Selling Your House Before Moving Abroad - Britannia Movers

Selling Your House Before Moving Abroad

They say that moving house is the second most stressful event in a person’s life, after divorce. Add to this the pressure of an international move and all that goes with it and you have a melting pot of decisions, deadlines and potential disasters.

Whether relocating for business or pleasure, it is not only the distance that adds to an already fraught time; pensions, tax, currency exchange, healthcare and pet transport are just a few of the issues that need to be addressed. Moves to a different country tend to have definitive dates attached to them which are less flexible than moves within the same country, adding yet more strain to an already agitated situation.
Whether to sell their house before moving abroad is a dilemma affecting more people than you might think – 7% of people needing to sell their house quickly cite moving abroad as the reason why they need to do so. 
We all know that once the move is completed, all the hassle and stress will be worth it, and the employment opportunities, weather, more relaxed way of life, or whatever reason you are moving for will make you glad you persevered.
In order to help, we have looked at the positives and negatives of the three main ways of selling your house in order to move abroad and also looked at the option of deciding not to sell and instead renting out your existing property. 

1) Selling on the open market


  • You are likely to get the highest value for the property.
  • Estate agents often over-value properties in order to secure you as their client. This leads to excessive expectations and asking prices; meaning few or no viewings or offers. With a normal house sale, there is often plenty of time to reduce the asking price gradually until a realistic market value is reached. This is a luxury that those moving abroad often don’t have and it may be impossible to sell before the deadline.
  • Buyers know that they are in control of the market at present and are taking advantage of this by negotiating deals and trying to obtain discounts. This means they may wait until the last minute to reduce their offer, especially if they know you are moving abroad.
  • Lending – even if you find a keen and reliable buyer, they may not be able to secure funds.
Conclusion: Good for price, not so good for time, hassle or certainty.

2) Selling at auction

  • If you get two buyers who want the house, you may get over the market value for it – unfortunately this is a rare occurrence in this market.
  • If marketed correctly, large numbers of people will view the property.
  • There is no certainty that your property will reach market value, let alone the reserve and then you will be no further forward but will have incurred auction fees.
  • Cash buyers are rare, and buyers who need to secure finance may have mortgage problems, delaying the sale.
Conclusion: Good for viewings, not so good for price or certainty

3) Selling to a home buyer

  • You get the security of knowing that you will sell within your deadline.
  • You will incur no selling costs as these will be covered by the home buyer.
  • You will not experience any of the hassle or stress usually associated with a house sale.
  • You can receive the cash funds within 24 hours of you accepting the home buyers’ offer.
  • You will typically receive 15% less than market value as a trade-off for the speed of the sale.
Conclusion: Good for speed and certainty, not so good for price

4) Renting property out


  • The property can remain on the market in the hope of it achieving a higher price.
  • You can wait for the market to improve and house values to increase before selling.
  • You will receive an income stream from the rent received.
  • You will not have the expected funds available from your existing property and may have to source alternative finance depending on your situation.
  • It is difficult to manage a property and/or letting agents from abroad.
  • Rather than beginning a completely new life, you are still tied by the property.
Conclusion: Good for flexibility and price, not so good for hassle or the fresh start!
We hope you have found these points helpful and wish you all the best with your move abroad.

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