Buying a Vacation Home Abroad

Many people dream of owning a vacation home in a foreign country. The thought of having a secondary home in a tropical destination can be very appealing. However, there are some things that you need to take into consideration before purchasing.

Real Estate Prices

One of the major draws when considering purchasing a home abroad is the price of real estate. In many foreign countries, you can find real estate markets that are substantially cheaper than what you can find in the United States. You may be able to purchase a great home for a fraction of the price of what you would be used to paying. This also allows those that do not have much to invest to purchase a vacation home. You might not be able to afford a secondary residence in the United States, but looking in a foreign country might provide you with some options.

Cost of Living

In addition to cheaper real estate prices, you can also take advantage of a cheaper cost of living in many cases. In countries that are still developing, it is common for the country to have a lower cost of living. Therefore, whenever you go to visit, you will be able to take advantage of cheaper prices on everything. You could potentially save a lot of money on your vacations with cheaper food and entertainment. This can also increase the amount of time that you can afford to vacation throughout the year.


Although the property itself and other costs may be cheaper, you will have to account for travel expenses. Since you are going to be traveling to a foreign country, you will most likely have to fly between destinations. If you have to buy plane tickets for several family members, multiple times per year, it can really add up quickly. Therefore, when comparing domestic vacation homes to foreign vacation homes, you will have to factor in this cost.

Legal Implications

When you purchase property in a foreign country, you will have to be familiar with the local real estate laws. Make sure that you work with a very qualified and helpful real estate agent when making your purchase. They will be able to help you identify potential areas of concern when it comes to legal questions. Many foreign countries have real state laws that are significantly different from what we are used to in the United States.

For example, if you are purchasing a home in a Spanish-speaking country, you will most likely have to sign documents that are printed in Spanish. They will provide you with a translated copy, but the official version will be written in Spanish. Therefore, unless you can read Spanish, you really do not know what you are signing. Therefore, this can present you with some legal gray areas when you go to purchase a vacation home abroad. Make sure that you familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations as much as possible before making an offer.

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