Now is the ideal time to start planning a viewing trip, while resorts are quieter and estate agents have more time on their hands. Read our tips for making a few days searching for your dream home really worthwhile…

As 2018 gets underway, why not move a step closer to bagging an overseas property by booking a viewing trip? There’s only so much browsing you can do on Rightmove before it’s time to contact estate agents and go in person to visit properties. At the very least, organising your trip in January will bring some cheer to an otherwise dull month. Here are some pointers to get you started on the right track:

Tempting three-bedroom semi in Ciudad Quesada – one to include in your Costa Blanca viewing trip?

– If possible, avoid doing your viewing trip during school holidays and half-terms – it’ll be easier to book air fares and less busy everywhere, not forgetting flights and hotels will be cheaper. A key benefit of visiting this time of year is that fewer properties are let to holidaymakers, unlike in high season, making access for viewings easier to organise.

– Make use of technology to help you remember each property you visit – once you’re back home, you won’t be able to pop back easily for another look, as you would if you were buying somewhere in the UK. Use your Smart phones to take photos and video clips of properties, while Google Maps is a great tool for getting an overview of the location and distances to the beach and amenities.

– Once you’ve chosen your resort or area, don’t feel you have to rely on just one estate agent to show you properties or, if you so choose, help organise your trip. And be wary of any agents that try and control or take over your schedule – the best ones will offer to find you a hotel, drive you around, even take you to dinner but equally they will be just as happy to leave you to your own devices.

– Think about seasonality. Your trip is likely to be in late winter or early Spring, which means much of your resort will be closed and there’ll be fewer people around, unless it is a year-round destination. Find out how different the resort is in the height of high season, as well as mid-season, and research where the busier tourist areas are as opposed to the quieter residential areas. For this type of information, speak to your agent and any other expats you meet who own there.

– It’s not uncommon for people to find and pay a deposit for a property during their viewing trip. Be prepared for this to happen – ideally, you will put in place as many of those things needed for completion as possible before flying home. In Spain, for example, it’s quite common for buyers to have appointed power of attorney to a local lawyer, opened a local bank account and applied for their tax identification number (NIE) before flying back to the UK. A good estate agent should help with these things.

– Speak to currency specialist Smart Currency Exchange before your viewing trip. Ideally, you’ll have an account set up so you can exchange and transfer currency at short notice. To secure a property often you’ll have to pay a reservation deposit before flying back to the UK. The next stage typically could require you to pay a 10 per cent deposit, followed by the final balance on completion day. Using FCA-authorised Smart Currency Exchange for all of these transfers will ensure you get a competitive exchange rate and your foreign currency is transferred quickly and safely to the appropriate foreign bank account. They also have solutions that help minimise clients’ exposure to exchange rate fluctuation during the purchase process, which brings peace of mind and allows clients to budget more effectively.

Written by Overseas Guides Company.

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If you are considering an overseas property purchase, 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.