Moving abroad raises the stakes on the usual questions about relocation. Should we rent first or jump in and buy? Does renting have any advantages over buying?
Keep reading for tips and advice so you’re prepared to make informed decisions confidently regardless of the distant locale and unfamiliar customs.
When making a major move, it’s probably wise to take the time to learn about the location and become acclimated to the local culture. Renting will likely give you better insight into where you want to live long term. Renting also allows time to save up for housing expenses.
Choosing to rent, while giving you time to settle in, also means you’re signing up for another round of moving, which will cost you more in time, money and aggravation.
Beware of Scams
Watch out for management companies that require payment prior to seeing the property. Always view in person to confirm the property matches the advertised listing and photos.
Go Local if Moving Abroad
If you’d rather jump right in and purchase, use a relocation management company to connect you to local real estate agents. They’ll help you make smart decisions regarding location, schools, services, shopping, and other amenities.
A big benefit of buying is the equity you build in a strong market. As a bonus, you’ll have a vacation property once you move back to the United States. Check with an accountant for tax ramifications for purchasing abroad.
Ask About Mortgages When Buying Abroad
In some locations, you might have to pay cash for a home because mortgage systems are not as well-developed as in the United States. If mortgages exist, as much as 40 percent of the purchase price might be required in cash. Also, research the property title thoroughly to ensure no one can later claim ownership. Title warranties do not work the same as in the United States.
Use an Interpreter
Whether you buy or lease, use an interpreter to understand the documents you are signing. For rentals, ask about things like exterior and interior maintenance, lease termination procedures, appliance repairs, and what is or is not included in a fully furnished rental. Rental deposits vary from country to country and need to be clearly spelled out so you know how much of a financial commitment you are making. For purchases, ask about local requirements regarding resale of the property.
Credit reports are specific to each country, so ask what documentation is needed to establish credit and to process your application. Always negotiate the price.