Considering how to move abroad is one of the biggest life-changing moves that you can make. Every year, thousands of Brits decide to leave the UK and start a new life overseas. Despite all the uncertainly caused by Brexit, British buyers still account for 27 per cent of all foreign house purchases in France. That’s more than any other country.

how to move abroad

At the time of writing, Brexit is just days away from happening. This means we will soon know more about what Brexit will ultimately mean.

For some people, Brexit itself may be good enough reason to sell up and move abroad. But such a huge decision isn’t one to take lightly. In this blog, we look at how to move abroad, whether you should sell or rent out your UK property, and of course, the tax situation.

Should you sell or let your property?

There are pros and cons to both. You may only be living abroad for a short time, for instance for a work contract for a year or so. In that case, you might want to consider renting out your property for the short-term. This could give you the much needed security of earning some income from your property. And if things didn’t work out you would have your own property to return to. But remember – renting out your property means you will probably need a letting agent, who will charge you a management fee equivalent to 10 – 15% of the monthly rent.

There will be tax to think about, too. You will need to pay tax to HMRC on the profits you make on income from rentals.

But what if you are planning to move abroad permanently? Perhaps you are retiring and looking to move to Spain – a popular destination for many Brits?

With a full-time move abroad, it may make more sense to sell your house or flat in the UK. This could generate money so you could start your new overseas adventure with a substantial cash injection.

Whether to sell or let your property is a big decision and one that requires a lot of thought.

Selling your home to move abroad

If you’re committed to going ahead and selling your house to move abroad, take some time to choose the right selling agent. Sometimes it pays to hire the best particularly when working to a deadline. Be sure to ask a lot of questions of all estate agents. For example, are they experienced in the market? Do they understand your situation? Will they give you a good service? Will they work quickly to get the best price for your home and are they regulated by independent organisations such as the property redress scheme?

Find out what their existing customers think about them and whether the business is known for keeping its promises. You can often do this yourself via a quick Google search.

How to move abroad – the implications

When you’re working out how to move abroad, think carefully about your timing. Would it make more sense to complete your house sale before or after your emigration? It’s often said that the best time to get the best price is in the Summer months when buyers are most awake.

Selling after you relocate abroad can’t always be helped, but this can cause complications. You will still need experts to help you manage your finances in the UK.
Relocation experts Crown Relocations has posted advice on how to move abroad in this blog. “Whether you’re selling or renting, it is important to advise the tax man of your intentions and seek financial advice,” says the article by Crown.

“If renting out a property in the UK you may be able to apply for the Non-Resident Landlord Scheme, which has tax advantages. Bear in mind that you may have to take Capital Gains Tax into consideration if you sell after a period of letting your UK property.”

HMRC provides advice on taxes that may apply to you when selling your property on their website. One important rule is that even if you don’t need to pay any tax, you must tell HMRC that you have sold the property within 30 days of transferring the ownership.

Would-be landlords should also remember when considering how to move abroad that some mortgages will not allow the house owner to rent their homes out.
If this is the case, they would need to find a good house buying company that offers a cash sale. When selling your house, Crown Relocations also advises people to be realistic. “Get at least three separate valuations and do your own research, don’t just accept the highest valuation given,” says their blog. “A house with a realistic asking price will sell much quicker.”

There is a lot to consider when planning how to move abroad. But despite all the recent uncertainty, many Brits are still going ahead.

According to a RightMove overseas magazine article, British people continued to be the biggest group of foreign buyers of property in Spain in 2019.

In summary

Moving abroad as a homeowner can be a complex business. You’ll not only need to think about whether to sell or let your property. There is the added complication of working out what’s best from a tax perspective. Be sure to get the best advice for your own situation.

You can find out a great deal more in our ultimate guide to moving abroad.

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