Buying a Home Abroad: How to Choose the Best Place for You

Bedrooms: Bathrooms: House Size:
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Korea, Seoul, Han River, Night View

Whether you want to explore another culture from within or take advantage of the lower costs of living in another country, relocating can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime. However, it’s vital to choose a place that matches your expectations and where you can maintain your lifestyle without having to make unwanted adjustments. Depending on your age, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, and future goals, you may find some places more attractive than others. Real estate prices can vary enormously even in the same city, not just from one country to another, so weighing all your options well is critical. 

Read on to find our essential tips for buying a home abroad. 

Set Priorities 

To find the ideal location for your home overseas, start by identifying your goals and expectations. Do you want a fresh start in a new country? Do you dream of a holiday villa in a tourist hotspot? Do you want to retire in a sunnier country with affordable real estate? Start your search for the perfect home abroad by establishing your priorities. For example, if you value affordability, you may have to look primarily at countries with a low cost of living. But if you prefer to live in a rural location, you can vastly expand your search to many international areas.

Consider Your Lifestyle 

Your lifestyle should play a chief role in your final decision. For example, if you envision yourself living a relaxed life in a charming Mediterranean hotspot with a large community of affluent expats, look at luxury villas for sale in Marbella. However, if you see yourself in a cosmopolitan city filled with museums, art galleries, and historical sights, consider buying an apartment in Berlin, Prague, Seoul, or Buenos Aires. To make sure you can maintain your lifestyle abroad, research not just possible locations but also their surroundings. Maybe a city offers quick access to mountains or the sea. Perhaps another one has a well-connected airport nearby. To feel happy with your choice, make sure there’s a good match between your expectations and what the future location can provide.

Keep Your Options Open 

When searching for a home abroad, it can be helpful to look at real estate listings in various countries and cities unless you know exactly where you want to live. By browsing listings, you may realize that moving abroad can come with a significant lifestyle upgrade. It’s not unusual to see that a luxury villa in Thailand, Mexico, or Morocco costs the same as a one-bedroom apartment in a second-tier European city. Importantly, when buying a home abroad, you also have to consider property tax and bank fees in addition to the selling price. And from a bureaucratic perspective, some countries are a lot more accommodating towards foreigners than others. Even if you have a favorite location in mind, you may discover that other countries provide better value. Thus, keeping your options open can be helpful.

Consider Cultural Differences 

  Owning a home in a foreign country will get you in close contact with the local culture. To develop good relationships with everyone, whether we’re talking about tax attorneys or neighbors, you will have to learn everything about the local norms and customs. Although integrating into another culture is a perfect opportunity for personal growth, the language barrier can pose real difficulties. When choosing the location of your future home, consider cultural differences too. For example, religion is a fundamental component of public and social life in some countries. In other countries, a large majority of the population has no religious affiliation. Some cultures are individualistic, whereas others are collectivist. Finding a place where you can feel comfortable expressing your values is very important for your social integration.    

Research Quality of Life 

An important factor that will dictate how satisfied you will be with your home overseas is the local quality of life. People measure quality of life differently depending on their priorities, but the following factors can be considered essential: an efficient health care system, low pollution levels, low crime rate, reliable public transportation, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and civil society. When choosing their home abroad, many expats make compromises based on their values and preferences. For example, many expats choose to live in places without a reliable public transportation system but where private transport alternatives are affordable. Although it’s a matter of personal preference and depends on your risk tolerance and adaptability, quality of life should be on your mind when making your decision. 

Learn All About Visas and Permits 

In your search for your dream home overseas, you will discover that obtaining the proper visas or permits can be a real hassle. Not only that each country has its unique policies, but they vary depending on your nationality and passport. Many countries run different visa programs to welcome self-employed individuals, entrepreneurs, investors, and retirees. Thus, you may be eligible for different types of visas. Several countries offer permanent residency to foreigners who invest in real estate. Before directing your attention towards a specific country, research all your options so you can choose the one that’s most advantageous to you in the long term. Some countries that offer either citizenship or permanent residency to foreigners who buy real estate are Portugal, Spain, Greece, Thailand, Latvia, Bulgaria, Dominica, and Saint Lucia. 
Whether you want your overseas property to be your primary residency or just a holiday home, use the tips above to find a place where you can feel comfortable and inspired. By extending your search area, you can significantly stretch your budget too. From luxury villas by the Mediterranean Sea to chic apartments in up-and-coming European cities or rural homes in quaint medieval towns, you have plenty of options to choose from. Start your search by browsing online real estate listings or contact a real estate agent in the country you’re considering. Working with a real estate agent can be immensely helpful if you don’t speak the local language.