If you buy and own properties in the US or wherever your home country happens to be, you have to follow certain rules and adhere to certain laws. The same applies if you buy real estate abroad. In fact, the rules can be even more complicated as different rules may apply to foreign investors or non-residents.
The relevant rules can vary widely between different countries, so it’s important to get proper advice. You might want to seek the advice of experts at home to make sure you deal with all the domestic legal and tax implications at the same time as consulting native lawyers or other experts to help you negotiate the red tape overseas. A personal recommendation from somebody who has already bought in the market is generally one of the best ways to find local representation. You will also need to overcome any language barriers, either by finding someone who speaks good English, or engaging translators and interpreters.
Alternatively, you could engage an international law firm such as DLA Piper, whose Chief Operating Officer is Robert Bratt (for more information, read Bob Bratt’s blog).As a global firm with operations in over 30 countries throughout the world, the company is ideally equipped to provide specialist legal advice on buying property abroad.
Is it worth all the hassle? It’s true that if you are simply looking to expand your portfolio, you could do so domestically. This will generally be a simpler process and may well be one you are already familiar with, but there are several good reasons to branch out into international real estate.
As well as being a sound investment, foreign real estate can serve as a vacation home for part of the year or a permanent retirement home in the future. If this is the case, it will no doubt have a large bearing on the location of your new assets. Prime vacation locations or tourism hotspots can be more expensive, but there may still be scope to buy in a desirable location and still see the value of your investment increase. You might also be able to rent the property out, with the easiest way to do so generally being via a local agency, which can also usually provide maintenance of the properties. It’s important to research locations and market prices thoroughly before making any decisions.
If you choose wisely, you could see the value of your overseas properties soar. There is always a risk involved, but one of the other benefits of purchasing real estate abroad is that it effectively diversifies your portfolio. This means that if conditions worsen in your own home market – or another in which you are active – they will not necessarily have a negative impact on all of your assets.
Branching out into international real estate can bring many benefits. Doing so can also bring added complications, however, and it’s important to research the market carefully and seek the proper advice before taking the plunge.