So you are thinking of investing money in a house abroad... If so, we hope you'll be able to pick up a lot of tips and advice from this series on foreign real estate. At the bottom of this page you will find a list of other related pages about buying property abroad.
If we could choose what to remember as a potential purchaser of property abroad, it would be this tip:
Get an independent lawyer (aka solicitor) when you are going to buy a property in another country!
Table of Contents
- 1 Why should I use an independent lawyer when investing money in a house abroad?
- 2 What is an independent lawyer? Investing money in a house abroad
- 3 Some advantages of a local independent lawyer
- 4 How do I find an independent solicitor?
- 5 Conclusion | Investing money in a foreign house
- 6 Foreign investment property in the spotlight
- 7 Other information about real estate abroad
Why should I use an independent lawyer when investing money in a house abroad?
The answer to this question is simple: Problems, problems, problems...
Using an independent lawyer provides peace of mind! Moreover, it can prevent a whole host of problems.
Agreed, such legal professionals are not cheap. Yet the extra cost is negligible compared to the cost of buying a cat in a bag!
Good legal support during the purchase process can avoid major financial losses in the future.
Also, do not be confused by local estate agents or property developers who are surprised that you would like to buy with legal guidance!
In such a case, some might portray guidance by an independent lawyer as unnecessary!
Others would then introduce you to a seemingly independent lawyer...
So be warned: Manipulation is never far away when it comes to investing money in foreign real estate!
It may indeed be the case that the locals never hire a lawyer to buy property... But you are a foreigner who does not know the system and the mentality 100 per cent.
As a potential buyer in a foreign country, where you may not even understand and speak the language, you are an easy victim.
You don't know the local procedures and you don't know if everything is going normally...
What is an independent lawyer? Investing money in a house abroad
A lawyer who is truly independent? This is a counsel who will always protect your interests.
Moreover, such an independent lawyer does not provide legal services to the property developer or the real estate agent of the property(s) you want to invest in.
There are, of course, professional building agents and brokers abroad who can, without a doubt, recommend an independent lawyer to you. But beware!
Corruption still exists in many countries worldwide and conflicts of interest can also arise more quickly than you think.
Moreover, the concept of conflict of interest is somewhat vague, creating a grey area from an ethical perspective!
So be on your guard and be sure to seek independent counsel! Don't hide behind cheap excuses like:
- "I want to save costs", and
- "I have searched carefully but I cannot find a good lawyer"
Consider the fee of an independent lawyer as a saving and not as a cost. It is a guarantee that you will avoid huge unexpected costs in the long run.
In other words, are you going to invest money in foreign real estate? Then engage a lawyer or legal professional and avoid buying a pig in a poke.
Some advantages of a local independent lawyer
- The legal expert knows what background checks to carry out locally in order to assess the situation and carry out a thorough due diligence [AVAILABLE SOON]. Some examples:
- Looking up the property in a local database
- Checking who owns the land on which the property stands
- Checking that no construction offences were committed
- Checking whether third parties can have the property in question seized
- Check if there are any back taxes to be paid for this property
- Checking whether you can rent out the property in question immediately or not (is it possible to rent out the property at all without the necessary licences and are such licences still available at this time?)
- This legal specialist can play an important role if there is a language barrier between you and the building promoter/real estate agent.
- Before you decide to sign a contract of sale and pay a deposit, your solicitor should read the following two documents:
- Sales agreement
- Conditions of a possible (mortgage) loan
How do I find an independent solicitor?
How do you find an independent lawyer in such a way that there is no chance of a conflict of interests?
In other words, who is going to look after your interests one hundred per cent?
You have a number of options for finding the right lawyer for the job:
Via the embassy or consulate | Investing money in a house abroad
As a foreigner, you can always contact the embassy or consulate of your home country.
In many cases, you can also request a list of lawyers with a good reputation and track record.
Please check the government website of your home country.
Via an experience expert (another buyer)
You can learn a lot from people who have been there before you.
They can give you valuable tips and advice on investing money in a property there.
You can also find out in this way whether those experts by experience still consider the local property investment market [AVAILABLE SOON] to be worthwhile.
Through an umbrella sector organisation
You can also call on a reliable database of members of an umbrella sector organisation.
Such an organisation often has hundreds of members from dozens of countries and from all sorts of disciplines (including the legal branch).
Some comments on investing money in foreign real estate
A lawyer who is a member of a sector organisation is not necessarily a lawyer with ethics. Conflicts of interest remain a threat even in such a case.
Also remember that there is a difference between a lawyer and a notary. In many European countries, a notary is a legal responsibility of the state.
One of the tasks of such a notary is to accompany and register real estate transactions.
Notaries draw up deeds and have an impartial position. This means that a notary cannot be held responsible for certain deeds that are in favour of the seller or the buyer.
An independent lawyer, on the other hand, defends only your interests. In other words, such a lawyer will always do the necessary research.
This way you will not run much risk when buying foreign real estate investments [AVAILABLE SOON].
This way you can be sure that there will be no unpleasant surprises in the future after the purchase.
Conclusion | Investing money in a foreign house
When it comes to investing money in a foreign house, you should always use an independent lawyer.
It is the ultimate solution to avoid buying a pig in a poke.
Moreover, in addition to guidance on the purchase, you can often also obtain additional advice on succession planning, taxation and the financing of the property.
Foreign investment property in the spotlight
- Buy a second home in France in full ownership with at least 7% return per year (rental guarantee via operator of luxury resort)
- Invest in German real estate with worry-free rental guarantee and security
- Recreational real estate as an investment with up to 9% return, participation is possible from 15,750 euros
- Leuven student rooms with rental guarantee [AVAILABLE SOON] as savings formula
- Swedish stand-alone investment properties [AVAILABLE SOON] for rental as investment