When buying a property abroad or living abroad the most daunting aspect can often be the financial process and the potential pitfalls that it can bring. But with a bit of basic understanding and a bit of know how and support you can help to ease the financial burden and make your money go further.
When living in France the reality of dealing with exchange rates has to be one of the biggest considerations and for many people starting out on their new life abroad many will be relying on a regular income from savings or pensions to fund things.
Dealing with exchange rates during the current economic downturn and volatile markets has resulted in people getting a 20% downturn in the value of living compared to two years ago. For this reason it’s vital that you understand the impact that currency fluctuations can have on your income and also understand how much money you’ll receive at regular intervals. This will make planning for those all important living costs such as mortgage repayments, property maintenance costs and general living expenses much easier.
So if you’re looking to buy property in France, planning on emigrating to or already living in France here are some tips to help you ease the process of moving money from one country to another.
You can guarantee that when you want to transfer money at the last minute then things will be against you so it’s important to plan ahead. Leaving currency exchanges until the last minute can cost you thousands so it’s important keep an eye on the market and plan in advance in order to make your money go further.
The price of a property can change by several thousands in just a matter of a few days so take advantage of the best exchange rates by using a ‘Forward Contract’ which will allow you to fix an exchange rate up to two years ahead. Forward contracts can be used to lock into favourable rates or protect you from adverse currency changes.
If you live in France but your income comes from savings or pensions in another country you’re going to need to transfer money on a regular basis. By organising a regular payment plan this will allow you to take advantage of better rates and automatic direct debit transfers. There are many plans available that can easily be tailored to suit your specific needs. For example, you can fix the sterling amount sent; the foreign currencies received or fix both. You can also choose the payment intervals from weekly to annual payments.
Shop around for the best deal
As with most things it pays to shop around, don’t just assume that the high street bank is going to offer the best exchange rate. It can often pay to speak to different providers like currency dealers. You also need to consider transfer fees which can vary significantly.
Be aware of overseas bank charges
It’s important to be aware that overseas banks can charge handling fees for receiving money. These charges can amount to 1% of the value being transferred. Should you be making regular payments then these transfer fees can quickly mount up. A currency specialist should be able to absorb or even eliminate these fees or you could look into negotiating with the receiving bank before making a transfer.
Keep an eye out for low interest rates and property prices
For those of you currently living in France and paying off a mortgage then you’ll be aware that the local interest rates are at an all time low. So now could be a good time to consider reviewing the available fixed rates.
Get the Basics Right
Remember that if you get the basics right by planning ahead, shopping around, negotiating good rates and transfer fees then you are well placed to reduce the amount of excess spending you’ll incur. These simple tips could help you make the most of your cash, make it go further and also give you peace of mind.