Caution: What to Know When Buying a Home in Another Country

Blog posted On February 12, 2020

CMG Image

Ever thought about buying a home in another country? Whether you plan to purchase an international vacation home or move abroad permanently, buying overseas is quite the undertaking. This task can be even more arduous if there are additional complications, as many overseas buyers have experienced. 

Before buying abroad, there are some things to seriously consider. So, do your home buying homework and follow these tips.


Know the Risks

There is undeniably a certain allure to moving to another country. Approximately 9 million United States citizens are currently living abroad, according to estimates from the State Department. However, the initial allure may blind the ex-Pats from the significant risks.

In terms of destination, the most popular countries Americans are moving to are Switzerland, Singapore, Canada, and Spain. Americans often move abroad for quality of life, more pleasant climate, and to enjoy their retirement, but may find themselves in an unfavorable position if they ignore the risks. 

When purchasing a home abroad, be cautious when entering into a property agreement. While most transactions are correct and legal, there are numerous exceptions. Rules may vary significantly from one country to another, so be cautious. For example, it’s possible that zoning restrictions may mean that you can’t use the property the way you wanted to, or you could purchase a property that is currently being rented, then find it impossible to evict the tenants. Also, laws vary by country, so your rights as a tenant or as a homeowner will likely vary as well.

Use the Help of Professionals

How can you avoid these risks and know what to realistically expect? The best plan of action is to work with a lawyer who speaks your own language and the language(s) used in your purchase destination. It may also help to request the assistance of an architect. An architect is able to identify any faults and flaws in the property. 

Just like a domestic home purchase, it’s a great idea to consult with multiple types of professionals. For example, a notary will check to see if there are any liabilities or liens connected to specific properties. By enlisting in the help of these professionals, you can rest assured that you will not be missing important details of your purchase.

Keep in mind that not all professionals have your best interest in mind or will be able to guide you in the right direction. Be wary of real estate agents or brokers when house hunting abroad. While many trust these agents as their advocates, they may give you poor and inadequate advice.


Buying a home overseas can be an exhilarating adventure or an upsetting ordeal depending on any complications you face. In order to avoid disaster when buying abroad, beware of the risks you may face, and invest in the help of professionals to guide you through the process. If you have any questions about buying a home, abroad or in the country, let me know.


Source: CNBC