Moving abroad, whether for work reasons or for a change of lifestyle, is a big move.
It’s a move that can also go quite spectacularly wrong if you’re not careful. The best way to prevent that is with a little knowledge and the right preparation. Here, we’re going to take a look at what you need to know to make sure that your move to a new land goes as smoothly as possible with fewer nasty surprises waiting for you.
Buying property is always a somewhat complex and law-laden process. Even domestically, it takes some time and often a lot of handholding from conveyancing solicitors and estate agents to do it properly. That’s why it’s a good idea to do as much research on the legal and financial procedures of buying overseas property before you start making any moves on the market. Look to the expatriates who have done it before you. There are plenty of forums where they share tips that can help you avoid some of the biggest road bumps. What’s more, they can tell you all the paperwork involved so you can get them in advance and avoid delaying the process any further.
The procedure is one half of buying a home, the property itself is going to make a big difference as well. Get in touch with estate agents who operate specifically in the country you have in mind. Most places have agents that deal specifically with people moving in from overseas nowadays. Once you know where you want to go, they can give you an idea of the most suitable townhouse for sale, the local prices, and how to go about making offers and finding the right deal for you. Just make sure you spend time looking over your different options and find independent financial and legal advice just to make sure you’re as well-informed about your choices as possible.
Finding a home that’s the right price for you is only one of the costs of moving abroad. For one, it will be influenced in big part by the mortgage loan you take, so find a lender that specializes in overseas mortgages. Then you have to think about costs such as the agency fees, the home inspections, any translation or further legal services you might require, the removal companies involved, the flights, and much, much more. Create as thorough a budget as you can, referencing every cost you’ve found through researching the process as recommended above. Moving overseas is naturally going to have more extra costs in it compared to a domestic move, so catching yourself short here can be significantly more disastrous.
The last point was all about the initial costs of moving. This time, we’re going to look at the ongoing financial impact of what it means to live an expatriate in a home bought overseas. For instance, think about how you’re going to split your banking. It’s a good idea to leave some money back in your country of origin, just to make sure you have something waiting if you return. From there, you have to make sure you check in so it’s not eaten up by fees. How you split the balance might also be determined in how fees in your new home compare to the costs of using the currency exchange services there. Then you have to think about extra financial considerations such as taxes and insurance plans.
The actual move itself needs to be planned out as well. A lot of people choose to move with a very minimalistic approach, taking nothing more than what they can fit in a suitcase and a backpack. If you can do that, it can save you some effort. Otherwise, start planning your move early. International removal companies need plenty of advance planning. You also have to decide whether you can work with a scheduled delivery or if it’s more prudent to have it moved into storage in your new home and collect it yourself, once you’ve settled on the other side.
The tips above have talked a lot about the legal, financial, and logistical sides of moving to another country. But what about the impacts it will have on your lifestyle? You might be prepared to leave home and to leave the people you know behind, but if you’re not prepared for the sensation of living in another country, it can be a shock. Etiquette, local customs, taboos, sensibilities, they can all get overwhelming. Again, expatriate advice can be invaluable in helping to ease you into your new surroundings. But the best way to go about it is to visit in advance. If you can afford it, take a longer vacation in the country, perhaps even in the same area that you plan to live in. It might not be as comprehensive an experience, but it can help you avoid some of the big initial shocks.
When moving overseas, you have to find out whether or not you’re going to have all the same financial and healthcare support you might have had back home, too. For instance, if you are receiving any state benefits or contributing to a state pension, are they still going to be applicable if you’re a citizen living overseas? One that most likely won’t be available for long-term residents in a foreign country is access to the same healthcare. For that reason, it’s a good idea to make sure you start looking at and budgeting health insurance long before you make the move. Don’t let it catch you by surprise.
There is always going to be an element of the unknown waiting on the other side of a big move. No matter how much preparation you do, you won’t know what it’s like to truly experience living in another country until you’re doing it. With the tips above, however, you can at least ensure that none of the bigger risks are going to get in your way while you do it.
This is a collaborated post.