Jonnie Irwin provides invaluable advice to buyers and vendors of overseas homes, on and off screen!

Read our latest guest blog on how to ensure you and your property are sale-ready.

As a Director of international property law firm Judicare, Jonnie Irwin encourages both buyers and vendors to be thorough and meticulous when buying and selling overseas homes. So read on for some great advice for vendors. Over to you Jonnie!

In the international property market, buyers perform when they have the confidence to proceed, so as an owner, it’s your goal to inspire  commitment with the information you provide making sure it’s accurate and inspiring. 

Prepare your house.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the wood from the trees. A buyer will often find faults that you either hadn’t noticed or thought wouldn’t really matter. If I see something that requires improvement or remedy I’ll price it at worse case scenario and then add at least 50% to that figure in the form of a discount from the selling price. Estate agents are often reluctant to give you an idea of what works you should carry out as they may want it on their books asap and in my experience are rarely qualified to do so anyway. Go around your house with a friend as another pair of eyes and snag it. Even little jobs that don’t really cost much to fix all add up to an impression (even subconsciously) in a buyers mind. Whatever they see is reflected in either their bid or lack of one. If it is the latter, email them and ask for feedback - this is so valuable as you can react accordingly. 

Price realistically. 

I know many people decide to get 3 valuations from local agents and then pick the median figure which I wouldn’t advise. Whilst the figure a reputable agent gives should be close to the property’s value the precise figure is an opinion and can depend on a number of factors including how desperate they are for instructions, office policy on listing and their individual view on your property and the market -picking the one in the middle isn’t exactly scientific. Instead look online and compare similar properties by considering € or $ per square foot, facilities, bedrooms and orientation along with how desirable the exact location is. If you get a chance then have a viewing and remember that yours has to be the best value property by comparison. There is no room for sentiment here. So many times I see buyers who have an over inflated view of how ‘adorable’ their property is and price accordingly. It might take a while for a certain type of buyer to enter the market but in over 20 years of working in the property industry I can tell you that everything sells at the right price.


We’re a lot more photo savvy than a few years ago but even with high pixel cameras on our smart phones most properties deserve a proper camera and someone that really knows what they’re doing at the business end of it. Internally, light is so important when showing off your property so get an expert with proper kit. Make sure you paint a picture of a lifestyle; lay tables, put towels on the sun-beds and essentially stage the property, if possible for day and night time. If the property is close to an attractive village, beach or other attraction, don’t be afraid to include high quality images with commentary. 

Formal viewings

Whenever I look around a potential target property I will request to meet the owner and have a chat as I like to hear first hand about the property from someone who’s spent time and/or money on it over the years. Precise answers to my questions impress me, vagueness is a missed opportunity. If you don’t already, inform yourself of distances to airports, towns, beaches, restaurants etc. Get to know the buyer, the more they tell you, the more you will understand their needs and be able to recommend facilities, restaurants, activities nearby.

Every buyer tells me they are able to see past furniture and decor but most are heavily influenced by it. I don’t subscribe to the theory of taking the owners personality out of a property and making it completely neutral - doing so often removes life and an atmosphere from a place. By all means tone down on lots of specific art and ‘collections’ that might dominate a space and certainly remove clutter. With furniture it’s a fine balance. Most of my buyers react badly to empty properties as they do when there is too much of it. The biggest crime is too many chairs and sofas - furniture needs to illustrate the configuration of a room not cover the entire floor.  

Get your ducks in a row. 

The longer a deal goes on the more chance there is of the buyer pulling out. Instruct an overseas expert lawyer and cut the delays to conveyancing by obtaining your deeds, copies of planning consent and all the warrantees, utility bills and other paperwork which the purchasers solicitor will ultimately ask for. Why wait? If you’re serious about selling your property then you should have a solicitor instructed and have all copies of this paperwork at their offices ready to be sent on.  Getting this all together at the start of the process also means that you can supply a lot of this information as a pack to genuinely interested parties at a viewing which should give them the confidence that you are a serious seller providing them with all the information they need to make an offer.

For more advice and appointing a lawyer to manage the sale of your property, wherever it may be in the world, contact Judicare