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By marcros
#1250528
Recently there was a TV programme where the host aimed to buy and renovate a house for under £10k. This was justified as being the cost of a couple of holidays for a family.

I think that she ended up buying in Portugal, and failed on budget, spending nearer £15k. It was trashy TV, but easy viewing.

Has anybody got any experience of such things, or buying a foreign property at the lower end of the market, managing renovations etc? Seemed a viable way of building a place to use for holidays, to lend to family and friends etc.
By AES
#1250542
I've seen a couple of similar programmes and it always seems to me that the people are multiplying their difficulties at least 10-fold if they don't speak the local language. It's also in my experience VERY useful to know the local area well enough to have at least some idea of trade contacts.

However I don't really fit the mould we're discussing here - I'm not a holiday maker here, and the house I bought here is my permanent address, not a 2nd/temporary/holiday home.

I think the only thing I can say apart from language and contacts is to really fully understand the local regs (building, planning, etc, etc, + mortgage, "rates" n other taxes).
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By MikeG.
#1250543
Not me, but I can tell you that there are whole villages full of semi-derelict and actually derelict houses in parts of Europe, in particular in Spain, so I am 100% sure you'll have plenty of choice. What I do know from friends who have renovated abroad is that it's virtually impossible without a good command of the local language.
By AJB Temple
#1250546
Be VERY careful. I have lived in Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland and bought property in all three places, some to live in, some as investments. You must be able to

speak the language
understand local building regs and customs
connect to a trades network
have reasonable grasp of law and conveyancing risk.

People who are naive about this lose their shirts usually.

Remind yourself that cheap property is cheap because supply outstrips demand. When you wish to sell you will be the most expensive house in the street, competing with all those alluring projects. I speak various languages and my wife is German and connected, and it was still not a super easy. Never done it in Spain though.
By Steliz
#1250553
I recently moved to Hungary and buying and renovating a house here is not possible for under £10k.
We bought a house that needed renovating and are currently doing that but I could have bought a similar type of property that looked finished and spent the same amount of money. I say 'looked finished' because even the newly renovated properties here will be hiding some problem or other. The benefit is that we get to specify all the materials and fittings and do some of the work ourselves but the downside is that we have been living on a building site for 3 months and are permanently covered in dust!
You can buy smaller properties which are designated with the local authority as summer houses which will have electricity and water but probably not heating, no need for it in the summer. There is one near me owned by Austrians that even has a small pool. These are often former winehouses which were used by families to produce their own wine and still are to a lesser extent these days. Usually, they have a loft bedroom, a main floor Kitchen/living room, a basement for processing the grapes and at least 1500m2 of garden but the house sizes can vary.
I do have the benefit that my wife is Hungarian but there is also a healthy ex-pat community here who are very helpful. One of the biggest issues about getting any renovations done here is the lack of tradesmen as they are mostly working in Germany for better money. We were lucky to find a local all round builder who does most jobs and does great work and we have employed him full time for about 2 months so far. Progress is a little slow as he refuses to risk his work quality by getting someone to help him but we don't mind the compromise.
By Sideways
#1250572
In Greece it is thoroughly complex and regulated. Not much that an expat can do themselves to keep costs down and the trades are at least as hard work to manage as anywhere else.
By mbartlett99
#1250578
I and most of my friends have done/do/are doing this - shipping is international after all. Mr Temple has it right pretty much.

I bought in the Georgia USA so the language would've been insurmountable had I not lived in Texas but at least there the culture was very similar and regulations nearly non-existent. If you want plastering/tiling hire Mexicans - greased lightning.
France - loads of cheap properties in the boons but if the language doesn't nail you the culture definitely will. Lets just say the red tape is different and contractors attitude more so. A lot of British/Dutch/Germsn contractors working in the south at lest so thats an option.
Italy, well good luck with that. Its a different way of approaching things entirely.
Spain, you'll need some brown envelopes if you catch my drift.
Portugal, word on the street is that this is the next place to go. Cheap is not the word.

It depends how experienced you are, your attitude and how much you're taking on yourself. A good relationship with the lead contractor will make or break it.
By sunnybob
#1250589
Cyprus must be one of the easiest foreign countries to live in.
The law is 95% same as UK.
All government officials and about half the population speak passable english (many of them better than wot I do!)
They even drive on the proper side of the road and all road signs are in english as well greek.
Many british workers here, charging slightly less than Uk prices, but its quite easy to make contacts locally and they are a lot cheaper.
Downsides? aint no way you buy anything under 50K and thats a hovel.
And governent paperwork would drown the best swimmer in the world.You have to have a local "negotiator" to grease the wheels.

Upsides? too many to list, but how about 16 days rain a YEAR!(unless its a drought year) and it NEVER freezes at sea level (my mains water pipe lays on top of the field next to me).
8) 8) 8) whats my name? 8) 8) 8)
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By MikeG.
#1250598
sunnybob wrote:Cyprus must be one of the easiest foreign countries to live in.
The law is 95% same as UK.
All government officials and about half the population speak passable english (many of them better than wot I do!)
They even drive on the proper side of the road and all road signs are in english as well greek.
Many british workers here, charging slightly less than Uk prices, but its quite easy to make contacts locally and they are a lot cheaper.
Downsides? aint no way you buy anything under 50K and thats a hovel.
And governent paperwork would drown the best swimmer in the world.You have to have a local "negotiator" to grease the wheels.

Upsides? too many to list, but how about 16 days rain a YEAR!(unless its a drought year) and it NEVER freezes at sea level (my mains water pipe lays on top of the field next to me).
8) 8) 8) whats my name? 8) 8) 8)


You can go off people, you know.......... :lol:
By sunnybob
#1250645
I know.....

But when I'm still wearing shorts and T shirt and washing my hands under the outside tap in november, i dont really care. :o :o :o :o :o
(hammer) (hammer) (hammer) (hammer)
Truly, into my 11 th year here, and not one days regrets. 8) 8)
By rafezetter
#1251309
sunnybob wrote:I know.....

But when I'm still wearing shorts and T shirt and washing my hands under the outside tap in november, i dont really care. :o :o :o :o :o
(hammer) (hammer) (hammer) (hammer)
Truly, into my 11 th year here, and not one days regrets. 8) 8)


Really? I seem to recall a certain someone complaining about packages taking 2 weeks to get there and the lack of availability of certain products.... :wink:

I saw a recent documentary with Simon Reeve about the med and a trip around the Greek and Turkish sides of Cyprus, so it's not quite all paradise and shorts.
By sunnybob
#1251315
I didnt say there werent minor annoyances :shock: , but regrets, none. 8) 8) 8)

Mind you, i did just give myself the kiss of death with that last remark. Temps have gone down to below 10c overnight. Today I have had to pack away my shorts till february (hey, my jeans still fit me!), and wear a long sleeve shirt for the first couple hours each day.
Tonight the temp inside the house went down to 21, so now I've had to start up the central heating :roll: :roll: :roll:

Its not paradise (distinct shortage of bikini babes pouring my wine for me), but its as close as I will ever get. :D :D :D
Anyone who wants to and can, should.