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Buying or Selling a Property Overseas

Buying or Selling a Property Overseas

Buying or Selling a Property Overseas

December 11, 2023 apostille-online Comments Off

If you are one of the thousands of people who is lucky enough to have a second home overseas, or are thinking about moving overseas permanently, you’ll know that one of the biggest headaches is often navigating through the legal system to buy and sell property. Language is the obvious barrier in countries where English is not the first language, but legal systems and requirements can be very different, even in our close European neighbours. In many international property transactions, an apostille stamp is essential. If you are not sure what an apostille is, and why you might need to get an apostille in the first place, here is our simple guide to the system.

Overseas Property Transactions

Buying or selling property or larger assets such as vehicles overseas often involves very large sums of money changing hands internationally. Local authorities will want to see a range of documents to verify the identity of the people involved on both sides of the sale, partly to comply with international money laundering regulations, and partly to ensure the sale goes through without any hitch. Local authorities will often ask for different documents to be apostilled, and perhaps formally translated too. These can include identity documents such as passports or other certificates, contracts of sale/purchase, property deeds, or certificates proving ownership of land or property.

Management of Property

Many people based in the UK who own property overseas will let it out, or have a local management company to deal with day to day maintenance or tenancy issues. Finding a local agent who is prepared to act on your behalf is the easy part of the process, but before they are formally appointed, any decent agent will want to see apostilled proof that you own the property, or have the legal right to appoint them to act on your behalf.

Legal Proceedings

Nobody who owns property overseas wants to fall foul of the law, but the reality is that there are just as many problems with tenants or dodgy builders overseas as there are in the UK. Any time a property owner based in the UK starts to deal with the legal authorities overseas, documents will require an apostille before being accepted by the courts. These documents may include court papers, judgments, statements, or powers of attorney.

Apostille Stamp

The apostille stamp is a standardised procedure for verifying the legitimacy of public documents among countries that are part of the Hague Apostille Convention. The Convention covers 126 countries around the world. Most UK residents who own property overseas have that property in Europe or the United States, and these countries are all part of the Convention. When dealing with transactions or authorities in countries which are part of the Apostille Convention, this is all that is required to have documents accepted; no further verification or authentication is needed. For countries which are not part of the Convention, there is a step after the Apostille which involves getting documents further verified at the embassy of the country concerned.