Exchange Rate Crisis

Exchange Rate Crisis? What Exchange Rate Crisis?

It’s a sorry state of affairs we seem to have ourselves in at the moment, with the gloomy news all around us that we are facing a financial crisis worldwide, with currencies flopping about like stranded fish, and exchange rates either going through the roof or sinking below the basement, depending on which way round you’re looking at it. Those businesses and investors who work on an international or global scale are struggling to identify the best way to work, and simply keeping abreast of the current exchange rates is almost a full time occupation.

Our global society now means that we no longer have to consider buying products locally, or even in our own currency. Buying online gives us the opportunity to not only shop around for the best deal, but also for the best currency. Many online traders don’t have their conversion rates from one exchange to another linked to an independent conversion tracker. In these cases, you can often find that by switching currencies, you can get a better deal. I saved fifty pounds by simply buying in the country’s local currency than by buying in my own from an online retailer – it’s not hard to save quite a significant sum.

If you’re in the property market, and in particular looking at investing overseas, this problem with sliding exchange rates becomes extremely challenging. One day the deal looks good, but within a couple of weeks you’re starting to look at the same deal and realise that, as a direct result of the exchange rate, you’ve just lost several hundred pounds, dollars or Euros, and possibly even more than this. Even investing in a fairly modest 100,000 property, a change in exchange rates between pound sterling and Euros of just a few pence can make several thousand Euros difference. If you’re quick, then this can be good news, but usually you have enough to worry about without pouring over all the bank rates and exchange rates and currency conversions.

It isn’t all bad news of course, and there are companies and opportunities which seem to either help you take advantage of the challenges which put others off, or simply challenge the rates themselves, to help offer you a better deal at what would otherwise be a tough time. I recently came across a company that helps people to invest in overseas property, and is currently offering an exchange rate which seems utterly absurd to anyone who’s recently looked into the current rates. I checked today, and the current rate is 1.26 to the pound sterling, which isn’t brilliant of course. However, the company I came across is still offering the same exchange rate that we saw back at the beginning of this year, at a staggering 1.40! To have what is equivalent to well over an 11% difference in exchange rates is phenomenal!

An exchange rate difference of 1.40 to the pound sterling represents more than an 11% difference when compared to the current exchange rate offered by banks and other financial institutions. If you’re investing in a 100,000 property, and 11% difference is clearly a not inconsiderable sum of over 11,000! Now who wouldn’t be interested in getting on to that particular bandwagon?

Obviously when purchasing property overseas it is important to bear in mind the currency exchange rate, and it is always recommended that once you start to look seriously at the prospect of purchasing property abroad you agree an exchange rate with all parties and have this included in the written terms so that you don’t fall foul of any unpleasant shocks that hit the financial world later down the path. A major change in an exchange rate can result in costing you many thousands of pounds extra, so this is sound advice. Further sound advice would be to take advantage of a company who is hopelessly optimistic enough to offer an exchange rate that refuses to move on from the sunny times at the beginning of the year, and is still offering a rate that is considerably higher than anything offered by the banks. Such an opportunity makes moving abroad more like going on holiday!

Of course, there’s another, almost hidden advantage here. When buying property there is always the danger that prices dip for a while, and you’re left with a property dropping in value. Clearly if you do your homework and buy a property that is well worth investing in, this won’t be a problem, but we all have to be realistic, and if exchange rates are low, it may well affect consumer interest in property markets. Buy managing to jump in to the overseas property market at the exact time that rates are low, but managing to secure a high rate for yourself, not only are you saving money in the short term, but you’re guarding yourself against possible variations in property prices for the longer term too. To be honest, there’s little to stop you buying a property at this high rate, and selling it on at the normal rate of exchange a little later and netting yourself tens of thousands in profit!

If you’re considering investing in property abroad for the first time, you may already have some idea of the differences between buying at home, and buying in a different country. With various regulations and requirements that take a good deal of getting used to, you may find that the budget you had in mind will be stretched a little further than you anticipated once the cost of lawyers, solicitors and other paperwork comes into play. By fixing an exchange rate well below that of the normal going rate, you help to give yourself enough slack to easily absorb the extra costs that may be incurred. All in all, it’s an offer well worth you taking further if you’re serious about investing.

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