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British Expat Newsletter:
12 April 2006

Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.

In this issue

  • This week: Crystal Balls
  • Virtual Snacks
  • Bizarre Searches
  • Quotation and joke

This week

Do you ever wish you had a crystal ball? Life would be so much easier if you could see into the future. Nothing in life is ever certain (except death and taxes, of course) but in some respects I think expats have it tougher than those who stay at “home”.

We’re going through the process of buying a house in our chosen foreign land. House purchase is stressful enough back in Blighty but you can imagine the shenanigans involved when the procedures are totally unfamiliar and you can’t even read any of the legal documents? We’ve hired what we hope are good lawyers (do such things exist?) and we have a reasonable amount of trust in the people we’re dealing with – the new (as in new to us) house is on the compound where we already live. Even so, there are likely to be a lot of pitfalls to avoid.

This seems to be the case in a lot of countries. Indeed, we have many articles on the BE website about such things – buying property in Spain, the Dominican Republic, Malta, etc, etc. Some are amusing, such as Bob Fretwell’s tale of how his neighbours owned the houses on both sides of Bob’s place and built a sort of up-and-over extension above Bob’s property to link their own two properties. Confused? Yes, so was I when I read it.

And then there’s always the mystery of what might happen next. The rented house where we now live currently has a sea view – if you twist your head the right way and jump up and down to see it from the upstairs bedroom window. But that view is rapidly disappearing with all the new building that’s going on around here. In the UK one would be able to find out what was planned for the area. But it’s not so easy here. Ask ten different people what’s going to happen with a vacant site, and you’ll get ten different answers. Then go back a week later and ask them again, and you’ll get ten more!

Equally, the mainly unregulated building is going on at such a pace that there’s been no heed paid to the infrastructure. Water, in particular, could be a serious problem. There already isn’t enough to go around.

So, what to do? Keep renting and wait until property prices rise so we can no longer afford to buy? Wait until sterling is strong again (it’s currently at its weakest here for seven years)? Or what?

These must be major issues for every expat. And without a crystal ball I suppose you just have to go with your instinct. That said, do take good advice and don’t fall into any of the better-known pitfalls. Hindsight is a great thing but none of us have the benefit of it until it’s too late.

We’d love to know how you have dealt with (or are still dealing with) these issues so please do write in and share your experiences.

Do you have anything to say about this topic, or do you have some suggestions for other issues we might discuss in our weekly email? Why not comment and tell us?

Virtual Snacks

Just a few suggestions if you have a little time to spare. We’re in shameless self-promotion mode this week!

Ginnie Bedggood’s excellent two-parter on moving to the Dominican Republic, “Don’t bring Wigan with you!” is well worth a read – much of the advice is relevant no matter where you’re planning to go.
Don’t bring Wigan with you!

Plenty of our readers have got a house in Spain or are considering getting one. We’ve got stacks of articles on property in Spain. Why not check them out? Here’s a link to our “Moving to Spain” index page:
Moving to Spain
And here’s a link to Bob Fretwell’s “up-and-over” neighbours story – “I’m Turning into a Nomad”, Part One:
I’m Turning into a Nomad

When you’ve finished all that, you might like to relax with the amusing if rather puzzling (and sometimes poorly spelt) FakeMoustache.com. Can anyone work out what this guy’s on? If so, please tell us!
http://www.fakemoustache.com

Bizarre Searches

Some strange search terms which have led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • without money everything would be expensive
  • his pants for her
  • skirley wri
  • fun decapitation animal -cattle -fetus -ovarian -fetal
  • music quiz warmer
  • impending cold what to eat
  • blasphemy swearing song
  • fax a copy on green paper
  • what british used in the olden days
  • i m not scared michele religious references
  • externimator
  • burden shared etymology

Till next time…
Happy surfing!

Kay
Editor
British Expat Magazine

Quotation

“Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”

– Benjamin Franklin, US statesman (1706-1790)

Joke

Owner to a house hunter: “Yes, the kitchen is a bit small, but with a mortgage like this you won’t do much cooking anyway.”

PG Author: Kay McMahon

Kay has been an expat for nearly 30 years. She set up the British Expat website back in early 2000, whilst living in London and missing the expat life. These days she spends much of her time lugging computers and cameras around the world. (Dave gets to deal with all the really heavy stuff.)

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