Buying property abroad can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be a complex and confusing undertaking. One of the most important aspects of the process is ensuring that you have all the necessary documents in order. Every country has their own requirements, and what documents you need can vary greatly.

Often the local lawyer handling the transaction will advise on what documents they will need notarised and/or legalised. However, let’s take a look at some of the most common paperwork you might need.

1) Power of Attorney

It’s not always possible to be present for every step of the property purchase process. If you’re unable to attend the purchase in person, you may need to appoint someone to act on your behalf.

This person will need a power of attorney document that authorises them to sign legal documents on your behalf, and complete transactions related to the purchase in your absence. This could be a relative, friend or a solicitor who is assisting with the sale.

Typically, the buyer will authorise an agent in that country to act on their behalf for the purchase.

2) Passport

Your passport is a crucial document when buying property abroad, as it serves as proof of your identity and nationality. You’ll need to show your passport to various parties throughout the buying process, including the seller, the real estate agent, and the notary.

Working with a notary can help ensure that all necessary documents are properly executed and notarised, protecting you from fraud and ensuring that the transaction is completed legally and ethically.

3) Affidavit

An affidavit may be required for a variety of reasons. You may need to provide an affidavit to prove your identity, especially if you’re not physically present in the country where the property is located. An affidavit may also be required to provide evidence of your financial status.

You may need to notarise an affidavit when buying property abroad because it provides legal verification of the document’s contents.

4) Proof of Funds

In most cases, you’ll need to provide proof of funds to show that you have the financial means to buy property overseas. This can include bank or investment statements, and proof of income. The most common document legalised for this purpose is your P60 document which displays your annual income.

5) Death Certificate

In many countries, it’s a legal requirement to provide a death certificate when transferring ownership of a property from a deceased person to another individual. The death certificate provides legal proof of the previous owner’s passing and ensures that the transfer of ownership is legal.

6) Will

You may need a will when buying a house abroad to determine who inherits the property after your passing. Without a will, the distribution of your assets will be determined by the laws of the country where the property is located. This may result in your property being inherited by someone you wouldn’t have chosen, or your loved ones being involved in lengthy legal battles to claim your assets.

7) Property Survey

It’s important to have a professional property survey done to ensure that the property you’re buying is in good condition and there are no hidden issues that could affect the value or safety of the property.

The survey will include a detailed report that highlights any defects, damage or potential issues with the property. This may include problems with the roof, foundations, walls, windows, doors, and any other structural elements of the property. The report will also include recommendations for any repairs or maintenance that may be required.

8) Title Deeds

Title deeds are legal documents that prove ownership of the property. You’ll need to obtain the title deeds from the seller or the relevant government agency. It’s crucial to review the title deeds carefully to ensure that there are no discrepancies or issues that may affect your ownership of the property. This may include any outstanding debts or legal disputes related to the property

9) Residence Permit

If you’re buying property in a foreign country with the intention of living there permanently, you may need to obtain a residence permit. This document allows you to legally reside in the country and can be obtained from the relevant government agency.

In some countries, obtaining a residence permit may be a straightforward process that involves submitting an application to the relevant government agency, providing proof of income or financial resources, and passing a background check. In other countries, the process may be more complex and may require additional documentation or proof of language proficiency or other skills.

Final Thoughts

Buying overseas properties can require a significant amount of paperwork and documentation. It’s important to have all the necessary documents to ensure that the transaction is legal and legitimate. However, the specific documents you’ll need will depend on the country in which you’re buying the property.

If you need a hand from highly experienced notary publics, then don’t hesitate to contact us today by calling 020 7630 1777 or by emailing