A guide to buying commercial property abroad

A guide to buying commercial property abroad

If you’re looking to expand your business to a new market, owning a commercial property abroad could be a great move. Commercial property investments can be complex, so here’s our guide to help you along the way.


How easy is it to buy commercial property overseas?

With the help of selected specialists on your side, buying abroad should be no more difficult than buying in your home country. Many governments actively welcome the investment that foreign buyers bring, and do everything they can to smooth the path, from translating information into English to running tax reduction schemes. For example, Portugal’s golden visa is designed to encourage investment from non-EU nationals, with requirements including purchasing a property worth at least €500,000. 

There's a wealth of independent, bilingual lawyers out there who can help guide you, too – though keep in mind that you should seek independent legal advice and not just use lawyers, translators or interpreters recommended by the estate agent. 

Having competitive FX rates against the money you use to buy your commercial or industrial property makes a real difference to your final budgeting. Currency specialists like WorldFirst can help you safely transfer your money over for the purchase and, using forward contracts, can lock in a great exchange rate for when you’re ready to complete the sale.  

Commercial vs residential property

When selecting professionals to help with your commercial property investment, make sure they specialise in, or have extensive knowledge of, buying commercial property. For example, rules on buying commercial property in Europe could differ from buying residential property, so you want to make sure your specialists know the nuances involved in commercial property. This will also help you avoid the expense of paying for searches etc on a property only to find you’re ineligible to buy it further down the line.   

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  • Lock in conversion rates to manage your currency risk
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How can you buy abroad?

The process in most countries is not dissimilar to the UK. Start off by drawing up a list of what you’re looking for in the property and narrow down your area. It’s really worth doing your research at this point, especially if you’re buying a shop, factory or warehouse that you plan to use for your business. With that done, start speaking to estate agents whose portfolio you like and who have experience in helping foreign buyers in your chosen area – the right estate agent will be a crucial part of buying successfully. 

At the same time, plan your finances and work with an FX provider that's secure and has great customer service support. Consider how you’ll safely send your money overseas, without the risk of losing out to a sudden change in the markets. Remember that your budget should be defined in both currencies – knowing how much you can afford in your home currency doesn’t give you a true picture of what you can afford in the purchase currency. 

You’ll need to head out on viewing trips, and it's sensible to also check out things like local transport links and your competitors in the area. Make sure your finances are sorted by this point and bring all key decision-makers with you. That way, you can act fast and make an offer when you see somewhere you like – without needing to go back home and discuss things, only to find someone else gets there before you. 

You’ll normally need a deposit and remember to allow time for searches and surveys. Once all is agreed, you’ll sign a sale contract and the property will be yours.

Taking the leap

It'll benefit your purchase and business if you can access great FX rates from day one, ideally without any hidden fees. Working with WorldFirst means you'll know exactly what you'll pay for your transfers. 

With the help of the right experts, buying commercial property abroad can be as safe and simple as back home. The world is your oyster, so where's your business's best commercial property investment? 


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