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Internationally mobile types - did you sell your house?

(33 Posts)
schmalex Sun 15-Nov-15 13:53:24

My DH has been encouraged to apply for a promotion abroad. Whether or not he gets this particular role, it's looking likely that we will be living abroad somewhere for the next 10ish years and we may move about a fair bit (think 2-3 years in one particular place). We will get relocation assistance, etc.
There must be a fair few people in this situation. What did you do with your house. Do you keep your house in the UK and let it out? Or sell it and invest the money in something else until you come back?
It feels like such a long time horizon that I'm not sure we would still want to live in our current house if we came back in 10 years time.
I'm just interested in what you all do.

MyFriendsCallMeOh Sun 15-Nov-15 15:12:33

We kept our house in Scotland and rent it out, we have an agency that manages it for us. I think property is a good investment, even though we wouldn't live in that particular house again.

HerRoyalNotness Sun 15-Nov-15 15:16:46

Kept it and rent it out. I won't ever live in it again, but it's being partly paid off by the tenant, which is good for me, and is there in case things go very badly. Always good to have a base you can go back to.

Ragwort Sun 15-Nov-15 15:25:50

I would recommend keeping it, we worked abroad (only for a year) and are glad that we kept it as an investment. You never know what might happen so it would be useful to keep it.

MyFriendsCallMeOh Sun 15-Nov-15 15:30:30

Good point about having a base. Just be aware that if you are traveling on your dh's work visa, should anything happen to him (lose his job, or God forbid some sort of tragedy), you may need to leave some counties quickly as you would not have a valid visa any longer. I know that if anything happened to my dh, the kids and I always have a roof over our heads in the uk.

eleven59 Sun 15-Nov-15 15:31:25

Kept ours and rented it out. We'll never live there again though.

mateysmum Sun 15-Nov-15 15:32:18

Kept it and rented it out for 5 years then sold and re-bought 5 yrs later in a another area. We were lucky and sold just before the market crashed so have been able to buy back in at the same price.

Lweji Sun 15-Nov-15 15:33:53

Even for 10 years, think carefully if you would want to find yourself out of the housing ladder when you'd like to go back.

sofato5miles Sun 15-Nov-15 15:35:36

Rent it out. It's an investment and keeps you tracking the housing market if you return.

schmalex Sun 15-Nov-15 17:16:50

Thanks all for your comments. Seems you are unanimous!
Good point re worst case scenarios, MyFriends, I hadn't even considered that.

Pupsiecola Sun 15-Nov-15 21:38:56

We sold ours and invested the equity. Things didn't go as planned for us (we never wanted to return to the UK, but did so after a year). We don't regret selling. We moved back to a different area, an hour from where we lived before. We've now bought a home here with using our equity as a deposit.

specialsubject Mon 16-Nov-15 12:09:08

another one saying keep it and rent it out, even with all the hassle and possible lack of profit.

and yes, we sold and moved on our return.

get rid of all furniture unless you have an attic that you can exclude from the let or some helpful friends. Nothing is worth storing given what it will cost.

just one small thought which I know is a long way away; there's no absolute guarantee that your last tenants will leave when you want them to do so. Have a plan B and all the right insurances should this happen. Remember those insurances include malicious damage, legal expenses, rent guarantee and home emergency cover.

ShanghaiDiva Mon 16-Nov-15 12:14:08

Did not have a house when we left. Have saved enough to buy one for cash if/when we go back.

ShanghaiDiva Mon 16-Nov-15 12:15:35

We took furniture with us and now we live in Asia company has paid storage fees for the last 7 years.

MmeLindor Mon 16-Nov-15 16:04:26

Keep and rent - if you don't, you may have issues getting a mortgage when you return, as you won't have a credit rating here.

Isthiscorrect Tue 17-Nov-15 18:50:30

Agreed. Keep it, rent it and then sell it if you need to. We have no real intention to move back to our house but it us useful to have a so called base. It helps to remain on the property ladder and ifs there in case of emergencies, although not immediately.

dayslikethis Tue 17-Nov-15 19:00:38

Really interesting. We kept our house as we were only supposed to be abroad for about 3 years. Ended up coming back after 2 due to DH's job and are back in the same house. We have both said if we were to go again (and we think we probably will) we would like to sell the house. The main reason for this is that if we go we think it would likely be much more longterm (which we are totally happy with) and if we kept the house and then sold it while living in the US (which is where we would likely be) we would have to pay US tax on the sale. We love our house, but it is just a house and we'd happily come back and go somewhere else in the city. Hadn't thought of the mortgage/credit rating issue. (although if we kept our UK credit cards then surely our credit rating would remain - no?)

Bacontastic Tue 17-Nov-15 19:02:59

I'd advise to check your dual (both countries) tax liabilities very carefully for CGT, Income and Inheritance. Be aware personal allowance for non res likely to be abolished...btl tax changes in UK alone make letting far less attractive than historically especially coupled with fact now the non res cgt waiver has been removed last April.

If you're moving back into it, then it's very different from if you're keeping it as an investment. I've both kept and disposed of...pros and cons depending d on your lo g term plan.

Good luck!

Pupsiecola Tue 17-Nov-15 20:58:36

Re credit rating, I think it's also helpful to maintain a functioning bank account with one of the big international banks such as HSBC.

We would have needed to have spent some money on our house before renting it out. We loved our home but it was never our forever one. We moved in saying we'd be there five years; we were there for seven. Also, its location would have made it difficult to rent and we didn't want to have periods of it being empty and therefore not covering the quite large mortgage.

We were sad to sell but don't regret it. Actually it was incredibly liberating to own very little (no home, no cars). When we moved back (to a new area) we rented for a year which again had its advantages such as lack of financial outlay for maintenance issues. Renting also put us in a very strong position when making offers and moving forward with our purchase.

We're not emotionally attached to the home we're in but it's a much safer bet investment-wise than our previous one (which was more of a heart than a head decision). We'd upsticks and move again quite happily and probably sell again.

It does depend on how much equity you have too I guess, and whether there's an early repayment penalty on your mortgage.

PinkBallerina Wed 18-Nov-15 12:01:28

I would keep it and rent it out. When you return to UK you may find it hard to get a mortgage if you have been out of the country for a long while. Plus your money is safer in a house than in a bank.

ChipsandGuac Wed 18-Nov-15 12:05:00

We kept ours until we were sure we would be staying out the UK permanently and sold it to buy a house here.

PinkBallerina Wed 18-Nov-15 12:11:20

You can keep a UK bank account but if there isn't a regular income going into it then it won't help that much with your credit rating. An option is to have an HSBC account in the UK and another HSBC account in your new country, that would work more in your favour.

Don't forget the new tax on capital gains if you keep your house then choose to sell it whilst still out of the country. Sorry i don't know much about it

helzapoppin2 Thu 19-Nov-15 23:11:34

Kept it. Really glad we did.

lifeisunjust Fri 20-Nov-15 08:45:29

About credit ratings, don't assume you'll keep it! I am still battling with the big agencies who refuse to acknowledge I own a house in the UK and have paid the mortgage off in full. It's as if I don't exist, so owning a UK house, having spent all those years paying the mortgage, it made no difference to my UK credit rating. And I have a regular UK income, UK credit cards, but still the house is the sticking point, they refuse to accept its existence or who paid for it!

No I'd never sell the house, despite if apparently not existing according to Experian. It's there for income and if ever I need money, I hope to get some money out of it, but then again it depends on if banks take the same attitude as credit reference agencies and refuse to accept its existence!

southernskies Fri 20-Nov-15 09:34:10

We took the approach that our main aim was to track the UK property market, so that we didn't locked out and always had the option to return. So we kept our house and rented it out.

When the GFC hit, some people questioned why we wanted to track a falling market. We also now pay tax in NZ on the rental income before mortgage expenses.

But what I've noticed is that when prices rise in the UK, they rise fast, with a big jump in 2-3 months. Certainly too fast to re enter the market if you are overseas.

The other big issue is exchange rates which vary more than you realise. When we moved to NZ the rate was about 2.5. In the last 7 years it has varied between 1.85 and 2.8. So we could have lost a lot of money just moving it at the wrong times if we had needed to.

But by far the biggest benefit has been the security of knowing we could return to the UK and be able to live in our own home- even if it were not the one we left behind. It's much more important to me than any profit or loss.

Good luck with your move OP.

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