When choosing your dream location, or generally a place to buy abroad it's not always about how cheap the property is, although - this is usually quite a big deal for most buyers, however, you want to choose somewhere with accessibility, the lifestyle factors that may come into play (being close to the beach, being near shops). So how do you choose between your favourite countries or perhaps your favourite regions? Here we look at the five of the key considerations for buyers looking to move or buy abroad...
Many of us have great intentions about learning the local language before we look to buy a home abroad but when it comes down to it, it’s not as easy when everyone you meet talks back to you in English – so one of the questions is how much English is spoken where I may look to buy abroad? Work out if you’re going to be comfortable ‘getting by on the basics’ – like ordering a beer or a coffee, or whether you want to make a serious effort learning the language. In Spain, there will often sessions held in bars and cafes to encourage locals to chat to newly arrived expats – or perhaps cheap Spanish lessons in local villages. Or perhaps maybe you would prefer to move somewhere English is most widely spoken?
Cost of Living
Your day to day living expenses can vary considerably between different countries (Portugal, for example, generally very affordable – Thailand, very affordable also) but also it largely depends on the region and towns. Tourist towns and cities are usually far more expensive than inland or off-track location, and at times island locations where many products are imported. Weigh up many important factors – cost of utilities, community fees, healthcare and travel expenses.
Over the last five to six years, the importance of security has risen significantly to the top of many property buyers’ lists. There are several features regarding security, not only does this include the risk of terrorism in a country or region, but also the chance of political volatility and economic security – this is all because buying a home is a long-term investment. There are many buyers who gravitate towards locations such as Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Spain in the last couple of years, for example, for their perceived lack of security issues.
Culture and Community
When you look to buy a home abroad, would you intend to immerse yourself in the local culture and attempt to live like a local, or would you prefer having the security, relative privacy and plenty of Britons around you? Ideally you would need to narrow your choices down to – expat hubs, cosmopolitan towns with a wide variety of nationalities (Example: Costa Del Sol), or would you prefer a small village with a real sense of community and togetherness, think about how you would wish to integrate. Many buyers choose countries like Cyprus because they feel much safer driving on the same side of the road as the UK, whilst historical connections of such as Malta and Gibraltar are attractive to other.
Climate and Seasonality
Lets be honest, you won’t be looking for a country with more rain that the UK – and if the UK offered more sunshine throughout the year, i’m sure people would choose to stay instead of look to move abroad. Think about your local conditions carefully – will it be too hot in the summer months to visit – or play golf or play tennis? Bear in mind that alot of southern european countries can reach 40 degrees in peak summer months, which can be very uncomfortable. Likewise, what are the winters like? – are they mild or similar to england? – Even on islands in the southern parts of europe, the conditions can vary from one side to the other.