How to Find Your Dream House Overseas: Real Estate Advice and a Moving Checklist

Finding your dream home can be difficult. Sometimes the right house isn’t on the market, isn’t in the right location, or doesn’t fit your budget. It becomes even harder to find one when you have specific details in mind, like a place with a pool in the backyard or a fantastic view.

People usually look within a particular vicinity when they are scouting for houses which can limit their options. Few home seekers look for their dream house outside their country.

However, if you have the freedom and means to do so, widening your search to an international level would mean more options. You may even find residences that are better than the ones back at home.

Read on to learn more about purchasing real estate abroad and embracing the life of an expat.

Real Estate Advice

1.Think about What Kind of Real Estate You Want to Purchase

Take some time to think deeply about your future purchase. Below is a list of reasons people usually have for buying real estate abroad.

a. Second Home — Some buyers want to purchase a second home in a different location. These people typically like to transfer between houses. They may spend winter in one place and summer in another.

b. Vacation House — There are also people who want a house located in their favorite vacation spot. They purchase property where they get away from normal life or frequently go to relax.

Vacation houses can save them from all the hassle of finding an AirBnB or other accommodations in the area (especially during peak season). They can visit it at any time and even let family and close friends stay in it.

c. Retirement Home — After working hard for so long, people want to spend their hard-earned money on a home in their dream location. Some people hope to purchase a house by the beach where they can wake up to the sound of the ocean waves and seagulls flying high in the sky every day. Others want to build a home similar to a mountain retreat or even a ranch, away from the noise and pollution of city life.

2. List Down Basic Criteria for Prospective Countries

Now that you fully understand why you want to buy real estate abroad, it’s time to pick the country you want to make your new home. List down some of the basic requirements or attributes a nation should have to make it a suitable home for you (and your family).

Listed below are criteria you may want to consider before choosing one:

a. Real Estate Rights for Foreigners — The first item on your to-do list should be to hire a local lawyer and learn your rights as a real estate owner. Learn the difference between common law and civil law in the country and how it affects the purchase of property (buying and selling), titles or deeds, and ownership rights.
b. Bank Systems — Make sure there are reliable banks in the country that provide international transfer services. You will need to have complete control of your finances in and outside of the country.
c. Expat Status — Each country has different rules for expats. If you plan on living abroad or switching from one home to another, take the time to learn the law for expatriates where you are going. Find a country where you can freely come and go so you can manage your property.

3. Set Community Standards

Once you’ve chosen a country, get even more specific and look for a city or town that fits your needs. Set community standards to make the job easy. Read the ones listed below:

a. Expat Neighbors or Organizations — More people are choosing to move out of their hometown and live overseas. Everywhere in the world, some neighborhoods host a large number of foreign settlers. For expats, these locations are ideal since they foster an immediate sense of community. Some countries also have strong expat communities or groups. Finding one you can join will make your initial adjustment to expat life much easier.
b. Easy Access to Necessary Facilities — The house you buy should be close to the facilities you need. Expats may want a place close to the airport, money exchange businesses, or grocery stores with an aisle for international food.

Also, be mindful of other activities you can engage in as well. For instance, if you like to golf, consider purchasing a home near a country club.

4. Nitpick Each House Until You Find the Right One

After you’ve found the right community to live in, search for your dream home. Moving to an entirely new country is no laughing matter, so nitpick each house you visit. Base your purchase on the structure and features present at the moment, not what the seller tells you the place could look like in the future.

Check the infrastructure, plumbing, electrical outlets, and water pressure of the house. Look outside at the backyard, front yard, the roads leading up to the house, and the gutters. You may also want to see how strong the internet and cellular signals are both inside and outside of the property.

5. Seek Advice from Other Expats

The best advice you’ll ever get about moving abroad will come from other expats who have made their homes there as well. If you know a few, contact them and ask questions about their experience before committing to anything.

Moving Checklist

Once you’ve zeroed in on your new home overseas, and all the real estate paperwork is done, you will need to set a moving date. This means doing all the preliminary work or preparations to ensure a smooth overseas relocation.

1. Prepare Important Documents

Gather essential documents from home before leaving. Make sure you have an original version of the paperwork (if possible) and a copy of it in your house abroad. Refer to the list of necessary documents below:

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Visa papers
  • Doctor’s prescriptions
  • School transcripts or diplomas
  • Driver’s license

2. Hire an International Moving Company

You may want some items from your native country in your home abroad. For big ticket items, like sofas or drawers, hire an international moving company that can take care of your things properly and efficiently. Find one a few weeks prior to your relocation date.

3. Declutter and Pack Your Things

Moving is a very good opportunity to declutter and organize your possessions. Segregate items you want to take with you overseas, what you can give away or donate, things to include in the trash, and possessions you can put in storage. Get sturdy boxes and packing supplies, and start doing this as soon as you decide on a move date to avoid stress later.

4. Contact Your Bank and Utility Service Providers

Actually, before buying real estate abroad, it would be preferable to contact your bank and inform them about it. If you don’t travel around the world frequently, the financial establishment handling your money may find the purchase of a house overseas a bit alarming. It is also important to ask your bank about their international services, and any affiliates they may have abroad.

Once your move date is settled, you also need to inform utility service providers, the insurance company, local post office and other similar establishments. This way, you know that you have settled everything and all you need to do is move on.

Widen Your Horizons

Buying real estate abroad can increase your chances of finding the perfect home. Don’t limit yourself to one place when there is a whole world out there with so many possibilities. And when you find your dream home overseas, you can look forward to an exciting new life.


Craig Jones is the Managing Director at Aussiemove, Australia’s largest independent moving alliance. Craig is a respected member of the removalist network in Australia, having served in senior positions, including the President of the removal industries governing body, the Australian Furniture Removals Association (AFRA). With 23 years of experience at Aussiemove, he has the skills and the highly trained team to move families safely and reliably, in Adelaide, across Australia and around the world. Craig is also expertise in Facebook playable ads.

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