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Top 10 Tips for Finding and Buying Real Estate Abroad

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Changing prices, beautiful locations, and many other reasons make foreign buyers constantly interested in the international property market.

For example, when property prices fell by 40%-50% in certain European markets during the financial crisis, American buyers took to scoop them up.

And it doesn’t just have to be pricing that attracts buyers.

Some people are allured by warm climates, local culture, or work.

Whatever your reason is for being interested in buying an international property, we’ve got you covered. Follow these top ten tips to both make a savvy purchase and find your dream property.

1. Get Clear on Expectations and Desires

There are some great questions you can use to get clear on what you’re looking for in terms of an international property.

It’s about more than just location and the investment… It needs to suit all of your needs to be a smart purchase.

Here is what to ask yourself before continuing your search:

  1. Will I live in the house or do I plan to rent it out? Full-time or part-time?
  2. Am I looking to purchase simply for investment?
  3. What are the specific features I want on my property?
  4. What future features will I want to add on?
  5. If I will live in my home — full-time or part-time — what kind of environment am I looking for? Culturally? Environmentally?

Move on to the next tip once you’ve honestly answered all these questions for yourself.

2. Make a List of Criteria

Now it’s time to make your shortlist.

Organize your priorities based on what it is you need in your home after answering the key questions in tip one.

Make these considerations non-negotiable when considering properties. If a place doesn’t meet all of your needs, look for the next thing.

There are a lot of properties on the international market. It’s easy to get sidetracked from finding the fit that is best for you.


To make sure you have no regrets later by keeping this short list handy whenever searching for properties.

3. Consider Several Countries

Several countries have great options when it comes to the international property for sale.

For example, several Americans look into Costa Rica real estate every year while others consider places in countries like Italy.

What is it that you’re looking for?

Make a list of the qualities you are looking for when it comes to:

  • Culture
  • Acceptance of expats
  • Cost of living
  • Weather
  • Accessibility
  • Safety

And any other key things that matter to you when it comes to the city you live in.

4. Narrow Down Your List Based on These Criteria (And Yours)

Alright, you’ve got some serious things to consider. But there’s more.

These are criteria you definitely want to have on your list when narrowing down your country. Before you purchase international property, consider:

  • Is the government stable?
  • Are there laws to protect you while you are purchasing property?
  • Make sure the ability to move money into the country is reliable. Are there rights to expatriation funds?
  • You will need to be able to come and go freely in order to maintain the property. Otherwise, it will be impossible to manage.

5. Consider Your Market

Narrow down the perfect international property by navigating the best markets based on your criteria.

For example, if you want to rent your property part-time or full-time, you will need to find an active rental market.

You may also want to consider the areas with expat communities depending on your use of the property.

And what about hobbies and interests near the neighborhoods you’re considering?

It’s great to think about this for yourself… and also tourists if you’re planning on renting. Investing near tourist attractions is a great way to ensure constant rentals.

6. Narrow Down Properties

You’re ready to start choosing a home location.


The next step is to narrow your search. It’s easy to get caught up constantly broadening your search…

You may ask yourself, “What if I missed something?”

But the reality is, if you keep searching forever you’ll miss out on the perfect fit.

The best way to avoid this is to do a wide search, narrow it down to all the properties that fit your criteria, then pick your favorite two or three to consider.

7. Get Two Local Professionals

You’re going to want both a lawyer and a real estate agent in the place you’re buying international property.

There are more logistics to consider when buying abroad. A lawyer will make sure you don’t run into any red tape and you have a seamless transaction.

The real estate agent will help you find properties in the location that match all your desires and needs.

8. Consider Visa Costs

There’s more to it than budgeting for your home purchase when buying international property.

Most countries will also require a visa with a fee for entering the market or acquiring international property.

And you may need to pay this visa fee before leaving your country or after landing… so do your research.

9. Know What to Ask Realtors

Here are some key questions to ask your local realtor:

  • How is the infrastructure integrity?
  • How old is the plumbing?
  • When was the electrical last checked or updated?
  • What are the roads like in the area?

And make sure to buy based on what you see now… Not what is being promised in the future.

10. Ask Locals and Expats

Ask both expats and locals about the area when purchasing an international property. You can get a ton of insights that will differ greatly.


Check out forums online, travel to the area, and make friends to stay connected with, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. The more information you have the better.

Next Steps

Are you ready to buy an international property?

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We look forward to hearing about your exciting new adventure in international property.

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