will highlight any problems.

Beware that new properties can sometimes be built in poor soil and with insufficient foundations, substandard building materials, or in dubious locations such as floodplains.

et-
Consider planning permission and which licences the property needs.

Not having the correct licences could have an impact on what utilities you can obtain.

et-
Research the background of the property’s location.

You may be surprised to learn about the chances of earthquakes or volcanic activity, or it may be in a poor neighbourhood, loud nightlife, or have commercial units nearby with associated activity.

material-
Get a professional translation of the contracts.

One of the most important warnings when purchasing abroad is when it comes to contracts. It is common to only receive one contract in the local language, in which case, you must have a professional translation completed.

If you are given two copies of a contract which include the original and a supposed translation, get the translation checked by a professional.

material-
Consider the cost of maintaining the property.

If you are buying a property to rent out consider the cost of maintaining the property.

Decide if it is worth employing a managing agent to look after it for you but do not forget to factor in their costs as it will reduce your profit.

How often do you intend to visit the property yourself to ensure it is kept up-to-date?

If it is a long term let, think about the wear and tear on furniture and other fixed goods.

Distance away – if the property is a long way from your main home, you may need to get there to sort out any major problems.

material-
Decide who will own the property.

Will it be in single or joint names, company and/or trust ownership?

et-l
Consider what will happen after your death.

Make a Will locally to cover aspects such as inheritance tax and check local tax issues relating to capital gains etc.

fa-
Always vet your tenants.

Who is going to vet your tenants?

If they damage your property, you must have suitable cover and a deposit in place.

Make sure you know what licenses are needed in the area as you may not even be allowed to rent out your property there. If you can, additional licences may be required.

material-
Look into the builder’s past experience.

If purchasing a new property, look into the builder’s past experience and how these properties have fared over time.

Take referrals and feedback from previous purchasers.

fa-
Get your finance approved in principle before signing a contract.

Always get your finance approved in principle before signing a contract and if you are applying for a mortgage, and ensure any contract signed is “subject to finance”. 

This will help you recover an initial deposit if you are turned down during the mortgage process due to financial analysis, valuation and legal issues.

et-
Consider how easy it would be to sell the property in the future.

Think about how easy it would be to sell the property you are purchasing according to how buoyant the local property market is at that time.

Buying property in Australia

Specific tips, advice and things to consider in relation to buying property in Australia

Instruct an independent lawyer in Australia

Buying a property in Australia will be a significant investment and, given the distance involved, matters can get complicated. Once you have decided to buy a property in Australia it is essential that you instruct an independent, reputable lawyer to guide you through the process and protect your interests. The law and practice of buying a property varies from state to state and so you should instruct a lawyer in the state in which you intend to buy.

Foreign Investment Review Board permission (FIRB)

If you are not a resident or citizen of Australia (or married to one) it is likely that you will need to obtain permission from the Foreign Investment Review Board to buy property there, especially if it is a residential property.

The FIRB is permitted to take up to 130 days to review your application and provide you with their decision. You can take steps to purchase a property before this is obtained but you should ensure that the purchase is made conditional upon this permission being received. Your lawyer will be able to advise you about this.

Visa Requirements

You will be required to have a visa to enter Australia. The type of visa you will need will depend on your specific circumstances and what you plan to do when you get there. Make sure you are aware of the visa options available to you and the costs and timescales associated with the application process.

If you apply for your visa through a lawyer or emigration agent make sure they are registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) and/or is a member of the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA).

Use An Experienced Mortgage Advisor

You should seek professional assistance from an experienced mortgage advisor with regard to financing your Australian property purchase as this may save you thousands in the long run.

They should also be able to advise you if you would be eligible for any funding to help with the property purchase. For example, the First Home Owner Grant which provides a contribution to some purchasers if they have not bought property in Australia before, are building a new home, and are or will soon become an Australian Citizen or permanent resident (or are buying jointly with such a person).

You should also make sure you know how far your budget will stretch once you have accounted for legal fees, property taxes and visas.

Building and Pest Inspection

It is recommended to have at least a basic building and pest inspection carried out on the property you wish to purchase to make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises later on. You should instruct a licensed building and pest inspector in the area in which you intend to buy and make the property sale contract conditional on receiving a satisfactory building and pest inspection.

The Contract For Sale

The process of entering into a contract of sale varies from state to state. In some states, like Queensland, the contract is usually prepared by the real estate agent and is signed before the buyer consults a lawyer and before any searches are done. In that case, it is important to include special conditions, which allow you to back out of the contract without penalty, if they are not satisfied. For example, you would make the contract subject to obtaining a satisfactory building and pest inspection report, FIRB permission, getting finance approved and any other matters that you may consider essential before you finally commit to going ahead with the purchase.

In other states, such as in New South Wales, the process is slower, and you will have a chance to show the contract to your lawyer, before finally signing it. Once your lawyer has completed all the relevant searches and investigations in relation to the property you wish to buy, the contract for sale will be signed and a deposit, usually around 10%, is paid.

Cooling Off Period

In most states of Australia there is a period of time after contracts have been exchanged where the buyer can pull out of the transaction without losing all their deposit, but you will usually lose an amount up to 0.25% of the purchase price if you exercise your right to pull out of the contract during the cooling off period. The length of the cooling off period varies from state to state, however, it is usually between 3-10 days.

Completion (Settlement)

Once all the sale conditions have been met Completion of the property purchase (known as Settlement) takes place. The property will be formally transferred to the buyer and their ownership registered with the relevant State Land Registry, who will issue a certificate confirming the registration of your ownership. Settlement typically occurs one month after the contract is signed.

Information kindly supplied by Worldwide Lawyers. If you need help to find a lawyer to advise you in relation to your property purchase in Australia, contact Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470 339 or email [email protected] to be put in touch with a reliable independent lawyer in Australia.

Free Overseas Mortgage Assessment

If you require a mortgage for financing your overseas property, please complete our questionnaire and we will let you know if we can assist further.

Buying property in Cyprus

Specific tips, advice and things to consider in relation to buying property in Cyprus

Is the Buyer an EU Citizen OR Non-EU citizen?

a) EU Citizens

From May 1st 2004 Cyprus is a full member of the European Union, which means that the procedure for purchasing property in Cyprus is much easier for citizens of EU Member States and there are no restrictions on purchasing land and/or other immovable property (houses, apartments etc).

b) Non-EU Citizens

If a person not from an EU Member State wishes to purchase property, there are a number of restrictions in place regarding the number and size of property, including land. The purchaser would also need to obtain permission from the Council of Ministers before any immovable property is registered into his name.

Is the Property under purchase covered by its own deed?

a) Property with Title Deeds

Immovable Property (land, house, apartment etc) with existing title deeds – the Title Deeds of such property are immediately transferable onto a Purchaser provided that all the contractual and tax liabilities have been sorted by the parties.

Depending on what type of immovable property is being purchased the lawyer will carry out the different searches at the Land Registry.

b) Property without title deeds.

New properties which are part of building projects are facing a delay with the issuing of separate title deeds. These delays are mainly caused by the fact that there may need to be a division of the title deed of the land on which the project has been constructed, and new title deeds issued one for each of the housing units which have been constructed on the same plot of land.

Example: A plot of land of 10,000 square metres in Utopia belongs to “Excellent Builders Ltd” and they are the registered owners of the same (meaning they are registered on the title deed of the land as the owners). “Excellent Builders Ltd” have obtained the relevant permissions and have constructed a project of 20 bungalows. There is, therefore, one title deed (for the land) which now has 20 separate housing units on it. “Excellent Builders Ltd” have to follow the necessary procedure to have new deeds issued for each of the 20 bungalows with the area of the land which belongs to each one. This is what we mean by saying “the issuing of separate title deeds”.

The lawyer will need to carry out a search at the Land Registry for charges registered on the title deed of the land on which the project has been constructed.

Transfer Fees

When the Title Deed to a property is available, then the purchaser has to pay the Land Registry a fee in order to register the immovable property (land, house, apartment etc) onto his name. These fees are known as Transfer Fees and are payable to the Land Registry by the Purchaser.

Reservation Deposits

These form part of the purchase price and will effectively reserve the property and take the same off the market for usually around three or four weeks unless otherwise agreed i.e. once a deposit has been paid, the estate agent is not allowed to let anyone else view the property with the intent of purchasing it.

The deposit is usually around €2,000/€3,000 but can vary according to the property being sold. For example, if a property is being sold for €100,000, we would expect the deposit to be around €2,000 but if the Property is being sold for €500,000, the deposit would be considerably higher and this could be around €10,000 depending on what has been agreed between the parties.

Reservation deposits are usually non-refundable in the event that a purchaser withdraws from a transaction regardless of whether he simply changed his mind or if he could not get loan funding needed for his purchase to proceed.

It is advisable that you agree with the estate agent prior to paying a reservation deposit that the deposit is refundable etc in writing. However, it is preferable to pay the reservation deposit to your lawyer so that the necessary documents and/or contracts can be signed simultaneously with the payment of the reservation deposit to the Vendors’ lawyer.

Contracts

If a property is being purchased “with Title Deeds” there is usually only one Contract of Purchase, which is between the vendor and the purchaser.

If the property is being purchased “without Title Deeds” there are usually three Contracts namely:

(i) Preliminary Agreement between the Vendor and Purchaser
(ii) Cancellation Agreement between the Vendor and Developer
(iii) New Contract of Purchase between the Developer and Purchaser

Contracts are usually signed on the payment of 20-30% of the purchase price to the vendor’s Lawyer. Exactly when the Contracts will be signed depends on what has been agreed between the parties and how quickly the purchaser can get his funds in place.

Contracts can either be signed by the contracting parties themselves OR by an authorised person on their behalf (Power of Attorney). Purchasers/vendors need to make arrangements for the signing of contracts OR to give an appropriate Power of Attorney to their representative in Cyprus (usually a Lawyer) to sign the necessary paperwork.

The payment of the reservation deposit allows the purchaser time to arrange finances in his own country to be transferred to Cyprus (either in the client’s own account or in the Lawyer’s account as trustee) for the signing of the contracts.

The contract will also contain the agreed date by which the purchase will complete (usually known as “completion date”) and on which date the purchase price will usually be settled in full and the purchaser will take possession of the property (keys).

Wills/Estate Duty

Estate duty in Cyprus has been abolished since 1st of January 2000. Having a Cypriot Will drawn up is strongly recommended for anyone who has purchased property in Cyprus to avoid complications at what can be a very difficult time, bearing in mind that there may be substantial differences between Cypriot Law and the Law of one’s home country. It is particularly important for co-habiting couples to execute Wills.

 

This information has been kindly provided by Eleni Philippou of Polycarpos Philippou & Associates.
Click here for further information.

Free Overseas Mortgage Assessment

If you require a mortgage for financing your overseas property, please complete our questionnaire and we will let you know if we can assist further.

Buying property in France

Specific tips, advice and things to consider in relation to buying property in France

Once you have found a suitable property

Do not sign anything other than perhaps the ‘bon de visite’* proffered by the Estate Agent which simply shows that you first saw the property through the Agent in question.

*This is a standard form the French estate agent requires you to sign before viewing a property. You are agreeing that you saw the property for the first time through this particular estate agent and therefore he/she will receive a commission if you buy that property, even if you were to see it again with the owner directly or through another agent.

Check on local prices

Is the house manifestly overpriced compared to French prices in the local area? – Estate Agent’s shop windows are a good source, but have a local map at the ready.

Carefully inspect the property yourself

In France generally “what you see is what you get” and you should not be afraid to visit every nook and cranny more than once and to ask direct questions of the vendor and/or Estate Agent. If you have doubts, you might want to consider instructing a local architect or qualified UK surveyors resident in France to give you a written report on the property’s condition, although you will be aware that a survey prior to purchase is not the norm in France.

Ask for a draft of the ‘compromis’ or other preliminary document (such as mandatory reports)

Do not allow yourself to be pressured into signing it – but instead take it away with you and talk to an English speaking French lawyer and ask him or her to explain to you what it commits you to doing before you sign – remember this document is usually binding and not subject to contract in the manner encountered in the UK. Therefore, once it is signed you are committed to completing the purchase by the date set down in this agreement if the other conditions in it are met.

This is also the time to think about inheritance and tax issues; you need to ensure well in advance that the completion document is made to your measure.

Be wary of pressure from Estate Agents and other intermediaries

It is sometimes better to be prepared to lose a property than to sign up to commitments you do not understand – some Estate Agents will insist that there are other buyers ready to close the deal ‘that very day’ and tell you that if you do not sign the ‘compromis’ at once then you will lose the property. This is rarely the case.

Others will tell you that you have a statutory seven day cooling off period and can withdraw – but letters can take three days to reach you and a further three days for the return to the sender which leaves little time in real terms for you to pull out and the onus is upon you to show that you complied with the time frame in question.

Do not hand money to intermediaries

Unless you are absolutely sure they are bona fide.

However, it would be perfectly normal to pay 5% or 10%  for example to a Notary upon the signing of the preliminary binding agreement (‘compromis’ etc). He or she would then hold this sum to your order on his or her client account. However if you fail to complete and all the conditions set down on the preliminary agreement are met, then you risk losing this sum and might sometimes also have to pay damages.

Ask for a copy of the draft completion document (“acte authentique”) well in advance

Many buyers discover the document upon arriving at the vendor’s Notary’s office on the day of completion (and it will virtually always be available only in French), but you should insist on having a draft well in advance of the completion meeting. Then take whatever time you require to consult an English speaking French lawyer and ask him or her to explain it’s full content to you.

Ensure that funding is in place well in advance

If a loan is envisaged and it is raised in France, the lending institution will generally transmit the funds directly to the vendor’s Notary. If the funds are not in his or her client account several days before the completion meeting, then he or she will generally refuse to complete, regardless of the fact that you may driven over 1,500 kilometres to be at the meeting!

If you are shipping the funds – eg from the UK or Ireland, the onus is upon you to ensure that the funds have arrived in the Notary’s client account in good time prior to completion. It is not enough for you to show the funds have left your own account.

At the completion meeting

It may sound self-evident, but the completion will take place in French and all documents will be in French (and what is more – legal French)! You should ensure that you are aware of what is happening even if it means engaging an interpreter (for whose services the buyer will generally be charged).

Also the funds will often be paid over by the Notary to the vendor and the keys handed to you. You will immediately then become liable for the house and its contents and should make absolutely sure that these are insured from that same moment.

You will not usually be given a copy of the signed conveyance document on the day of completion, however you should normally receive a copy of the signed document some months later, together with a final account from the Notary.

Post completion

Make sure that you advise the utilities (water, electricity, gas etc), town hall and tax people of the change of ownership. Do not assume that they will learn about it from other sources.

Then, finally, enjoy a glass of cool French wine on the doorstep of your new French home and congratulate yourself on having avoided or overcome at least some of the obstacles to buying property in France!

This information has been kindly provided by Sophie Lagayette of Triplet & Associes – E-Mail: [email protected] and quote SLC/LFR

Useful phrases/words when buying a property in France and in French-speaking countries

ENGLISHTURKISH
AccountantMuhasebeci
Addressadres
Another form of preliminary binding agreementsatış vaadi sözleşmesinin başka bir şekli
Apartmentapartman
ArchitectMimar
Asbestosasbest
Bathroombanyo
Bedroomyatak odası
BondBorç senedi
Building landArsa
Building permitYapı Ruhsatı
Communal facilities agreement (management plan)Yönetim Plani
Community of owners / Residents Associationsite yönetimi
Companyşirket
Condition precedenttaliki şart
ContractSözleşme
Council Taxemlak vergisi
Declaration of new building work (At the Notary)yeni inşaatın beyan edlilmesi
Deed of conveyance or deed of saletemlik senedi
DeveloperMuteahhit
Drainage/seweragekanalizasyon
Encumbrance such as a right of way over the propertytakyidat
Estate Agencyemlak acentası
Estate agentemlakçı
Final titleKat Mulkiyeti
Foreigner’s Identification Numberyabancı uyruklu kimlik numarası
Furnituremobilya
Gas/Electricitygaz/elektrik
Guaranteegaranti
Habitation licenceYapi Kullanma izni
Incomegelir
Initial depositilk depozit
Insurancesigorta
Insurance policysigorta poliçesi
Keyanahtar
Kitchenmutfak
Land Registrytapu kaydı
Land Registry Searchtapu kaydı inceleme
Lawhukuk
LawyerAvukat
Lead in paintworkBoya içindeki kurşun
Licencelisans
Light (but often refers to electricity)ampul
Loanbanka kredisi
Loan with mortgageipotek karşılığı kredi
Local land due by the person who owns the property on 1 January of each year – owner/occupiers pay bothemlak vergisi
Local occupancy tax due by the person who resides in the property on 1 January of each yearçevre temizlik vergisi
Mandatory reports on certain aspects such as termites, asbestos, lead in paintwork etc comparable to HIPS  in UKzorunlu raporlar
Mortgage/chargeIpotek
MunicipalityBelediye
Notary Publicnoter
Official value of the propertyemlak beyan değeri
Olive GroveZeytinlik
Planning permissioninşaat ruhsatı
Plotpafta
Plot (of land)pafta
Power of AttorneyDuzenleme Seklinde Vekaletname
Preliminary binding agreementsatış vaadi sözleşmesi
PropertyGayrimenkul
Purchase / Buying and sellingsatın almak
Purchase contractgayrimenkul satış sözleşmesi
Purchase pricesatış fiyatı
Raw Agricultural LandTarla
Report on natural and technological risks local to the propertyyerlilerin taşınmazda yol açtıkları doğal ve teknik riskler
Reservation contracttaşınmaz rezervasyon sözleşmesi
Residentsakin
Sale pricesatış fiyatı
Sceptic tankfoseptik tankı
Stamp/registration dutypul
Statutory 7 day cooling-off periodyedi günlük yasal bekleme süresi
Statutory report on energy performance of propertytaşınmazın enerji performansını gösteren yasal rapor
Storage roomdepo
Swimming Poolhavuz
TaxVergi
Tax consultantvergi memuru
Termites/stag beetlemakaslı böcek
Terraceteras
Title DeedTapu Senedi
Title OfficeTapu Dairesi
Town Hallbelediye binası
Transitional titleKat Irtifakı
VAT (Value Added Tax)KDV
Willvasiyetname

Free Overseas Mortgage Assessment

If you require a mortgage for financing your overseas property, please complete our questionnaire and we will let you know if we can assist further.

Buying property in Italy

Specific tips, advice and things to consider in relation to buying property in Italy

1)  Use a lawyer who is not working for the estate agent or developer; make sure to use a lawyer who is independent and has no conflict of interest with the agent or developer from whom you are buying.

2)  Remember that a notary is not your lawyer as his role is only to identify the parties of the transaction, draw up the final contract (rogito) and to collect the stamp duty on behalf of the Italian Inland Revenue.

3)  Never enter into a legally binding agreement such as “proposta di acquisto” (purchase proposal) without having received independent legal advice. This is crucial when buying an off-plan property and during inspection trips.

4)  Always insist on obtaining a guarantee (bond) when buying from a developer as the guarantee is compulsory in Italy but many developers will try to put pressure on you into agreeing to waive this requirement.

5)  Remember to budget for additional costs on top of the purchase price and legal fees such as stamp duty (these will vary depending on whether you are a private individual or a company and if the land is agricultural – check with your Italian Lawyer), surveyor and notary fees.

6)  Consider the possibility of avoiding the costs of flying to Italy for attending upon completion, which is compulsory for both vendor and buyer, by granting a power of attorney to your lawyer or someone you can trust, but never to an estate agent as he will be in a situation of conflict of interest.

7)  Never under-declare the purchase price, which it is still a punishable offence in Italy.

8)  It is important to confirm with your lawyer that there are no mortgages, liens or charges on the property.

9)  Always ask for a copy of the originating contract well in advance as this is the one which will show who is the legal owner of the property you intend to purchase.

This information has been kindly provided by Avv. Giovanni Lombardo – E-Mail: [email protected] and quote SLC/LIT

Useful phrases/words when buying a property in Italy and in Italian-speaking countries

ENGLISHTURKISH
AccountantMuhasebeci
Addressadres
Another form of preliminary binding agreementsatış vaadi sözleşmesinin başka bir şekli
Apartmentapartman
ArchitectMimar
Asbestosasbest
Bathroombanyo
Bedroomyatak odası
BondBorç senedi
Building landArsa
Building permitYapı Ruhsatı
Communal facilities agreement (management plan)Yönetim Plani
Community of owners / Residents Associationsite yönetimi
Companyşirket
Condition precedenttaliki şart
ContractSözleşme
Council Taxemlak vergisi
Declaration of new building work (At the Notary)yeni inşaatın beyan edlilmesi
Deed of conveyance or deed of saletemlik senedi
DeveloperMuteahhit
Drainage/seweragekanalizasyon
Encumbrance such as a right of way over the propertytakyidat
Estate Agencyemlak acentası
Estate agentemlakçı
Final titleKat Mulkiyeti
Foreigner’s Identification Numberyabancı uyruklu kimlik numarası
Furnituremobilya
Gas/Electricitygaz/elektrik
Guaranteegaranti
Habitation licenceYapi Kullanma izni
Incomegelir
Initial depositilk depozit
Insurancesigorta
Insurance policysigorta poliçesi
Keyanahtar
Kitchenmutfak
Land Registrytapu kaydı
Land Registry Searchtapu kaydı inceleme
Lawhukuk
LawyerAvukat
Lead in paintworkBoya içindeki kurşun
Licencelisans
Light (but often refers to electricity)ampul
Loanbanka kredisi
Loan with mortgageipotek karşılığı kredi
Local land due by the person who owns the property on 1 January of each year – owner/occupiers pay bothemlak vergisi
Local occupancy tax due by the person who resides in the property on 1 January of each yearçevre temizlik vergisi
Mandatory reports on certain aspects such as termites, asbestos, lead in paintwork etc comparable to HIPS  in UKzorunlu raporlar
Mortgage/chargeIpotek
MunicipalityBelediye
Notary Publicnoter
Official value of the propertyemlak beyan değeri
Olive GroveZeytinlik
Planning permissioninşaat ruhsatı
Plotpafta
Plot (of land)pafta
Power of AttorneyDuzenleme Seklinde Vekaletname
Preliminary binding agreementsatış vaadi sözleşmesi
PropertyGayrimenkul
Purchase / Buying and sellingsatın almak
Purchase contractgayrimenkul satış sözleşmesi
Purchase pricesatış fiyatı
Raw Agricultural LandTarla
Report on natural and technological risks local to the propertyyerlilerin taşınmazda yol açtıkları doğal ve teknik riskler
Reservation contracttaşınmaz rezervasyon sözleşmesi
Residentsakin
Sale pricesatış fiyatı
Sceptic tankfoseptik tankı
Stamp/registration dutypul
Statutory 7 day cooling-off periodyedi günlük yasal bekleme süresi
Statutory report on energy performance of propertytaşınmazın enerji performansını gösteren yasal rapor
Storage roomdepo
Swimming Poolhavuz
TaxVergi
Tax consultantvergi memuru
Termites/stag beetlemakaslı böcek
Terraceteras
Title DeedTapu Senedi
Title OfficeTapu Dairesi
Town Hallbelediye binası
Transitional titleKat Irtifakı
VAT (Value Added Tax)KDV
Willvasiyetname

Free Overseas Mortgage Assessment

If you require a mortgage for financing your overseas property, please complete our questionnaire and we will let you know if we can assist further.

Buying property in Portugal

Specific tips, advice and things to consider in relation to buying property in Portugal

Certified Professionals

Always work with certified professionals. Above all, it is most important that you have a Portuguese Lawyer to represent you in the acquisition of the property. This professional shall do all the necessary searches on the property, shall confirm that all the documents are in order and will defend your interests and position in the negotiations with the other party.

Negotiations prior to the signature of the Promissory Contract

Inform your lawyer of all the terms and  conditions previous to the signature of any contract. On negotiations phase the most important issues to be discussed between the parties are the price, conditions of payment, deposit to pay simultaneously with the signature of the promissory contract of purchase and sale together with any special concern that any or both parties may like to see inserted in the promissory contract.

Promissory Contract and Notarial Deed (Completion)

There must be always a written promissory contract to protect the purchaser’s position and interests. With the signing of the contract the Lawyer must check the following relevant documentation of the property: Land Registry Certificate, Predial Certificate and Habitation License.

At this stage the lawyer must also confirm that there are no mortgages, liens or responsibilities on the property.

Completion of the property purchase takes place in the period of time agreed by the parties at the offices of a Public Notary. The Notary records the transaction, which is often referred to as the «Escritura». It is also time for the Purchaser to pay the balance of the price and take possession of the property.

Terms and Conditions of the purchase and sale

In case of any change to the terms and conditions agreed with the vendor the lawyer must be immediately informed.

The purchaser must fulfill all the terms and conditions agreed in order to avoid any penalties. Therefore, when acquiring a property the purchaser must be informed by the lawyer of all costs and expenses involved as well as all the obligations.

Survey

A survey to the property is advisable in case such property is not new. Any defects that may be found must be listed and the vendor must be responsible for the repair of such defects.

Maintenance costs

It is important to confirm with the lawyer what the maintenance costs of the property such as infrastructure charges, property tax and condominium fees are in order to avoid future surprises.

Taxes Due

The lawyer must inform the purchaser of all the necessary and relevant information on the Portuguese Fiscal System, mainly regarding the taxes due when acquiring a property in Portugal (Transfer Property Tax, Stamp Duty and Annual Property Tax).

Fiscal Representative

A fiscal representative must be appointed to represent you before the Tax Administration in all the matters related to the property.

 

This information has been kindly provided by Paula Xabregas a Lawyer based in Faro, Portugal – Click here for further information.

Free Overseas Mortgage Assessment

If you require a mortgage for financing your overseas property, please complete our questionnaire and we will let you know if we can assist further.

Buying property in Spain

Specific tips, advice and things to consider in relation to buying property in Spain

Do your research early

Find out how the buying process works before you even go and have a look at properties. The process of buying in Spain is significantly different to that in the UK so don’t assume that things will work in the same way.

Look into the finances early

Work out your budget. Look at the total cost of buying including legal fees, taxes and so on. Identify how much of a deposit you are likely to need and when that is payable. If you need finance to help fund the property look into this as soon as possible.

Do not try and cut corners to save money

It is likely to cause you a problem in the future. If there is a problem with the property it is better to find out before you buy as solving problems afterwards can be much more expensive. Not obtaining a survey or a valuation or cutting corners with legal fees is very short sighted.

Think about why you are buying and be honest with yourself

A property for personal use is often very different from a property that you would rent out, which in turn is often very different from a retirement property.

If you are buying for an investment do your research and be realistic about the amount of income that you can get from the property

Do not believe the sales hype in relation to number of weeks rental or money per week – carry out your own investigations into the true figures.

Think about exit strategy when you buy

If you are likely to want to sell the property in the future then think about who is going to want to buy your property from you and how marketable it is likely to be. Just because you like it doesn’t mean that other people will.

Think about inheritance at this stage

Make a Spanish Will to make sure that your wishes are followed and that the inheritance is carried out in the most tax effective way.

Take advice on who should own the property before you buy

The form of ownership is probably the most important decision that you will make when it comes to the property and has a major effect on taxes and inheritance. Taking advice now can save you thousands of pounds (if not tens of thousands of pounds) later on. Once you have completed many of your opportunities are lost.

Use an independent lawyer to help you buy your property

Do not use the lawyer who is acting for the seller, use one who is interested only in protecting your position. Make sure that your lawyer understands both Spanish law and also the law of your home country as there is an interaction between the two jurisdictions in terms of taxes and inheritance.

Investigate your ongoing obligations after you have bought

Once you have bought your property there are still things that need to be done. You will have to pay certain annual taxes. You may have to pay community fees. It is recommended that you have contents and buildings insurance Understand your obligations in Spain and also your obligations back home.

This information has been kindly provided by Peter Esders of Judicare.

E-Mail: [email protected] and quote SLC/LSP

Useful phrases/words when buying a property in Spain and in Spanish-speaking countries

ENGLISHTURKISH
AccountantMuhasebeci
Addressadres
Another form of preliminary binding agreementsatış vaadi sözleşmesinin başka bir şekli
Apartmentapartman
ArchitectMimar
Asbestosasbest
Bathroombanyo
Bedroomyatak odası
BondBorç senedi
Building landArsa
Building permitYapı Ruhsatı
Communal facilities agreement (management plan)Yönetim Plani
Community of owners / Residents Associationsite yönetimi
Companyşirket
Condition precedenttaliki şart
ContractSözleşme
Council Taxemlak vergisi
Declaration of new building work (At the Notary)yeni inşaatın beyan edlilmesi
Deed of conveyance or deed of saletemlik senedi
DeveloperMuteahhit
Drainage/seweragekanalizasyon
Encumbrance such as a right of way over the propertytakyidat
Estate Agencyemlak acentası
Estate agentemlakçı
Final titleKat Mulkiyeti
Foreigner’s Identification Numberyabancı uyruklu kimlik numarası
Furnituremobilya
Gas/Electricitygaz/elektrik
Guaranteegaranti
Habitation licenceYapi Kullanma izni
Incomegelir
Initial depositilk depozit
Insurancesigorta
Insurance policysigorta poliçesi
Keyanahtar
Kitchenmutfak
Land Registrytapu kaydı
Land Registry Searchtapu kaydı inceleme
Lawhukuk
LawyerAvukat
Lead in paintworkBoya içindeki kurşun
Licencelisans
Light (but often refers to electricity)ampul
Loanbanka kredisi
Loan with mortgageipotek karşılığı kredi
Local land due by the person who owns the property on 1 January of each year – owner/occupiers pay bothemlak vergisi
Local occupancy tax due by the person who resides in the property on 1 January of each yearçevre temizlik vergisi
Mandatory reports on certain aspects such as termites, asbestos, lead in paintwork etc comparable to HIPS  in UKzorunlu raporlar
Mortgage/chargeIpotek
MunicipalityBelediye
Notary Publicnoter
Official value of the propertyemlak beyan değeri
Olive GroveZeytinlik
Planning permissioninşaat ruhsatı
Plotpafta
Plot (of land)pafta
Power of AttorneyDuzenleme Seklinde Vekaletname
Preliminary binding agreementsatış vaadi sözleşmesi
PropertyGayrimenkul
Purchase / Buying and sellingsatın almak
Purchase contractgayrimenkul satış sözleşmesi
Purchase pricesatış fiyatı
Raw Agricultural LandTarla
Report on natural and technological risks local to the propertyyerlilerin taşınmazda yol açtıkları doğal ve teknik riskler
Reservation contracttaşınmaz rezervasyon sözleşmesi
Residentsakin
Sale pricesatış fiyatı
Sceptic tankfoseptik tankı
Stamp/registration dutypul
Statutory 7 day cooling-off periodyedi günlük yasal bekleme süresi
Statutory report on energy performance of propertytaşınmazın enerji performansını gösteren yasal rapor
Storage roomdepo
Swimming Poolhavuz
TaxVergi
Tax consultantvergi memuru
Termites/stag beetlemakaslı böcek
Terraceteras
Title DeedTapu Senedi
Title OfficeTapu Dairesi
Town Hallbelediye binası
Transitional titleKat Irtifakı
VAT (Value Added Tax)KDV
Willvasiyetname

Free Overseas Mortgage Assessment

If you require a mortgage for financing your overseas property, please complete our questionnaire and we will let you know if we can assist further.

Buying property in Turkey

Specific tips, advice and things to consider in relation to buying property in Turkey

Legal title generally

Whilst now could be one of the best times to invest in well-located prime Turkish property, there is still a lot of property-carrying legal problems. You will need to be sure your property was built with the correct planning permission, that you will take good title and have full ownership rights. It is common to find property built or extended illegally.

However, by appointing a specialist independent lawyer there’s no reason why purchasing in Turkey shouldn’t be as safe as buying back at home.

Under-declaration of price

As with a number of other countries, it is common in Turkey for Sellers to ask you to register a lower value in the title deed than the actual price you are paying. In Turkey, the differences between the two can be quite substantial and may have far-reaching consequences if you agree to it. Again, your lawyers should be able to advise you on the risks involved and how best to manage them.

Military permission

If you intend to buy your Turkish property in your personal name/s, you should also be aware you will need to be granted official permission to own the property before title can be transferred to you. The permission is processed by the Aegean Army and often referred to as ‘Military Permission’. Depending on where you are buying, this may take a number of weeks or months to process and needs to be considered when agreeing your payment plan with the Seller. Your contract should ensure you are protected if, for whatever reason, your permission is not granted.

Tax numbers

You will need to obtain tax numbers from the Turkish tax office in order to complete your purchase and for ongoing use in Turkey. If you have time, have a go at applying for it yourself. It is a gentle introduction to dealing with Turkish officialdom. If you cannot, do not worry, your lawyers can sort this out for you.

Surveys and valuations

You would not buy a property here at home without carrying out at least a basic survey. It should be no different when buying abroad. The issue in Turkey is that there is no established profession equivalent to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. In order to obtain a similar service, you should instruct local professionals with a civil engineering background. Your lawyers or other professional advisers should be able to arrange this on your behalf or refer you to specialists.

Quality of finishes and lists of what fixtures and furniture is included

Inadequate building specifications and inventories are commonplace.
Arranging for your lawyers to negotiate agreements to an international standard should minimise the risk any misunderstanding and disappointment.

Know where you stand with Capital Gains Tax

You will often be told by Turkish sellers that you are not liable to tax when you come to sell and make a profit having owned your property for a minimum period. This is true, but not the whole truth. Take professional advice so that you know what the position actually is.

Appoint an Accountant

Consider appointing a local professional such as an accountant to act as your post box in Turkey to ensure you keep up to date with completing and filing your Turkish paperwork.


This information has been kindly provided by Peter Esders of Judicare.
E-Mail: [email protected] and quote SLC/LSP.

Useful phrases/words when buying a property in Turkey and in Turkish-speaking countries

ENGLISHTURKISH
AccountantMuhasebeci
Addressadres
Another form of preliminary binding agreementsatış vaadi sözleşmesinin başka bir şekli
Apartmentapartman
ArchitectMimar
Asbestosasbest
Bathroombanyo
Bedroomyatak odası
BondBorç senedi
Building landArsa
Building permitYapı Ruhsatı
Communal facilities agreement (management plan)Yönetim Plani
Community of owners / Residents Associationsite yönetimi
Companyşirket
Condition precedenttaliki şart
ContractSözleşme
Council Taxemlak vergisi
Declaration of new building work (At the Notary)yeni inşaatın beyan edlilmesi
Deed of conveyance or deed of saletemlik senedi
DeveloperMuteahhit
Drainage/seweragekanalizasyon
Encumbrance such as a right of way over the propertytakyidat
Estate Agencyemlak acentası
Estate agentemlakçı
Final titleKat Mulkiyeti
Foreigner’s Identification Numberyabancı uyruklu kimlik numarası
Furnituremobilya
Gas/Electricitygaz/elektrik
Guaranteegaranti
Habitation licenceYapi Kullanma izni
Incomegelir
Initial depositilk depozit
Insurancesigorta
Insurance policysigorta poliçesi
Keyanahtar
Kitchenmutfak
Land Registrytapu kaydı
Land Registry Searchtapu kaydı inceleme
Lawhukuk
LawyerAvukat
Lead in paintworkBoya içindeki kurşun
Licencelisans
Light (but often refers to electricity)ampul
Loanbanka kredisi
Loan with mortgageipotek karşılığı kredi
Local land due by the person who owns the property on 1 January of each year – owner/occupiers pay bothemlak vergisi
Local occupancy tax due by the person who resides in the property on 1 January of each yearçevre temizlik vergisi
Mandatory reports on certain aspects such as termites, asbestos, lead in paintwork etc comparable to HIPS  in UKzorunlu raporlar
Mortgage/chargeIpotek
MunicipalityBelediye
Notary Publicnoter
Official value of the propertyemlak beyan değeri
Olive GroveZeytinlik
Planning permissioninşaat ruhsatı
Plotpafta
Plot (of land)pafta
Power of AttorneyDuzenleme Seklinde Vekaletname
Preliminary binding agreementsatış vaadi sözleşmesi
PropertyGayrimenkul
Purchase / Buying and sellingsatın almak
Purchase contractgayrimenkul satış sözleşmesi
Purchase pricesatış fiyatı
Raw Agricultural LandTarla
Report on natural and technological risks local to the propertyyerlilerin taşınmazda yol açtıkları doğal ve teknik riskler
Reservation contracttaşınmaz rezervasyon sözleşmesi
Residentsakin
Sale pricesatış fiyatı
Sceptic tankfoseptik tankı
Stamp/registration dutypul
Statutory 7 day cooling-off periodyedi günlük yasal bekleme süresi
Statutory report on energy performance of propertytaşınmazın enerji performansını gösteren yasal rapor
Storage roomdepo
Swimming Poolhavuz
TaxVergi
Tax consultantvergi memuru
Termites/stag beetlemakaslı böcek
Terraceteras
Title DeedTapu Senedi
Title OfficeTapu Dairesi
Town Hallbelediye binası
Transitional titleKat Irtifakı
VAT (Value Added Tax)KDV
Willvasiyetname

Free Overseas Mortgage Assessment

If you require a mortgage for financing your overseas property, please complete our questionnaire and we will let you know if we can assist further.

Buying property in UAE (inc. Dubai)

Specific tips, advice and things to consider in relation to buying property in UAE (including Dubai)

Do your research early

Find out how the buying process works before you even go and have a look at properties. The process of buying in the UAE is significantly different to that in the UK so don’t assume that things will work in the same way.

Look into the finances early

Work out your budget. Look at the total cost of buying including legal fees, taxes and so on. Identify how much of a deposit you are likely to need and when that is payable. If you need finance to help fund the property look into this as soon as possible.

Do not try and cut corners to save money

It is likely to cause you a problem in the future. If there is a problem with the property it is better to find out before you buy as solving problems afterwards can be much more expensive. Not obtaining a survey or a valuation or cutting corners with legal fees is very short-sighted.

Think about why you are buying and be honest with yourself

A property for personal use is often very different from a property that you would rent out, which in turn is often very different from a retirement property.

If you are buying for an investment do your research and be realistic about the amount of income that you can get from the property

Do not believe the sales hype in relation to the number of weeks rental or money per week – carry out your own investigations into the true figures.

Think about an exit strategy when you buy

If you are likely to want to sell the property in the future then think about who is going to want to buy your property from you and how marketable it is likely to be. Just because you like it doesn’t mean that other people will.

Think about inheritance at this stage

The laws on inheritance in the UAE are likely to be very different to those that you are used to as Sharia Law applies to assets in the UAE. Make a Will prepared and registered according to UAE Laws to make sure that your wishes are followed.

Think about tax

One of the advantages of buying in the UAE is the considerable tax advantages. However, unless you are tax resident in the UAE you will probably still have to pay tax in your “home country” on any income, capital gains or inheritance. It, therefore, makes sense to think about taxes even when buying in the UAE.

Take advice on who should own the property before you buy

Although the UAE is advantageous as far as tax is concerned you may still be The form of ownership is probably the most important decision that you will make when it comes to the property and has a major effect on taxes and inheritance. Taking advice now can save you thousands of pounds (if not tens of thousands of pounds) later on. Once you have completed many of your opportunities are lost.

Use an independent lawyer to help you buy your property

Do not use the lawyer who is acting for the seller, use one who is interested only in protecting your position. Make sure that your lawyer understands both UAE law and also the law of your home country as there is an interaction between the two jurisdictions in terms of taxes and inheritance.

This information has been kindly provided by Peter Esders of Judicare.
E-Mail: [email protected] and quote SLC/LSP.

Free Overseas Mortgage Assessment

If you require a mortgage for financing your overseas property, please complete our questionnaire and we will let you know if we can assist further.

Buying property in USA

Specific tips, advice and things to consider in relation to buying property in USA

Do your research early

Find out how the buying process works before you even go and have a look at properties. The process of buying in the USA is significantly different to that in the UK so don’t assume that things will work in the same way.

Look into the finances early

Work out your budget. Look at the total cost of buying including legal fees, taxes and so on. Identify how much of a deposit you are likely to need and when that is payable. If you need finance to help fund the property look into this as soon as possible.

Do not try and cut corners to save money

It is likely to cause you a problem in the future. If there is a problem with the property it is better to find out before you buy as solving problems afterwards can be much more expensive. Not obtaining a survey or a valuation or cutting corners with legal fees is very short-sighted.

Think about why you are buying and be honest with yourself

A property for personal use is often very different from a property that you would rent out, which in turn is often very different from a retirement property.

If you are buying for an investment do your research and be realistic about the amount of income that you can get from the property

Do not believe the sales hype in relation to the number of weeks rental or money per week – carry out your own investigations into the true figures.

Think about visas

If you are looking to spend significant amounts of time in the USA or intend to live there then take advice on the Visa situation before you go too far down the line as what you are trying to achieve may not be possible.

Think about zoning restrictions

In some areas you may not be allowed to rent out the property for short term lets so take advice on this if you are considering renting out your property.

Think about the exit strategy when you buy

If you are likely to want to sell the property in the future then think about who is going to want to buy your property from you and how marketable it is likely to be. Just because you like it doesn’t mean that other people will.

Take advice on who should own the property before you buy

Taking some advice on tax when you buy can mean significant savings later on in terms of income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax. Once you have bought the property some of the options available to you may be lost so take advice on this before you buy.

Use an independent lawyer to help you buy your property

Do not use the lawyer who is acting for the seller, use one who is interested only in protecting your position. Make sure that your lawyer understands both the law in the USA also the law of your home country as there is an interaction between the two jurisdictions in terms of taxes and inheritance.

Don’t forget that in the USA the laws often change between states.

Free Overseas Mortgage Assessment

If you require a mortgage for financing your overseas property, please complete our questionnaire and we will let you know if we can assist further.

As a mortgage is secured against your home, it could be repossessed if you do not keep up the mortgage repayments. Simon Conn is registered under the approved persons regime with the Financial Conduct Authority under individual reference number SLC00026. Please note, that the FCA does not regulate all forms of mortgage activity. It is important to note that Buy-to-Let Mortgages (unless more than 40% owner occupied), Commercial Mortgages and mortgages secured on property outside the UK are not covered by statutory UK regulation. If a mortgage is denominated in a currency other than your home currency, there is a risk that changes in the exchange rate may increase the equivalent value of the debt in terms of your home currency.

We will provide you with a free initial consultation and we will always explain exactly what you will be charged before you choose to proceed with an application. As we offer a bespoke service our charges can vary and the actual amount payable will be shown on any eventual quote and will depend on the country where you require finance, who arranges the finance for you, plus your personal circumstances and loan requirements. It is important that you seek independent legal and taxation advice on any property that you are going to purchase.