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Whether you are buying a retirement home, an investment property, or a holiday home in the sun, there are many things to be considered and planned for before you can buy your dream home abroad. Many people are lucky enough to have invested capital; others finance the project with some form of loan or mortgage. There is a wide selection of property options available, from developed plots, farmhouses, village locations, villas, townhouses and new apartment developments. Interest rates can be even cheaper if you are able to borrow with a Japanese yen loan.

The USA, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand are always popular choices for people to buy property, with people travelling further a field, however, the desire to own property in these countries is increasing. Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Mongolia are some of the more exotic destinations as potential retirement homes or investment growth areas. However, and wherever, you purchase your property there are some underlying principles to help you make the right decision.

Location, Location, Location—This well-worn maxim is as important when buying a property abroad as it is when buying at home. Research, research, research should also be a watchword. It is easy to get carried away with yourselves on your annual holiday. You’re enjoying the resort so much you want to buy into it. Before making a life-changing decision consider all your options and make a plan of action.

Take a Holiday—A holiday in the area under consideration will tell you a lot about the area where you want to buy. Be careful not to view it all with rose-tinted glasses and try to picture the area in the off-season. Are the facilities you require on hand? Do the shops suit your needs? A good way of getting an inside line is to ask those that have done it before. Many popular locations have a large expat community to ask about the area.

Real Estate Agents—When buying a property abroad the advice of a real estate agent may prove to be invaluable. Find an established company that will offer advice and not a hard sell. The whole process of buying a property abroad can be burdened with rules and regulations. Make sure you have a good lawyer with an excellent command of English. For instance, did you know that if you’re buying in Spain you’ll need to make out a will in Spanish before buying, or that you can inherit debts from a previous vendor?

Paying for the Property—What are the foreign exchange risks you could encounter and how can you protect yourself against them? Using a reputable currency brokerage will smooth the process and avoid unexpected currency movements when you need to make the payments for the property.

With these simple steps much of the pain of buying a dream property, or even an investment property, can be avoided so you can reap the financial benefits in retirement.