Barclays will launch the new service which it says will provide "advice and assistance for British people wanting to buy and live in Spain, France, Italy and Portugal," this weekend.
Barclays is launching a website and telephone service which it says will: “help budding overseas property buyers overcome many of the problems traditionally associated with buying and living in a foreign country.”
The lender says the website contains advice on a range of financial and non-financial issues including:
- Buying a property Mortgages and banking services
- Legal and tax issues
- Language, culture and food
- Where to go for legal, tax and medical advice
The service help look after clients’ financial needs as well as non-financial aspects such as translations, contacts with local government, utility and medical providers and professional services.
But the website directs users to its own suite of products rather than providing truly independent advice.
Alistair Smith, head of corporate PR at Barclays, says: “it is clear we are offering a suite of products that you would need if you wanted to invest in property in these countries but we are conscious that we have experience in the field and can point people in the right direction for investing abroad.”
But Simon Conn, senior partner at Conti Financial Services, says “Barclays is not necessarily offering the best products or schemes at the moment and what worries us is that clients will see a NatWest or a Barclays in somewhere like Spain or Portugal and think it best to go with them when in actual fact they are not getting the best deal.
“What you have also got to consider is whether the bank has a relationship with the developer because if so there is a danger the bank is also funding the developer. If that is the case the bank will most likely have the first charge on the development if something goes wrong while the client could lose their property.
"The danger of dealing direct with a bank is that they will not tell you this. People ought to be wary of banks offering them advice on buying abroad as opposed to getting that advice independently.”
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