Buying a property abroad: 5 things you need to know

If you're looking to buy a property overseas you're likely to have a lot of questions. Before you're settling in to somewhere like the south of France or even as far off as New Zealand, here are 5 things to get your head around.

1. You should expect to do plenty of research

From tax laws and planning regulations to outstanding utility bills, there's a lot to consider when buying a property abroad. The process for buying a property may be quite different to the process in the UK. Your mortgage provider, financial adviser or lawyer may be able to offer help. But even so you should budget more time, energy and additional money than you would for buying a home in the in the UK.

2. A good adviser is vital

Your adviser can help with more than just the paperwork involved in buying a property abroad. They can also give you valuable insight into the region and potential pitfalls of local ownership. You should use a lawyer who is familiar with local property law, fluent in the language (and English), and completely independent.

3. You don't have the same protections as you would in the UK

When you're buying overseas property, you need to make sure you've got the necessary legal protections. Overseas property purchases aren't covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme so you're reliant on the local legal system and any additional protections your lawyer may negotiate or put in place for you.

4. Inheritance laws may be different to the UK

To ensure the property is inherited according to your wishes, you may want to consider drawing up a will in the country you're buying in. It's also worth looking at how an inherited property may be taxed so you can consider the longer term impacts.

5. Understand your mortgage options

If you plan to use your UK home as collateral, you can look at UK banks for a range of mortgage options. If you want to use the overseas property itself as collateral, you'll need to use a bank in that country.