Moving Overseas: Thinking About Property Purchase

Many people who move overseas have been experienced home owners. Normally you are used to owning your own home so if you migrate abroad the instinct is to quickly buy your own piece of your new country. This may not be the smartest move, however. Moving overseas can be a big step forward financially but think about your property purchases carefully.

Reasons Not to Buy Immediately

You don’t know that you will stay. Not every immigrant stays in their new country. Not every migrants “stick”: some quickly return home for many reasons. Renting is your best option until you know you are staying permanently. If you sell in your home country and buy in your new country and then have to sell again – you will probably lose significant amounts in fees and commissions even if the property prices have remained stable or increased.

You don’t know the property market. Your unspoken assumptions put you in a weak negotiating position. For example an Australian wouldn’t buy a family home in many parts of Australia that did not provide a shaded outdoor entertainment area. An immigrant from a cooler climate may not see the problem with a north-facing exposed courtyard until they have moved in.

You may change suburb or even city. Renting is the flexible option if you need to move. You may rent initially in your desired area only to change your mind 6 months down that track buy in a different area.

Renting initially also means that you may not have to buy all the appliances and furniture you didn’t bring with you. Renting a semi-furnished home initially can be a good way of spreading the set-up costs involved with your move abroad.

Depending on your visa type you may not be allowed to buy all types of residential property.  Waiting until you have permanent residence will increase your property buying options

Renting for 6 or 12 months will give you time to establish a credit history in your new home after you move internationally which will make it much easier to finance a property purchase later on once you feel more established in your new country of residence.

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