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Can I Sell My House from Abroad?

Selling your house when you live abroad

selling house from abroad

Tax if you live abroad and sell your UK home

Moving to live oversees is a fantastic opportunity and brings with it many advantages, but it can make selling a UK property a lot more difficult. Whether you’re moving abroad from the UK due to work, retirement or just because you want a change of scenery, there’s no doubt it’s a big life-changing event and before going ahead with the move there are a lot of different factors to consider.

Today we will be looking at you need to know about selling a UK property from abroad, whether to keep your property and rent it out or whether to sell it and move on and whether you will pay capital gains tax if you sell your property to live overseas.

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Can you sell your house from abroad?

The good news is that you can sell your property in the UK from abroad! There is no legal reason stopping you from doing so.

If you use an estate or online agent then they can do all of the leg work for you regarding viewings and offers. You don’t even have to come back to the UK to deal with contracts and other legal documents as your solicitor should be able to recommend a trustworthy courier service. It’s also possible for you to give power of attorney to a relative or close friend who can act on your behalf from the UK.

If you're selling from abroad then the main thing you need to have is a team you trust, and what we mean by that is estate agents, solicitors and everyone else involved who are reliable and who you know won't let you down.

Moving abroad checklist

Moving is a stressful process in itself. That’s before you add in the moving to a different country, which just adds more complications to the sale process. It’s important you make a checklist before jumping straight in, so you don’t miss off any crucial steps.

Whilst each individual will have different bits they need to organise, the basics of the moving abroad checklist will be the same:

  • Find a moving company to handle the shipping of your possessions

  • Make sure any subscription services know of your new address

  • Ensure there’s something in place for your post to be redirected

  • Sell any possessions you don’t wish to take, whether this is your car, furniture, or gadgets

  • Sell for new home insurance

  • Collect together all personal records and paperwork

  • Let your doctors, dentists, opticians etc know you’re leaving their practice

  • Set up a new bank account in your new country

  • Get new currency

This isn’t an extensive list but provides the basics you will need to think about when it comes to moving abroad from UK.

Should you sell your UK property when living abroad?

Before selling your house and moving abroad, you’ll first want to think about what the best option is and whether it may be a better idea to rent instead of sell.

Both options come with pros and cons and each individual will have different ideas on what they want to do, so it’s a good idea to think about what’s more suitable for you.

Pros and cons of selling when moving abroad:
  • Leaves you with no commitments when you move

  • Gives you a large sum of money to start a new journey

  • Could take a long time to sell

  • State of the housing market may be poor, meaning you may not get a great price for your property

Pros and cons of renting out your house when moving abroad:
  • Able to get some income out of your old property

  • If you move back to the UK, you have a house to move into

  • You will have to pay taxes on your profits, including Capital Gains Tax

  • You will have to hire a management company or letting agent, leaving you with fees to pay

  • If anything goes wrong, you’re too far away to be able to sort it out

  • You're responsible to fix anything that breaks, meaning further costs

  • Will have to convert your mortgage scheme to a ‘buy-to-let’ scheme

What you decide to do with your property is completely down to you, but it is a good idea to consider all of your options before committing to one.

Do you have to tell HMRC if you sell your house?

Even if you have no tax to pay, you are obligated to tell HMRC about the property sale within 60 days of transferring ownership.

Do I have to pay tax in UK if I sell property abroad?

If you sell property aboard you may have to pay tax when you sell (dispose) of your UK property if you are not a UK resident. As a non-resident you only pay tax on any gain made since 5th April 2015.

If you are a UK resident then the rules are different.

How do I avoid capital gains tax on foreign property UK?

You may have to pay Capital Gains Tax on your UK property, regardless of whether you sell it or decide to rent it out. It is a UK tax which is payable on any profit you make on a UK property, after moving abroad from UK.

If you decide to sell your house before you move, you won’t have to pay Capital Gains Tax, as long as you can prove:

  • The property was your main residence when you sold it

  • It was only used by your family and no more than one other lodger throughout the time you owned it

  • The total area of land doesn’t exceed 5,000 square metres

If you sell your house but the sale doesn’t go through until after you have moved abroad, then you will be susceptible to the tax, as it will not have been your main residence at the time of the sale.

If you keep your UK property when moving abroad then you will have to pay Capital Gains Tax on any profits you make through renting out the property.

All things considered, a quick house sale before you move away from the UK could be the most ideal option and will allow you to avoid paying any Capital Gains Tax.

Should I sell a property before or after I move to live abroad?

You may have decided to sell your house but don’t know whether you should sell it before or after you move abroad. Each of these options will have different strengths and it’s all about deciding which is the best route for you.

Selling before moving abroad:Selling after moving abroad:
You will have no commitments when you moveMeans you will have a house right until moving
You will have a nice sum of money to get you started on your new adventureIf you change your mind soon after moving, you will have a house to come back to
You will be in full control of your saleYou will have to pay Capital Gains Tax when you sell it, as it will now be your second home
You may sell it a few weeks before moving, meaning you will have to rent/find somewhere to live before the moving date comesYou won't be in full control of your sale
It will be added stress

What happens to my mortgage when moving abroad?

There are a few different routes you may need to take when it comes to your mortgage when moving abroad.

The first is that you decide to keep your UK property for yourself and use it if and when you visit the UK. In this case, the good news is that nothing will change in regard to your mortgage.

All you will need to do is ensure you keep up with the monthly payments and it may be a good idea to leave your UK current account open to make things a little simpler. This will also keep your UK credit score healthy – a bonus if you think you may want to eventually move back to the UK.

The second route you may decide to go down is to keep your UK property to rent it out to others. In this case, you must let your mortgage lender know and they will have to convert you onto a buy-to-let scheme.

This mortgage type tends to have higher interest rates and fees compared to a ‘normal’ mortgage scheme, further adding to the costs you may need to pay when deciding to keep your UK property when moving abroad from UK.

The final route you could face is if you decide to sell a UK property before moving abroad. In this case, you will pay off your mortgage and then there’s nothing else to worry about! In this respect, selling a property before moving abroad makes the moving process easier for you.

Costs of moving abroad from UK

Putting aside the price you will pay for your new home, there are a lot of costs involved in moving abroad from UK:

  • Legal fees (for both buying a new house and selling your old house, if you choose to sell your UK property)

  • Stamp Duty (on your new abroad property)

  • Mortgage fees

  • Buying flights

  • Shipping costs of furniture and other goods

  • Bills on your new house (water, electric, heating)

  • Council tax (or your new country’s equivalent)

  • Service charge (if you buy a house on a development)

  • Income tax

  • Capital Gains Tax (if you keep your UK property and rent it out)

  • Currency conversion fees

The number of costs stacks up quickly, suggesting it may be a good idea to sell your property before moving abroad, as it will give you a chunk of money to be able to buy a new house and start your next adventure, without needing to worry about getting work or money from your pension straight away.

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Choosing the right conveyancer

One of the main things to be aware of is that it's even more important that you choose the right solicitors. Before committing to a solicitor you should ensure that they can correspond mostly through email or online to make the whole process as smooth and easy as possible..

You might be surprised but a lot of solicitors are still in the pen & papers era. Some solicitors will only accept hand written or signed documents which could mean the whole process is stretched out in comparison to choosing a solicitor that is based purely online, which means you don't have to rely on sending post back and forth which from abroad can cause significant delays and even cause a sale to fall through if the buyer becomes fustrated.

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Can I get a quick house sale when moving abroad from UK?

If you’re looking at selling your uk property when living abroad, then you will more than likely want a quick sale so that you can start your new adventure.

Take a look at your different ways to sell to help you choose the right sale method:

  • Auction: If you're interested in selling your property at auction, but live abroad, it's still possible. It will require a lot of conversation with the auction house and you'll likely need to provide keys for the auctioneer to show potential bidders around the property, however this isn't always necessary. The main aspect of this is that you need to have a lot of trust in the auction house you choose, so make sure that you read reviews. Communication is also key, so you want to choose an auction house which are easy to get a hold of and are in continual contact.

  • Estate Agent: The most important thing with choosing an estate agent when you plan on selling from abroad is making sure you choose an agent that you can trust. you'll need to trust that they are making a correct valuation of the property and making the most of it's features during viewings, it's also harder to keep track how they are marketing your property locally. You need to also choose an agent that has the logistical capability of handling a long distance property sale, so it goes without saying that you'll need an agent able to do the viewings for you.

  • Quick house sale: The left field alternative, us! We can buy your house quickly, and handle everything for you. We'll organise and pay for the solicitors, keep in constant communication and make the process as easy as possible, on top of that we will of course buy the property in as little as 7 days.

Why are we the right choice?

Here at The Property Buying Company, we’re able to offer you a quick cash sale, with our average completion time at 2-3 weeks, so you can tick ‘sell house and move abroad’ off your checklist.

We will cover all your fees, including any solicitor’s costs, and we complete in a timescale of your choice. We’re also a genuine cash buyer you can trust, with hundreds of good reviews on Trustpilot, and we’re a member of The Property Ombudsman and The National Association of Property Buyers.

We take the stress and hassle out of moving house. With us, there’s no need to hold multiple viewings and have back and forth conversations with potential buyers. If you’re looking to get a fast sale when moving abroad, why not get a no-obligation cash offer from us?

As cash buyers, The Property Buying Company can buy your property from you, even if you live abroad. We make the whole sale process as easy as it possibly can be, we handle absolutely everything for you.

So, if you are looking at selling your home give us a call or fill in our online form to receive a no-obligation CASH offer, which we could have in your bank in as little as 7 days…

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