If all goes to plan, your overseas purchase should be worth big bucks somewhere down the line - but remember, you'll only be able to get your hands on all that cash if you can get someone else to buy it. So, the first thing any budding property investor should think about when weighing up a potential purchase is how and when to sell it. Of course, you can't bank on this going to plan - the market might stagnate or dip - so you should only ever go into a property investment abroad knowing you can afford to lose the money you have put into it. Sounds dramatic? Yes, but oh, so sensible.
If you're buying with cash and looking to make a quick buck through capital growth, letting the property probably won't be your top priority. But if you're planning on a medium to long-term investment with a mortgage in place, letting will be vital to the viability of the project. You need to decide from the outset if your property will attract holiday lets or longer term local lets. For this, you will need to do some serious research... You also need to look into what you can do legally and what licences you need to obtain to be able to do either type of let in the country of your choice.
Don't rely solely on official or government websites for your information, especially in countries with, shall we say, 'shady' pasts - these can be more about marketing the country to foreign investors (such as yourself) than providing reliable factual information. In general, the questions you should be asking are:
Check out transport links to main cities and airports - any future improvements are likely to drive up property prices so try and find out about any plans that are in the pipeline.
Similarly large events such as the World Cup or Olympics can provide a perfect opportunity for investors. If you are looking to let your property to holiday makers you should investigate local amenities that might set the area apart - golf courses and beach access are always a plus, while unusual cultural attractions can also prove to be a big draw.
If you plan on letting to holidaymakers, consider who your tenants will be (families, young couples, pensioners) and talk to agents to find out what properties and features are most popular with each group.
If you buy in an established tourist area, it can be advantageous to have something that sets your property apart from the rest. A pool, a Jacuzzi, a sea-view, or even just a larger number of bedrooms than other properties up for rent - it may be worth paying more for something with a USP. If you buy in a large development, find out how many of the properties are owned by investors and how many are private homes - a good mix of each reduces competition.
If your goal is investment only, don't neglect long local lets - they are less much less hassle and responsible tenants will often ensure the property is well looked after. Remember, long term tenants will be looking for creature comforts - a home rather than a holiday flat -so choose your property accordingly. A swimming pool may not be as important to them as fitted wardrobes and off-street parking.
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