Questions aimed at vetting overseas property developers

Published:  4 Feb at 6 PM
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Planning to retire overseas is an adventure which should be carefully planned, with buying property abroad needing to be approached with care.

Investing in an overseas property as your retirement home is a dream held by most would-be expats, but the dream can easily turn into a nightmare if the right checks aren’t made. Buying into a development is the easiest way to settle, with most expat-savvy developers building to high standards, speaking English and even able to provide mortgages.

However, buying off-plan in most favourite expat destinations is far more risky than buying an already-built, stand-alone property from its owner. It pays to make sure your developer is reliable, honest and truthful about all aspects of the development itself.

The first step to ensure you don’t get scammed is to hire a reputable lawyer, whose initial task will be to verify the developer’s title to the land. If title exists, the developer will need to guarantee the title in your contract and, if not, walking away is advised.

Outside the majority of first world countries, expats normally have little redress if things go wrong, so it’s wise to verify that plans and building permits have been approved by local and regional authorities. Promises about infrastructure and amenities can prove misleading, and it’s best to go with a site where infrastructure is already in place.

Check that all utilities, including septic tanks if required, will be provided, and get dates of installation if possible. Internet services are essential nowadays, and should be verified with the local supplier company.

Other enquiries should include the developer's previous experience and his financial resources, and meeting up with other buyers from the developer’s completed projects makes sense. If you’re financing through your developer, it’s essential to understand before signing up that terms and conditions differ hugely between countries.
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