There is a growing tendency for people from first world countries to retire in a developing country. Germans are, for example, quite fond of retiring in Turkey or Paraguay. Very often these people visit the country of choice before the time to look for a house or apartment where they will live after retirement. The services of property agents for expats come in very handy in such a situation.
One of the first reasons for this is that very often the language will be a barrier. Property agents concentrating on German expats in Paraguay, for example, can speak the local language (Spanish) as well as the language of their buyers (German). This means that the agent fulfills both the role of a property adviser and an interpreter!
When arriving in a foreign city for the first time, you have no clue where your hotel is never mind which parts of the city are good to live in and which parts are crime-ridden. You therefore need the services of someone who knows the city by heart and who can advise you about the best residential areas which will also give you the highest growth on your investment in future.
Once you find a property which you and your family like, you need to find out if the asking price is realistic or whether it has been loaded with a special ‘foreigner levy’. We have all heard frightening stories about foreigners paying double the market value of a property simply because they chose to do everything on their own. If you have an honest property agent assisting you, he will warn you about asking prices that are too high.
Foreign countries sometimes have very eccentric laws when it comes to real estate and foreign citizens. As a non-citizen you might have very little legal protection if you become the victim of a scam. You could well end up losing your money this way. If you had someone at your side who knows the local legal system and is aware of local scams, you are therefore much less likely to end up in this situation.
As someone who is not familiar with local development plans, you might end up buying a property next to a future industrial zone which will soon engulf your suburb in toxic fumes. This is one more reason why you need to use a knowledgeable property agent that can speak your language.
Property agents for expats therefore fulfill a vital role in the real estate market. Think of your agent as your first friend in a foreign country.