If you are considering buying an overseas property, you should travel to the country, experience it and visit the property. It is not recommended and quite risky to purchase a property that you have not physically toured and inspected.
To simply the process, we prepared our traveler's checklist in bullet points.
- If you are interested in investing or moving to a new country and have not been there, you should research the country itself, its pros and cos, culture, general acceptance of foreigners (sometimes called expats for expatriates), economical and governmental stability, currency, safety, weather and their handling of real estate owned by non-citizens. Thanks to the Internet, you no longer need to spend hours at the local library (though we do love libraries!), you can review multiple websites, some from the government of the country and other privately owned. Preferably you would also know people that are already owning property in your country of interest.
- Check travel alerts and warnings before making your booking and again prior to starting your journey. Most countries have an official website which has updated travel warnings and alerts information. Alerts are typically short-term based on a current event while a warning should be taken more seriously and be a more permanent and ongoing issue. For warnings made by the US government click here.
- Make sure you have all of the travel documents required. This of course includes an up-to-date passport (which is valid passed your return date) and in many cases a visa. In some instances, your travel may require a proof of citizenship to return home, a birth certificate and/or a vaccination card. For information about US passports click here.
- Plan for an emergency. Emergencies happen at home and while traveling so be prepared by having travel insurance. Your homeowner, rental or umbrella insurance policy may also cover travel so check with your insurance agent as soon as you start planning your trip. Prepare a list of important contact information in the country you are visiting, especially the local consulate or embassy for your country of citizenship and how emergency services work in the visiting countries (example: which number do you call in case of an emergency?).
- Another document of importance may be an international driving license. Many countries will not accept your "local" driving license and you may have to get an IDP known as international driving permit. Regardless of the purpose of your travel, make sure to carry with you copies of all of your travel documents: Plane and other transportation tickets, identification, where you are staying, traveler's check serial numbers if you are using this type of payment, and the itinerary of your entire trip. Also make one of your trusted family members or friends who is not going with you an emergency contact and include their information in the copies.
- Health may be a concern where you are traveling to. In some exotic places, you need to get specific vaccination ahead of time. Remember not to wait until the last moment since some vaccines need to be given twice over a certain period of time. If you are an American you can visit the recommendations set by the CDC at this link.
Ah! Fiji time… – Vanua Levu Island, Fiji Islands
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Picturesque South of France village – Malaucene, France
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