Property prices in the eurozone have been plummeting since the onset of the financial downturn - and despite brief signs of hope, values still sit well below their pre-recession peak.

This is one of the factors that has played a role in a number of Brits deciding to take the plunge and pick up a bargain on the continent, as the chance to grab a cut-price villa has proved all too tempting.

But while a holiday home to escape to throughout the year is a luxury that often generates a great deal of excitement, it's important to remember that there are a lot of things to consider before going ahead and buying a property overseas.

As one expert explains, the process takes a great deal of research and there are all sorts of factors that have to be given sufficient emphasis if you're going to ensure you find your dream apartment.

"There are a huge number of factors to consider, from affordability and financing, to healthcare and distance from the UK," said Paul Collins, editor at BuyAssociation.

"Try to spend a good amount of time in the location in which you are considering buying, and it is often a great idea to rent for an extended period of time to see how life in the area works."

Considering that families often spend extended periods of time in the second homes, it's vital that they find a location that suits their needs and doesn't leave them disappointed.

Similarly, the ease with which it is possible to travel back to home shores has to be taken into account - especially if it's a trip that you're going to make regularly.

And after doing the sufficient research and buying a property, it's important to remember that the process doesn't stop there - second home insurance policies are key to protecting your overseas getaway against the cost of damage and theft when you're not there.