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Planning crucial to buying home abroad, expert warns


It is crucial people considering making international money transfers to purchase a property abroad do not let their enthusiasm for the move stop them from carrying out all the necessary processes to plan for their investment, an expert has warned.

Clare Nessling, director at overseas mortgage specialist Conti, noted that the eurozone's ongoing problems can offer an opportunity for canny buyers who assess the situation correctly.

Writing in Every Investor, she noted that traditional locations such as France and Spain are seeing a drop in prices, made even more pronounced for UK buyers because of the exchange rate between the pound and the euro.

However, Ms Nessling reminded investors that cutting corners in search of a bargain is a mistake, especially given the various criteria for purchasing homes that can apply over different countries.

It is vital to be fully aware of all the clauses contained within a contract, something which can be made easier by hiring a bilingual lawyer who can help analyse a document like this, she added.

"If required, you can also consult valuers, surveyors or architects. They should be proficient in your chosen country's laws and processes and also know the specifics involved in buying a property there," added Ms Nessling.

Furthermore, investors should conduct "thorough research" about nearby transport links and other amenities, as this can sometimes be overlooked when coming across a home that initially appears to be perfect.

"And consider the property off-season - many resorts are seasonal and practically shut down when the tourists return home," the expert warned.

She concluded that thoroughly checking what extra fees may need to be paid when purchasing a home can help save investors some cash in the difficult economic climate currently prevalent.

Lindsay de Feliz, marketing manager at Expat Focus, recently suggested that expats should learn the language of their new country as soon as possible.

Posted by Eleanor Ward

If you are looking at mortgages overseas or even re-locating within the UK... contact us for all your conveyancing solutions TODAY!! www.helpfulconveyancing.co.uk

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Spanish mortgage enquiries up 33 per cent

 

Enquiries from overseas property hunters looking to secure a Spanish mortgage have risen by 33 per cent during May and June, according to overseas mortgage specialist Conti.

The company believes that favourable exchange rates and buying conditions, coupled with the fact that mortgage lending is generally good, have meant that overseas property buyers still have an appetite for property in Spain. Maximum loan to value loans are still high at around 65-70 per cent.

Clare Nessling, Director at Conti, says: “Bargain prices and the opportunity to negotiate these down even further with some very motivated sellers mean that it’s most certainly a buyer’s market. In addition, despite the ongoing eurozone crisis, the growing strength of the pound, which has been rising against the euro to levels not seen for around four years, is boosting the budgets of British buyers. These factors, together with historically low interest rates, are making it more affordable to buy in Spain right now. And signs that the market is improving are starting to lift the confidence of prospective buyers.”

The company were also keen to stress the importance of getting indepent advice “You should always go through the same process that you would follow if you were buying a property in the UK. Take independent advice from an English-speaking lawyer who is not connected to your seller, estate agent or property developer. And ensure an independent valuation of the property is carried out, even if you’re buying in cash.”

Written by: A Place in the Sun Tuesday, July 17, 2012
if you are struggling to choose a conveyancing lawyer, why not visit us and compare conveyancing quotes for the best price and quality conveyancing that suits you!?
Alternatively, if you are looking to buy a home abroad or in Spain, visit www.mortgagesoverseas.com

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Interest in Spanish property on the increase...

 

Published by WARREN LEWIS

Despite a turbulent few years, it seems that the British love affair with Spain is far from over
Conti has seen a 33 per cent increase in Spanish mortgage enquiries over May and June, and attributes the rise to excellent buying conditions and signs that the market is starting to bottom out.

According to the monthly house price index from appraisal company Tinsa, Spanish property values were down by 10.8 per cent year on year in June, compared with 11.1 per cent in May. And figures from the Spanish National Statistics Institute, INE, show that the decline in property sales in May were -9 per cent, a lot less than the declines from January to March this year, which were between -21 and -33 per cent.

Clare Nessling, Director at Conti, says:

“Bargain prices and the opportunity to negotiate these down even further with some very motivated sellers mean that it’s most certainly a buyer’s market. In addition, despite the ongoing eurozone crisis, the growing strength of the pound, which has been rising against the euro to levels not seen for around four years, is boosting the budgets of British buyers. These factors, together with historically low interest rates, are making it more affordable to buy in Spain right now. And signs that the market is improving are starting to lift the confidence of prospective buyers.”

Conti says that mortgage availability is generally good, despite the negative headlines about the property market. Mortgage providers still have a healthy appetite for lending, with maximum loan to values still around 65-70 per cent. Generally speaking, smaller deposits are possible in areas where house prices are more resilient, such as the Balearics, the Canary Islands, Madrid and Barcelona.

The company stresses the importance of seeking the right advice before agreeing to a purchase.

Clare Nessling says:

“You should always go through the same process that you would follow if you were buying a property in the UK. Take independent advice from an English-speaking lawyer who is not connected to your seller, estate agent or property
developer. And ensure an independent valuation of the property is carried out, even if you’re buying in cash.

It also pays to be selective. Many so-called bargains are being offered at knock-down prices because they’re of poor quality and in undesirable locations. It’s very easy to be pulled in by descriptions of ‘cheap’ or ‘knock down’ prices, but you really don’t want to end up with a toxic asset simply because you didn’t do your homework or take the right advice. It may be wise to look at re-sales, where you can get references from previous buyers and check any other re-sales being offered on the same development. As a result, you’ll get a much better idea of the property’s true market value.”

for your property solutions, visit www.helpfulconveyancing.co.uk to satisfy your conveyancing needs for a newly purchased property...
or if you are looking to take out a mortgage in the UK or abroad... visit www.mortgagesoverseas.com

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Opportunities across the pond

Tuesday, 17 July 2012 13:39 by http://investmentinternational.com
As the eurozone crisis continues and the US property market shows signs of recovery, many property investors are being drawn stateside, according to Clare Nessling, director at overseas mortgage specialist Conti

Property sales in the US increased by more than 10% in April from a year earlier and may end the year up by as much as 13%, according to the National Association of Realtors. Its research has also found that property prices rose in 50% of US cities in the first quarter of this year.

According to the latest house price index from CoreLogic, residential property prices across the US increased by 1.1% year on year in April 2012. And the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities fell by 1.9% in April compared with the same month in 2011, but this is the smallest decline since November 2010, after dropping by 2.6% in the 12 months to March.

The general consensus is that the property market is showing signs of bottoming out as mortgage rates continue to get cheaper and improving employment prospects draw buyers back to the market.

Average rates on 30-year and 15-year fixed deals have been falling to record-low levels in recent weeks, which is making property more affordable. At the time of writing, rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage are averaging 3.56%, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of conforming rates. This is apparently the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s, and compares with an average rate of 4.51% this time last year.

The turnaround in property prices is spreading some cautious optimism, as it’s a required step towards enticing more buyers and sustaining demand for homes. And with sales improving, the inventory of homes for sale has been decreasing, which is also bringing some welcome stability into the market.

Prices are still, in general, more than 30% below their 2006 peak and this, together with record-low borrowing costs and a weaker dollar, are making the prospects of owning a home in the USA better than ever.

Interest hotting up

Conti continues to get a lot of interest from prospective investors who are thinking of buying a property across the pond. Top of the list for many is Florida, where property prices have fallen dramatically over the last few years, with many homes being sold for less than it cost to build them. And if the property is within easy travelling distance of the famous theme parks, year-round rental opportunities are good too.

The NAR’s figures show that international buyers accounted for $82.5bn (£52.9bn) of homes sold in the year to March - almost 9% of sales and an increase of 24% on the previous year. Florida was identified as the fastest growing destination, accounting for 26% of foreign sales.

But it’s not just us who have been experiencing increased interest in the States from clients - the most recent Rightmove Overseas search report sees the USA remain in third place after Spain and France. It’s also in third place in the HIFX Property Hotspots Report, and third place in the Overseas Property Guides quarterly index, again after Spain and France.

It’s clear that in the current economic environment many buyers are sticking to locations which they know and trust, especially those where returns from the rental market are promising. Easy access, low interest rates, and bargain property prices are also contributing to the attractiveness of these countries, as is the weak euro. There are signs, however, that the ongoing eurozone crisis is starting to have a negative effect and is pushing many prospective buyers further afield to markets such as the USA, which they feel is a safer bet at the moment.

Do your homework

As with anywhere else, though, it pays to be selective and to do your homework. There have been warnings to investors about the dangers of buying repossessed properties at bargain basement prices in locations such as Detroit, which often involve too much risk.

Mortgages are not available for such properties and I would definitely advise against a cash purchase in these cases. It’s advisable for investors to stick with the better known and trusted markets such as California, Colorado, Texas, Florida, and Manhattan New York, where you can also find bargains with a lot less risk involved. You’re more likely to qualify for a mortgage in these areas too

Mortgage availability
You may have read, however, that strict lending policies are still preventing many borrowers from taking advantage of these investment opportunities.

There’s no doubt that the mortgage market has changed significantly over recent years in the US and that financing the purchase of a property there is not as easy as it used to be. But it’s certainly not impossible, especially if someone has a healthy deposit to put down.

When it comes to mortgage availability, there are - in theory - no restrictions to foreign nationals owning property in the USA and mortgages are available for purchases up to 65% or 70% of the property’s value depending on the state in which the property is located.

Most are on a repayment basis, and interest rates and loan terms tend to vary depending on the property type and exact location.

The maximum term of any mortgage is 30 years, the minimum loan amount is $100,000, and total mortgage payments and other financial commitments must not exceed 38% of the buyer’s gross monthly income. Many of the mortgage deals on offer have no redemption penalties.

If the property is to be rented out, the rental income is most likely to be in dollars, so it may make most sense for a buyer to take out a dollar-denominated mortgage so that they’re not subject to any currency fluctuations.

Renting out a Florida property could also come with some tax-efficient benefits, as it’s possible to offset mortgage interest payments (as well as other expenses) against any rental income.

Last word

There’s no doubt that it’s a good time to buy property in the USA. The fact that we speak the same language also helps, as does the availability of regular flights, good weather and excellent facilities and welcoming people. What’s not to like?

As always, however, it’s imperative to take professional advice before committing to anything. Prospective buyers should always go through the same process that they would follow if they were buying a property in the UK, and this includes consulting a good independent lawyer and ensuring that an independent valuation of the property takes place, even if it’s a cash purchase. There’s nothing to be gained, and everything to lose, by cutting corners and taking unnecessary risks.

if you are tempted to buy property in the USA or any other country abroad, Spain, Italy, France and many more, contact us at www.mortgagesoverseas.com to set the mortgage ball rolling!!

Alternatively, if you have recently purchased property in the UK and are in need of conveyancing, contact us at www.helpfulconveyancing.co.uk for your conveyancing solutions TODAY!!

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