A SURVEY by Norwich Union claims that nearly three quarters of people dream of owning a second home abroad and they'd be prepared to pay £130,000 on average for a property.
Over two-thirds (70%) say the biggest plus for having a holiday home would be the ability to share it with family and friends, followed by the benefits of holidaying in a familiar place (67%).
Steve Minns, product development manger at Norwich Union, said: "More and more people are being tempted to invest in a place in the sun, thanks to the availability of cheap flights and TV shows featuring inspirational stories about people buying their dream holiday home.
"However, as with any home, there are still the issues of maintenance, repairs and making sure it's safe and secure - especially if the property sits empty for some of the year.
“And these factors can be easily overlooked in the excitement of finding the right property in a great location."
Norwich Union has compiled a top tip list to help potential buyers avoid some of the more common pitfalls when buying a property abroad:
1. Do your homework - don't act on a holiday whim. Speak to people who currently live in the area, visit out of season and investigate the travel options of getting to your chosen location.
2. Always use qualified professionals who are proficient in your chosen country's laws and processes. Find a good solicitor and surveyor fluent in both English and the native tongue.
3. Research all legal issues and costs involved up front. Consider opening a native bank account to ease payment transfers. Check out the tax laws of the country you are buying in as there may be strict rules if you rent or sell the house.
4. Ensure you don't inherit a debt on the property before you purchase - unlike in the UK, you could well be liable for the full amount.
5. If possible arrange your mortgage in the currency that you earn in or agree the exchange rate up front to avoid fluctuating rate changes.
6. Always allow yourself a cooling off period. Never sign a contract on the spot, especially one you don't understand.
Norwich Union is now offering insurance for customers' second homes as long as their main residence is insured with the company.
It covers homes in the UK, France, Republic of Ireland, mainland Spain and Portugal.
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