If you have your heart set on owning a second or retirement home in Europe, or simply want to move somewhere else permanently, then you need to think of some of the implications of living in a foreign country before you move too rapidly. Thinking ahead may help head off heartbreak later down the road or unnecessary complications that come with your new home.
Know the country’s residence rules
While many European countries abide by the Schengen Agreement, which allows you to stay in the country for 90 days in a six-month period, some countries have not signed this agreement. You need to know before you invest in property in another country. In some countries, border officials may deny your entry if they see that you have repeatedly entered their country under this agreement. Additionally, if you are thinking of moving there permanently, then you need to know the law because this agreement does not apply to you.
Other countries offer special investor or retirement visas, but that is not always the case depending what country you want to move to. Therefore, you need to know each country’s laws before you think about buying a home there. Some countries will allow you to stay long term if you can prove that you can support yourself without working.
Consider the cost of healthcare
If you currently qualify for Medicare and choose to live overseas, chances are that this federal program will not pay healthcare bills. Alternatively, you may opt to buy traveler’s insurance, but most will not cover you if you stay gone from home for more than 90 days. Getting international healthcare insurance can be hard if you have pre-existing conditions. Therefore, make sure you know what you will do if you get sick.
Study the tax structure
Different countries have different taxes. Some will divide all your property up evenly between your spouse and all your children when you die. Others hit your spouse with an enormous inheritance tax on all assets worldwide. You may also have to pay a wealth tax if you own property and make money over a very limited amount. Therefore, you should work with a tax lawyer before you make any moves overseas.
You only live once, so if your heart is set on living in a particular county, there are usually ways that things can be worked out. The point is to prepare for the move well ahead of time. If you are on vacation and you discover the perfect property, you probably need to come home and study the move before you spend your hard-earned money.