Thu, 25 Oct 07
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) is offering advice to homebuyers to ensure that dream of moving abroad doesn't turn into a nightmare...
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) is advising homebuyers to think carefully when considering a move abroad, following recent research by the Office of National Statistics revealing that record numbers of Britons are relocating overseas. With the New Year being a popular time for people to think about starting afresh, it is important to plan thoroughly before making the move.
The latest figures show that the number of Britons emigrating annually has risen by a third over the last decade. With over 5 million Britons now living on foreign shores, emigration is a growing trend that shows no sign of abating. However, for those considering relocation, it is vital to carry out proper research. Ian Tonge, international expert at the NAEA, offers the following advice on how to ensure the reality matches up to your vision:
1. Do your research
Tonge said, It is surprising how many people decide to live abroad without really knowing the area they are moving to. It is important to always visit the area to inspect potential houses, schools and social opportunities. Moving to an isolated area may become very lonely, especially if there is a language barrier. If English is not the primary language, don’t assume everyone will speak it."
2. Select your estate agent carefully
Tonge said: When choosing an estate agent overseas, look for someone who is a member of a professional body. Over 700 agents at home and abroad are members of the NAEA and are specialists in international buying."
3. Get careful legal advice
Tonge said: Once you have found a property, deal with as many of the legalities you can whilst in the UK. Property purchase rules, formalities and searches vary greatly between countries so seek expert advice to avoid potential misunderstandings before committing to a purchase."
4. Consider tax implications carefully
Tonge advised: If you are already a homeowner in the UK, decide whether you are going to keep your current property. It may be useful to keep a foothold in the UK market. If you do choose to keep a home in the UK, however, you could be liable for Capital Gains tax if you let either property out or sell one so factor that into your plans."
Tonge continued: If you intend to work abroad, check whether your adopted country has a taxation treaty with the U.K. to stop you paying income tax twice. Inheritance tax laws can be very stringent so make two wills: one in the UK and one in your adopted country. Local laws can sometimes create problems with inheritance tax laws in the UK. It is always advisable to consult a taxation professional as tax implications vary greatly."
5. Be aware of the additional costs involved
Tonge said: Money is an important consideration as even if you buy your property outright you could be at risk from currency fluctuations. Britain has lower home buying costs and quicker time scales for moving than much of Europe so bear in mind that a longer completion on your new house could cost you money if the currency value changes. Your bank or mortgage provider can recommend a professional in your chosen country. Whoever you deal with should speak fluent English and make sure you get every agreement in writing. If anything does go wrong, you will have proof of agreements."
6. ...And most importantly, enjoy yourself!
Tonge added: Once abroad, expats can register with the British Consulate who can provide assistance if you run into any difficulties. Local newspapers will provide details of clubs, societies and local events such as fiestas for you to enjoy. Above all, where ever you choose to live, remember to enjoy it!
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