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Ask Peter - Investing in Australia or Overseas?

My partner and I are looking at buying an investment property. Over the past 18 months a number of friends have told us about interesting investment opportunities overseas. What are your thoughts about overseas property investments?

In recent years, particularly as property prices in Australia have continued to rise, many people have looked further afield for investment opportunities. It goes without saying there are plenty of worthy investment opportunities to be found overseas but I issue the simple caution before you sign on the dotted line - ‘buyer beware’.

If you are buying in Australia, you are familiar with the process, the law and regulations. If you purchase overseas, you are often entering into unchartered waters in regards to ownerships laws, regulations, currency fluctuations, taxation laws and property management challenges. Even something as simple as the language may prove to be a barrier if you are looking to invest in a country where English is not the first language.

If you looking to buy overseas, I recommend you always inspect the property before you purchase so you know what you are buying. This travel can be costly and although some might define it as ‘tourism with a purpose’, you need to be able to cover the cost.

In addition, if you are investing in a foreign country you should definitely find a local representative who can assist you with the process. This can be difficult and you may be putting a lot of faith in a complete stranger. Do your research and make sure you are dealing with a reputable company.

Finally, speak to your local investment specialist or accountant to make sure you are aware of any taxation or financial implications of investing overseas. Taxation and transaction costs often vary significantly from country to country so research every aspect of each potential investment opportunity, every time.

Although it sounds glamorous to have an international property investment portfolio, it can often result in a lot more work and risk for the investor. But, it promotes diversification and can have its rewards too. If you are prepared to do the research and find the right people to help you along the way, it may prove to be a rewarding process. Just tread carefully.  

If you need any extra hints and suggestions, our team of Property Investment Specialists are happy to help. Contact us on 08 9200 7200 or email us at info@investorassist.com.au