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Points to remember when buying a foreign home

Points to remember when buying a foreign home

Category: Offshore Banking

Updated: 04/02/2015
First Published: 04/02/2015

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Many people dream of being able to buy a home abroad, giving them the chance to jet off and enjoy a well-deserved break with all the creature comforts of home. But, how do you go about buying it? It may sound simple enough, but when you're buying a property outside the UK, it brings plenty of additional considerations.

One of the most important things to think about will be how you'll get the funds to the required account. Sending that amount of money abroad isn't always an easy task – you need to consider everything from exchange rates to bank charges, choosing the right international money transfer service accordingly, and it can make a huge amount of difference to the final bill.

Quite simply, if you choose a poor conversion service, you could end up spending thousands more than you need to. It may sound overdramatic, but spending that much really wouldn't be difficult to achieve when you consider how much you're actually transferring – when you're sending £100,000+ to pay for that holiday home, even being charged a percentage point or two more could add a huge amount to the overall cost.

Heading to your bank may be the first thing you think of, but doing so means you're unlikely to get the best exchange rates. They invariably offer higher rates than specialist alternatives, and the associated fees are often higher, too, giving you double the drawbacks. That's why opting for currency exchange specialists should always be considered – their rates tend to be better, their fees are lower and you know exactly what you're paying for, with no hidden charges along the way.

But, that's not the end of it. What about fixing your exchange rate for a set term? It can take a long time between deciding you want to buy a foreign property and actually making the purchase, and in that time you're at the mercy of fluctuating exchange rates. It's a volatile market and things can quickly change, so why run the risk of ending up with a worse rate?

Many services offer the chance to fix the exchange rate upfront, so you can be confident your budget requirements won't change during the buying process. Going on from that, you'll often be able to lock into the rate for years in advance, perhaps if you want to make regular international payments (such as for the maintenance of your property, mortgage payments, etc.) This could again give you valuable peace of mind, ensuring your payments remain in check no matter what happens to the currency market.

And, if you haven't got an offshore bank account to make the necessary arrangements, it could be time to look into the options, particularly if you're planning on spending a fair amount of time on foreign soil. Once you've considered these few basic points you'll be far more prepared to make that foreign purchase, so now all you've got to do is find that dream home!

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