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Buying a second home abroad? Ultimate tips for getting started

Buying a second home abroad? Ultimate tips for getting started

Are you thinking of buying a second home abroad but don't know where to start? Then this page is the right place for you!

Here are some insights and tips for getting off to a great start. Good and thorough preparation is half the battle!

Where do you start? Buying a second home abroad

Suppose you think you know in which country you want to be buying a second home abroad.

In this case, chances are that you, like many other decision-makers, have visited a particular country and region several times before deciding to buy a property there.

Many people buy a property together with their wife, husband or partner. It is therefore crucial that both persons are on the same wavelength.

Check if you are on the same wavelength

The ultimate tip for making sure you are both on the same wavelength is one from the old box.

Supplies:

  • Two white sheets of paper
  • Two ballpoint pens or pencils
  • Two quiet rooms
  • Time to think calmly and answer the series of questions below

Each take a seat in a quiet room with your supplies. Then answer the following questions each and finally compare your answers.

Comparing the answers will quickly show whether your noses are pointing in the same direction. If this is not the case, you should clearly talk to each other thoroughly.

Questions to answer | Buying a second home abroad

With what motive and motivation will you be buying a second home abroad?

What do you want to achieve by buying a second home abroad? What is your ultimate goal?

  • Are you longing for a holiday home?
  • Do you want to make it a pure buy-to-let property?
  • Are you looking for an excellent place to spend your retirement immediately?
  • Or do you want to buy a property in order to retire there later and use it initially for mixed use (as a holiday home and as a rental property)?

The answer to this question will influence the region and the type of property you will purchase.

Do you both want a pure buy-to-let property? Then do not invest in deprived neighbourhoods or remote and hard-to-reach regions.

How often will you visit your second home?

How often will you visit this foreign property? How many visits will you make in year 1, year 3, year 5 and after ten years of ownership?

Is a few weeks a year enough and is it mainly about an investment alternative to the savings account? And is private use a good thing from time to time?

Then the following offers might be of interest to you:

Income property with guaranteed return in France + 4 weeks free private use

Are you looking for a carefree investment property that can still provide you with a nice relaxing trip every now and then?

This luxury resort offers all the facilities you could wish for (18-hole golf course, magnificent spa, water park, indoor children's playground, swimming pools, etc.).

Option 1 - Full ownership

You can acquire full ownership of luxury studios and flats from an equity investment of €42,500.

As the owner of such a luxury French holiday home, you can enjoy the following increasing returns:

  • 5% during year 1
  • 6% during year 2 to year 6
  • 8% during year 7 to year 11

As the icing on the cake, you can use your buy-to-let property for FREE every year, without this pulling down your annual guaranteed return!

Interested in this top investment? Then check out the details on Buying a second home in France at the Wyndham Halcyon Retreat Golf and Spa Resort.

Option 2 - Co-ownership

In the same resort, you can also invest in recreational real estate via co-ownership, which is more accessible than investing in full ownership. This is possible from as little as EUR 17 230 with an annual guaranteed return of 5%.

This could be the investment property of your life (especially if you like premium furnishings and natural beauty, golfers and fishermen will also get their money's worth).

You will then have access to ALL the facilities of the luxury resort in the Limousin region of France. You could do worse with your savings, couldn't you?

Newly built studios and flats in Montenegro with free 6 weeks a year

  • Luxury property for sale in Montenegro with two options for owners:
    1. Continuous own use without rental
    2. Mixed use:
      • 6 weeks per year free own use
      • Inclusion of the property in the rental programme, completely carefree, good gross rental yield (according to simulations, this can amount to 9% per annum gross)

Newly built holiday homes on Samos with free owner occupation + rental income

  • Buy a holiday home in Samos for sale in the amazingly located Hera Bay Luxury Resort, perfect for mixed use:
    • Annual entitlement to free weeks of private use (compensation in kind), AND
    • A contractually guaranteed annual return from the rental of your premises at times when you are not using them yourself

What kind of activities do you see yourself doing in the region?

What would you like to do in the region where you plan on buying a second home abroad?

  • Do you consider this region a destination for pure relaxation?
  • Are you planning typically female activities? Examples are:
    • A weekend outing with girlfriends,
    • Go shopping,
    • Enjoy a day of tanning by the pool or on the beach,
    • Enjoy a wellness package to the full,
    • Delightful dining,
    • Doing terraces to catch up, and so on.
  • Are you planning typically male activities? Examples are:
    • Go mountain biking with friends or family members,
    • Have a nice dinner and afterwards go to the local pub for a game of billiards or cards,
    • Going golfing [AVAILABLE SOON],
    • Go out for a drink and watch the beautiful women with the help of your reflective sunglasses,
    • Going hunting in the woods,
    • Go sailing on a pleasure yacht or a nice catamaran while the wind gently blows through your remaining hair.
  • Are you interested in culture and/or sports? If so, are you sure you have the right region in mind?

What will you do with your property at 'dead' moments?

Buying a second home abroad may lead to an under-utilisation of capacities. Can you live with the fact that your outdoor area will be empty at certain times?

Making friends and family happy with a free stay (or a stay at a friend's price) will never lead to optimal occupancy of your second home.

Depending on your goal, you may not be able to enjoy it much yourself. This is the case, for example, during the last years of your active career, just before you actually retire.

Do you want to rent out your property to strangers at these dead times to generate income? Do not forget that there are also fixed annual operating costs associated with owning a second home.

Read more about it on investing in rental properties, earning passive income with property [AVAILABLE SOON] and last but not least: Manage revenue properties [AVAILABLE SOON] passively.

How would you rent out the second home and at what price?

This question has to be answered in case you would like to rent out your second home at dead times.

How often do you want to rent out the property? Would you like to rent out this second home permanently during all the times that you cannot use it yourself?

Or do you want to look at it from the perspective of 'seasons'? Only rent out in the high season, the mid season or the low season, or a combination for example?

Will you manage the rental yourself and is this realistic if you cannot be on site very often? Or would you like to call on a local agent who knows the ropes?

Will you be promoting your second home on well-known portals such as Booking, Airbnb and Tripadvisor? This creates more exposure, more bookings and less revenue as these portals command a commission.

How much do you want to earn from your second property when you rent it out?

How much will you charge per night, per week, per month? Are you open to long-term or short-term rentals?

What should be the net rental income of your second home?

Do you have an idea of how much your second home should bring in monthly? Keep in mind:

  • Costs of maintenance and cleaning,
  • Cost of electricity (pay attention to the cost of air conditioning, for example) and water,
  • The cost of an agent who takes care of the rental from A to Z,
  • Local taxes,
  • Costs of internet platforms to promote your second home,
  • Interest costs of a possible mortgage loan for the buy-to-let property [AVAILABLE SOON], and so on.

Does ownership play a role in your financial retirement planning?

Perhaps you consider the purchase of a second home as buying an income-producing property. Purely business and for profit and income.

And maybe you will go a step further and plan ahead for many years! You could, in fact, build up a property portfolio that would provide you with a lot of extra income in your old age.

Are you still professionally active but a little worried about your retirement years? Financially, because you fear that you will not be able to make ends meet with the legal provisions?

Then be sure to check out the following pages about retiring carefree thanks to rental properties that provide continuous income:

Nuances to keep in mind

Answer the above questions in all honesty. Don't talk down to your partner, as this will pay off in the long run.

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. The important thing is that your answers will give you more clarity and push you in the right direction.

Thanks to these answers and extensive communication, you can then define the suitable property that suits your individual needs and wishes!

Finally, five tips | Buying a second home abroad

Never say never to rental

It may be that neither you nor your partner have any desire to rent out your second home.

Keep in mind that circumstances can always change. Life is full of surprises and unforeseen circumstances.

In other words, keep this in mind during your search for a second home. Try to remain rational and not to view potential contenders through rose-coloured glasses.

Buying a second home abroad deserves the necessary amount of rationality.

For example, you may fall in love with a second home that is located (too) far from the tourist centres. In such a case, it will not be easy to rent it out later if you want to.

Selecting the right location [AVAILABLE SOON] is crucial for this... Learn more about it on How to choose the right property investment market [AVAILABLE SOON].

Do your own research and make time for it!

Will you be buying a second home abroad? Then be sure to estimate the potential rental income from the property you have in mind.

Also research through which channels you can rent them out.

Mandating a local agent can have certain advantages, such as not wasting any time, including marketing time, and always having someone on the ground to respond quickly.

Please note that using a local estate agency to rent out your second home is not the holy grail either! Select a reliable partner with the necessary references and track record.

You would not be the first owner to be robbed by the local policeman.

For example, the agent may lie about the actual rental price or the number of days your property was actually rented.

Call on an independent lawyer (legal expert)

If you are buying a second home abroad, it is a good idea to call on an independent lawyer [AVAILABLE SOON]. Independent means that this lawyer represents only you.

The task of this legal expert is simple: to protect and inform you. This costs money, but just consider this part of the purchase cost.

Seeking advice from a tax expert and/or wealth planner is also recommended. Nobody likes to pay too much tax during life and after death.

Beware of exchange rates - Buying a second home abroad

Talk to a specialist to establish your exchange rate early on. If you are going to buy from a country that does not use the euro, you are always at risk from fluctuations in exchange rates [AVAILABLE SOON].

This risk can be positive or negative. The same 200 000 euros may suddenly not be enough anymore for buying a second home abroad. Or else you suddenly have money left over.

Buying second homes abroad from professional agents or developers

In addition to using a lawyer, it is best to purchase through a professional real estate office or directly from a professional developer.

Ask a lot of questions while prospecting. Behave like little children and question everything.

Start by asking questions about the real estate agency or developer in question. Learn more about the company's founders and references from the past.

Ask for testimonials from satisfied customers. Find out what services they provide even after the purchase (what about rental services [AVAILABLE SOON]? Is it a turnkey developer of investment properties [AVAILABLE SOON]?).

Always try to receive this service package in written form.

Estate agents can also provide you with complete rental assistance. You would do well to consider this and to screen potential brokerage firms well before signing anything.

Related information about foreign property

Purchase second home in France

Interesting information + tips & tricks

Offer of second home in France for mixed use

  • Buy a second home in France in the beautiful Wyndham Halcyon Retreat Golf & Spa Resort as a top investment with up to 10% secure annual return and 6 weeks free private use
  • Recreational real estate in France as an investment - Low-threshold investment from €15 750 in co-ownership. Entry-level yield of at least 7% calculated on the invested funds, guaranteed for at least 11 years (and renewable)

Other information - Buying a second home abroad

Don't forget to check out the page Investing in real estate [AVAILABLE SOON]: reasons and tips to convince your partner.

The next page is also very interesting: Buy foreign real estate investment [AVAILABLE SOON]: Roadmap to financial success.