By Anne Brobyn
Things to consider before investing in real estate abroad:
1. How easy is it to travel to and from the destination: airlift, seasonal, cost?
2. How strong is the infrastructure, including roads, hydro, water, communication systems and services?
3. What is the cost and standard of living in this destination and can I afford it? Look at the GDP to help determine.
4. What is the weather like and the climatic conditions for this country during the period I’d like to use/rent this property?
5. Are there sufficient medical services and standards of practice in this country? Cost to airlift back home?
6. Who will manage my property while I’m not there?
7. Is the furniture included in the purchase price? Is it negotiable?
8. Are there any hidden fees and/or expenses in the purchase and ownership of this property? Full disclosure.
9. What do I intend to do with this property in the short term and long term? Are there any associated costs at the time I’m finished with it? For example inheritance or homestead taxes, sellers fees.
10. Is there an optional rental pool and how is it managed? Who and how is marketing done to attract renters?
11. Is there a rescission period when I can change my mind not to purchase?
12. What taxes and/or stamp duty will I be required to pay … and when?
13. How will the purchase of a property affect my taxation at home or wherever I have permanent residency? Seek out professionals who have expertise in international investment. Am I better off setting up an offshore company to make this purchase?
14. Is the property deeded?
15. How do I legally protect myself in the transfer of title?
16. What restrictions are there to transfer funds safely and legally in and out of the country? Avoid risk of money laundering.
17. What is the crime rate, especially violent acts against foreigners?
18. Must I become a resident to own property? What incentives are in place for foreign investment?
19. What are the pros and cons of the property’s location? What is planned for future development in this area? Accessibility?
20. If looking within a development, what other projects has the developer successfully completed? Reputation? Dig deep, past what marketing and salespeople tell you.
21. Are there maintenance fees to pay and if so what do they include? Or not include?
22. How will I finance my off-shore purchase?
23. How will I find a reputable local lawyer to use for this transaction?
24. How easy/difficult is it to take pets into this country?
25. Do I need to have a bank account in this country or will my existing credit and debit cards suffice?