This post was contributed by Real Estate Unlimited, an agency serving clients in the Los Angeles, California area.
Planning to move abroad? Wondering whether to sell or rent your current home?
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the costs and benefits of renting out your home or putting it on the market, so you know which factors to prioritize when you’re drawing up your relocation plan.
There’s No Place Like Home
Before we get down to hard-headed financial and logistical issues, it’s a good idea to consider emotional attachment. You’re considering a long-term move to a new country with a new culture and language – you’ll also be leaving behind your workplace, your neighborhood, and your social circle. That’s a lot of change to handle over a short period of time! It may be difficult for you to consider selling your home right away, and if that’s the case, you may want to postpone a sale simply in order to maintain a vital tie with your life back home. Financial and logistical considerations are important, but it is reasonable to consider your sense of security and comfort in a transitional time.
Here are some basic questions to consider:
Are you leaving for a long time?
If you’re leaving for a year or two, it might make sense to stick with renting rather than selling. After all, you’re really just looking for a subletter to take over during your sojourn abroad. But if you’re planning a longer-term move, you may not want to deal with the ongoing hassle of long-distance property management or the sense of a remaining loose end back home. Depending on your financial situation, you may want to start your life in a new country with a solid capital springboard. Research your target real estate market to get a picture of any difference that might affect your purchase plan, such as increased volatility or a higher premium on cash-in-hand offers.
Are you sure you’ll want to stay?
A successful transition abroad depends on an array of factors from cultural fit to financial resources to professional opportunity. Even if you’ve lucked into the perfect expat situation, you may decide that you’d prefer to return home – from language immersion to local cuisine and climate, expat life requires a thousand large and small adjustments. You may want to hold on to your home as a backup plan. On the other hand, if you’re invested in making a clean break, and certain that you’ll stay abroad for several years, selling prior to your move will make it easier for you to establish yourself in your new home.
Are you sure you can get a good price?
If local property values are sinking, you may want to hang on to your home for the time being. Even an extra year or two may lead to a higher final sale price. Delaying the sale until you’re established abroad may also give you more flexibility, since you won’t be preoccupied with relocation tasks or yoked to a rigid timeline for selling and moving. On the other hand, if you’re situated in a healthy market, arranging the sale prior to your move will offer you certainty. You’ll have a result rather than a prediction, and you won’t have to worry about a sudden drop in housing values back home.
Are you sure you want to be a landlord?
Rental properties offer steady income in theory – you find the tenants, and they pay dividends in the form of monthly checks. The reality can be a bit messier. You’re on the hook for routine and emergency repairs, you’re responsible for strict adherence to rental regulations, and you’ll have to manage any conflict with your tenants. You’ll also have to manage all of these concerns from abroad, which will put you at a disadvantage in any catastrophic or urgent scenario – say, time-sensitive court filing for an eviction or a burst pipe that floods a rental unit. You can delegate a great deal of administrative duties to a property manager, but you will still be ultimately responsible for any problem with your rental property. You might want to forego the hassle and commit to selling your home prior to your move.
Photo Credit: Theodysseyonline.com
Are you sure you’ll have trouble arranging a successful sale?
Selling your home is a time- and labor-intensive process, and it can feel especially daunting in conjunction with an international move. You have to worry about prepping your home for showing, completing scheduled repairs and inspections, and evaluating offers – all on top of packing, visas, school schedules, vaccinations, job training, plane tickets, veterinary appointments, and countless other chores. You may not have much bandwidth to spare. However, your real estate agent can assist you with most or all of the work of selling your home – including marketing, staging, and any necessary repairs. You can also find an agent specializing in clients planning international moves, who can accommodate your circumstances and your priorities.
Selling your home can be a tough decision, especially in the midst of a move overseas. These guidelines should give you a starting point when you’re planning your big break.
About the Author: Real Estate Unlimited is a boutique real estate agency serving clients in the Los Angeles, California area, including the historic neighborhoods of Echo Park, Eagle Rock, Los Feliz, and Silverlake. Our digital marketing expertise and strong local connections combine to form an outstanding level of service for all our clients.
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