After dominating the overseas second home market for a long time British buyers dropped down the tables in recent years, but lately the revival in interest has led the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office to produce a video that offers advice and welcome tips to those looking at buying a property overseas. Aimed at helping British overseas homebuyers enjoy a smooth purchase process free of the pitfalls that some people have experienced in the past, the video offers sensible advice based in part on experience and common sense. As Stephen Jones, British Consul in Malaga, and others say in the video, a lot of people lose sight of simple practical issues and common sense when buying abroad for the first time. The sense of excitement overtakes them, and in the process they don’t apply the same degree of commonsensical seriousness they would if they were buying a property back home. In doing so they often overlook issues that can become problems later on, and in some cases can spoil what was meant to be a pleasant experience. Sound advice The FCO video does not warn people against buying overseas. Quite the opposite – it confirms how positive a move it can be both in lifestyle and enjoyment terms, and as a sound investment, but as ever when making a large purchase decision they emphasise the importance of getting informed about the area, lifestyle, facilities, transport links, communities and properties of the destination you have in mind. As they rightly point out, the advice will vary slightly depending on whether you want to buy a property to let, purely as an investment, as a holiday home or a fulltime residence, but certain things remain the same. When buying familiarise yourself with the area, get information on the Internet, deal with well-established agents that speak your language and can recommend professional English-language lawyers and foreign exchange specialists. If you’re coming out to live fulltime sometimes it is advisable to rent for a year before deciding on a property or a particular area, and once you’re settled it is always advisable to make an attempt to learn the language and a bit about the culture, although you will make friends among other expats too. Michael Liggan of Altavista Property International says: “The buying process in countries such as Spain is actually very simple and transparent, with tighter laws protecting consumers than ever. So as long as you don’t lose your head and don’t do what you wouldn’t do at home either, it is a straightforward and safe way to enjoy the benefits of a home in the sun.” To view the FCO video click here, or go to their website. You can also contact us for any questions or advice