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Selling Your Home for an Overseas Move

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If you are moving overseas, you need to decide what to do with your old home. Renting it to tenants is an option, but if you don't plan on returning, you should sell your home. Knowing why and how to sell are important--read on for what you should keep in mind when selling your home for an overseas move.

Renting vs. selling

Anyone who needs to move and has to leave a home faces the rent or sell dilemma. This is exacerbated when the move is to another country. Renting your home to tenants while you are abroad is an option, but if you have the time and money, there are several reasons why selling may be a better idea:
  • Being an absent landlord can be scary. If you are in another county, there is no way for you to regularly check on your tenants.
  • Rent payments may be difficult to collect. What recourse do you have if a payment is late?
  • How much authority can you assert on your property from overseas? There is no way to know what tenants are doing in your home and if they are following the rules of the lease.
  • You could be delayed in your overseas residency and unable to return when you thought you would. How can you renegotiate a lease if you are not there? E-mail is a poor substitute for face-to-face negotiation.
  • If you are renting out your home, you must move back after some time. You may not always want or be able to do that depending on the circumstances of your overseas move.

TIP: Avoid the temptation to leave your home vacant while you are overseas. People will eventually notice an empty home, especially if there is a lawn that is not being cared for. You will be vulnerable to theft and vandalism. Insurance rates even go up more for a vacant home than one occupied by tenants!

Selling your old home outright would circumvent these headaches. But it is not always easy.

Tips for selling your home before moving overseas

  • Give yourself extra time. International moves take more preparation than domestic ones, so try to sell your home earlier. Once you move overseas, you can no longer visit your old home for open houses, inspections, or offer negotiations.
  • Hire a real estate agent who can do everything for you if you don't sell the home before your move. Choose a good agent that doesn't need you to be there to negotiate a good price for your home. It is not ideal if you are not present for negotiations, but a good agent can make your absence an advantage when professional haggling comes into play.
  • Allot yourself more money in your budget. Selling a home usually costs more than renting it to tenants due to repairs, inspections, and other factors.
  • Try to keep your overseas move secret from prospective buyers. If they know you'll be out of the country in a short period of time, they may pray on your desperation when negotiating prices. They also may view you as wealthy since you're globe trotting in their eyes. Keep your information to yourself when negotiating.
  • Rent storage space for items that you can't ship overseas but don't want to sell or lose. You can't take everything with you and since you are selling your home, you can't leave things there unless they are part of the sale.
Once the sale of your home is final, you can relax. Focus on the reasons why you moved overseas and don't worry about what is happening with your old home. Of course, this also means you will need to purchase a new home if and when you return to your homeland, but you'll cross that bridge when you get to it.

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on November 5, 2014 - Moving Expert
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