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Expats encouraged to remember language barrier

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People from the UK who are planning to purchase a home in another country have been advised to take steps to ensure they fully understand the nature of their transaction.

According to Lindsay de Feliz, marketing manager at Expat Focus, many of the contracts and pieces of paperwork they will be required to deal with will be written in a foreign language.

This, she said, means aspiring expatriates need to get these documents professionally translated before making any commitments and adding their signature.

Ms de Feliz said this would help to ensure overseas property buyers "fully understand" exactly what they are signing up to.

Would-be expats were also encouraged to familiarise themselves with the rules and regulations regarding buying and owning a home in their chosen destination.

Taxation was flagged up as a particularly important issue they need to know about, along with inheritance and whether there are laws that apply exclusively to foreign nationals.

Ms de Feliz then suggested that potential buyers commission a survey on the property they have their eye on. She said this can be useful even when it is not a requirement of a transaction.

Buyers from other countries may also need to know about how long it might take them to transfer money online in order to make a purchase.

"Some countries will have a limit on the amount that can be transferred and some money transfers can take considerably longer than in the UK," Ms de Feliz commented.

She added that if a person intends to purchase a property abroad with a view to living there full-time, it is probably wise to rent a home in their chosen destination first and stay there for about six months.

This, she said, would help prospective expats work out whether the place they would like to move to "is the best one for you" without making any long-term commitments.

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