Guide to moving abroad
Moving abroad can be an extremely exciting prospect but can bring its own stresses and worries. If you plan ahead you can side step many of these potential pitfalls before they raise their head.
Before you leave
- Inform you local council of your move so that they can add a forwarding address to you records. This will save you from returning to find out that there are county court judgments against you for any missed bills;
- Inform your local benefits office – if you currently receive any benefits you may or may not be entitled to carry on receiving abroad;
- Inform you pensions office – If you are receiving a UK state pension then you will have to inform them that you have moved abroad so that they can update their records;
- Inform HMRC – you must inform your tax office of your move so that they can inform you or any changes to your tax circumstances or outstanding tax bills.
When buying abroad
- Always seek local legal advice or use a UK based specialist in the country of destination as local land laws and procedures will undoubtedly differ from those in the UK;
- If using a local solicitor then make sure that they are registered with the countries equivalent BAR association and that their qualifications are up to date;
- Use an independent translator. Even if you can speak the language legal issues will use phrases that are not taught in your average language course. You also need to know what you are being told is correct, never sign anything you do not understand;
- Use a qualified surveyor. You can use a UK surveyor or seek a qualified local surveyor. You can check to see if there are any members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors based in that country.
- The Land Registry entry matches the property in question;*
- the names on the registry matches the name on the sales document;*
- there are no outstanding charges or debts,mortgages, service charges etc. on the property;*
- there are current legal proceedings against the property for contravention of land planning laws;*
- if buying “offplan” then any planning permissions are up to date as they will have a time limit applied to them;*
- don’t just rely on developer’s plans, seek official records which will show any public amenities that may cross the property;*
- have a full survey carried out by a registered and independent chartered surveyor.
* You solicitor should be responsible for this but you must ensure that they have been carried out.
For a full list of recommendations visit the Governments site
- Before you set off to view properties make sure that you have your finances sorted out first.
- If you need a mortgage then get a ‘Agreement in Principle’ from your bank so that you know how much you have to spend, bearing in mind there will be fees, taxes on top and also fluctuations in the local currency rate will impact the amount you have to spend.
- You could open a local bank account so that the monies can be deposited locally and a certificate of funds can be provided to the seller.
- Make sure that once the purchase is complete there will be regular demands on the property that need to be met or action against the property can be taken.
Ensure that you get the best rate of exchange for your money by shopping around and know how much you have to spend by buying a forward rate. For more advice see