What are the legal differences when buying and living abroad?

publication date: Mar 3, 2010
 | 
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books
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What are the legal differences when buying and living abroad?


There are lots of legals that you need to consider when buying (and selling) a home abroad. These include:-

1. When you make an offer abroad it is often legally binding as few foreign countries have the ‘offer, exchange and completion’ system we run. Most move from offer to completion within weeks or a matter of months. So only make an offer if you are sure you want to buy, have already organised your finances and consulted an English speaking legal company.

2. Planning permission and building regulations will vary from country to country and from area to area, so make sure before you buy, build or adapt a home abroad you work with an experienced legal company and a local legal expert so that you stay within the law.

3. Inheritance laws. In the UK, typically if anything happens to you, your spouse or family will inherit. However, this isn’t automatically the case when you own property and live abroad, so you need to seek specialist advice to make sure if you die, the property goes to who you want it to.

A good tip when buying abroad, particularly in relatively ‘new countries’ where buying a foreign home has increased in popularity, such as Bulgaria or Turkey, is to instruct an international legal company experienced with the property laws of that country AND a local solicitor to make sure the advice matches.

Finally, make sure the local legal and international help are both English speaking!

For more overseas property information, read the following overseas property articles:-

What do you need to know when buying abroad?

What are the financial implications of buying and living abroad?


If you need independent advice on buying or living abroad, or have an overseas property question that's needs answering, then visit the Designs on Property website, email enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk or tel 0845 838 1763.

Need help with a property problem? Have a question? Why not call Designs on Property on 01652 641 722 or Contact Us via email.
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