A staggering 1 in 10 Britons have now bought abroad in search of sun kissed beaches or idyllic villages. But for those who have bought in certain destinations the dream lives have turned into nightmares, dream homes have turned into money-pits and dream investments have turned into scams.
Spain’s infamous land-grab problem is not the only risk. The turbo-charged Spanish construction industry is spiralling out of control as wave after wave of new-build developments hit the coastline. This could trigger a property crash leaving thousands of Brits high and dry as a glut of properties will mean more supply than demand. In contrast the French coastline is protected by more planning regulation than you can shake a stick at – which protects both the natural landscape and your investment.
But even in France never buy in areas that are purely fuelled by foreign investment as this source could dry up, there must be local demand as well. Buy in places where there is no potential for more development where demand will always out-strip supply – places like historic town centres. And if you do buy on a new-build development bargain hard and get a knock down price so you can sell cheaply and therefore quickly if you want to move on. Remember you make your money on property when you BUY not when you sell!
In non-EU countries euphemistically termed ’emerging markets’ you do not have the same protection against scams and corruption. Get-rich-quick schemes are usually scams so don’t enter into deals that sound too good to be true. If you do go ahead don’t think bribery and backhanders will get things moving – get everything in writing and keep everything above board.
The French system protects both buyers and sellers, unlike in the UK their estate agency industry is regulated and all French estate agents belong to a professional body (usually FNAIM) which guarantees professional standards and provides insurance cover in the event of any mistakes.