How to buy property abroad and not become a victim of international scam
Acquisition of real estate abroad is a matter in which it is impossible to manage without legal and realtor support. This is exactly the case when, on the one hand, by saving several thousand dollars, then you can lose hundreds of thousands.
On the other hand, only lazy people do not earn on foreigners buying overseas property, and sometimes they have to pay twice before the deal is made.
Information about apartments, offices, villas and sites abroad without any problems can be found on the Internet. However, the offer of direct seller – a rarity. In the majority of ads, the coordinates of real estate agencies are indicated, at best – hired by the seller, at worst – those who received information about the object from other intermediaries. Obviously, the length of the chain of intermediaries between the seller and the buyer directly affects the costs of the latter.
Commissions of one agency involved in the chain range from 0.5 to 6% of the value of the object. In the event that the seller hires a realtor, the commission is usually included in the price. We note in this regard that many construction and development companies in Spain, Italy and Cyprus have official representatives in Kiev – hired or specially created agencies to stimulate sales.
If we are talking about the secondary market, then it is more expedient to look for an agency that contacts directly with the seller in the country of your interest. You can use in the search for a local association of realtors. Usually information about market participants associations provide for free.
Of course, the very fact of participation in a professional association does not guarantee the integrity of a realtor, but if he is not part of the association at all, then accepting his proposals is rather risky. Potential sources of information about the agency: the local chamber of commerce, the consul of Ukraine, other investors and intermediaries.
Often, real estate services are provided by travel agencies, their geographic specialization is consulting and real estate trading in Bulgaria, Turkey and Cyprus. Most travel agents-realtors do not work directly with sellers, but with local intermediaries.
Choosing a suitable object and making sure that the realtor is not an adventurer and not an extreme link in a long chain of intermediaries, you need to find out what are the features of real estate purchase by non-residents and what forms of ownership exist in a particular country. General information about this can be obtained independently, and later order the relevant certificate in an international law firm.
It should be noted that in some states a non-resident may not be subject to the right of ownership of real estate and / or land. If such a ban exists, then it should be clarified whether it extends to legal entities.
For example, in the Czech Republic (where the sale of apartments and cottages is prohibited only to non-resident individuals), when buying objects by legal entities registered by foreigners, they draw up lease agreements for the plots on which they are located. Accordingly, in such countries it is important to familiarize yourself in advance with the procedure for termination of lease and land use contracts.
If the landlord is not a private owner, but a state structure or a municipality, then it is better to refuse to acquire the property. Natalia Lemmah, director of the Ukrainian representative office of International Legal Services, who bought a house on municipal land near Prague last summer, was convinced of this.
Just two months ago, the lease agreement was terminated, and the site was acquired by a Czech company for the construction of a logistics center. The new owner of the land intends to demolish the house and compensate the legal entity, a citizen of Ukraine registered in the Czech Republic, with the cost of the building. The amount of compensation determined by Czech appraisers is not satisfactory to Ms. Lemmah.
The absence of a direct ban on the sale of real estate to foreigners in some cases compensates for the presence of a number of obstacles. Tatyana Lyashchenko, director of the Oxford Group: “A citizen of Ukraine, who wants to buy a villa on a small Greek island, turned to us for legal advice. The Greeks, with whom we had not worked before, were ready to make a deal, despite the fact that the island was located in the border waters.
To purchase such property, local laws require non-residents to obtain permission from the Greek Defense Ministry. It is rather difficult to obtain such a document (the process may take half a year), and if we are talking about an object on the border island, it is almost impossible.
Nevertheless, the enterprising Greeks promised to execute a deal within two months and, calling the resolution a mere formality, asked for an advance payment. I don’t know how many gullible foreigners “sold” this villa, but I’m sure that none of them could register ownership of it ”.
Before deciding to buy, you also need to find out exactly what rights the seller is going to transfer to the buyer. Say, apartments in London’s new buildings are sold, as a rule, only in the leasehold.