Man inside his green car

An Expatriate’s Guide to Purchasing a Car or Property Overseas

Investments are tricky and choosing where to invest your savings can be difficult. Some people want to invest their money in a property while others prefer vehicles as an investment. It’s easy to buy both, but if you have limited funds, you need to choose one. Remember that investing in either is a leap of faith, and making an informed decision is recommended.

This also applies to people who are planning to retire or live overseas. They need to make sound decisions before purchasing a car, property, or both. To help expatriates, here are some pointers when choosing between a car or a house.

Why Purchase a Car?

One of the significant advantages of owning a car overseas is mobility, especially if you’re new to a country or still unfamiliar with their public transportation. It’s easier to move around and plan the day as you see fit. If you need to meet friends or make an appointment with a local physician, there is no need to fall in line and wait for the bus to arrive.

Another benefit is building a good credit score with local financial institutions. This will help an expat learn how the loan process works and use it to their advantage.

However, there are also disadvantages to owning a new vehicle in another country. Vehicular traffic means spending more time on the road. You can’t always turn to mobile apps to help you navigate through unfamiliar streets. Also, you should take into consideration factors such as fuel costs, budget for vehicle maintenance, market value depreciation, insurance fees for international asset protection, and monthly amortization.

Why Purchase a Property?

Thinking about buying a house concept

Living overseas can be quite expensive, and most expats resort to renting a home or apartment. However, rental rates and the overall costs of living abroad can hit their savings. If an expat plans to reside in their country of preference for a long time, they might as well invest in a property instead of renting. Having a place to call their own gives them a slice of home and much-needed privacy.

Compared to buying a car, the value of properties appreciates over time. If an expat purchased a residential property for $20,000, they could expect the property’s value to increase twice or thrice its original purchase value after a decade or so. If there were renovations or extensions made to update the property, they could expect its market value to increase even more. Another advantage is that it’s easy to sell if the expat decides to go back to their country of origin.

Like buying a new (or used) vehicle, property purchases also have their own set of disadvantages. Costs for property upkeep and utility maintenance should be considered. Another concern is the quality of the property itself. Did it pass government building codes or laws? Some unscrupulous home sellers would cover these just to make a quick sale. Without proper inspection from a local contractor or building engineer, an expat’s funds may go down the drain.

Living overseas needs careful consideration, especially if it involves purchasing property or vehicles. Expats need to examine and weigh their options before making any investment as they face their new life overseas.

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