Chasing out The Cowboys

Investing in property abroad? Good news-there's a new watchdog protecting you from the market's rip-off merchants. We can spend months planning our summer holiday abroad but, incredibly few of us spend enough time doing our home work when we are shopping around for a foreign home. Regrettably, it is a fact that when the Brits buy overseas (we spent a staggering 20 billion pounds last year) we take fewer precautions than we do when purchasing a home in the United Kingdom. A further fact is that 90 per cent of the problems which result from this lack of judgement could be avoided if people did two simple things; use a professional AIPP regulated estate agent and take independent legal advice on any prospective purchase.

The Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) continues to promote these messages to consumers. 'We don't claim to be able to solve everything, but l just want to raise enough awareness to stop people making silly errors when buying overseas property' says Paul Owen, the chief executive of the AIPP.

The AIPP was founded to to provide a 'kite-mark' for the overseas property industry. It is a non profit making organisation with a growing membership who have all voluntarily signed up to a single code of conduct. By providing accountability and transparency for consumers, it hopes to emulate bodies such as the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) which represents more than 80 per cent of the UK travel agents and operators. The AIPP latest Members Directory is free to consumers. It includes details of its members and tips on buying abroad. Call AIPP on (0044) 020 7409 7061 or visit aipp.org.uk