There’s nothing better than retreating to your perfectly located condo after a long day relaxing on the beach. That’s why buying a property abroad is often an attractive proposition. But when you come to choosing a property, there are various factors to consider if you want to ensure you pick the right vacation home for your family.
Condos are popular choices in desirable places with high property value. Whether you know where you want to purchase or you’re still considering your options, follow these steps to make buying property abroad easier.
- Do Your Research
- Visit Locations for Yourself
- Find the Right Agent for You
- Make Your Offer
- Get Excited and Tell the Family
- Read the Documents Carefully
- Close the Deal, Congratulations!
1. Do Your Research
Doing research online is ideal to see what options are available to you, but the first step isn’t just to jet off and start viewing properties as soon as you spot some you like. You need to take some essential steps ahead of that.
Before anything else, talk with a local mortgage lender to begin the financing process to acquire your mortgage. However, if you’re buying a vacation home you don’t generally need a mortgage. Then it’s on to reading about the real estate laws and regulations, especially if you’re a first-time buyer or haven’t purchased a vacation property before.
Housing type is one of the most important decisions you must make when purchasing real estate. You’ll need to decide if you want the convenience of a condo or prefer to tackle a detached single-family or freestanding home (and all the responsibilities that come with them).
With freestanding properties, you can expect more storage space and will have the job of maintaining and keeping it to a high standard. Condos can provide a low maintenance alternative in spectacular locations, usually with access to modern communal amenities like pools, spas and bars. Another plus is you’d only be responsible for the interior - the rest is covered by your HomeOwner’s Association (HOA) fees.
Tip: Both property types have advantages, but they depend on the lifestyle you lead and where you want to escape to. Weigh up the pros and cons, as it’s likely that you can only spend 90 days or less in your dream location and that a whole ownership property with a usage restriction like a condo hotel, would serve you just fine.
Alternatively, maybe you return over and over to the same place on business and are looking for somewhere a bit more like home to stay in rather than a corporate hotel room.
2. Visit Locations for Yourself
Visit the condo firsthand and experience the location and surroundings to see if it’s right for you and your family. Don't forget to have a look around the neighborhood too and even speak to some of the existing residents. They might be able to give you a more detailed review of the community than the agent.
Tip: Make sure you have your pre-approval letter from your lender or attorney before falling in love with a vacation property. If not, you’ll likely be behind other interested buyers who do. Someone else might snap up your dream vacation home before you get a chance.
3. Find the Right Agent for You
You might already have your perfect property abroad in mind: sand, ocean and spectacular views. However, you can benefit from sitting down with an agent and discussing exactly what you’re looking for in a property.
Buying a condo in another country requires specialized expertise to make sure everything runs smoothly. Wherever in the world you purchase a condo, an agent isn’t necessarily required, but we do think it’s best practice to have one.
Tip: Agents have a wealth of information and are an invaluable resource for buyers, especially when purchasing abroad. They’re on hand for any questions and queries you might have, so make sure to ask them to get a better understanding of your venture. Buyer consultation meetings are ideal for this.
4. Make Your Offer
Now it’s time to make it happen. Here are some key considerations for when you make your offer.
- Work with your agent to find a competitive price you’re willing to offer. Then make sure to write your very best offer as you might get only one chance to make an impression on the seller.
- If a property has been sitting on the market for a while and it’s still empty, they may be willing to negotiate.
- Keep in mind if a property has been on the market for less than six months, the seller will often be looking for the listing price.
- When buying in a new development, the price stated is usually non-negotiable as it could affect the pricing of the other residences.
- If you can pay “all cash” (as in not having to go to the bank for a loan or mortgage) for a property, say so.
Tip: If you can provide a 30-60 day closing time frame after making your offer, that’s usually more attractive to the seller than an offer for more money. It might just be the edge you need to beat the competition and secure your dream vacation condo.
5. Get Excited and Tell the Family
Your location is settled, you have put your deposit down and signed the Sale and Purchase Agreement. You’re getting nearer to closing the deal everyday. It’s time to tell the family.
Whether in the Bahamas or Bermuda, get them excited about the amazing property, what they can experience there and all about the local culture.
Tip: If they can’t book a viewing right now, ask your agent if they can arrange a video call at the location or provide photos so your loved ones can experience it too. It’s an exciting adventure to be shared.
6. Read the Documents Carefully
If you’re purchasing in a condo hotel, make sure to read over the agreement or HOA documentation that dictates how the condominium operates and is governed before signing anything. In addition, request and read the documents that apply to the management of the resort.
Purchasing a condo can be an exciting time, but we know organizing documents and legalities can be a little stressful. At this point, you’ll be ready to get into your condo and relax. You’ll also work closely with your attorney and lender and with the settlement attorney that’s handling the closing.
Tip: If you've had a building survey and you’re purchasing a property that isn’t managed under an HOA, it’s useful to keep a copy of this to remind you what issues were raised/might need attention soon.
7. Close the Deal, Congratulations!
You’ve found your dream vacation property with a spectacular view, organized HOA and a beautiful interior. Now all that’s left to do is close.
The actual closing shouldn’t take more than a few hours long and can even be done over the internet these days, so you’ll also need to have your champagne on ice to celebrate.
Buying a property abroad isn’t a choice you should take lightly. It could be everything you’ve always dreamed of, so to ensure this is the outcome, it’s important you go into this fully prepared. We’ve got just the thing to help you along the way,
Got Everything Covered? Download a Condo Buying Checklist to Make Sure
When shall I visit my condo? When’s the right time to make my offer? Without the transparency and guidance you’ll get by adhering to the above suggestions, buying a vacation home can be a frustrating process. That’s why we’ve created a guide to help you.
From inquiry to viewing your new home, we’ve mapped it all out and provided expert advice along the way. Download our checklist below.