When buying any property, unless for pure "hands off" investment, it is recommended you go and see it for yourself. This can be a great opportunity to get a feel for the local area as well as meeting the seller face to face.
Talk to agents who specialise in the area. Many of them are expats who will have been in your position themselves so should be setup to answer your many questions.
Some companies will offer inspection visits where they arrange your complete itinerary and pack in lots of property for you to see in a short space of time. These are perfect for you to see lots of property from a builder to check out their build quality, finished projects or see how resale houses vary in size and character.
Don't be pressured to sign on the dotted line whilst out on an inspection visit. It is normal to make your buying decision once you have arrived back home and have had time to properly consider your options. You will also want your own, independent, lawyer to take a look over the contract before you commit to anything!
Renting a property in the location you want to buy in can be an invaluable form of research. You get to see how the rental market works, away from the big tour operators, whilst checking out the competition if you are thinking of renting your property after you have brought it.
Did you know?
2 out of 3 people find their ideal property location whilst on holiday
Do not assume everyone will be able to understand you. You should be aware of the local language and make an effort to learn key phrases you will need to get you buy. Think about situations where you wouldn't be able to wait for help with translation; for instance needing to call an emergency plumber or needing directions to the hospital.
Whilst out searching for property don't be shy. Expat societies and social clubs will be full of people who will no doubt have fun experiences to share with you!