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Monthly wrap: Tips on finding property abroad, where do you start during coronavirus?

currency-newsMonthly wrap: Tips on finding property abroad, where do you start during coronavirus?
This year is seeing global property markets transform because of the coronavirus pandemic, Brexit and global uncertainty.

Like many aspects of our lives, the overseas property market is evolving and adapting to overcome new hurdles life is throwing at us with buyer-friendly digital experiences.

So, with these new hurdles where do you start finding property to buy abroad? And what do you need to consider?

Where do you start?

Has coronavirus made you appreciate the things you can’t do at the moment like go on holiday abroad? Or do you already have your heart set on a villa in the Mediterranean sun?

If you’ve already started to think about buying abroad, you probably have a decent idea of what you’re looking for and a rough budget.

However, it’s worth casting your net slightly wider just to see where else might suit you and how far your money will go in different locations after all the disruption of this year.

As in the UK, property markets abroad have also experienced unforeseen movement.

What do you need to consider?

Know the local area

If you’re thinking of buying in Europe, Brexit and coronavirus are impossible to ignore.

While UK-EU negotiations are ongoing, you’ll need to be ready for the unexpected. This will mean knowing laws specific to the country you are considering buying in, and what it could mean as a buyer from the UK if your rights change after December 31st 2020.

With the UK negotiating more bi-lateral agreements, different countries laws may differ for UK citizens more than they did before.

Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact countries with different levels of severity which could take years to recover from, so do your research of the local region’s experience and outlook during and after coronavirus to protect your investment.

On top of this, usual considerations shouldn’t be ignored about country-specific laws such as different legal systems for processing property purchases and tax implications of buying overseas.

Having a local contact always helps, but exercise the usual caution with estate agents and developers as they’re obviously acting in the sellers’ interest.

Perhaps one of the key considerations to emerge from coronavirus are your travel requirements.

Coronavirus appears to have changed the travel industry for years to come as airlines look likely to struggle operating the same routes at pre-coronavirus capacities, possibly making the region you had your heart set on harder to get to from the UK.

How do you find property to buy abroad?

Property websites and best places to buy guides

Obviously, the easiest place to start is online, with best places to buy articles and relocation guides always useful for initial ideas.

With this year’s upheaval, property markets are moving quickly so prices and ideas you had about a location before the pandemic may have changed.

Property websites and agents are making quick digital changes to overcome the changes coronavirus has brought.

Rightmove, Zoopla, and OnTheMarket have upped the user experience on their websites to incorporate more and better photos, offer virtual tours, and user-friendly select, filter, and compare search options.
Social Media

With many businesses temporarily closed, planes grounded, and strict government restrictions, traditional ways of buying property abroad are limited.

Consequently, social media has turned into one of the go-to places for many seeking to buy new property abroad. And this trend doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing down any time soon.

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as selling platforms all have inherent fast-paced digital advantages over conventional property buying.

Photos and questions can be seen and answered swiftly, while quick informal communication offers a sense of normality and a chance to build rapport with agents.
Going virtual – a property viewing revolution

As we’ve got used to working and socialising in virtual environments this year, property websites have adapted to meet demand with state-of-the-art virtual tours.

Virtual viewing allows for a 360-degree view of your chosen property in high-definition 24/7, adding essential reality and detail to property research.

On top of this, estate agents provide live walkthroughs of properties offering a greater interactive experience, while the technology allows viewers to take measurements of rooms and see detail not usually seen in person until near the end of the buying process.

Of course, the time will come when you can view the property in ‘real life’ but using virtual tours and social media to stay in close contact with sales agent will give you an early advantage.

Think about currency transfers early on

Securing a great exchange rate for your international property purchase should be at the forefront of your mind now more than ever.

With Brexit, the coronavirus crisis and the upcoming US election all causing sudden movements in the currency market, it’s important to talk to a currency specialist early on if you want to safeguard your transfer from negative rate movements.

A currency expert will be able to keep you up-to-date with the latest exchange rate news and help you pick the best time to move your money.

They’ll also be able to talk you through the different transfer options available – like the ability to fix or target an exchange rate.

The coronavirus crisis provides a perfect example of how much exchange rate movements can impact a currency transfer.

Over the course of 2020 the GBP/EUR exchange rate has traded at highs of €1.20 and lows of €1.06.

That 14 cent discrepancy would mean the difference of €28,000 on a £200,000 currency transfer.

With further currency volatility likely before the end of 2020 it’s well worth considering how you’re going to make your international payment in advance.
After the shock of lockdown earlier this year, optimism is growing that we’ll be able to get on with our lives again and economies recover.

Importantly for property buyers, the tools and digital experience offered by property websites and estate agents to adapt to new ways of selling are here to stay, making the process of where to start and buying property abroad easier.
Philip McHugh

Philip McHugh

Joining the corporate trading desk in 2007, Phil now over sees all of Currencies Direct’s corporate dealing activity. Having gained experience working with hundreds of businesses to optimise international payments processes and execute comprehensive risk management strategies, Phil currently works with a portfolio of corporate clients whilst managing Currencies Direct’s overall market exposure

Phil has FCA approval and has completed the Certificate in International Treasury Management (CertiTM)

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