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-   -   Where should I buy abroad? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/where-should-i-buy-abroad-1656281/)

gklmr Jul 29th, 2018 07:36 AM

Where should I buy abroad?
 
Hi there. Iím new to this forum so please forgive me for any etiquette Iím missing. Iíve done plenty of searching already but not found exactly what Iím after.....so here goes.

We are thinking of buying a place abroad and would like to hear from anyone who feels passionate about somewhere they keep returning to year after year or have taken the leap and bought a place themselves.

We we do not want to fly more than 3 hours from London airports and would like transfers under 90 minutes the other end. Our children are currently 3 months, 4 and 5 years old. We aim to spend the entire school summer holidays wherever we choose to buy so it needs to have plenty to keep us and the kids entertained. Ideally somewhere with a long season as we would also like to go during Easter and October half term.

So so where do you keep going year after year and why do you love it so much? Maybe youíve bought in your dream destination? Please be as specific as you can rather than just saying ďMallorcaĒ.....for example.

Gratefully looking forward to your thoughts.

thursdaysd Jul 29th, 2018 08:28 AM

Is this a vacation home? Are you a UK citizen, and if so are you aware that you may be subject to the Schengen limits on visits after Brexit? Have you checked out the expat forums? Do you need to be on/near a beach?

gklmr Jul 29th, 2018 08:43 AM

Hi Thursdaysd. Thanks for your response. Yes itís a holiday home only at this stage. Iím not too worried about visa limits etc. as I canít see travel in Europe being too affected even after Brexit. No, the property doesnít need to be by a beach though Iím kind of just assuming it would likely be. Where were you thinking of?

kerouac Jul 29th, 2018 08:48 AM

France, Italy and Spain seem to be the most popular countries for citizens of the UK. If you can qualify for EU citizenship, you might not have a problem (other than unavoidable culture shock) after Brexit. Otherwise, you should think long and hard about the complexities.

Assuming you can pass this first immense hurdle, I believe you need to say something about what interests you -- warm, sunny weather, culture, gastronomy, fitting in with the locals, finding a place with the greatest number of expats, best flight routes, friendliest local residents... I have a British friend who lived in France for at least 15 years and left when he realised that the locals had never really accepted him and also that his wife was unhappy living so far from her family.

On the other hand, if it is just a vacation home, one can imagine that even after Brexit you will be allowed to spend 90 days at a time in the EU. But you might need to think about EU health coverage that you are likely to lose after Brexit. With young children, this could cost a fortune.

Then again, maybe you are rich.

hetismij2 Jul 29th, 2018 09:39 AM

Where have you already been? It is a big investment you are making and you have to be sure it suits you and your family not some random member of a largely American forum.

Brexit will seriously affect things, from the above mentioned health insurance and possible travel restrictions, to possible financial restrictions unless you manage to buy before next year, and insuring the property. Legalities such as inheritance laws and taxes will further complicate things.
Of course you can take out annual travel insurance to help with the health care aspect, but please do not underestiimate Brexit.

You have to decide which country appeals to you, and which area within that country. Friends have a place in Bulgaria which they love but which others who have been there are less keen on. Our friends speak German and have learned some Bulgarian, but language will be a problem no matter where.

I suggest unless you already have an area in mind you delay your decision and visit some places which meet your travel requirements and see if you really love them.

StCirq Jul 29th, 2018 10:30 AM

I bought a house in the Dordogne in 1993 and used it as a vacation home and a rental property before moving here permanently 3+ years ago, but I had some very specific criteria before I did so and had spent months and months in the area before I took the plunge.

I don't think it matters a bit where other people have relocated. It's where YOU want to go that matters, and for whatever reasons motivate you. At the very least I would say make a WHOLE LOT of trips at all times of year before you settle on a locale. I had made at least 30 trips to various parts of France, in winter, summer, spring, and fall, before I knew where I wanted to park my money. And I spoke French - language is not a small matter if you are serious about moving abroad if you want to become part of a community and not permanently some fenced-off "foreigner."

Why would you assume that a property would be near a beach? The vast majority of properties aren't, and those that are cost a fortune. But, as noted, maybe you are rich.

thursdaysd Jul 29th, 2018 10:35 AM

I have considered the Lisbon area of Portugal but for a retirement home. There is a large expat community, and I can qualify for residence even if Brexit actually happens. However, medical care has become an issue. I have no interest in buying,and would in any case recommend renting before buying.

ribeirasacra Jul 29th, 2018 11:49 AM


So so where do you keep going year after year and why do you love it so much? Maybe you’ve bought in your dream destination? Please be as specific as you can rather than just saying “Mallorca”.....for example.

Gratefully looking forward to your thoughts.
A due respect but are they not your ideas that matter not ours. What other priorities have you got? Money, tax issues, language issues, purchase process etc. They can all put some folks off.
if you want buying advise look up expat forums. But be far specific about YOUR requirements.

PalenQ Jul 29th, 2018 12:01 PM

What will you do with the house the rest of the year?

Gardyloo Jul 29th, 2018 12:15 PM

How about a beachfront apartment in Gibraltar? https://www.rightmove.co.uk/overseas...-54239271.html

suze Jul 29th, 2018 02:30 PM

I think you are going at this backwards. You need to travel until you find a place that calls to you and your family. You'll know it when you find it. As mentioned already, our opinions or experiences really do not matter at all.

I have my sights set on a part-time Mexican retirement from the US but to a town I have vacationed in 30+ times over several decades. I'm not just walking in blind and purchasing a condo there (although many people do).

Envierges Jul 29th, 2018 03:30 PM

Another thing you might want to consider is sale ability of the place you buy in the case things don't work out and you have to leave.

brotherleelove2004 Jul 29th, 2018 05:04 PM

Consider the southwest coast of Turkey or one of the Greek islands. You didn't mention what sort of activities you'd need to satisfy you and keep all of you entertained.

Traveler_Nick Jul 29th, 2018 05:37 PM

Why are you buying? To use? Or for an investment?

A common mistake made by people is to think in terms of investment. Many of the places on your list resale won't be quick or easy.

Already asked but when you aren't there who will look after the place? Will you hire somebody? Is that even possible?

What else do you need? A place in the middle of nowhere isn't likely to have health care near by.

Budget? No point people suggesting things totally different than your budget

There are countless beach towns in Italy that would fit what you've asked for. Including areas in the province of Rome. An apartment would mean less hassle when not in use.

travelgourmet Jul 29th, 2018 09:36 PM


Originally Posted by suze (Post 16770117)
I think you are going at this backwards. You need to travel until you find a place that calls to you and your family. You'll know it when you find it. As mentioned already, our opinions or experiences really do not matter at all.

This. I could toss out a place, but you havenít given us enough of your desires to really help. A vacation/summer home is different from somewhere you spend a week. I can happily spend a week in Berlin, but wouldnít necessarily want to spend a summer there.

Heck, there is the question of whether a vacation home is even right for you. My wife and I have debated this. My best friend has a vacation home in coastal Maine. He loves it and, frankly, we love it for the week we might spend there each year. But, we would never consider spending as much time there as my buddy. Ditto for my sister-in-lawís Pocono retreat. Our interests are too varied to invest in a place where we might want to spend multiple months every year.

BritishCaicos Jul 29th, 2018 10:34 PM

If you have money to burn then buy a foreign holiday house.

no sorry, if you have money to burn, rent a more expensive holiday house.

buying a house in a foreign country where you probably have little knowledge of the language, legal system, local building regulations or planning laws , simply to sep d two weeks a year there makes little sense. After a few years, people usually realise that the financial commitment isn’t justified, fail to sell and then the fun starts when they rent it out when renters bring rabid Scottish Terriers who rip the place to pieces.

buy when you have time to use the property. In a stagnant European property market - rent and enjoy it.

bilboburgler Jul 30th, 2018 04:47 AM

I've considered buying on La Rochelle (until I saw the prices) and the fact that [email protected]@@air might pull the flights at a whim put me off.

I've also looked at the Mosel and Alsace as the wine is fantastic and the walking/cycling splendid, the drive is only a night and 5 hours drive from Yorkshire. (see also Champagne, Pfalz etc)

We have London friends with their own chateau in Normandy who drive across regularly. It needs to be so easy to get to that you go whenever you want not just when you make the effort.They've worked very hard to turn the chateau from ruin to mansion over 20 years and raised two kids and loads of parties in the grounds. Wherever you pick has to be easy for you to export your friends to with multiple routes to the place. I have other friends with chalets in the Alps and again chose ones with easy access for your friends and neighbours.

Personally I grew up on a beach (Sandbanks) so have absolutely no interest in spending a day on wet sand ever again, but if you love it then choose it, just remember there is only so much coastline going around and much of the beautiful stuff has already been ruined by "people buying second homes"

eh, that's it,

bilboburgler Jul 30th, 2018 04:50 AM

Languages may be a barrier, but what an opportunity for the kids to re-wire their brains to work well. It takes about 3 years to get from 0 to B1 level putting in an hour a day. If you are prepared to invest a load of money, why not 1000 hours?

StCirq Jul 30th, 2018 05:23 AM

<<Wherever you pick has to be easy for you to export your friends to with multiple routes to the place. I have other friends with chalets in the Alps and again chose ones with easy access for your friends and neighbours.>>

I took the exact opposite route. I made darned sure my place was a PITA to get to. Too many people going to Paris who just thought they'd "drop by" for a spell. No thanks.

Tulips Jul 30th, 2018 05:54 AM

Consider how easy it is nowadays to rent a house, through Airbnb, Homeaway or other sites.

No beds to make up, no laundry to do when you leave, no washing machine to fix, no cleaning to do because the regular cleaner didn't show up, no hassle with the local telecom operator because your internet/tv isn't working, no garden to maintain, no tax/service charge/utility/repair bills. I've been there and done it. Now I'm happy to arrive at my rented home, where the beds are made up, pool is cleaned and the grass has been cut by someone else.

If you really want to do this: rent somewhere for a month or more, before you commit to buying.


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