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Selling a UK property while living abroad

Selling a UK property when living abroad is naturally exposed to certain bumps in the road including currency fluctuations and delays.

Written on 24 September 2021

Anyone selling their home from a different country that they permanently reside in, is naturally exposed to certain bumps in the road.

Whether it be currency exchange issues, nasty timeframe surprises or conveyancing communication problems, being as informed as possible will certainly help you to take the challenge of your property sale ‘head-on’.

Below is a breakdown of some of the most important issues to consider, when selling a UK property from abroad.

It is important to remember that this information should be taken only as a guide, to help you with understanding the steps of this process and must not be taken as direct advice toward any decision making.

Speaking to a professional is essential to ensure you are taking the correct steps and precautions with your property sale process.

Protection from currency exchange risk

As selling from overseas leaves you immediately exposed to constantly changing exchange rates, it is vitally important that you consider what options you have that will allow you to minimize the risks of (sometimes extreme) financial losses.

In a matter of days, exchange rates can change dramatically, and suddenly a drop of "only 1%" can actually mean a loss of thousands in your sale in reality when it comes to transferring the money into and out of the UK.

Utilising things such as specialist currency broker/companies can mean protecting yourself from drastic losses, effectively 'locking in' an agreed upon exchange rate and being immune to market crashes going forward.

These type of specialist brokers are able to advise you on the best time to transfer your funds, in order to achieve the best exchange rate possible.

The exchange rates provided by professional currency transfer providers is often a much more competitive rate than what would be available through your normal bank, effectively rendering you thousands of pounds better off.

Request an introduction to one of our currency exchange specialists and they will be able to discuss the best ways to transfer any funds or fees into/out of the UK and avoid any unnecessary bank charges or currency fluctuations.

Conveyancing from outside of the UK

Thousands of non-UK residents successfully sell their UK property without being present, and being on the same page/ knowing what is most important can drastically prevent any confusion or stress.

The most crucial part of the conveyancing process is the communication between all parties.

When carried out in the UK, this process would typically involve plenty of telephone calls and postal deliveries of crucial documents that help the process progress.

As this is certainly not feasible overseas, coming up with a consistent and clear online method of communication which involves emails and practical, accessible scanning facilities are essential to make sure your conveyancing process is successful.

Whether you choose a licensed conveyancer or your solicitor, aim from the start to be as upfront and clear as possible about your communication expectations. Discuss exactly how you plan to stay involved regularly and what lines of communication work for you.

Not every firm of solicitors can expertly assist people living outside of the UK with legal matters covering England and Wales, but our free introduction is perfect for people who live abroad but need legal assistance in England or Wales regarding UK property sales

Knowing what may cause the sale process’ pace to slow

The average time for the process is around 6-8 weeks. And following on from above, as long as your lines of communication and involvement with the process do not suffer due to you being overseas, neither should the time scale.

However, it is important to remember that there are many things that can interrupt the sale process for you, whether you are overseas or not!

Some of the most common things that can slow your sale’s progress down are:

  • delays at the fault of the estate agents
  • mortgage lenders (offers being delayed)
  • slow searches
  • slow action from the buyers’ solicitor
  • chain of the buyer (if they are selling a house to buy your property)

All of these can affect the speed of the process, but are effectively out of your control.

If you do have a completion date in mind, it is best to let your solicitor know as early as possible, to attempt meeting that particular deadline, although this is not always possible.