Property Buying Tips for Expats

By HopwoodHouse, 17 September, 2015

Buying and selling property is never quick nor simple. When the property is located in another country, things can get all the more complicated. While the process will always have its challenges, following a few key pieces of advice can help ensure that things don't get more complicated than they need to.

Know the Location

Before deciding to buy a property, make sure you know about the area it's located in and whether this is really what you're looking for. Is it in a nice, quiet, scenic middle-of-nowhere spot or right in the centre of a major town or city? Does the area have a significant expat community? Considerations like this can help you choose the most ideal location and avoid regrets.


Some places are attractively cheap to move but expensive to live in. In other words, property prices are low but the cost of living is high. Make sure you research the financial situation in full to make sure you don't get shocked by everyday expenses. Include food, utilities, vehicle running costs and just about everything else you can think of. It is also well worth familiarising yourself with the tax situation of the country you are thinking of moving to in order to get an accurate idea of your income and outgoings. In particular, check whether or not you will be covered by a double taxation agreement, which would mean you don't have to pay tax in both countries on the same income.


If, like thousands of Britons every year, you're retiring abroad then you will want to transfer your pension to your destination country. Through Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS), you should be able to have your UK pension entitlement paid into your new overseas bank account once you become a tax resident of your new country.


If you're heading abroad and leaving the NHS behind, it's important to know what your entitlement to healthcare will be and what you need to do in order to secure this entitlement. In many countries, you are expected to join a scheme or to make financial contributions (the equivalent of UK National Insurance) in order to gain any healthcare entitlement. On the subject of healthcare, you should contact your GP before leaving so that they can remove you from the register.


If you don't want your life overseas to be a lonely one with a perpetual, frustrating language barrier, you will need to think about finding ways to communicate effectively in your new country. For this reason, you should definitely plan on learning the local language even if you're going somewhere with a large community of UK expats and a reputation for many locals having a strong command of English. Even a very basic proficiency in the local language can significantly improve the standard of your new life. That being said, heading to an area where English is fairly well- and widely-spoken can certainly help ease things while the learning process is still ongoing.

For more information or to browse a range of overseas or UK property investments , please contact Hopwood House.