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Even though numerous investment options are available in the national market, Indians are now exploring international properties. A stagnant domestic market, easy financing options globally, liberal government policies and excellent rental returns, have made an attractive case to purchase overseas real estate. Recent trends show that the volume of cross-border investments is only increasing.
Things to do, while buying international real estate
- Work with an experienced consultant and get assistance, right from the property identification and valuation, to property leasing, rent collection, property maintenance and other property-related concerns.
- If you are seeking an investment opportunity, then, do a thorough market research of the rental growth in the recent past and what experts estimate the growth to be.
- Visit the property at both times: the best season and the off-season. You do not want to be surprised by inches of snow in winters, after finding the perfect place during a windy autumn month!
- Mature countries apart, there are countries where development gets delayed and property ownership remains disputed. Ensure that the hand-over and possession terms are clear. Hence, it is very important to work with the right and knowledgeable consultant, who can assist in the process.
- Opt for a trusted property broker that is located in your home country, so that they can guide you through the process and you can hold them accountable, if the need arises.
- Make smart investment decisions – for example, strike the deal when the currency rates are in your favour to get the best prices.
- Verify if you are eligible to visit the country in terms of visa, residential status, frequency of visits and other aspects.
- Many countries allow you to purchase under-development properties and make payments over a couple of years. If you are looking to park a small investment amount overseas, then, check out these properties and enjoy the benefit of prolonged payments. For example, UAE, Malaysia, UK and Australia.
- Consult people who have already purchased a property in the same region or are foreigners who have migrated there.
Mistakes when buying a property abroad and how to avoid them
- Do not believe everything that is told to you. Do your own research or take the service of trusted market experts.
- Do not forget to negotiate the purchase price, after considering all the associated fees (legal, taxes, insurance, maintenance, brokerage, etc.).
- Language can be a barrier and prove to be a costly one too. Hence, you must not sign any legal document without understanding the legal terms and conditions in your own language.
- Do not ignore the tax implications while buying a property abroad, as it can be quite complicated.
- Do not forget to consult legal experts for due diligence in the whole process.
The dos and don’ts of buying property abroad
Who is a resident of India?
The definition of a ‘resident’ is different under the FEMA and under the Income Tax Act. Under the I-T Act, residential status is determined by the period of stay, while the intention to stay is the determining factor, under FEMA.
Who is an NRI?
An Indian is referred to as an NRI, if s/he has not resided in the country and is residing in another country for 183 days or more. The Union Budget for 2020-21, has proposed to increase this period to 245 days.
Which country is best for real estate investment by Indians?
Indians often scout for properties in the UK, UAE, Malaysia and Australia.
Is buying property abroad a good investment?
Considering that the real estate market has been facing a period of prolonged stagnation, buying a property abroad may be a good option, in countries that have liberal government policies, easy financing options and offer good rental returns.
(The writer is founder and MD of Krypton Global Investments, an Indian boutique agency specialising in international properties and investment opportunities)