Has the hottest UK summer for 42 years inspired you to head off on an overseas viewing trip, to find the holiday home of your dreams? Somewhere you can escape to relax in the sun whenever you like once the reality of the great British winter returns. Before you check Skyscanner for the first flight to your chosen destination, take a couple of minutes to read our guide to viewing trips. Knowing how to plan your trip effectively will help you maximise your precious time there.

Draw up a realistic wish list

Create a profile of your ideal property before you set off, with your budget firmly in mind. Knowing exactly what you want will help you stick to what you can afford. It will also prevent charismatic estate agents from pushing properties that don’t match your requirements.

Don’t let our advice deter you from accepting an agent’s help altogether. After all they work on commission, so a reputable agent will be trained to match the property to the person and offer valuable guidance.

How long should your viewing trip last?

How many horror stories have you heard where someone bought a property unwisely because they had too much time to think about it? If you’re too rushed to have a thorough look around and ask all the right questions, you could end up regretting your decision to buy later down the line. Save long weekends away for a relaxing mini-break; you will probably need to set aside at least one week for a comprehensive viewing trip.

Try not to pack too much into one day. Be realistic with your schedule to prevent rushing from one property to another and getting stressed. You want to be in the right frame of mind to make informed decisions.

Make sure you plan your viewing trip carefully before you depart

Assemble your team of experts

If you’re out of your comfort zone on your viewing trip, don’t let the dodgy hotel Wi-Fi and language barrier deter you. You can take control by having your team of experts in place before you go. This should include an independent lawyer who speaks the local language and a currency specialist. Also, ask your agent which vital documents you should take with you e.g. marriage certificates if you want to buy as a couple.

Notes, photos, videos

Don’t rely on your memory – no matter how sharp it is – to recall all the details of the properties you view. You won’t forget the finer details if you take photos of rooms, the garden, the view and anything else you like or dislike about the property. Videos are another great way to document your viewings not just visually but verbally as well. Don’t forget the good old pen and notepad. Jot down notes as you go on sizes of rooms, distance to the nearest café, etc. Buying a holiday home is an emotional decision, so make sure you’re armed with all the relevant information you can gather.

Use your imagination

Engage your imagination on your viewing trip, rather than simply seeing the here and now. This will help you consider that ugly duckling property, which might be considerably cheaper but costs just hundreds to turn into the home of your dreams. And remember, it’s all well and good viewing property during the summer, but try imagining if you’ll still love it in winter.

Be ready to put down a deposit

This is prime property buying season, so there may be other buyers poised to make an offer. Don’t be pressured into signing anything by the agent during this busy period, but do be ready to pay a reservation deposit by opening a currency account before you depart.

Liaising with a currency specialist will also help you set a budget that factors in currency risk. Remember, exchange rates change by the minute, while the process of buying a house takes months.

Wherever you choose to buy you’ll have a few financial matters to sort out : Download the Traders Guide to Currency

If you find the home of your dreams but it’s beyond your budget, effective negotiation could make the vital difference. Download the How to Negotiate Abroad Guide.

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