Steps to Take When Buying a Home Internationally
One of the most stressful and at the same time exciting parts of life, is buying a new house. While you may be excited to take such a big step in your life, there is so much you have to do and look at before making your final decision. This is multiplied even more if you are buying a house internationally. There are a whole new set of laws and paperwork that you will have to deal with. Most countries have different real estate laws than the United States. Furthermore, there is immigration issues that you will have to jump through. However, it is not impossible to live your dream of moving to a new international location.
Before even thinking about looking for a home in a different country, you should first look into what you would have to do to move there legally. Chances are there will be a lot of steps you will have to take in order to live there. To get a full list, you should contact the American embassy in the country you are moving to. However, there are some steps that are common for most countries. First you will need a passport and possibly a visa in order to even travel there. Some countries will require you to get permanent residency before you are even allowed to buy land or a home there, while some other countries may not allow an immigrant to purchase property at all. You will need to find where your new country stands on these issues.
You should also do a lot of research on the area you are interested in moving to. You will want to know that it has everything that you want an area to have, or at the very least have those things at a convenient distance from your new home. You will also want to research real estate law and how mortgages work. You might have to pay as much as a 40% down payment on your new home, or might have to pay for it outright immediately. This is a very important consideration so you will know how to budget for your move.
After Clearing Immigration Laws
Once you have cleared all of those hurdles, you can finally start looking for a new house. This will be extremely difficult because, unless you are financially capable, you will not be seeing these homes in person. Learn the local laws as much as you can, and find a real estate agent you feel like you can trust. Preferably one that has experience in dealing with international customers. Also, you will want to be skeptical of everything until they can prove that you should not be. It is very easy for someone to scam a person overseas, so do not take anything for granted. Make sure that you can see the whole house, probably using the internet, and that they can answer any questions you may have. You can also use the internet to check on the history of the house if it is available. If an agent dodges your questions, or even flat out ignores them, you probably will not want to buy what they have to offer. Also, be especially wary of any documents they ask you to sign. Hire a lawyer that has experience in international real estate law to go over the document before you sign anything. You can think of it this way. Any feelings of trepidation that you may have when buying a new home in the country you live in, should be felt threefold one buying overseas.
This is not to say that it is impossible to buy internationally, or that everyone is out there to scam you. But it is very important that you protect yourself as much as you can. Most real estate agents are regular people that are just looking to do their job, but you never know if they are trying to take advantage of you or not. Take the necessary steps to make sure that this does not happen to you.