Selling A Property Abroad

How can you send money back to the UK when selling property overseas?
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If you’re selling property abroad, particularly if you’re then moving back to the UK, you’ve got a lot of financial matters to organise. Just like buying abroad, it is a big step to take – and one that needs careful planning to protect your money. You might be relocating to the UK to be closer to your family, or perhaps to continue your access to the NHS, or even going back for work reasons. Whatever your motivation, you want to make sure that your transfer is smooth and risk-free.

Register with us today, and you will get access to a dedicated currency expert who will be on hand to talk you through the best approach to take when selling a property abroad or moving back to the UK.

Avoid losing money on your property sale

The combination of large amounts of money related to property transfers, and constantly fluctuating exchange rates make it critical to be sure that you are managing your payments efficiently. See how we can help.

What are the key things to consider when selling property abroad?

The biggest factor that makes a property transaction unique is the long, but unpredictable timescale. In France, for instance, the average home takes around three months to find a buyer. That is an average, however: your home could sell in two months, or in eight months, or longer.

This means you’re planning for a transaction that you’re uncertain on when it will happen – and that leaves your money open to a lot of risk.

Anyone selling their home and moving back to the UK will be transferring from a different currency, like euros or dollars, back to pound sterling. In other words, you’re exposed to constantly changing exchange rates. That means you could get thousands less than you expected, if you don’t plan ahead.

Take January 2019, for instance. Selling a €200,000 home, on the 11th January 2019, would have got you £180,000. By the 26th January, that would have reduced to £173,000. That’s £7,000 lost in just a few days.

How can you protect against the risks of currency exchange?

Fortunately, this loss is entirely avoidable. While a bank will normally just send your money with the rate on the day, leaving it open to sudden changes, a specialist currency broker like us can help you remove the risk in a number of ways.

  • Forward contracts:
    This means you fix in the exchange rate for up to twelve months, with payment of a small deposit and no extra fees. In other words, you’ll keep today’s rates, even if the markets suddenly drop. This is an excellent choice if you’ve agreed a sale in principle and are waiting for it to go through.
  • Limit order:
    If you’re selling property overseas and moving back to the UK, but you don’t have a definite date to transfer the money – perhaps you’re staying with family while you search for a home to buy in the UK – then you can use a limit order to have your Personal Trader alert you when your desired exchange rate is hit, and then exchange immediately.

What can I do if I don’t even know when the sale is going to take place?

You’re right to still be planning. If a sale suddenly progresses quickly, you don’t want to be scrambling to sort out what you’re actually going to do with the money. We recommend that you register for a free account and start your conversation with your Personal Trader. They will help you decide on the course of action you want to take when the sale does take place, so you can immediately proceed when it happens.

What about residual funds?

You’ll likely have further funds left in your overseas accounts once you’ve sold your property. It could be that the taxes you were expecting to pay turned out to be less than you thought, or you kept money back for those final utility bills. Or you could quite simply still have savings in your non-UK account. Whatever the reason, it’s worth thinking too about bringing these funds back too.

Again, if you’ve agreed a forward contract, you can send these funds over without worrying about the changing exchange rate – so even if you’re sending a bit one week, more another week and a bit more a few months down the line, you know exactly how much you’ll be getting.

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I moved to Sicily 3.5 years ago for retirement and have experienced professionalism, reliability and consistency from a company that works for me. They will not hard sell, there’s no point. However, their system simply works and it gives you assurance as I have been experiencing.

Mike McAllister

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