Step Two: Finding the right real estate agent
Regardless of the location of your property abroad, it’s critical to find a good real estate agent. Here are our five Top Tips for finding the right agent overseas.
1. Compare different agents online
When researching potential agents, look at some of the overseas property portals to compare regions and agents. This will give you a feel for what’s available and the different services they can offer. Ask trusted advisors, friends and family for recommendations and look for testimonials and positive reviews online.
2. Are they established?
Find out how long the estate agent has been operating in that area, their range of properties available and research their reputation locally and, if relevant, regionally.
3. Are they professional?
Check the agent’s professional qualifications and accreditations, as well as any awards they may have won. Find out if they are members of any professional associations or membership bodies, ensuring they adhere to a code of ethics and professional standards.
4. What’s their customer service like?
Ensure they respond to you quickly and can answer any questions you have. Are they flexible with timings and suggestions to book any viewings?
5. How helpful are they?
Take the opportunity to call or email the agent to ask them a question, not just about the property itself, but about the local area and life in that country. They should also be able to help you with getting your new property set up, either for rental purposes, or for you to move in to, as a holiday home or for a permanent move.
Halo Handy Hint – Real estate agents
Local estate agents should be able to help you with practical matters in the area, too, such as opening a bank account, how to connect to utilities, and finding local amenities. Test their knowledge with your questions!
Viewing properties abroad
You wouldn’t buy a home in the UK without looking at it first, so why would you take that risk on a property overseas?
There are popular times throughout the year to visit your country of choice and view a selection of properties, known to the international property industry as “the viewing trip”. The period before and after the school Easter holidays in the UK and Europe, for example, and in the summer months. There are also bad times to visit, such as public holidays – so make sure the places you are going to visit are not over- run for a festival or shut down because of a religious or bank holiday!
Always take the time to visit the property you are considering buying and get to know the area. You will need a good feel for the area if you’re buying off-plan. You need to be sure that the property is in good order, that it as close to amenities as it says it is, and that the area and property itself are fit for purpose (for example, popular with renters if an investment property, fits your criteria for a holiday home or permanent residence.)
If you can, stay in the area in which you are viewing properties – rent an apartment or try out a holiday let to get a feel for the properties and what it’s really like in your country and region of choice.
Visit at different times of the day and year. It’s always a good idea to look at any potential property investment at different times of the year and in different situations – visit both day and night, if you can – and compare and contrast what the property is like in both summer and winter is advisable.
Plan your trips and property viewing schedule. If it is a long journey for you, you will need to make the most of any specific trips to view properties and be organised – plan ahead as much as possible and make sure your agent works for you to ensure a solid schedule of viewing properties that fit your criteria.