For many Brits, buying and moving abroad in 2015 will depend on the sale of their UK home. Expat Alexis Goldberg of France Buying Guide, who has been through the relocation process, offers some guidance on selling up and kick starting your new life in the sun
Article written by The Overseas Guides Company
Selling your UK home and upping sticks to move abroad – in my case France, is something thousands of Brits will do this year, especially those of retirement age (or thereabouts!).
My husband Rod and I have several British friends who have bought in France – some who have moved here permanently and some who have second homes. I can say with hand on heart that those who have decided to go for it and live here long-term have absolutely no regrets whatsoever, aside from wishing they had done it sooner, of course!
If your plans are to move to the Eurozone, then current market conditions mean now is an excellent time to do it. UK house prices have risen substantially over the last five years or so, but in France, for example, it is still very much a buyer’s market. The strong pound and very low mortgage interest rates in France mean your hard earned cash works especially hard for you when you move over the Channel.
Time to de-clutter…
So where do you start? It’s always a good idea to have a big clear out before putting your house on the market, wherever it is. No one likes to see clutter, and even though we all have some, selling your home and wanting to present it in the best possible light is a great incentive to be a little ruthless. Remember, moving overseas takes more organising than moving down the road in the UK, so de-cluttering will help a lot. You could give unwanted items to a charity shop, hold a car boot sale, or simply have a good throw out! You would be surprised at how rewarding this exercise can be once you start.
Another good tip is to take a considered view on anything that needs improving. Don’t start to revamp your bathroom or kitchen, for example. There is little point in shelling out money to make big alterations – most people will want to do something themselves when buying a property; and extensive renovation is not really needed. On the other hand, a lick of paint here and there is probably a good idea. Make sure your front door and entrance look bright and spruce: first impressions really do count. If you have a garden, give it a bit of a tidy up. Get in fresh flowers regularly once you put your house on the market; and yes, that smell of coffee brewing really does help and makes a tremendous warm welcome!
If you sell quickly, be aware that you may have to put your belongings into storage for a while. At the same time as visiting estate agencies, have a look for removal firms that offer storage facilities. You may have decided to rent abroad for a time and prefer to leave your furniture in the UK until you have found a permanent home. So arranging to put everything in storage in advance will prove more than useful when you accept an offer and begin the sales process.
Make use of your estate agents
Talk to your estate agents. Explain that you are selling your property in the UK in order to move abroad. Be clear about what you want to leave in the property, and ask them to negotiate a price with the buyers for extras, or agree a price to include everything. If you are buying your new home abroad at roughly the same time as selling your UK property, you will probably need to make a trip overseas to deal with completion and any other paperwork – often, giving power of attorney to a local lawyer can help in this respect. Either way, make sure your agent is able to show prospective buyers round your property while you are away.
Don’t lose money on your currency transfers
A final tip is to speak to currency transfer specialist Smart Currency Exchange before you begin your hunt for an overseas home or move abroad. Smart Currency Exchange will move money abroad for you safely and quickly, offering far better exchange rates when exchanging pounds into euros – or any other currency – than you would get if you asked your bank to transfer the money. Any savings you make can go towards helping you to settle into your new home and enjoy life in the sun.
Find out more
For more information on buying overseas property successfully, download the Overseas Guides Company’s free France Buying Guide, Spain Buying Guide, Italy Buying Guide, Portugal Buying Guide or USA Buying Guide – and start receiving free news updates by email.
If you are considering an overseas property purchase in 2015, whether for lifestyle or investment, opening a no-obligation account with FCA-authorised Smart Currency Exchange will enable you to benefit from their competitive exchange rates and specialist currency knowledge, ultimately saving you money and time. For more information, download Smart Currency Exchange’s free report, or visit the Currency Zone.