How to Buy and Sell Overseas Property

Top 10 Tips for buying a home abroad

Having recently and quite painlessly purchased a beautiful traditional Swiss chalet in the Alps I thought your readers might like my top tips. Recently I have read a number of articles about the disasters experienced by people buying in Europe so I thought it would be nice to read something positive for a change.


1) decide on the country, your budget, the type of property you want, this can depend on whether you are looking for a holiday home or something more permanent and choose 3 or 4 areas where you might like to buy, we looked at a map of Switzerland and chose alpine areas within a 2 hour drive of Geneva, you need to consider how you will get to your dream property
2) research the areas and properties available on the internet this can take up to a year, save all the sites you find online and visit regularly, don’t limit yourself to property sites, check out sites about the country and check out local tourist information, for Switzerland you can request tourist brochures and they are sent by post free of charge, compare areas and prices, limit yourself to properties within your budget, compare agents
3) send emails and information requests to all companies that have properties you are interested in, collect, collate and sort all the brochures and information
4) book a holiday somewhere near the areas you are interested in and make appointments to view a selection of properties in at least 4 different areas, depending how far you have to travel you can look at up to 3 properties in each area, that is 4 days out of your holiday used up, if you find something you like go back at least twice before the end of your holiday and if possible take other members of the family to view, we took our daughter (18), son (21) and his girlfriend who were on holiday with us
5) check your finances and make an offer have an upper limit of what you are willing to pay and what you think the property is worth
6) most important find an agent with a really friendly, kind English speaking employee named Philippe
7) once your offer is accepted make arrangements with the bank for money transfers (moneycorp is especially useful)
8) make sure you have contact details so you can keep in touch with developments
9) when papers are ready take a trip to your new home stay there rent free and attend the meeting with the notary to sign all the relevant papers
10) collect your keys and start planning your next holiday

Well it worked for us we are now off to spend a month in Switzerland in our very own home.