Moving abroad can be exciting and daunting in equal measure. From saying goodbye to loved ones to looking for work in your new country, there are a number of important factors to take into consideration before you leave your homeland.
With more and more Brits upping sticks and saying goodbye to the UK, we’re taking a look at the stresses that come with relocating - and finding out how you can make sure you’re organised when it comes to dealing with selling, renting out or handing back the keys to your property.
Making the move
Choosing to move abroad is unlikely to be a decision you’ve taken lightly – and visiting your new country ahead of the big move is highly recommended. Whether you’re visiting your new place of residence for a week or a month, with low-cost parking available around the country, you can leave your car in the UK and pick up a rental once you arrive at your destination. By flying out to your new home, you can look at properties, search for jobs and arrange any other appointments that require a face-to-face meeting – rather than being dealt with over the phone.
Once you’re set on the place you’re relocating to, you can start thinking about tying up your responsibilities back in the UK. Whether you’re a homeowner or you rent your property, each option comes with its own set of obstacles - and this is why preparation is everything. Starting the planning process as soon as possible will help you say goodbye to the UK and make a stress-free transition abroad.
Giving notice to your landlord
If you rent your property from the council or a private landlord, the first thing to do is find out how much notice you need to give to end your tenancy. If your move date doesn’t coincide with the end of your tenancy, you could find yourself continuing to pay rent for a property you’re no longer living in. Some landlords are more lenient than others, so it’s worth discussing your contract with them and deciding on a suitable moving date for both of you.
Once you have your moving date, you’ll need to think about cancelling your utilities. Make a list of all the bills you’ll need to cancel before you move. This will prevent you from paying for things when you’re no longer in the property, and means you won’t have to worry about bills back in the UK once you move. Leave yourself enough time to hand back the keys to your landlord and check that all utilities on your list have been cancelled.
Renting out or selling your property
If you’re a homeowner, the first decision you’ll need to make is whether to sell your house or keep it and rent it out. Both options present potential setbacks, which, again, is why it’s important to start planning at the earliest opportunity.
If you decide to rent out your property so that you always have a British base, you’ll need to leave yourself plenty of time to advertise your home and interview potential tenants. If you opt to rent out your property through an agency, they’ll do most of the work for you. If you decide to take responsibility for renting out your home, you’ll need to consider how much rent you want to receive each month and the method in which your tenants will pay you - as well as ensuring you’re covered with expat landlords’ insurance.
Prepare for time-wasters and credit checks, and keep in mind that your new tenants might need to serve a notice period in their current property - meaning you’ll need to cover the mortgage costs until their rent payments start coming in. If you decide to manage the property yourself from your new location, it’s a good idea to assign a family member or friend to deal with any urgent queries your tenants might have.
Selling your home is also not without its stresses. Put your property on the market at the earliest convenience, but keep in mind that it might take a while to sell. If your moving day is on the way and you’re no closer to finding a buyer, you might want to think about lowering your asking price in order to make a quick sale.
If you've already moved abroad and decide to sell at a later date, make sure you understand the tax issues surrounding selling your property. The sale of a UK property could now incur a capital gains tax (CGT) bill - so think carefully before you make any decisions.
For more help and advice about making the move abroad, check out our relocation checklist and start getting excited about the next chapter of your life!