Inspection Trips

Discovering whether your chosen destination or property is as good as it seems on paper is often essential. Remember that inspection trips should be far more than an inexpensive way to enjoy a mini break in the sun.

Having narrowed it down to where and what you are considering buying, it is as important to consider why. Inspection trips help you get the formula right: Where are the local amenities? How easy is the property to reach? Where will your renters/future buyers come from? Is the market in your chosen area due to be saturated soon? Are you buying too high? The answers can only come by checking out in person the convincing patter from your salesman or developer.

Who pays for the inspection trip?

This can vary. Real estate agents or developers will sometimes help with the cost of the trip and accommodation, meeting you upon arrival and showing you around your chosen destination. Many companies refund the cost of return flights and accommodation if you buy with them.

How long is a typical trip?

Inspection trips normally last between three and five days.

How should we prepare before going?

Information is power: the more you have, the better prepared you will be for a worthwhile inspection trip. It’s pointless going to visit a country with a view to buying property there if you are unsure of its economic or political stability, or your chosen destination doesn’t have the local facilities that you need. Read guide books, look at prices and obtain recent internet information as this will save you time and prepare you adequately for the realities of your chosen destination.

What can we expect during the visit?

The agent will tailor make your visit to show you a variety of properties that are in your price range, including ones you have expressed particular interest in viewing. He/she will be able to answer any questions or discuss any concerns you may have along the way.

Be aware that you are unlikely to be shown the less desirable areas and it is very easy to fall for the sales talk of a skilled salesperson. The trip itinerary should sent to you before you leave home, giving you a clear picture of what to expect from your time with the agent.

What questions should we ask?

Before and during your visit, it’s a good idea to make a list of questions you wish to ask as it is easy to forget to ask while being distracted by your visit. Below are just a few initial questions, a list you will no doubt add to as you go along:

  • How near is the airport?
  • What is the local public transport like?
  • What are the roads/driving like?
  • Are there shops nearby?
  • How near is the golf course/beach/shopping mall/town/school/restaurants etc... Are these to the standards you require?
  • Does the destination particularly welcome foreign visitors?
  • What’s the crime situation like?
  • What about local healthcare/hospitals?
  • What’s the climate like? Good enough for year-round recreation?
  • Is there any new economic activity or recreational facilities, existing or on the way, to enhance the potential of the area in which you wish to buy?
  • What is the total purchase price of your property, including legal fees, agent’s fees, taxes and purchase costs?
  • What are the ongoing property costs per annum?
  • Is there a rental guarantee in place on the development and what are the terms?
  • How much would a rental management company charge for their services?
  • Does your property come with a fitted kitchen and bathroom?
  • Do they offer a furniture package?

Trip Tips

  • Don’t just listen to the sales people, speak to expats and locals. They will tell you the plain truth about your chosen destination and share some invaluable advice and local knowledge that may help you make that final decision. Local English language newspapers will also provide a great source of information.
  • Remember not to fall victim to sometimes strong sales pressure during your visit. Make absolutely sure you make a careful, objective and informed decision for yourself, taking into account the vital factors you personally need to enjoy your dream home and lifestyle abroad.
  • Check out the places and use the facilities that will be important to you or the renters of your property. Are they of the standard that you require?
  • Try and spend at least a day away from your agent, to weigh up quietly the pros and cons of your decision, while visiting the area alone and without any sales input. Visit other agents or developers and compare the prices and options they are offering for similar properties in the same area.
  • Make sure you are clear on exactly what is included in the cost of the trip, whether or not you decide to buy, and ask to see a copy of the itinerary before you go.
  • You’ll be taken to the best of the local amenities, beaches and hotspots, giving you a clear picture of what is good about the location, but be sure to find out about any of the less ‘desirable’ locations in order to obtain a balanced view.
  • When you return from the trip, go through the positives and negatives of each property once again, while referring to any photos or notes that you have taken. If you are certain the property meets your objectives, then now is the time to finalise the arrangements to complete a purchase.
  • If you have not seen the property you wish to buy, then review the reasons why, eg. wrong location, wrong property, wrong price or unfulfilled expectations. Consult your real estate agent again to discuss any alternative options.

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