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How To Sell Your Property In UK When Living Abroad?

Property Saviour » Moving » How To Sell Your Property In UK When Living Abroad?

Have you moved abroad and now wish to sell your UK property?  This article explains potential challenges and offers you a stress-free solution if you are looking to sell quickly.

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Can you sell your house while living abroad?

Selling your house when you live abroad is not easy if you were to instruct an estate agent or a solicitor.  You may have to appoint a Notary Public to pass ID documents and instruct a solicitor who understands how to sell a property from abroad. 

Sadly, most solicitors can’t help as it is not a regular occurrence.  Your solicitor may tell you to give a Power of Attorney to a relative or a friend and then trust them with a substantial sum of money.  It is tempting for them to spend your money and your solicitor to charge you upfront fees for drawing up Power of Attorney.  This can give you sleepless nights.

Often, landlords and landladies have moved abroad and wish to sell a house with sitting tenants.

Can I sell my house in the UK while living abroad?

With no legal restrictions preventing you from selling your UK home after you have relocated to another country, you can start the process today.  If you intend not to return to the UK again or there is no other desire to retain ownership of property, selling a surplus home to release equity from the sale.  This can be a great financial help whether you wish to buy another property abroad or it goes towards your retirement pot or savings.

Because you are a resident of another country, handling documents, including ID checks, is a little more complicated and will cost a little more in legal fees. 

Please be aware that property title fraud is rampant in the UK, where fraudsters change their name by Deed Poll and then sell someone else’s mortgage-free property.  We are experiencing these cases on a weekly basis.

British Supermarket called Little Britain in Spain
Featured: Little Britain - a British Supermarket in Tenerife. Spain has over 300,000 British Expats living abroad.

What do you do with your house when you move overseas?

With a rise in property fraud reported by BBC, estate agents, solicitors, and buyers are often suspicious when dealing with a homeowner from abroad.  It could be because their professional indemnity insurance does not cover them, as the risk of litigation is remarkably high if someone pretends to be a seller and the original and legitimate seller comes forward with a claim.

The first thing you need to do is agree to sell your property, and given that you are thousands of miles away and estate agents insist on seeing you in person to conduct anti-money laundering (AML) checks, this would prove tricky.  It is simply not practical for you to fly thousands of miles to meet an estate agent in your living room or when a legal problem arises or your solicitor insists that you provide them with a ‘wet signature’ in front of them to facilitate your home sale.

We recommend that you use Land Registry’s fantastic property alert service for free to prevent becoming the next victim of property fraud.

This is where Property Saviour can help you, as we have worked with several homeowners from abroad and understand the process very well.  We can also assist you with conveyancers that can act for you. 

These legal professionals are responsible for drafting contracts required in selling a house, overseeing the transfer of cash from a sale and working with HM Land Registry to register new owner’s details for any house in England or Wales.

If you are a UK national living abroad, you can benefit from our expertise in buying your home for cash and provide you assistance with legal paperwork when it comes to selling your home.

The solicitors we use will use an international courier if they require physical documents to be signed, although many prefer digital signatures.  With video call technology, phones, and emails, in-person meetings are unnecessary.

Do I have to pay Capital Gains Tax in the UK if I live abroad?

Even if you live abroad, when you sell a property in the UK, you may have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) depending on any profit you made since owning the property.  As the UK government’s website explains, this tax applies even if you are no longer considered a UK resident for tax purposes. 

How much you will pay in Capital Gains Tax depends on several factors, including whether you use your former home as personal property, how long it was used for business purposes (including renting property), and whether there were any years where you spent 90 days or more in your former home and your personal tax circumstances.

We recommend using a professional and knowledgeable accountant – even if you do not owe any money.  If you do not know anyone, we can refer you to accountants.  Be sure to submit your Capital Gains Tax return within 30 days of selling your home.  These returns are required by law, and you will be fined if you fail to submit one.

How do you sell your home in the UK when you live overseas?

When you are living overseas, the practical limitations of getting back to the UK mean that you have two possible options:

Using an estate agent to sell your house from abroad

As mentioned earlier, estate agents are very suspicious of dealing with ‘foreign sellers’ as creating a fake ID and using a dodgy solicitor to approve your ID documents is easy.  Their professional indemnity insurance companies may not cover them in the event of fraud where they have not taken all reasonable steps to meet the seller and check IDs in person. 

This may explain why they prefer to sit in your living room, inspect your ID documents, look you in the eye and shake your hand when you instruct them to sell your property.

There is an alternative way to sell if you are a genuine homeowner. We are here to help. We occasionally get people who are trying to sell other people’s homes!  We know how to protect ourselves against property title fraud.

Do I have to come back to the UK to sell my house if I live overseas?

No. you do not need to be in the UK from selling your property to final completion, we can help. Once you accept our offer, we will get on with purchasing your property.

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Is it quicker to sell my UK house through an estate agent or to a fast buyer?

Estate agents, solicitors and even a buyer will be suspicious of dealing with a foreign seller due to increases in property transaction fraud, as reported by the BBC.

Even we nearly got caught once, read our Google review to find the negative review!

If you are a genuine seller, we’d be delighted to work with you.

Sell to a cash house buying company from abroad

This is a much simpler and easier way to sell your home from abroad.  By selling to a cash house buying company, we will assist you from legals all the way to completing the purchase.  There are no estate agency fees or solicitor fees. 

In fact, we will pay your solicitors fees in the UK and assist with any reasonable requests relating to the property – whether it is empty or tenanted.  Another benefit is that we do not mind if the property needs work because we will buy any house in any condition. 

There is no mortgage company involved as we will buy with our own cash.

We have many five-star reviews, and we hope you will leave us with a review too!

Sell with certainty & speed

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