We’re approaching one of the busiest times of the year for buying property. If you’re ready to see some overseas homes, what should you be doing with currency for your viewing trip? Smart Currency Exchange’s senior trader Barney Cotton explains.
Continental hoteliers and seaside ice-cream vendors are starting to look forward to a well-earned rest. Meanwhile, overseas estate agents are gearing up for an influx of buyers. In many of our favourite overseas destinations there are only a few weeks from the height of the summer season to the end of easy flights, and from October to Easter and it can be hard to get a flight to a Mediterranean island.
So it makes sense to at least plan an exploratory visit in September and October, what is now known as the “shoulder season”.
For anyone planning a purchase before Brexit, yes it’s still possible. The buying process typically takes around six to eight weeks overseas, but with the right conditions and partners you can move it along quicker.
Talking to prospective buyers over the phone or at Your Overseas Home, one thing that always worries me is when they say that they’ll worry about their when they return from their viewing trip. This really isn’t sensible at any time, but least of all when we are facing such currency volatility.
Here are three reasons to talk to us and, if possible, open an account before you even call an estate agent.
1. Know your budget
There are two main issues with currencies. Firstly, the rate you see on the news and currency exchanges is the “interbank rate”. Regular property buyers won’t quite get that rate but a percentage point or so off it (much less if they go through a bank, mind you. That is really the worst way to buy overseas). You get a quote from us by clicking here.
This will mean you can have a better idea of what you can buy. Estate agents tend to pay more attention to a buyer who has spoken to a currency company.
2. Be ready to buy
Finding the right property can happen very quickly and out of the blue. If you are required to pay a reservation deposit, not only do you want a lawyer ready to check the contract but you want an account open with us to make the transfer as smooth as possible. Sorting out the currency for your viewing trip doesn’t require you to chnage or transfer any money. It simply means you have established a relationship with your personal trader at Smart.
3. Lock in the price
The other issue is what we call currency volatility. You’ll have seen the value of the pound compared to the euro or dollar change during the Brexit process and economic news. It’s impossible to accurately predict where the pound will go, and so the price you pay could potentially change by thousands of pounds over the course of a day. As soon as you agree to buy it is extremely wise to lock in your currency.
One of the sad things about the dramatic swings in the value of the pound has been speaking to people who had had to abandon their dream to buy a home abroad because they didn’t lock in their currency. Some had even paid a deposit which they had to lost because a dramatic swing in currency took the price of the home beyond reach.
4. Nothing to lose
The process of opening an account takes seconds. All that happens is that we take your name and address (it’s a government rule, just to prove you’re a real person), email you a form to sign, and that’s it. With that done, you are ready to set your currency if you want to. You can also speak to a currency expert for guidance.
Then, if you find yourself standing in home of your dreams, you’re ready for action.