Is it worth selling holiday properties abroad?

In 2022, a fairly large number of Russian citizens who own housing abroad began to have various kinds of problems related to its maintenance and maintenance. First of all, this concerns owners of “vacation” property who are not residents of EU countries, who are increasingly thinking about selling it.

After a series of bans in force during the Covid-19 pandemic, Russian citizens are faced with other, even more tangible restrictions on their rights and freedoms. The unluckiest of all are those Russians who previously bought real estate in so-called “unfriendly” countries without planning to move there permanently. The authorities of some of them have stopped issuing type C tourist visas with a stay of no more than 90 days in a six-month period, while others have completely stopped allowing holders of Russian passports with valid Schengen visas.

As a result, property owners in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, the Czech Republic, and Poland found themselves virtually cut off from their apartments and houses, and it is possible that this list will continue to grow. In other countries – such as Spain – local banks began to block the accounts of Russians, thus depriving them of paying utility bills or, even worse, mortgages. To all this should be added the difficulties with air travel, which now have to be made with transfers, spending significantly more money and time (for the “average” family with two children, the rise in price of air tickets will be very noticeable).

It is not surprising that under the current circumstances, thoughts periodically arise about getting rid of such assets that they begin to bring more losses than profits, and more headaches than joy. The emergence of such sentiments was also facilitated by the spread of rumors that all property in the European Union would be confiscated from Russians and that they would be prohibited from conducting any transactions on its territory, although in reality everything was limited to only the seizure of real estate and bank accounts of persons who were under personal sanctions.

On the other hand, housing prices in almost all EU countries continue to grow month after month, and in some places they have already reached their historical maximum. The chance to profitably sell real estate abroad is quite large – especially since the rise in prices will definitely not be endless. There are more and more Europeans wishing to acquire a “second home”, and their preferences are mainly concentrated in the countries of Southern and South-Western Europe: Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Cyprus. They consider investing in real estate in these countries as one of the most reliable ways to preserve their savings against the backdrop of the global financial and economic crisis.

The cost of maintaining housing in Europe is another item that can be decisive for your decision. In the case of empty housing, increases in electricity, water and gas tariffs are unlikely to be noticeable, but in the context of rising inflation, falling income levels and general economic uncertainty, this burden may become unbearable – especially for luxury villas and other types of luxury real estate. And paying taxes and utilities, given the problems with banks, will not be possible everywhere and not for everyone.

Housing located on the coasts has one peculiarity: the longer it is empty, the higher the likelihood that its quality will deteriorate. A long-term lack of ventilation and heating will lead to the appearance of mold on the walls, and sand will penetrate into the room through the vents opened for this purpose. In Spain, we can add to this the risk of “occupas”, the eviction of which takes years, and during this time the property becomes uninhabitable.

One way out of such an unfavorable situation could be to rent out “vacation” real estate – especially since rental rates are rising everywhere, and you can almost always count on a return of 5-7% per annum. Another thing is that not everyone can solve this issue “remotely” and find a way to receive money, although there are still quite a lot of them.

If it is impossible to avoid selling real estate abroad for one reason or another, then the best option seems to be concluding a transaction with a buyer from Russia. This will significantly simplify settlements and speed up the entire process, since in a number of countries, Russians now have restrictions on the amount of money they can transfer and store money in their accounts (for example, for Spain and Cyprus this is 150 and 100 thousand euros, respectively). In any case, you should definitely not give in to panic and put your home up for sale at a price 15-20% below the market price, unless there are really good reasons for doing so. Well, in countries such as Turkey, the UAE or Montenegro, the “vacation” real estate of Russian citizens is not in danger at all, and in the foreseeable future its value will only increase.

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