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Finding a home abroad

Finding a home abroad is one of the most important things to research before you leave. Our guide covers to key information you'll need to know

Last updated 29 March 2019

If you are currently an expat then one assumes that you will probably have a place of residence already organised. This may not be the case if you have only just made the move, perhaps you are in temporary accommodation and still looking for that place of your own.

If you are planning to relocate from one expat location to another then of course you will be looking for a new home and similarly if you are a UK resident that is planning to move abroad then you must make finding a new home a top priority.

Rent or buy a house abroad?

One of the first fundamental decisions to make is whether you will rent or buy a house abroad. The vast majority of first time expats will rent to begin with as this offers sufficient flexibility should the move not quite work out as planned, it also allows you to get to know a region for a fixed amount of time and to then be in a more informed position in terms of specifically where in the region you would like to live long term (if the move is planned to be long term).

In some countries you may simply not be allowed to buy property straight away, leaving renting as your only option.

Financially, buying a property may simply not be feasible for you at the point of moving. Perhaps you have a house back in the UK that, once you have settled in your new country, you plan to sell to finance a new house purchase. Again in this situation renting temporarily at least would be the answer.

If you have decided to go ahead and buy a property in your new location, then this brings with it a whole new set of considerations – particularly from a financial perspective.

Buying a house abroad

It is also important to highlight that in many parts of the world, and significantly this is the case in most parts of western Europe, there is very much a renting culture in polar opposite to the ‘get on the property ladder’ culture that exists strongly in the UK.

In some countries, such as Switzerland, it is really not unusual for people to rent their home for their entire lives. In Switzerland if and when a house is purchased, it is normally envisaged that this will be the family home forever and not simply a rung on the ladder – singles and young couples will often reside in inner city rented apartments and will only consider a purchase once they have children, at this point they will often look to move into a more rural location and buy their long term family home.

House property market abroad

Quite simply, the market for buying or renting a property is going to differ greatly from place to place. You will also have your own set of requirements that you wish your next home to fit of course.

You should do as much research as you possibly can to establish your best options.

Relocation companies are an option, and if you are being relocated by your employer then there is a good chance that services such as this are being provided. If not, then you may want to consider finding a relocation expert to help you with the process.

Expat mortgage advice

It is not uncommon for Expats to think that there is a shortage of lenders to match your expat mortgage requirements.

While it can be a complex situation and take time to get the agreement in place, there are a number of mortgage products and lenders that are specialists when it comes to helping with your borrowing requirements and circumstances.

We have connections to independent financial advisers who have access to UK and Overseas mortgage lenders for amounts starting from £50k for buy to let, property investment and primary UK or overseas residences.

If you would like to speak to a local British independent financial adviser complete the form on the right and we will arrange for an adviser to get in contact with you directly who will be able to discuss your own circumstances and requirements with you in a no-obligation initial conversation and from there establish what your best options are and whether they can help you going forward.

Experts for Expats has been featured in...

BBC Breakfast - Expats in Cyprus having issues with UK bank accounts - click to see article
The Times - Thousands of retiring Britons vote for Brexodus - click to see article
Saga - Want to retire in the EU? What could the future hold for you? - click to see article
The Observer - How to relocate overseas - click to see article
The Guardian - The older expats facing poverty – thanks to Brexit and frozen pensions - click to see article
The Telegraph - The surprising places British expats can earn the most - click to see article

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