No-deal Brexit might loom on the horizon, but this has not deterred many Brits from buying or considering to buy property abroad.

When it comes to Brexit, the latest release of a government document outlining “reasonable worst case scenarios” in the case of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, has left many shocked. While the government resisted the publication of the so-called Operation Yellowhammer document, the six-page document which is dated 2 August and was leaked to the Sunday Times last month, warns of a three-month disruption at Dover and other channel crossings, public disorder and shortages of fresh food.

Buying in France

While the political landscape in Britain is chaotic, with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looking more threatening day by day, many Brits are considering moving to France.

As the British parliament is trying to stop a no-deal Brexit, many European countries, including France, Spain and Germany are preparing for Brexit.

The French government and customs authorities will test a period before Brexit to judge the preparedness of companies in the case a no-deal Brexit. According to Gerald Darmanin, the French minister in charge of overseeing the customs agency, French companies which conduct their business in Britain will have to present their plans online, make their declarations to customs officers and open up their shipments to inspectors.

He explained that countries doing business with Britain should be prepared to deal with the country as if it was “South Africa.” He also explained that, “For a month, we are going to act as if there is Brexit for a large number of companies. We’re going to put in place a sort of general rehearsal, so that we are ready at the end of October.”

With more than 4 million trucks going through the northern port of Calais every year, businesses have been used to frictionless trade without having to deal with customs controls and borders. For this reason, many fear that a no-deal Brexit would cause chaos at the borders creating uncontrolled traffic. In this respect, customs officers' numbers will increase by 700, while the customs agency is practicing all through September to prepare.

Residency rights for Brits

According to The Local, France will launch a new online platform in October so that Brits can apply for their carte de séjour residency permits. The French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, stated: "The Ministry of the Interior will launch an online registration platform for British nationals living in France in October." The website will be in English and Brits will be able to complete their application online, scan in all relevant supporting documents and then receive a receipt for their application, with only one in-person appointment for fingerprints. This appointment can be done at préfectures, sous-préfectures or local mairies. Some prefectures have closed applications as they don’t know yet what will happen with Brexit, while others are processing applications within weeks. The online application system can be used by Brits already living in France on the day of Brexit.

The French government and the British embassy have advised British residents in France, living there for more than five years, to apply for cartes de séjour residency permits.

After Brexit, all British people will apply for residency rights, in the same way that third-country nationals do. While a no-deal Brexit will allow for a one-year grace period, applications should be sent within six months of Brexit day. On the other hand, if there is a deal in place, there might be a transition period until December 2020. For those who already have a carte de séjour permanent they will be able to exchange it after Brexit. More information is regularly updated on the French government’s website.

Kalba Meadows from the British in Europe citizens’ rights’ group said: "We were given to understand last year that there would be a centralised application platform, and this was confirmed in the table produced by the European Commission in June, so while it's not 'new news' for us it's good that a timeline will now been put into place so that the process can begin as soon as possible. It's going to be a mammoth task processing applications from up to 200k Brits in France. As ever, the devil is in the detail though - and we understand that although applications will be made on a central online platform they will still be processed by individual préfectures, many of which will struggle to meet the demand without extra resources.”

For the French government a no-deal Brexit is the most likely scenario, with officials expecting an economic slowdown.

Universal Partners FX

If you are considering buying a property abroad amidst Brexit preparations and uncertainty, you should also be prepared and secure your funds. If you don’t want to worry about currency volatility and future exchange rates, you could fix your rate today. Universal Partners FX can help you hedge your funds, get access to the best exchange rates and transfer your funds fast, securely and cheaply. Give them a call today to find out more about international currency transfers and saving costs.

 

Moving to Italy and buying property might be a dream for many, but what happens when Brexit is looming on the horizon and your EU status is suddenly questioned?

Brits can buy a property in Italy, despite being from the EU or not, so Brexit won’t have a big impact on your decision to buy property there. However, as with other European countries where Brits are relocating or buying a property as residents, you will have to register as a resident in Italy, check whether your passport is valid for travelling, exchange your UK driving licence for an Italian one, as well as register for healthcare. So, buying property in Italy means also deciding about your residency as you must register as an Italian resident if you are considering staying there for more than three months. 

Residency

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, the rights of all UK nationals living or working in Italy legally will be recognised by the Italian government. However, if there is no deal, UK nationals living in Italy will have to get a non-residence permit by 31 December 2020 to protect their rights to work, healthcare and social benefits.

When it comes to buying a property after Brexit, being a non-resident and non-EU national, will mean that you will have to use the house as your holiday home, while only being allowed to stay there a maximum of 180 days per year, but only 90 days at a time. If you buy the property as a resident, then you will have to live there for over half the year and state that the property is your main residence. This will lower the amount of money you have to spend on purchase and local taxes.

Buying a property

Buying a property in Italy is usually performed by a notary who is a qualified lawyer to conduct the transfer of the property between the seller and yourself. The notary will prepare the deeds, check for outstanding charges, and make sure that the property meets required standards. They will also make sure there is a translator present when you sign the legal contracts. The translator might cost you a couple of hundred euros.

As a buyer, you will pay the purchase taxes and the notary’s fees. The notary will be paid approximately 1-2 percent, depending on the price of the property.

Buying property as a resident or non-resident, as well as from a private individual or a company are factors that will affect the kind of taxes you will have to pay for your property. Buying from a private individual will involve paying the cadastral fee which is defined by the property’s size and location. Additionally, if you’re buying as a non-resident, you will have to pay taxes on the cadastral value, as well as smaller taxes. While buying a house as a resident will involve lower taxes and obtaining a residency permit within the next 18 months, only do so if you intend to become a resident, otherwise, you will still have to pay the relevant taxes plus a penalty of 30%.

For a property bought from a company, you will pay a similar cadastral value on the property as buying it from an individual, especially if you’re buying as a non-resident, but buying as a resident the taxes will be much lower. A more favourable situation arises when you buy a winery or a country property which will demand you to pay much lower taxes (just 1 percent on the purchase price in tax). If you are buying an Italian company for commercial use, then you only pay a few fixed fees and no taxes.

Can I buy a property in Italy immediately?

While the time depends on the individual case, you can usually finalise a sale within approximately 10 weeks, as there is paperwork to be completed, registrations to be updated and other related issues that might arise. If you arrange power of attorney, this might take longer, but if you are present yourself and the property is ready to go with all the relevant papers in place, then you are all settled, and the process can be quick.

In case, however, you don’t have the relevant funds in place, but you have fallen in love with a property, then it is possible to sign a purchase agreement in order to reserve it for maximum a month until you can sign the preliminary contract.  Paying a deposit of around €2,000 – €10,000 will protect you against any legal issues, but you will be unable to get it refunded if you no longer wish to buy the property.

Buying a property in Italy with a limited budget is also a possibility, as there are village houses or unrestored old properties that are much cheaper than modern buildings or properties in expensive areas such as Tuscany.

 

Foreign exchange specialists: Universal Partners FX

Whether you are on a limited budget or you can afford a luxury villa, you are still concerned about the value of your funds when you exchange them into foreign currency. In terms of currency volatility, things in Britain haven’t really changed. The prospect of a no-deal Brexit is extremely possible as the latest updates show.

With the Internal Market Bill fiasco and a continued stand-off over fishing rights, a no-deal may be the most likely outcome. Any news that comes out between now and the end of the transition period will certainly affect the euro rates one way or another. For example, if the Internal Market Bill is upheld, this will likely lead to legal action being taken by EU and further jeopardising a deal. Ongoing Covid-19 impacts will also affect the economy and the pound, but eyes will be on the EU as they consider more stimulus packages that will further increase debt and impact the euro.

One thing is for sure, it is hard work keeping track of rates so it is important to protect your funds by getting assistance from a currency specialist such as Universal Partners FX. UPFX can offer you the best possible exchange rates and can even fix exchange rates in advance to avoid market movements costing you money. Contact us today to find out how much money you can save on your international money transfers.