Deciding to buy a second home overseas in order to split your time between Britain's rainy streets and the continent's sunny skies is a big step, with everything from financial costs and social practicalities to consider.

But once your mind has been made up and the nervous excitement starts to build, it's important to remember how vital planning is to the whole process.

That's according to Kimberley Millhouse, senior move manager at Crown Relocations, who explains that organisation is essential if your move is going to go without a hitch.

"Organisation is the key to a successful relocation, so ensure you leave plenty of time for preparing those all important documents such as visas, passports and customs forms," she said.

"It also helps to talk to people who are already there to find out what it is really like to move abroad."

So while you immerse yourself in the fun of searching for various villas and deciding whether you'd sacrifice having a pool in order to enjoy a decent-sized balcony, you need to ensure that the little aspects don't get overlooked.

Whether it's visas, foreign mortgage deals, overseas estate agents or sufficient second home insurance policies, there is an extensive checklist that you need to carry out to make your move as hassle free as possible.

Yet as well as all of the technical and legal aspects, Ms Millhouse also advises that it's a good idea to do a bit of research regarding the area in which you're thinking of living - especially taking time out to learn about the local culture.

"Intercultural training can help to give you a true understanding of your new culture and environment, and can make settling and fitting in much easier," she added.

Wherever you eventually choose to buy your second home, it's sure to be a rewarding move if you plan effectively and get your documents in order before heading overseas.