Which Overseas Destination is Right for You?
When you’re think of buying a home overseas what is it that you have in your minds’ eye? Do you think of being near the sea? Or, do you come from a built up city and dream of having a lovely view of the green forests? Whatever it is, it’s all available for you but the most important thing is to think hard about what you want so that you can narrow down your search and make it specific to your requirements.
Everyone has heard the story of the Estate Agent who takes someone out to see properties and shows them high priced items that were not in their criteria or, when struggling to match a client to a property, they take them to see a ‘wild card’ property in the hope that the client likes it. This is bad practice and it wastes both the agent’s and client’s time. At Keyholders International Property Group, we like to make a relationship with our clients and this helps us to understand their needs and give them the best advice.
Keyholders International Property Group traditionally marketed portfolio in Turkey; we have recently started marketing portfolio in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Bulgaria too and we are continually working to expand and improve our portfolio to give the client the best choices available. We found that many of our clients were unsure of where suited them best and having the luxury of more than one choice under one roof allows them to consider these choices without having to make a relationship with several agents. This makes their search more personal and much less tiring.
Out of the choices available with Keyholders International, there are various properties to suit various budgets and locations to suit most people, here are some things for you to think about regarding each country.
Turkey is a country that is famous for its hospitality and rich culture with much to see and do, from catering for those who just like to relax at the beach to the history buff who wants to explore ancient ruins in the cradle of civilisation to the sports enthusiast who wants to ski or explore the mountains. It’s all available in Turkey and prices are good too, both in terms of holidaying and buying property. You get quite a lot for your money so if you’re dreaming about a villa with a pool and you feel you only have an apartment budget, then Turkey may be a wise choice, with a stunning selection of villas at very competitive prices. Good accessibiity from other countries is also a plus point because if you feel like the time has come to sell your property, Turkey attracts a very broad market from both east and west thus making it a good location to buy if you feel you may wish to move on in the future.
Currency is Turkish Lira and this fluctuates from time to time so if you live there it may be best to keep the bulk of your capital in pounds or dollars and change it as required but you are advised to take independent advice about this as it may depend on your level of income, etc.
Healthcare in Turkey is very accessible, there are three options for general hospitals, the Devlet hospitals (NHS) which treats everyone who needs it, private hospitals that collaborate with the national insurance scheme(SGK) which allows the patient to choose a private hospital, paying a top up amount and the state covering the rest of the bill providing they are up to date with their national insurance (SGK) and fully private providers that do not deal with SGK and people can choose this option if they are happy to pay the full medical bill.
Education in Turkey follows a common curriclum for all schools, whether they be private or state. The Turkish speaking private schools differ in that they provide a more comfortable accommodation and they offer more languages, etc. You can find International Schools in larger cities such as Izmir, Antalya, etc if you wish your child to follow a non Turkish curriculum in the English language. Life in Turkey is generally taken at a fairly relaxed pace and family life is placed in high priority, your children are always welcome at social functions and people never expect you to exclude your children when you socialise as can be the case in countries such as the UK, so if this appeals to you, look at Turkey.
Portugal has many attractions, it is at the junction of the three continents of Europe, Africa and America and provides good transport links to other countries, so you will find it easy and relatively quick to go to other European cities. The landcape is versatile and residents and visitors can enjoy beach, country village settings or cityscapes. Again, the choices are all available.
Portugal is an entry point to the schengen zone and as such attracts many visitors from all over the world and this also gives property sellers a broad customer base from which to choose if the time comes for them to sell their property. The Portuguese are well known for their friendly welcoming approach to guests in their country and this always makes someone want to go back, the country is a member of the EU and part of the single currency.
Portugal started to recover from a few years of economic depression in 2014, when house prices then started to see a rise and have contunued thereafter, so now would be a good time to buy there as the predictions all show that the rise in value will continue.
In Portugal, healthcare is provided by the NHS but in addition to this, there are freely available private healthcare providers. The hospital network is spread throughout the country and is modern and well equipped. There is also the GP clinic if needed for less urgent matters. Furthermore, to help overseas patients feel more comfortable, hospitals are implementing personalised patient care and monitoring services, with English as the language of communication. Portugal also has an Integrated Medical Emergency System, which is designed to provide a fast and accurate response to accident victims or anyone suffering an acute illness and rapid response times by the emergency services. The WHO ranks Portugal’s healthcare system as no.12, which is very good.
Public education is free and mandatory until the age of 18, there are also many good private schools. The education is of a high standard and is placed significantly above the OECD’s average, at a similar level as those students from Norway, Poland, Denmark and Belgium.
Portugal has a ‘Golden Visa’ scheme for non EU citizens with a required investment amount. Please contact us at Keyholders International Property Group if this is of interest.
Spain is a well developed option that has been tried and tested for many years. Over the years, we have all heard of the shocking stories of property deals gone wrong, however, time has moved on and much has been learned from this time. Spain continues to be a very popular choice and has much to offer, from villages to holiday resort areas to rural areas.
There is much to choose from with regards to style of house, type of area and budget but it’s worth noting that, other than the popular Costa’s, English is not that widely spoken. Be sure to know your area before you start looking and understand any restrictions that may apply to the type of proprty you are considering buying, e.g. in the case of some rural properties.
Healthcare in Spain is of a good standard and comprises both public and private healthcare providers with some hospitals offering a choice of both. It is free of charge for those who live and work there but if you are a visitor you should ensure that you and your family are properly insured. The healthcare system is Spain is decentralised and so you will have to check what the provisions are in the area you have chosen.
With regards to education, the state provides free education until the age of 18 but attendance is compulsory only until the age of 16. There are also private schools, as in every country but international schools are generally found in larger cities. Places in state schools are generally allocated according to catchment area, so this is something to consider when you are deciding where to relocate to. Some state schools, depending on the region, may teach in the dialect of the given region and this is also something to be considered if you are thinking about living in Catalonia, Galicia, etc. It is not always the case, so check it out before you decide as it will mean your child may learn the regional dialect before learning Spanish, which should be fine if you are living there but it’s good to know.
Spain has a ‘Golden Visa’ scheme for non EU citizens with a required investment amount. Please contact us at Keyholders International Property Group if this is of interest.
Greece is a beautiful country with islands that are famed for their beauty and serenity. Most holiday brochures have seen their covers graced with a picture of one of the lovely Greek beaches, many of which are Blue Flag beaches and the famous picture of the blue and white skyline of Santorini meeting the Aegean sea is an image that most of us recognise. These are iconic images that reach out to those who wish a slower pace and some relaxation and there is no doubt that these areas offer exactly this and more but what if you like the fast life? Well, if this is the case you should look no further than Athens. Athens is a large, vibrant city which offers all of the amenities of any other cosmopolitan city but with the added charm of many historic and ancient sites such as the Acropolis and Monastiraki.
Greece, when compared to countries such as France, Spain and the UK has a very low crime rate and this feeling of security is something that cannot be measured in currency. Greece is currently climbing its way out of a financial crisis but for buyers, this is a good time to get a bargain and the opportunity to invest has never been so advantageous for the buyer.
If you wish to settle in Greece the healthcare system is free of charge at the point of delivery for emergencies as emergency care in Greece is free of charge regardless of ones nationality. However, unless an expat is employed in the country, has a social security card (known as an AMKA) and pays for public health insurance, they will have to pay their own medical bills for most primary care visits. There are also many private healthcare providers and they are generally considered to be offering a higher standard of care than the public services, however, this is probably the case where ever you go in theworld. You should always ensure that you have insurance cover of some kind.
Education in Greece is similar to that in Turkey with the pre-school, then the main education system which is mainly divided into three levels: primary, secondary and tertiary, with an additional post-secondary level providing vocational training. Both public and private schols are monitored by the ministry of education. Parents have the choice of public school, which will enable their child to be fully immersed in the local culture and language or private schools, some of which are international schools and more commonly found in larger cities.
Greece is still a popular choice for those wishing to retire as well; many choosing the more laid back areas and the islands.
Greece has a ‘Golden Visa’ scheme for non EU citizens with a required investment amount. Please contact us at Keyholders International Property Group if this is of interest.
This information is correct at time of writing; Keyholders International Property Group always recommend that their clients seek independent legal advice before entering into any property purchase transactions.