How buying a property without an agent is simple.

The Viewing shares SIX SIMPLE STEPS to getting it right when making a private purchase of a beautiful overseas home, achieving the best price possible due to no agency commission.

Know your stuff! Whether you are going to make a private purchase or purchase with an agent you should do your research and fully understand the purchase process in your chosen country. Find out how the purchase is coordinated, is it overseen by a notary, what are the contractual stages, what are the typical payment schedules, what forms of payment are acceptable, do you need to have a local bank account, do you need to register for a local tax code. 

Get ‘your ducks in a row’
•    Appoint a local lawyer who should be English speaking and have experience of conveyancing for foreign nationals. If it is customary that the buyer can appoint the notary (as is the case in several European countries) also choose a notary. If you will want a survey and/or independent land registry and planning consent checks appoint a local surveyor or request that your lawyer has a surveyor at the ready. Make an initial application for lending. 

•    Know the timescales that you can achieve as these can be incorporated into your written offer. (Timescales can make an offer considerably more favourable for example, some vendors will be keen to close a sale as quickly as possible, other may want a longer timescale with delayed completion enabling them to honour high season rental bookings. 

•    Gather as much market information as possible, research property prices in the area, ask around about sales over the past 12 months of similar properties, are there any local indexes you can refer to for prices per sqm. That way, you can put together an offer with materials to support the price level. 

Be decent! Before, during and after viewings be clear and open with the vendor – share your feedback and do so in a timely fashion, i.e. email or call with your feedback within 48 hours of visiting. Feedback is always appreciated whether you are interested in pursuing the property or not. If you have a genuine interest and/or specific questions regarding the property, correspond openly with the vendor – there is no one who knows the property better than the owner himself/herself 
•    What are the annual taxes are on the property?
•    How much is the gardener paid per hour? 
•    Where do you buy bread locally? 
•    Does the property have a septic tank and if so does it have to be emptied annually?
•    When was the swimming pool liner last replaced?

Fire away with those questions! And by being open with the vendor creates confidence which will helps relations once you formally enter a negotiation. 

Even if you intend to play ‘low ball’ be transparent and fair – negotiations can drag on and typically a number of terms and issues need discussing during the subsequent contractual drafting of the sales deeds and these discussions will be much smoother if you have established a courteous and respectful rapport with the vendor from the outset.  


Make your offer in writing. Though in the UK property negotiations are typically handled verbally, this is not the case in many other countries. Within your written offer, in addition to the price, define clearly your proposed timescale and deposit payments, also make it clear if you wish for it to be subject to due diligence. Refer to your appointed professionals (lawyer, surveyor etc) in your offer so it is apparent to the vendor you have done your groundwork and ready to move forward. An email offer may suffice or to give it a little more ‘weight’ type it up as a word document on headed paper, then print, sign, scan and send as an attachment. This need not be a binding agreement but presenting it this way gives it a formality, always best to get your lawyer to check it too. 
Alternatively, your lawyer can prepare a offer letter and present it on your behalf. 


Back up your offer. Provide as much supporting information as you can as attachments to your offer. By illustrating proof of funds, an ‘agreement in principle’ for financing/mortgage and some background on yourself/ your profession the vendor will build confidence in you as a buyer and may help get to acceptance quicker. 


Once you have agreed a price and basic terms, hand over to the lawyer/notary to oversee the final deeds and get excited about becoming the owner of a fine overseas home!


Six Simple Steps to a fast and fair transaction. In the same way, it takes six simple steps to list your property for sale on