Countries across Europe are slowly preparing to make the first steps to easing lockdown, with young children returning to school and industrial workers going back to work in some areas. More scaling-back is expected in late May for many countries. So what does this mean for anyone who’s had to put their property purchase plans on hold?

Pent-up demand

Property sales have slowed across Europe and indeed the world, but we know that the cause is a virus and not a lack of demand – and most estate agents are telling us that they have a large backlog of clients just waiting to be ready to go once restrictions are lifted.

This means we are likely to see a rush onto the property market – particularly from UK buyers, as the government has said the Brexit transition period will not be extended, reiterating their pre-pandemic position.

If you’re not prepared, this means you could find yourself at the back of the queue, and this could mean competing on price with others buyers. If you want to be at the front of the line, here’s what you need to do.

Start your search online

Start browsing properties online and narrowing down your shortlist now. You may not know that nearly all agents have now got some capacity for online viewings – so you can continue to at least have official viewings through the internet, all from the comfort and safety of your own home.

The closer you are to having a narrowed-down list for a viewing trip as soon as it becomes possible, the more quickly you’ll made able to get ahead.

Arrange your currency requirements

If you find yourself in an influx of buyers, you need the seller to know that you’re serious and ready to go. A huge part of this in an international transaction is the money transfer. Remember that, while the price of a home in euros is fixed, the final price in pounds is constantly changing, and especially in these volatile times. The exchange rates never stop moving!

Take a €100,000 house as an example. Between late February and early March, it would have cost you anything from £83,000 to £94,000. That’s a huge difference – and not one you want to find out about at the last minute.

Make sure, then, that you read up on your options for safely sending money overseas. Transferring with the banks on the day is rarely the best option, as many property buyers find out. Learn more in the Property Buyer’s Guide to Currency.

Begin administrative formalities

You can get some of the administrative functions done back in your home country. For example, if you need an NIE (Foreigner Identification Number) in Spain, then you can actually do this in a consulate in your own home country. Likewise, start gathering forms you will need for HMRC and the like, so you can pre-fill them in and send when needed.

It’s easy to protect your money against the risk of sending it overseas. Find out how in the Property Buyer’s 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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