A Guide to Buying Property Abroad

The prospect of buying a property abroad can be one of the most exciting ventures you can think of. Whether you want to leave behind the UK for a fresh start in the sunnier climes of Spain, have a holiday home, or invest in overseas rental property to bulk up your income flow, the notion of owning property abroad is certainly a tantalising one. So much so that there are a growing number of British expats, the vast majority of which are retirees who’ve taken advantage of the luxurious opportunities that are on the market today.

As with any singularly compelling life choice, however, buying a home abroad is one of the trickiest and most complex processes you can undertake. If you want to make your endeavour a successful one then it’s vital that you carry out all the research you can so that you’re properly well-informed. Alongside this, it’s highly recommended that you employ an expert mortgage broker to help navigate you through every step of the way.

We at The Mortgage Genie have a deep and specialised knowledge on how to secure mortgages for housing abroad whether you hold a Tier 2 visa or otherwise. If you’re interested in joining those among our success stories then feel free to call us today at 033 33 44 33 72.

To get you started on your way we’ve created this guide which comprises the fundamental information on purchasing and owning property overseas. Throughout we’ll be going over the following questions:

Why buy a property abroad?

As we’ve already mentioned in passing, there are a number of reasons as to why you’d want to buy a property abroad. The most popular among these being for if you want to permanently relocate overseas or have a holiday home to enjoy in your leisure time. Understandably, the usual yearly trip abroad isn’t enough for some and instils the desire to start afresh or enjoy their retirement in a more pleasing climate than what is often a damp Britain. And who could blame someone for securing a property within their favourite Spanish coastal resort for when they feel the urge to jet away?

Alternatively, if you’re presently more money-minded then you might consider buying overseas for the purpose of owning a buy-to-let property. With today’s market you could snag a relatively cost-effective property in a desirable location such as Italy or Turkey which you could then rent out to holiday-goers. As travelling restrictions are now heavily lifted there has been an influx of eager travellers, meaning the possibility of a rather lucrative and steady income for those choosing this route.

And for those who are concerned with long-term financial gain, there’s the option of buying property overseas for investment purposes. If you’re savvy enough to identify where property prices are on the rise then you could potentially fit yourself into a monetarily beneficial gap in the market. Naturally, this would necessitate thorough investigation and overseeing which would have you making regular plane journeys.

Where is the best place to buy property abroad?

There is no one single best place to buy property abroad, there are, however, locations which are best suited for singular purposes and geared towards certain demographics. This is a decision you’ll have to make based on what your personal needs and wants are.

There’s a long history of Brits buying property abroad in Spain and the relationship is likely to continue for the foreseeable. It’s no surprise, Spain has always had inherent value and interest to the British down to the consistently warm weather alongside relatively low-cost property values which open many windows of opportunity. In a similar vein, Portugal is a favourite haunt of the sun and scenery while coming with low living costs, despite property being a little costlier than in the latter.

For more luxurious property, France takes the cake. The French property market is host to some of the most up-market housing that money can buy, especially in the capital. Being a country that’s historically steeped in arts and culture with the addition of various skiing destinations, it’s easy to see why pricing is more competitive here. Albeit, more rural locations may be more accessible. On the flipside, Turkey has garnered a reputation as being an ideal spot for budget investors looking to get the best value for money properties that are out there today.

Where can I find property abroad?

Surprisingly, you can find property abroad in much the same way as you’d find property in the UK, with some additional methods available to you too. The first port of call to get your house-hunting underway could be the usual online property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla who list overseas properties in addition to those near you.

For more offline searching it’s an option to go to the country in which you want to secure a property deal and visit some of the local estate agents that are there. The advantage here is that they’ll be able to provide you with first-hand valuable information about the property market in that country while giving you a chance to view overseas property in person. Furthermore, developers are always offering newly built and off-plan properties. With this option you’ll have to make sure you’re well informed from a reliable second opinion since there may be variables that you won’t instinctively take into consideration like you would in the UK. Transport accessibility, for instance, is generally a given in Britain.

How do I finance buying property abroad?

How to finance your overseas property purchase is the part of the process which will demand the most research and careful consideration. If you’re thinking of getting a mortgage loan for a property abroad then it’s essential that you understand all your options by speaking to an expert mortgage broker. People like us have an in-depth knowledge of the field and are specialised in explaining what mortgage types are available to you and how much of a deposit you’ll need.

There are two options when it comes to getting a mortgage loan for a property abroad, you can either arrange an overseas mortgage with your local bank or apply for a mortgage loan from an overseas lender. The most direct advantage of going with a local bank is that there won’t be a language barrier to hold up or confuse the process. On the other hand, however, going with an overseas lender means that you’ll have access to people who have a wider knowledge of the fees and charges you can expect and the best interest rates you can get.

In order to amass a substantial amount of money it’s worth noting that you can remortgage a UK property in order to fund your overseas venture. It might appear a little riskier at first but if your property has increased in value since you initially bought it then it could turn out to be a shrewd decision. Finally, if you have enough capital, it’s feasible to pay for a property abroad with outright cash.

What are the risks of buying property abroad?

The majority of the risks that are associated with buying property abroad typically come down to oversight more than anything. As we’ve stressed, it’s essential that you carry out rigorous research as a prerequisite. This is because elements such as that country’s laws and regulations may be quite different than they are in the UK. For instance, if you fail to take into account the fact that you have to pay stamp duty on your overseas property as well as the one back in Britain, international bank transfer fees, insurance costs, utility costs, annual property tax, and income tax then you could quite easily come into financial problems. It’s very important that you familiarise yourself with foreign laws so that you know your property is secure and that you keep up to date on exchange rate changes.

It’s for these reasons that we highly recommend you get expert advice as well as make arrangements with a trustworthy translator. This latter point is to ensure that you’re clearly clued in on all the legal documentation as some real estate agents may show bias and attempt to conveniently omit salient information if you aren’t fluent in the local language. Potential misunderstandings can likewise be just as costly too. And for an added sense of security it’s also a good idea to employ a professional property surveyor to make sure that all is in order before the purchase.

Can I buy property abroad after Brexit?

You may think that Brexit has made purchasing a property overseas more difficult, and you’re partially right, but it’s still very much on the cards, there are just a few extra steps you have to take now. To stay for an extended period of time in European countries you’ll now have to negotiate a visa with the individual national government, on top of this there’ll be no shortage of paperwork and bureaucratic dealings. If you aren’t able to get a visa then your stay will be capped to 90 days. If your stay extends beyond this point you’ll suffer an ‘overstay’ stamp onto your passport, which could prove problematic, or eventual deportation.

Alongside this, you might have to pay more tax than you would pre-Brexit due to EU countries setting certain tax regulations for non-EU citizens. You should be aware in what circumstances these regulations apply for whichever country you’ve chosen to purchase property in. Further, you will have to apply for state-funded healthcare if you wish to have access to it.

With all this being said, it’s still relatively straightforward to get your hands on property overseas, it simply benefits you to be aware of the changes and extra requirements. Just ensure that you tick all the boxes for entry requirements and get in touch with relocation agencies as soon as you can.

In advance of any progress with the mortgage front, I suggest reviewing your Credit File. The easiest way to do this is by using our free tool – Check My File. It’s free for the first 30 days, but you can cancel at any time once you’ve downloaded your report.

Here at the Mortgage Genie we have a comprehensive understanding on how to get a mortgage and are adept at helping people get accepted for loans whether for abroad or in the UK. We sincerely hope that this post has cleared up any concerns and queries you may have had surrounding buying property from abroad.

Each day we help an exponential number of people realise their housing dream of living in the sun by assisting them in finding a mortgage deal that’s perfectly suited to them and guiding them through every step of the process. If you’re in need of a team of expert mortgage brokers then you’ve found the right people. Be sure to contact us today by calling 033 33 44 33 72 if you’ve got any further questions or would like us to set you on the path of owning your ideal property! And why not see how much you could borrow up to today by using our mortgage calculator?

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The Mortgage Genie Limited is Registered in England and Wales with Company Number 9803176. The Mortgage Genie Limited is an Appointed Representative of PRIMIS Mortgage Network, a trading name of First Complete Ltd. First Complete Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Most Buy-to-Let Mortgages are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


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