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Advice on Selling Your Home When Moving Abroad

By HopwoodHouse
28 February, 2017


House moves are notoriously stressful and overseas moves require even more planning than moves within the UK.  With all the organizing it can take to get yourself/yourselves (plus children plus pets) and your belongings overseas, it can be easy to forget some of the major technicalities of moving, so we’ve put together a check-list of points you need to remember to cover.

Make sure you also shop around for the cheapest home removal quotes before deciding on which company to use.

If you have a mortgage on your existing property, you need to tell your lender about your move

Standard mortgages on residential property are agreed on the understanding that the mortgage holder is going to live in the property themselves.  Your mortgage contract will, therefore, almost certainly include a clause which obliges you to inform your lender if you move out of the property.  Lenders will have their own policies on these situations and some may increase your mortgage rate immediately to address the risks involved in leaving a property empty, others may allow you 3-6 months to sell the property before they look at increasing your mortgage rate.  If you plan to keep your current property for rental income then again your lender will need to be informed as you will almost certainly need to switch to a buy-to-let mortgage.

Make arrangements with your home insurance provider

Similar comments apply to home insurance.  Depending on how your insurer views the situation you may be allowed to continue with your existing policy (or a variation thereof) albeit possibly at a higher price or you may be required to switch to a specialist policy for empty properties, which may have limitations on cover (for example, it may only cover the structure of the building on the assumption that valuables will have been removed).  Likewise if you are planning on letting out the property, you will need insurance which is suitable for landlords and this may involve meeting certain safety requirements (e.g. smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, fire blankets etc.).

Inform yourself of your tax liabilities

Since taxes and the level at which they are charged can and do change, sometimes at relatively short notice, it is highly recommended to get professional advice, particularly when dealing with a high-value asset such as a family home.  If you are planning on selling your property then you will need to check if you are liable for any tax on the proceeds (for example capital gains tax) and, if so, if there are any deductions you can make to reduce your liability.

If you are renting a property then you need to make arrangements to pay the appropriate amount of tax on the rental income.  Again, it is advisable to speak to a professional to determine the most (tax) efficient way to do this and also to see what steps can be taken to make managing your taxes as simple as possible. 

NB: Remember to keep records of all expenses related to your UK property from the point at which it ceased to be your main home.  You may find that these can be deducted against your taxes.  Because of the importance of having copies of all relevant documents, it is advisable to keep electronic scans as well as the original paperwork.

 

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