There seems to be an overwhelming amount of positive press relating to the overseas property market in general, with specific companies promoting the benefits and advantages of specific nations and their attractive housing markets.  But how can this be when we in the UK are entering a recession according to the OECD, and when the US is suffering from a bleak property outlook too?

How is it that there are markets out there seemingly defying the odds and continuing to boom?  Well, we would just like to point out a couple of things – one, you need to remain level headed about overseas property potential and not believe everything you read, because the vast majority of this promotion of international real estate is being done by companies attempting to sell it!

Unlike in the UK where there is serious regulation on what can and cannot be said and alleged in the British media, and by estate agents relating to the marketability of a given property for example, there is little or no such regulation in many of the so called ‘emerging’ overseas property markets such as Egypt and Cape Verde to name but two examples.  What this means is that anyone writing about real estate in these nations can say what they damn well please about the potential for the market.

Another fact is that so many buyers who head overseas are lured by the stunning scenery and enviable climate in many of these nations and fail to see much beyond the hype they’re being sold by a salesperson whose job it fundamentally is to part the property seeker from their cash – with no qualms at all.  Therefore, as we have repeatedly attempted to hammer home on Degtev, one has to be oh so wise and oh so savvy when it comes to considering buying property abroad – no matter which property in which country.

It is no longer sufficient for us to advise you all to take independent and qualified legal advice when purchasing, because we are fighting a veritable war against the marketers and agents who are getting increasingly desperate to sell in these tough times and who will say practically anything to get the sale.  Yes, it is true, there are a million and one reasons to buy abroad and move abroad and live your dream life in the sun – but there are more than a million and one reasons to also play it very safe, very cautiously and very guardedly.

Our advice to would-be buyers is very simple and very clear cut, it’s also commonsense and we know that all of our readers are wise and want to make the very best buying decisions for themselves and their family today and for the future, therefore, please read on and consider heeding our advice: –

1) Look beyond the marketing magic that may attract you to one nation and potentially one development, house or developer.  Think about what it is you want from a country and a property purchase and see whether firstly the country you’re looking at can truly offer you everything you need.

2) A country may seem highly attractive on the surface – offering you wall to wall sunshine and cheap accommodation costs, but what about the quality of the infrastructure in that environment for example.  Can you live with no water or electricity if services fail on a regular basis?  The only way to find out about such things is to get down on the ground and speak to other expats who have made the move already.

3) Don’t worry about the expat moaners – they exist in every single expat location – they are the ones who hated life in the UK and who would hate life in paradise, they are also the ones who will not be told that you cannot escape yourself and your life, your personality and your problems by moving abroad.  Ignore their complete negativity and try and find those who can give you a positive and balanced perspective of what life abroad is like – the good, the very good, the bad and the ugly.  Sift what you hear, investigate any issues further that come up that worry you and find out the truth.

4) Don’t ignore the day-to-day essentials of life – forget about the weather and the cost of living if you’ve already established they are favourable.  What about crime statistics, accessibility, political and economic stability.

5) Think about the longer-term attraction of the country you’re considering.  Whilst a country may be being marketed well today and therefore proving popular, what happens when the developers have sold up and moved on, what is there of lasting appeal in that country that will ensure your property holds its value because it is a desirable commodity?  Think Bulgaria – not so attractive now is it?

6) Ultimately don’t believe a single verbal ‘promise’ or ‘commitment’ from an estate agent, developer or vendor.  No, not one.  Whilst you may feel happy to accept this tip now, when you come face to face with a friendly and charming individual showing you your dream home and promising to make all your dreams come true, it will be so much harder.  Especially when they act all hurt and offended when you ask for that promise to be included in your contract, and they tell you that that’s not how business is done in their country.  ‘Well, sorry mate but if you don’t want my business then don’t commit to the contract – but if you do want my business and you have nothing to hide, I’m quite sure everything you’ve offered me will go down in writing.’  PLEASE don’t fall for this, the oldest, cruellest trick in the book that will see you losing out on all that is promised and losing immediate faith in every member of society in the new nation.  Developers, agents and even private vendors will do or say what they need to to get a sale – only the honourable and honest ones will sign their name to their promises.  Also, please don’t think us racist, we are giving this tip based on our own experiences and mistakes we have made in the past!

7) Finally, as the great American real estate tycoon and multi millionaire Robert Shemin once said in an interview with our very own Rhiannon Davies – “I always say get in way below market – that’s today’s market – and don’t try and guess the market.  No matter what it’s doing you can make money if you make good deals – it’s the deals that make you the money!”  I.e., haggle and negotiate hard – especially at the moment, developers the whole wide world over are desperate to sell, and if you have the readies in your bank and the will and desire to buy in, you hold every single card in the pack!  Make the developer or agent work extremely hard for your business and get every conceivable extra thrown in, every possible tax or fee paid and get everything agreed written down in the form of a water tight contract!