Easter is a popular time to combine a short break somewhere warm with a search for your ideal holiday home. If this is your plan, here we offer a five-point guide to getting the most from your viewing trip…

– Take a few minutes to browse Rightmove Overseas before your travel. This will give you an idea of prices and what’s available in the area you are interested in. If you see a property you fancy viewing, contact the estate agent in advance. But don’t feel pressured into seeing other properties with them or agreeing to let them show you around for the day – unless that is what you want. And it’s always worth meeting more than one agent, to get different takes on the local market and spread your property search. Ideally, you’ll find an agent you trust and really like who you can count on to find you the right home and, when the time comes, guide you through the purchase process. 

– Discuss your plans and open a no-obligation account with Smart Currency Exchange before you go. Smart Currency Exchange will offer guidance on how exchange rate movement could affect your buying power as well as help you send money abroad quickly, securely and at better exchange rates than your high street bank. If you’re abroad and need to make a transfer quickly, for example to reserve a property or pay a deposit, just call or email them and they’ll be able to help you. Once you have agreed a purchase price, you may also want to discuss buying currency with a forward contract, enabling you to fix the total cost of your purchase in Sterling as well as the local currency.

– Take lots of photos of the properties you view – the camera on your mobile is ideal for this. Pictures are easy to refer back to when you return to the UK and they save you having to take notes. Don’t just snap the inside of a property – get the views from the front and back, the street view and the road it is on.

– Have a good wander around the areas where you think you’d like to buy. Look out for tell-tale signs that somewhere might not be all it’s cracked up to be. You should be concerned about a street or community if: many of the properties looked tired and untended, or appear to have been vacant for a long time; there are lots of ‘For sale’ signs; the local infrastructure and roads are not cared for; or  there are discarded, half-built residential projects or a collection of vacant building plots. And check for yourself how far it is to the beach, basic amenities, bars and restaurants, and the airport.

– Try and get feedback from other British or foreign homeowners in the area. Their honest, unbiased opinion about an area and where to buy is like gold dust – they will tell you the things most agents won’t want you to hear. And if you’re there at Eastertime, find out what somewhere is like during the peak summer months, or the quieter winter months.

Find out more
For more information on buying overseas property successfully, download the Overseas Guides Company’s free France Buying Guide, Spain Buying Guide, Italy Buying Guide, Portugal Buying Guide or USA Buying Guide – and start receiving free news updates by email.

If you are considering an overseas property purchase in 2015, whether for lifestyle or investment, opening a no-obligation account with FCA-authorised Smart Currency Exchange will enable you to benefit from their competitive exchange rates and specialist currency knowledge, ultimately saving you money and time. For more information, download Smart Currency Exchange’s free report or visit the Currency Zone.