Old or new? Which is the best when buying property overseas?
One thing you won’t be short of when you announce you’re considering buying property abroad is advice.
Whether it’s directly from friends and family or indirectly from the internet, there’s so much information out there, sometimes it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed.
Just as everyone has their own favourite country, they probably have equally entrenched opinions on whether you should be buying a brand-new home or something with a little age.
To be honest, the answer is subjective; like music or sport, it’s down to your personal taste and circumstances. But there are pros and cons to both so, if you’re new to buying property in a different country or just struggling to decide, we thought we’d offer a few pointers to help.
The older home…
Advantages: If you find a villa in Portugal, for example, an older home which has been around a while is likely to be pretty solid. The old designers built things to last and tended to over-engineer; the walls will probably be thicker and the floors robust.
There’s sometimes more space inside older properties too; rooms may be bigger and have higher ceilings. With that in mind, there may be options to extend or redesign the interior; if the basic structure is solid, you may be able to add a storey, knock down a couple of internal walls or realign the staircase (although we’d always advocate professional advice first).
Disadvantages: On the other hand, if you’re buying a home in Portugal and you pick the wrong one and you could find yourself investing considerable sums of money rectifying problems.
Is the house damp? Are the big rooms hard to heat because half of the warmth goes out of gaps in the windows? Is there any insulation as, although summers may be warmer than in the UK, winters in some Mediterranean countries can be colder and wetter than you expect.
If you have plans to extend, it’s best to check first to see if there are any local restrictions. It’s not a bad idea to have a good look at other homes in the area first to give you an idea if they’ve been extended.
Also, remember some older homes were built when there were nowhere near as many cars so, if the property doesn’t have a garage, car port or drive, is parking going to be an issue? There are few things more frustrating than getting home to find you have to drive around for 20 minutes just to find somewhere to leave the car.
The new home …
Advantages: Just like a brand-new car, there’s something about moving into a brand-new house which you know no one has owned before. It’s pristine; a blank canvas just waiting for your defining touches.
Even if you’re buying a house in Turkey, if it’s brand new, you should still be protected by a builder’s guarantee; some even come with curtains and fitted kitchens all ready and waiting. New homes also tend to be designed to be bright and airy and most will come with parking for the car.
Disadvantages: Developers are businesses just the same and, naturally, will want to get as many bangs for their buck as possible. That means homes are as sometimes closely-packed or condensed inside and out. The rooms may be smaller, the ceilings lower and the property’s build quality may not be quite so robust.
But the most important advice we can give if you are buying an apartment in Turkey which is brand-new is to ensure you read the small print first to check the terms of the purchase and also to ensure you understand your rights when it comes to your ownership and guarantee.
Developers will usually honour their obligations when it comes to “snagging” – issues which can arise as a new home settles in the first few years after its construction. However, consumer stories in the media often include examples of disputes between construction firms and buyers who presumed they were entitled to more aftersales care than was ever on offer.
Hopefully, we’ve given you enough pointers to help you make up your mind which one works best for you but, if there’s anything else you think we might be able to help with, why not have a look through our earlier blogs, give us a call or drop us a line? We’d love to assist if we can.
In the meantime, why not have a browse on other pages of our website where you will find advice on how to obtain a Golden Visa in Portugal, a Golden Visa in Spain, how to qualify for citizenship in Turkey or to obtain a Golden Visa in Greece. Also, if you enjoyed this post and think others might find it useful, please feel free to pass it on.