Dealing with the real estate woes when settling abroad

Published 3 weeks ago

As of this year, French citizens will be exempt of tax when selling their main residence ahead of a move abroad. Selling or renting out one’s property before moving abroad is no easy feat. So we’ve decided to compile a checklist to help you out.

A key point when preparing for a move abroad is the real estate issue. Dealing with the sale of your property while anticipating arrival in your host country is not always easy. Here are tips that might help you out:

Before leaving

  • It is advisable to sell your property before departure abroad but if you are unable to do so, find out how it works if you have to move abroad before the sale of your property. For example, taxes. In France, for example, a recent law allows expatriates who sell their property after their departure abroad to benefit from the exemption applied to the sale of the principal residence.
  • Learn about the distance selling process and consider providing proxies as needed.
  • Remember to keep a bank account in your home country or the country where the property is located and check with your bank for the terms of transaction.

When you’ve reached...

It should not be too difficult if you are planning to rent. All you need to ask about are the prices, conditions and documents needed, the duration of the lease and notice. You should also earmark and look for agencies or rental sites locally.

  • On the other hand, buying a property in a foreign country is no easy feat. You should take into account:
  • The price of real estate on the spot.
  • Credit conditions and check if you can benefit from a loan as an expatriate.
  • The various taxes involved.
  • Buying procedures: if it is possible to make an inspection before deciding, how to submit an offer, how to finalize a sale...
  • The cost of notary fees
  • The administrative procedure to declare your purchase

If you do not feel comfortable with the language of your new country, try to find a real estate agent speaking your language, it will reassure you and simplify the procedure.

In any case, think of a solution to repatriate your money in your new country. If your credit card does not allow you to do it for free, consider private platforms like TransferWise that can be more profitable than often expensive bank transfers.


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