What to do with your home when moving abroad

November 22, 2020

Have you ever considered renting out your house and moving abroad? Or perhaps you’ve been offered an amazing job opportunity overseas. It sounds like a dream, but the reality involves careful consideration, meticulous planning and excellent organisation. 

Homeowners will need to establish a travelling time frame and research all available options for their property in Australia. Along with renting, house sitting, holiday letting and selling are all feasible options. We delve into each option to help you make the best possible choice before jet setting.

Renting out your house and moving abroad

Renting is the most obvious choice for those moving abroad. It’s one of the most financially viable options for homeowners with a mortgage as tenants can help to cover the repayments. The rental income will reduce financial pressure while you’re travelling or living overseas.

Enlisting the help of a real estate agency will also reduce stress. Some investors choose to self-manage their rental property. However, without being present to organise maintenance and manage inspections this can be difficult.

A property manager will take care of advertising your property, collecting rent, organising maintenance and dealing with any complaints or difficulties that may arise. They’ll also screen applicants to attract trustworthy, respectful and responsible tenants which is arguably the most important step in renting out your house and moving abroad. There are associated agency management fees which can be anywhere between 5 to 12 per cent of the weekly rent.

As an investor, you’re entitled to claim these agency management fees as a tax deduction. In fact, leasing your property entitles you to claim an array of expenses in your annual tax return. These expenses can include council fees, insurance, the interest on your mortgage repayments, utilities, property depreciation and more.

Another important consideration is whether your rental property will be furnished or unfurnished. Renting out a fully furnished property is a great option for homeowners who want to leave their belongings behind while abroad. Landlords can typically charge a slightly higher rental rate for the use of their belongings.

If you’re uncomfortable with leasing your furniture, consider hiring a storage shed or selling items you no longer want or need. Regardless of your decision, always remove your most precious possessions and keep them in a safe place.

Housing sitting and moving abroad

If you’d prefer not to rent your property, consider organising a house sitter. House sitting is when someone lives in your property while you’re away in order to keep the property safe. The house sitter takes care of your home in return for discounted or free accommodation and is usually someone you trust like a family friend or colleague. House sitting is a great option if you have pets you are unable to take abroad and is best suited to short-term travel.

Turning your property into a holiday home

Another option to consider is using your property as a holiday home. Although you might not have considered this to be an option there are ways to remotely operate a holiday rental.

Keypads and lock boxes are a great way to manage holiday check-ins. When a guest is scheduled to check in, email them a code to access the keys to the property. When they’re checking out, they can leave the keys in the lockbox ready for the next guests. Security cameras near the lockbox or in public spaces are also helpful and offer peace of mind while abroad.

Holiday homes do require more effort and attention than residential renting. High turnover means you’ll have to hire either a cleaning service to maintain the rooms or a property manager to take care of the maintenance, communication and organisation of the property.

These additional fees are usually balanced by the higher rental rate you’re able to charge per night. Though it’s important to note that holiday homes are seasonal and heavily reliant on location. Rental income will fluctuate as a result.

Selling your house and moving abroad

If you’re planning on going abroad for the long term, selling your property may be the best option. Selling removes the hassle of managing and maintaining the property while abroad and opens up the opportunity of buying property overseas.

It also has the potential to boost your financial position depending on the market conditions. If you sell during a high time in the market you could boost your financial position. On the contrary, if you sell during a low period you could end up paying higher prices when you return. It’s important to do this market research before committing to selling your property.

Leaving your house vacant and moving abroad

Depending on the length of time overseas, you might decide to leave your house vacant. There are a number of important measures to put in place before going abroad.

The first is to install security cameras. This is paramount in protecting your home when it’s vacant and provides a good reference point should the unexpected happen.

Ensure any maintenance issues are fully resolved. Maybe you need to fix a leaky pipe, safeguard the windows or repair a damaged fence. Tackling these jobs before you leave the country minimises the risk of theft, deterioration or damage upon return.

If you intend to leave your house vacant be sure to read through your insurance policies. Make sure you have adequate home and contents insurance and that leaving your house vacant does not affect the validity of these policies.

If you don’t have cover, BMT Insurance work with reputable Australian-based insurance providers to deliver the most suitable and cost-effective insurance for you. Find out more about the range of policies BMT Insurance have access to here.

Whether you’re renting, house sitting, holiday letting, selling or leaving your property vacant while abroad, planning will make the process easier.

Soho is your expert team in Australian real estate, offering an innovative platform for effortless property searches. With deep insights into buying, renting, and market trends, we guide you to make informed decisions, whether it's your first home or exploring new suburbs.
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