Buying Property

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If you are considering joining the great stampede overseas and buying property abroad, be warned that it can all be a bit more taxing than it first appears.

With the holiday season under way, many people will be tempted to join the growing numbers of Britons who own foreign property.

But potential buyers are being urged to be fully aware of the different tax regimes abroad before deciding where to buy.

Latest figures show there are 257,000 British households with second homes abroad, with the most popular place for Britons to buy being Spain, ahead of France, Portugal and Italy. The US is also a popular destination, with many also tempted by off-the-beaten-track locations such as Bulgaria.

But, Richard Proctor, tax partner at financial advisers Grant Thorn-ton, said: “While good weather, availability of low-cost flights and the cost of property are the biggest factors when making the choice of where to buy, the local tax implic-ations should also be carefully considered, as these can have a significant impact on the costs associated with the holiday home.”

“If you do buy a property abroad, income received from its rental may give rise to local taxes.”

“In many countries any gain arising on the sale of the property or merely its ownership can lead to a tax liability.”

“Furthermore, if the owner is a UK tax resident, rental income or gain on the sale of the property may also result in a UK tax liability, with the individual having to obtain relief under the complex ‘double tax relief’ provisions.”

“This is on top of all the property taxes associated with purchasing property.”

Among the things to consider are tax on rental income, wealth tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, and the interaction with UK taxes.

Mr Proctor said: “People who are considering taking the plunge should seek specialist tax advice both in the country in which they intend to buy and in the UK – otherwise it could end up costing them much more than they bargained for.”

“Once a property has been purchased, they should make sure their will is updated, and in certain circumstances, it would be wise to have a will in the country where the property is located.”

Source: BIZOnline

From Turkey to South Africa to Cape Verde, British buyers are broadening their horizons ‘It’s becoming a feeding frenzy to be the first one in’ to a new area.

Turkey is now more ‘up’ than ‘coming’ but house prices are still cheap.

So have you thought about owning a holiday home in Egypt, South Africa or a set of poor islands located off the coast of Africa?

Possibly not, but all these destinations have been the subject of a blitz of enquiries from Britons looking to buy a second home, according to research from the overseas mortgage specialist Conti Financial Services.

The number of UK households owning an additional property abroad rose by 45 per cent between 1999 and 2004 to almost 257,000, reports the Office for National Statistics.

While more than half of these homes are in the traditional destinations of Spain and France, today’s buyers are also choosing to invest in more distant, more affordable shores that offer the potential for greater growth in property values – though with a higher degree of risk.

“It’s becoming a feeding frenzy to be the first one in (to a new location),” says Simon Conn, the managing director of Conti.

One example is Cape Verde, the former Portuguese colony that comprises 10 islands 300 miles off the north-west coast of Africa.

The islands, complete with turquoise waters and white sands, are still in the early stage of commercial development but investment is pouring in.

Currency exchange specialist HIFX reports that enquiries about Cape Verde have gone through the roof.

“The country’s national airline, TAVC, will begin operating a direct flight between Birmingham and Praia (Cape Verde’s capital on the island of Santiago) from November,” says Mark Bodega, the marketing manager of HIFX.

Properties start at around £50,000 for a two-bed apartment. Elsewhere, popular destinations previously off the radar for those seeking second homes include Turkey and South Africa.

After a government decree last year, under which foreign nationals can now own freeholds, Turkey is more “up” than “coming”, says Mr Conn.

But with properties averaging between £55,000 and £70,000, prices are still cheap.

In South Africa, meanwhile, you can pick up a four-bed house with swimming pool near Cape Town’s vineyards for just £140,000.

Given this wide range of destinations, a broader demographic of buyer is also emerging.

Suzanne Sullivan, the marketing director at foreign exchange specialist Currencies Direct, says young professionals between 30 and 35 are attracted to the more up-and-coming destinations.

“Many are first-time buyers who have been priced out of the UK market and want to get on the ladder elsewhere (while continuing to rent here). Some haven’t even seen the property they are buying.”

Other young buyers are already on the ladder, have benefited from house price rises here and can remortgage to release the cash for a second home.

Opportunity usually brings risk and buying a second home overseas – for rent or as a holiday house – carries plenty of that.

It is vital to do your homework. Each country has its own tax laws, its own way of doing business and its own economic issues.

For example, the South African rand is particularly volatile and can fluctuate against the pound by as much as 8.65 per cent in one month. So there are dangers if you take out a home loan in sterling.

However, if you use a foreign exchange specialist, you can mitigate currency risks by fixing your mortgage rate in advance.

Interest rates on overseas home loans, though, can be much higher than in the UK: a variable-rate deal in New Zealand will often cost 9.9 per cent, and in South Africa 8.5 per cent.

Hefty deposits are more likely to be the norm: up to 50 per cent is required on some Caribbean islands.

In Croatia, Thailand and Brazil, meanwhile, overseas nationals are not usually allowed to take out a mortgage, which means paying in cash.

One risk in some countries is that your property deeds might not be worth the paper they’re written on.

War tends to be the reason for this, with land and homes becoming a point of contest after displaced peoples return and lay claim.

This has happened, for example, in Croatia and Northern Cyprus.

Source: Belfast Telegraph
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AS holidaymakers relax on a foreign terrace this summer conversation will inevitably touch on how nice it would be to own a place in the sun.

The number of Britons owning overseas homes has soared over the past decade, but the pitfalls involved in turning aspirations into real-life bricks and mortar remain.

But whether you are buying in Morocco or Madrid there are some simple rules to follow that can make the process go as smoothly as possible. Simon Lambert outlines the five steps to buying a holiday home in the sun.

1. Research, research, research

If you are seriously considering buying a property abroad you need to do research – and a lot of it. The internet means there is no excuse for not taking advantage of the wealth of information at your fingertips.

Investigate the countries and areas you are considering and see what is on offer. Any website owned by a property-related business is interested in getting you to buy. Look at community websites run by expats or those who have holiday homes in the area as well.

There are countless internet forums run by people who have taken the overseas property plunge. Reading about other peoples’ experiences will give you an idea of the potential problems of buying in your chosen country, and any extra expenses you’re likely to incur.

There are also hundreds of companies that, for a fee, will help you buy a home on the Continent. If this is a route you’re considering, investigate them carefully before choosing to give them your hard-earned cash as they’re not all particularly reputable.

It’s also worth noting that This is Money has a brochure service for overseas property. We will send you brochures for free. It’s not a recommendation but helps you to research before you set off house-hunting.

2. Get your finances sorted

Funding the purchase of a home abroad can be done in a number of different ways. One of the most popular means is remortgaging a British home to release cash to buy a second home. The advantage is that borrowing is all from one place and repayments will be made in the currency you are paid in.

Some lenders offer special overseas purchase mortgages and Abbey uses its link with parent company Banco Santander to offer a Spanish mortgage, paid in euros. If you are looking for assistance, it is possible to borrow in a variety of countries through a specialist overseas mortgage broker. Brighton-based broker Conti Financial Services can find mortgages for countries ranging from Poland to Australia and offer further expert advice to purchasers. Bear in mind currency fluctuations will affect your repayments

3. Visit where you want to buy

Getting to know the area is essential and a number of visits before buying is ideal. Investigate the area without an agent in tow and then make plenty of bookings to view properties. Don’t fall for the hard sell and if you see a property you like make sure you have a cooling off period to discuss its pros and cons.

Don’t get carried away with the romance of a particular Spanish villa. Approach this purchase with the same caution as you would with a house back in Britain and ensure you get the appropriate checks and surveys done before handing over your money.

4. Get the experts in

Different countries have different property laws and regulations, so it’s important that you find a good, fluent English-speaking solicitor who is not connected to your seller, estate agent or property developer. They should be used to dealing with overseas purchasers and go through all the possible fees, taxes, insurance issues, local authority rules and any possible pitfalls. The laws and procedures involved with every aspect of the housebuying process are often different to British laws, so make sure your solicitor’s local knowledge is excellent.

The local tourism office will be able to give you a list of solicitors and it’s important to visit a few before choosing.

If you have bought a plot of land and are having a property built make sure all planning permissions are covered and find a good architect. Again, the tourist office can help. If you think the service you are receiving is unsatisfactory, say so and explain if things don’t improve you will go elsewhere.

5. Make an offer

Once you have found your ideal home, set a maximum price you will pay and don’t go over it. After your offer is accepted and you have instructed solicitors make sure you keep tabs on them and the estate agents. Ask for regular updates and make sure you fulfil all the requests made of you promptly.

Make sure your funding is in place and consider using a currency specialist, such as HIFX or Moneycorp, which can offer better rates and the opportunity to agree a purchase cash advance at a set rate.

Source: thisismoney

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An international property fraudster who duped investors with fake developments in Dubai and Spain faces another 30 years in jail.

Maz Akhtar, once hailed as a charismatic property guru, has been convicted by a Dubai court on 30 counts. He is already serving a one year in jail term after last year being found guilty of deceit and embezzlement.

It was reported Akhtar, a UK national also known as Maz Khan, had defrauded Dubai residents of over £2m. He has also left a trail of multi million pound scams in Ireland, Norway, Malta and Spain.

In Norway his property marketing company went into liquidation leaving investors with heavy losses. In Ireland investors complained they lost over £2m in a pyramid selling scam linked to metal and coin dealing.

Wanted internationally, Akhtar was arrested in Dubai in January last year following a high speed dash to the Abu Dhabi airport in his Ferrari.

Among the developments he marketed through his company, HK Inversiones, was the fictitious Reserva de Miraflores in Spain, which he began ‘selling’ in Dubai in 2003. This he described as ‘an elegant gated community of Mediterranean style villas and apartments, situated near Manilva, a highly sought after location, ideally suited to both investors and residential buyers’.

A company statement said it had been ‘delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response so far to the Reserva’, and claimed it had sold 70 per cent of the development in less than four months.

Other bogus developments marketed by Akhtar were the Star Islands project in Sharjah and the Seven Wonders of the World project in Dubai. Dubai officials picked up that he was marketing developments that had not been started and as long ago as 2004 issued a warning that one of his developments did not even have planning permission.

A favourite marketing method was through the use of free seminars. Promotion for one such seminar in Abu Dhabi promised that ‘international property and investment specialist Maz Akhtar’ would ‘share his valuable insight, and reveal the secrets of success for investing in overseas property’.

It claimed ‘HK property seminars have been a huge hit in Europe, with people getting exclusive information on exactly what to look for, and how to maximise their return.

‘It seems where Maz goes is the place to go, and right now his hottest tip is southern Spain’s Costa Del Sol. Spain is a star performer among world property markets, with house prices continuing to climb every year by between 15 per cent and 50 per cent’.

Maz won’t now be going anywhere for some time.

Under Dubai law Akhtar needed a Dubai national as a majority shareholder for his company. His troubles are said to have started locally when the man he had talked into this, Mohammed Meer Khori, received a call from a friend saying he had invested in one of the company’s developments about which Khori knew nothing.

Source: Fly2Let

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IRISH overseas buyers were accused yesterday of putting little or no thought into purchasing property abroad.

The claim was made after it emerged that Irish buyers were increasingly signing foreign-language documents without knowing what they mean, and buying apartments without legal advice.

A legal adviser said Irish investors were playing ‘Russian roulette’ when it comes to overseas property.

Most people at home would not consider buying without seeking the advice of a solicitor but they are doing it abroad, according to Catherine O’Sullivan of Overseas Property Law (OPL) in Dublin.

Problems

“We have already seen a number of cases where investors have signed documentation without taking any legal advice, and have subsequently run into problems.

“While some buyers bring their contract to their own solicitor, Irish solicitors cannot be expected to carry the required overseas local legal knowledge to enable them to properly assist Irish clients,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

An Irish solicitor may be able to give a broad overview of the contract, but they will not be able to do the necessary searches to ensure that the seller owns the property and is entitled to sell it.

OPL warned all SSIA account holders who are considering investing their money in overseas property to seek independent advice before they leap into bricks and mortar in foreign lands.

As property prices in Ireland soar on a daily basis, many Irish people are choosing to invest in property abroad in a bid to get on the property ladder.

But OPL said it fears that many people will not investigate the legal and tax system accurately of the country they have chosen, and may experience major pitfalls along the way.

Ms O’Sullivan added: “It is imperative if you are considering buying property abroad that you thoroughly investigate both the tax and legal implications of your purchase.

“The best way to do this is to enlist the help of an independent adviser who has knowledge of the area you are buying in.

“We have already seen overseas investment horror stories that could have been easily avoided, if the investors had done their homework properly before they purchased.

OPL said some investors have even been forced to undervalue the property when the final transfer deed is signed, simply to reduce stamp duty.

However, this practice can actually lead to a higher tax liability further down the line.

Overseas Property Law offer legal and tax services to Irish investors considering buying in the Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Romania, Italy, Turkey , USA, Dubai, UK and Poland.

Source: Unison.ie

The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) has launched its latest advice paper, giving guidance to members who are thinking of making a purchase of property abroad.

The intention of the factsheet, entitled “Advising clients thinking of buying abroad”, is to make people aware of the regulations governing foreign property purchases and the potential pitfalls that come along with them.

Risks include currency difficulties caused by exchange rates and confusion over quotations, legal issues, such as varying legal systems and obligations, and the process of buying the property itself and the stages that must be fulfilled in order to make the purchase official.

“An increasing number of UK residents are buying property abroad, be they holiday homes, future homes to retire to or as buy-to-let investments,” said Rob Griffiths, associate director of AMI.

“There are many considerations for mortgage intermediaries when advising their clients on such a purchase and they must take great care to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.”

Mr Griffiths also noted that the key point to remember is that there will be variations in the process involved in making a property purchase outside the UK, no matter how similar it seems on the surface.

Establishing a bank account, ensuring you have the correct insurance cover and determining the taxation issues of a particular country were all important and potentially problematic areas, the AMI concluded.

Source: Adfero Ltd

Interesting article from Peter Conradi Editor of Times Online Overseas section and Overseas Property Weblog. To view the full article click here or read below: Almost a year ago in this column, I sang the praises of Shanghai as a destination for the foreign property investor. China’s commercial capital appeared to have it all: some spectacular modern developments, high capital growth, decent rental returns all underpinned by one of the world’s most dynamic economies.

It was not, to put it mildly, the most prescient of pieces. The ink on the page was barely dry when the Chinese government stepped in with a raft of “market-cooling” measures that triggered a collapse almost overnight of as much as 20% in the price of some properties turning potential paper profits into immediate losses.

Like others selling property in the city, Dominic Keogh, managing director of the London office of agent Shanghai Vision, is putting a brave face on developments.

Prices, he insisted last week, have been recovering in the months since the crash and, in most cases, are back to their previous highs. The future prospects continue to be good, thanks to the growth of the Chinese economy and continuing shift of population into the cities. “Last year, 500,000 more people moved into Shanghai alone,” he says. “Even for a city of 17.5 million, that is a very big number.”

China is not the only property hot spot that has been given British property investors pause for thought in recent months: in Dubai, another favourite with foreign buyers, there have been gloomy predictions of a glut in property and perhaps even falling prices when the latest wave of new flat developments comes on stream next year.

As for the even more heavily hyped Bulgaria, the merest mention of Sunny Beach or one of the other Black Sea resorts is enough to prompt knowing looks from those in the trade.

Underlying it all is the growing question mark over the biggest one of them all: the US property market. After five years of unremitting growth which has seen prices increasing by an average 50% and doubling in some of the hottest citiesthere are signs the boom times may soon be over: sales have been falling, while repossessions and stocks of unsold houses are growing.

America’s authoritative National Association of Realtors has predicted a soft landing, much as we have seen in Britain in recent years, with annual growth set to slow to a more sustainable 5%.

Pessimists predict a crash, which, given the amount of money tied up in the US property market and the scary levels of household debt, could bring down not just the American economy, but also the global one as a whole.

Setting aside such doomsday scenarios, what is really going on? And what lessons should be drawn from it by the small property investor, looking to put his or her hard-earned cash into an investment property abroad? Liam Bailey, head of residential research at estate agency Knight Frank, which has just launched the first global house-price index, believes the international property boom, which spread from Britain and Ireland across the world in the late 1990s as interest rates fell, is drawing to a close. Average prices, according to its weighed index, rose 6.6% in the first quarter of this year – against 9.3% a year earlier.

“There is undoubtedly a slowing down and overall prices are growing less quickly than they were last year,” says Bailey. “But this doesn’t mean that there isn’t scope for growth in certain areas over time.”

So where has been doing well? Estonia, the Baltic tiger with one of Europe’s fastest growing economies, heads Knight Frank’s list, up 17%, with New Zealand, Bulgaria and South Africa all in double figures although the latter two have slowed down appreciably compared.

More unexpected, perhaps, are the second place for Denmark (up 16.1%) and seventh place for Ireland (up 10.7%), especially since prices in both have been accelerating rather than slowing this year. This is all the more surprising in the case of Ireland, given the amount by which the market has already gone up.

Where those investing should put their money is more difficult, since past performance is, of course, not a guide to future profits. As well as Estonia, and the neighbouring Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania, Bailey fancies Germany – particularly the southern regions of the western part. After stagnating and even falling for several years, prices have shown modest gains this year, with more to come, he predicts, as the German economy continues its export-led recovery.

To Bailey’s list, one could add Romania, Thailand, Turkey, Bali and, for the really adventurous, even Argentina and Brazil. As for China, though, I think it would be best if I kept my predictions to myself.

Remember my brief mention of Veronica de Lotbiniere, the property tycoon & mother of four? Well she has setup her company, Heavenly Property that sources discounted bulk properties and organises property investment seminars. The Telegraph has a more detailed breakdown of her portfolio in an interesting article about how she amassed and manages her fortunes . Here is a breakdown of her portfolio: Five-bedroom seaside house in Suffolk 10 properties in Brandon and Thetford Five-star serviced apartment in York Flat in Dubai New flats in Wolverhampton, Manchester and Birmingham Flat in Budapest Skiing penthouse in Bulgaria Flat in Stockwell, London

Read more about how she manages her four children, seven horses, four dogs and property investments worth £5m here.

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With ever increasing property prices in the UK and Ireland, it is little wonder that investors are looking further a field and becoming more adventurous and imaginative with their overseas property portfolios.

The emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe are current hot spots, attracting a lot of interest with low entry costs and the potential for high capital growth.

However, the advantages and the security of more mature markets should not be overlooked. France is a great example. According to the annual French Property Market Report, published by the French property experts, VEF, France is still an exciting market with house prices set to rise by an average of 11 per cent this year.

VEF’s long term prediction for the market is healthy with prices set to perform over the 8-9 per cent p.a. rate over the next decade, which shows there is still plenty of room in the Gallic market for growth. This is reassuring news for investors looking for sustainability and no unwanted surprises to their portfolio.

However, perhaps the best part for many is France itself. You can buy your dream apartment or villa as a buy to let and you can also use it for your own holidays. Tips from VEF include looking into regions such as Burgundy, Languedoc, Loire and Pyrenees Atlantiques. With low cost flights to France becoming cheaper from most areas of the UK and Ireland access has never been easier.

France still offers an incredible diversity of property, be it old or new at a price range to suit most budgets. VEF has a charming luxury development called ‘Le Hameau des Pins’ set in the breathtaking Corbieres hills near the Mediterranean coast with prices starting from just £130,000. With private swimming pools and views of the nearby Cathar castle and vineyards, this offers excellent letting potential.

A concept which is becoming ever more familiar is the ‘leaseback purchase’. This is a particularly attractive idea that has existed in France for more than 20 years. You buy a freehold new build property on a holiday complex (for example by the sea, on a golf course on in a ski resort) and you sign an agreement with an onsite rental management company for a minimum of 9 years for them to rent out your property.

Not only does the French state give you a VAT concession worth nearly 20 per cent but you usually receive a guaranteed rental income and you can use the property yourself. According to VEF, the number of investors from Yorkshire who are opting for this type of holiday investment property has increased by 47 per cent between 2004 and 2005.

VEF’s Jardins de Renaissance is a fascinating leaseback development in the historic town of Azay le Rideau in the Loire Valley. Fully furnished one bedroom apartments start from £70,200. Firstly, you receive a VAT rebate worth £13,759, then when built the annual guaranteed rental income of 5 per cent equates to £293 per month. Should you opt for a 25 year French mortgage with a 3.8 per cent fixed interest rate, your repayments would be £290.

Who knows the VAT rebate you receive could be put towards another property for your portfolio?

For investors with their eyes set on building their portfolio in Eastern Europe, buy-to-let apartments in Poland or Czech Republic make excellent sense.

UK-based investment property specialists Validus give a pragmatic and honest approach in helping investors choose the right property for their portfolio. They assist you to identify what type of investor you are and how much risk you feel comfortable with.

Should you be looking more towards capital growth, they offer superb value off-plan apartments in Warsaw. One bedroom flats are available from just £19,000. By opting for a local Polish mortgage with a loan to value (LTV) of 80 per cent, you need a cash deposit of just £3,800.

Warsaw is set to become the sixth largest business centre in Europe and is experiencing a severe shortage in new accommodation. Property prices rose between 15 and 22 per cent last year, with similar figures expected for 2006. Although Polish wages are rising, they are still low and as a result rental yields are moderate at approximately 4 per cent p.a.

For a stronger rental income, Validus is offering brand new buy-to-let apartments in Prague. As the property market is more experienced prices tend to be higher but Czech mortgages can be obtained with a LTV of 85 per cent. This means that a one bedroom apartment costing £47,000 can be purchased with just £7,050. A 25-year Czech mortgage at 4 per cent would cost £212 per month. The rental income is expected to be at least £270, so your nest egg in one of Europe’s most beautiful capital cities will actually pay for itself.

Louis Mann of Validus, has some sound words of advice for any future buyer of overseas property.

“There are key rules to follow to make your property investment as successful as possible.

“Take financing seriously – Look at local mortgages and leverage where possible to make the property pay for itself.

“Do your homework and seek expert advice from reputable companies.

“Make an exit strategy. If and when you sell, what are the tax implications? Are there benefits to holding on to your property for longer to avoid local capital gains tax?

“Don’t forget exposure to currency fluctuations. Forward purchase where necessary.”

Source: 999Today.com

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – Ever dream about buying a little place in the rolling hills of Ireland? Perhaps you’re drawn to living in Tuscany or wandering the snaggleways of London.

Buying property abroad isn’t out of reach. Five Tips is here to tell you what you need to know before buying a home in a foreign country.

1. Get the big picture

Buying property in a foreign country is no small task. But more andmore Americans are finding benefits to moving abroad. Today there are four million citizens living outside the country.

Who can argue with buying four acres of prime land in Costa Rica for $43,000? And of course there’s always the Internet to help keep you connected to your family back home.

But be warned, sometimes the grass isn’t always greener across the globe. You’ll need to find out the rules about foreign ownership for the country you’re interested in. Some countries restrict foreign ownership altogether, like Switzerland, for example. You can find that information on the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations Web site at www.icrea.org.

You’ll also want to check with the U.S. State Department about the stability and safety of the countries you may be interested in moving to. That Web site is www.travel.state.gov.

There are also some countries that prospective buyers should be cautious about. “Vietnam is an exciting new place in Asia, but it has limited property rights and it’s still in its development stage,” says David Michonski, a certified International Property Specialist at Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy.

You should also be very cautious about Russia. It has a declining population according to Michonski, and you’ll see the economy suffer because of that.

2. Call in some help

If you’re thinking about buying overseas, you may want to enlist the help of a real estate broker to help you figure out unfamiliar laws and customs.

For example, if you want to buy property as a foreigner in Malaysia, you’re welcome to do that. But if you decide to sell your property, you’ll have to keep your money in a Malaysian bank account.

To find a real estate broker, check out the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations Web site at www.icrea.org. Of course, you’ll still have to pay commissions of 4 to 6 percent.

3. Count on paying cash

To figure out what you can afford overseas, assume you can pay cash only. Financing mechanisms like mortgages aren’t as sophisticated as they are in the U.S., says Michonski.

“You won’t find dozens of mortgage lenders offering you a loan,” he says. In many countries, such as Mexico, Greece, Spain and Eastern Europe, transferring property is historically paid for in cash.

If you can’t afford to buy property without a mortgage, you’ll want to check out English-speaking countries and former colonies like Singapore, Hong Kong or South Africa. But even then, you should be prepared to put down at least a 40 percent, according to Michonski. That’s to allay fears that you’ll get on the next plane and skip the country.

4. Check your title

When you buy property in America, you get a warranty title that states you are the owner of the property. But if you buy overseas, sometimes the distinction isn’t as clear.

It depends on the country you’re going to. Boundaries all over the world have shifted so it’s quite possible that once you buy a property, someone who is seven generations removed from the original owner could come back and make a claim on the land. This is especially true in Eastern Europe where World War Two shifted many boundaries.

Of course, don’t start to panic just yet. The burden of proof is still on the person making the claim. But you can try to assess this risk by seeking the help of a notary. They specialize in verifying legal documents. These notaries, (or Notarios) help you read the title history to see if there are any gaps in the property’s history or numerous property claims.

5. Grease the wheels

While here in the States, bribing is a big no-no, in many parts of the world, it’s just a normal business transaction. And it may be the only way to buy the property you want.

If you’re using a real estate agent, they’ll tell you how many wheels you have to grease. If you’re not using a broker, you can go to the Notary’s office and ask how many gifts you should distribute in order to make sure your property transaction happens quickly.

Your general gift can be $50 to $500 depending on the country, according to Michonski. In the Middle East or Asia, you may give out a dozen gifts. But in most English-speaking countries, offering a bribe isn’t as common.

Source: CNNMoney