Currently, the impact of the recent unprecedented times experienced during the past two to three years has reduced the standard of living for many British citizens in retirement. A number of people of retirement age are now seriously considering the option of a complete change of lifestyle and relocating to popular destinations such as Spain, Italy, Portugal and France.

The climate, stress-free culture and considerably more affordable way of life makes Europe extremely attractive, especially if the country of choice has been favourite holiday destination.

Obviously, property purchase in each country will be different from the procedure in the United Kingdom but it need not be any more complicated than buying a property in the UK provided you have expert legal guidance through the legal and regulatory landscape. Giambrone & Partners real estate lawyers have a wealth of experience in advising British citizens with their real estate purchases across Europe and our English-speaking lawyers will be by your side through the entire process.

Vincenzo Senatore, senior partner, pointed out "the purchase of a house is, for most people, the largest financial outlay that they will ever make. The vast majority of people cannot afford avoidable financial losses on this scale and are strongly advised to appoint an expert lawyer that specialises in real estate to advise and guide them through the process." Vincenzo further commented, "the range of risks and adverse issues that may arise and cause a transaction to falter, such as lack of planning permission with regard to illegal extensions and adaptations to the construction of a property which renders the property valueless, will be identified and managed at an early stage by an expert legal advisor."

There is a wide range of types of property to buy across Europe, from small houses in remote villages, apartments in heritage buildings, villas, farmhouses, small castles and other historical properties covering an extensive variety of architectural styles and environments.

British nationals are often unaware of factors and laws that impact on the purchase of agricultural land in many European countries. In those countries where agricultural land is considered to be an important resource, foreign purchasers may be subject to regulations and rules related to such land. For example, in Italy land adjacent to existing farmland is subject to pre-emption rights or first option to buy and a farmer whose land is adjacent to the property being sold must be offered the opportunity to buy the land before the foreign purchaser may do so and only after the offer has been made and rejected can the purchase go ahead. If you are considering a purchase in Spain you should know that in some instances you must be sure that the boundaries are clearly defined.

The advice of knowledgeable expert real estate lawyers, in your own language, is vital. Experienced lawyers will carry out meticulous due diligence to ensure that your overseas real estate purchase will be achieved without any problems or unexpected risks arising in the future. First-class legal advice cannot be over-valued.

Vincenzo Senatore is a multi-jurisdictional lawyer, an Italian Avvocato, Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Business Transactions and Trade Law, an Attorney and Notary Public for the State of California (NP) as well as being qualified in England & Wales.

He advises clients in a broad range of matters including national and international businesses, focussing on complex cross-border issues, as well as assisting our private clients in a range of legal areas such as real estate, overseas criminal and certain financial issues.

Vincenzo is well-regarded for his astute analysis of complex situations and his agile ability to navigate the intricacies involved in cross-border disputes. He recognises that alternative dispute resolution (conciliation, mediation and arbitration) is often more suited to the best interests of the client. Where litigation is undertaken, Vincenzo is focused and rigorous in his pursuit of a successful outcome for our clients.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.