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A good agent should have carried out their own due diligence before agreeing to sell a particular property so they are comfortable the buyer is getting what they see.

A bad one will leave the buyer (or their solicitor)

to fi nd out whether the property is legal or legitimately owned. Though this only happens in a relatively small number of cases, it is essential these checks are made on your behalf by an expert that you have paid to act on your behalf, namely an independent lawyer Good agents will have your best interests at heart and know the local market thoroughly enough to ensure you a trouble-free purchase; clearly it is in their interests for the sale to go through so they earn their commission. You should test their knowledge by quizzing them about the local market and other factors such as local taxes, crime rates, schools, transport, etc. They should be happy to spend time helping you with all of this. You will often have the choice of dealing with a UK-based company selling abroad, or one locally based, but you’ll need to decide you feel comfortable with, and who you trust. To help the sale along, an agent may offer other

services such as obtaining tax numbers, opening a bank account or introducing the buyer to mortgage advisors, but their basic role is to sell a property. They are not there to give legal advice or act for the buyer – that is where your independent lawyer comes in. See page 8 for the role of lawyers and notaries.

Bear in mind that agents are not always regulated or accredited in any way – this differs hugely from country to country. Thus membership of the AIPP is one benchmark and means they are bound by a professional code of conduct and disciplinary process. See page 37 for the code of conduct our members have voluntarily signed up to – and ask other agents why they are not members!

The role of the developer The developer owns the land, obtains the relevant building licenses and planning permission and then builds the project. That’s the ideal. When you make a purchase, this is who you are buying your property from and who ultimately is responsible for delivering exactly what appears in the contract. The fi rst thing to point out is that you can buy

a new home direct from the developer through their on-site sales offi ce or wherever their own sales team have offi ces – but you can also buy their properties via agents. Buying direct from the developer can sometimes save you a mark-up, so it is worth researching this as an option if you’ve got a particular development in mind. But an agent can often make the purchase procss easier. When buying a new or off-plan property, buyers (or their lawyers) should question everything the developer claims. Are all the building licenses in place? How are they fi nancing the project? Are the buyer’s stage payments secured by bank guarantees? One obvious question to ask is has the

developer completed previous projects successfully? If they are stating a return on your investment and say they’ve sold 300 properties, returns are 10 per cent and they’ll pay back in a year, ask them to prove everything. Clearly the fi nancial hiatus of the last fi ve

years has resulted in stalled projects and unfi nished buildings leaving some purchasers exposed, with some countries effected more than others. You need to know what will happen in the worst-case scenario and be comfortable that you have mitigated as much risk as possible.


If there is a rental

guarantee scheme in place then you need to question the fi gures and make sure you are not over-paying for the property and having your own money drip- fed back to you.

Genuine rental

guarantees are only as good as the organisation offering them: if the actual rentals don’t come in at the level expected, will that company be able to function and pay you the difference?

There are many solid schemes out there but you need to ask the right questions and check things out for yourself. If there’s a hotel/tourist operator contract already up and running on the site, you will have some concrete evidence of rental demand.


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