Selling up and moving abroad: what you need to know

With so many TV shows like A Place in the Sun showing us the sorts of paradise properties we could buy, there's no wonder so many Brits are looking to move abroad. Warmer weather and different lifestyle choices are meaning that more and more British citizens are becoming interested in international property.

 

But before you start calling around international moving companies for a quote, there are a few things to think about first.

What are the returns?

Before you pop your home on the market, make sure your international property investment is a savvy one. The British housing market has been a real success story for the last few years, with property prices constantly on the rise. Selling a home in the UK doesn't take long either, with a national average of 71 days on the market (or only around 25 days on HouseSimple.com).

 

In some sunshine destinations it can be a little slower, especially in places like the Algarve where an influx of new apartments has created a bit of saturation. Before making a big move, check out the local situation first to find out the average time on the market and the year-on-year price increase. 

 

In some cases, you may be better off renting out your property in the UK and using the profits to rent a home overseas.

Is the property a safe bet?

Research is important when you're buying property anywhere, but it's even more necessary when you're going abroad. Different countries have different property and taxation laws, which might be completely at odds with what you're used to. It's good to have a chat with the locals to check that there hasn't been any trouble with planning permission in the area, and also to make sure that there aren't any outstanding bills or tax demands on the property. 

 

It may sound a little obvious, but it's a good idea to check that the deeds haven't been offered up as collateral on a loan and that the seller has the right to sell you the home and the land it's sitting on. If there's even a hint of a doubt that your language abilities aren't quite up to scratch, hire an independent translator to help you through the process.

What are the extra costs?

Added fees are part and parcel of buying a property, and when you buy abroad there are likely to be a few more extras. Your bank will probably charge you for the international transfer fees and some countries will ask you to have a will drawn up before the sale can proceed. You'll need to use a broker who's qualified to work both overseas and in the UK and they might charge a fee for handling the overseas part of the transaction. 

 

Of course, there's also the added charge of shipping all of your worldly possessions to your new home. Even if you don't want to engage an official removal company, you'll need to think about the cost of fuel and ferries to get you to your final destination. Once you're there though, you'll be able to sit back and enjoy your little plot of paradise.

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