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Julian Gibbs

Due to higher taxes and much higher living costs in the UK than in

most other countries, more people are retiring abroad or buying

holiday homes in Europe, Florida and even Australia, New Zealand and

South Africa. There are, however, many pitfalls when buying abroad

and the cost of mortgages can vary enormously, from around 3.5 per

cent in France to about 15 per cent in South Africa.

Many of the leading mortgage brokers and IFA networks, such as Chase

de Vere, Charcol and DBS, are using an excellent firm called Conti

Financial Services to handle the problems and point out the pitfalls

in each country. It is able to recommend competent lawyers.

Conti is based in Hove and is now the biggest operator in the

overseas mortgage market. It gives some excellent tips for buying

abroad, such as suggesting that investors arrange their mortgage

finance in principle before agreeing to purchase property, ensure

they understand the cost of buying and selling, which can be

substantial in some countries, and ensure they have not inherited

debt on the property before purchase as, in some new developments,

the lender to the developer has rights over the property if the

developer becomes insolvent.

This happened to someone I know after they had lived in the property

for 10 years and they had to sell it to pay off the debt.

I have known Conti for many years and it has always proved thoroughly

reliable. I recommend that any IFA who has clients wishing to buy

abroad uses Conti.

It also pays generous introductory commission. It does not deal in

any other financial services products so there is no cross-selling

problem.

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