December 2019 Newsletter
By Debbie Wysocki
Essential Things to Consider While Buying Property Overseas
Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming of retirement in rural Italy or rehabbing a beachfront property in Costa Rica? Despite what you’ve seen on House Hunters International, purchasing real estate abroad is not always a simple feat. In addition to the normal real estate considerations like size, location, and price, you also must navigate a market and legal process that’s likely foreign to you. Nevertheless, you can ease the process by keeping a few tips in mind.
Lean on local professionals
First, contact real estate brokers in the area. They can familiarize you with the market and help you find the best deal. Secondly, contact a local lawyer to help you deal with legal matters specific to the area you’re considering.
Consider your tax liability
Every country has its own tax laws. Some may require you to repay the inheritance tax, title transfer tax, land tax, or even the stamp duty at the time of purchase. You may also be liable to pay additional taxes in your home country. These potential costs need to be added to your budget, so you are financially prepared and don’t face any legal penalties.
Bridge the language barrier
Language barriers can easily lead to miscommunication and delays in the home-buying process. Even worse, you could pay a higher price or lose a deal entirely. While it’s possible to overcome this issue by learning the relevant language, it’ll be far more effective to hire a broker or attorney fluent in both your native tongue and that of your new host country.
Securing financing will likely be your biggest hurdle in purchasing real estate abroad. If you aren’t paying cash, securing a mortgage through a foreign bank can mean a potentially high interest rate. To get started, obtain an “Agreement in principle” before making any purchase, as it will safeguard you if you can’t secure a loan.
Troubleshooting Common Plumbing Issues
Plumbing issues can be difficult, expensive, and time consuming. You may be able to fix some things on your own, but if not, being able to diagnose the problem will make it easier for you to hire a professional to get the job done. Here are a few common plumbing problems you may encounter and ways to overcome them.
Nation-wide, many municipalities face aging infrastructure, including water pipes coming to the end of their useful lifespan. Of course, much of the pipe replacement is the city’s responsibility, but some of the financial burden will fall on local residents. If you’re experiencing any signs of a major leak, be it reduced water pressure, damp spots in your yard, or a sewer smell in the house, contact a plumber right away.
Leaking faucets can run up your water bill and cause damage if the pooling leaks in a place you can’t see. Even a slow drip can cost you 20 dollars a week. In most cases, a dripping faucet is caused by a faulty seal on the valve that holds back the pressure of your water supply. To fix this, turn off the water supply and then remove the faucet assembly. Usually, the problem is the seat washer. Take the old washer with you when you go to buy a replacement, as you’ll need one exactly the same size.
If only one drain has slowed, it’s likely to be a localized clog. In that case, your first step should be to inspect the drain and see if anything obvious is clogging it. If not, try using a plunger to clear it. You can use a toilet plunger or buy one specifically for sinks. If this doesn’t work, try putting a half cup of baking soda down the drain and chase it with a half cup of vinegar. Let that sit for a couple hours and then send down some boiling water. If you believe grease is the problem, use a half cup of salt and a half cup of baking soda and a pot of hot water. Let it sit overnight. If you experience constant drain problems, look into having the pipes inspected and replace.
If you’re not getting enough water in the tank to fully flush the bowl, try bending the float arm up just a bit. This will allow the tank to fill higher before the water turns off. If there’s plenty of water in the tank but not enough makes it into the bowl, check the tank ball on the flush valve and consider resetting the guide. If neither of those solutions work, there could be buildup from hard water in the small holes that sit under the rim of the inside seat. These small holes are where the water comes out, and buildup can block the water. Trying using a mirror to inspect them and a wire coat hanger to unclog them.