For many of us who live in cooler climes around the world we dream of a new home in the sun. For most of us moving abroad to a new home in the sun is simple the stuff of dreams. Relocating or buying a second home abroad means not just a vastly improved climate and lifestyle but a complete change in life direction. A new high asset value property to look after and care for, along with a totally unfamiliar way of life and work.
Of course we could be forgiven for thinking that a new home in Portugal, Spain, Italy or France is the beginning of a 24/7 365 day per year luxury holiday. Not so unfortunately as there is a world of difference between living in a new country permanently as a resident and staying for a long holiday.
A Permanent Vacation, if Only
Holidays after all are just that, opportunities to relax and forget about the stresses of everyday life. On holiday you stay out late, drink and eat more than normal and generally do very little work. Unless you happen to run like web sites like we do. In which case they tend to break as soon as the back is turned.
On the other hand moving to a new area or country on a permanent basis means facing some serious realities. Important realities that can easily be masked by the warm sunshine and the cool breeze. Even the financially secure movers do not escape incurring new responsibilities.
Even those lucky enough not to need to work after relocating have to complete a great deal of legal paperwork. As well as engage in tasks such as finding new schools for the children and making new friends.
Browsing the second home property listings is exciting. Naturally the very idea of owning a second home or selling the main home is a enticing prospect that captivates and occupies the mind. Alluring pictures of luxury sunny holiday villas with a sprawling pool and lawn are the first things that we see. Understandably they set the mind and the heart racing.
Some of the Issues of Moving Abroad
Behind the curtains of the glossy property brochures, many considerations of moving abroad to live must be given much weight. Some of these include but are not limited to:
- Moving abroad to a second home or selling present property.
- Confirming visa eligibility for residence and work
- Finding suitable employment or business
- Researching schools and universities if with children
- Transportation of belongings or storage of the same
- Migration paperwork, passports, taxation, utilities and so forth
Second Home or Selling?
The answer to this question will have a big impact on future commitments and inherited responsibilities. Clearly moving abroad to purchase an overseas property has the advantage of retaining the original family home. This can then be rented out to source additional income for the benefit of the family.
Purchasing a second home abroad means grasping a good understanding of local property laws and becoming familiar with financing and overseas banking. A good idea would be to source a independent financial advisor skilled in sourcing mortgages in the desired country of residence. Employing a dedicated relocation specialist or an estate agent (realtor) skilled in the art of acquiring overseas property and holiday villas is a wise time investment.
Moving Abroad Video Guides
These video guides on moving abroad and finding a second home in the sun are valuable, insightful viewing. The moving abroad guides are sourced from a variety of publishers.
Accept Financial Advice When Moving Abroad
For example if moving to Portugal it would make sense to employ a mortgage broker skilled in the art of Portuguese financial and relocation matters, and so on. Otherwise the financial aspects of moving overseas can be a real burden that could end up costing far more than actually necessary.
If the property purchase is a holiday villa which is intended for contract rental when not in permanent residence; then proper advice can be sort on the legalities and good practice of doing so. Government websites and travel advice services can help explain the major issues such as with this section on living in Portugal.
Also consider often forgotten or neglected issues such as currency fluctuations. Shocks to the financial markets can impact the value of the proceeds of any home for sale and equally the affordability of a holiday home abroad. Bear in mind how long property purchases take to complete; up to a year in some protracted cases.
In the summer of 2016 the United Kingdom will vote on whether or not to leave the European Union. Whatever the outcome there is likely to be severe volatility in the currency markets.
For instance if the UK leaves the E.U, a popular political term coined as Brexit then the UK pound is likely to weaken substantially against the U.S dollar. These may not seem like big issues when exchanging a $100 bill on holiday. However it can shift the wealth balance many thousands of dollars in or against favor when buying a property worth $400,000 and upwards. (Update, in the event Brexit occurred and currency volatility was one of the immediate repercussions. )
Residency Visa and Work Permits
Some countries only allow visitors to remain for a certain length of time. For example visitors to the USA can only stay for 90 days at a time. Then they have to return home. Visitors to the USA also require an ESTA VISA and a electronic passport. Living there permanently and gaining a work permit is an entirely different and arduous process.
Other countries in the world will vary in their visitor entry requirements and whether or not they will accept foreigners as new residents. Some European nations openly desire highly skilled workers and offer large tax incentives for moving and contributing to their economy.
Other nations such as Australia operate a strict points vetting system to encourage quality over quantity when it comes to immigration.
Transportation or Storage of Belongings
For most people, acquiring new possessions is something they do on a near daily basis. Over time, the things that you have in your home may start to become a bit too much and you will need to downsize. Usually, you will not want to throw things out, but rather store them in an entreposage instead.
This is certainly the case when moving to a new home in the sun and you have more belongings than you need. Finding the right storage unit is something that will take some time and effort on your part. After the right unit has been chosen, you will need to take some precautions to protect the items that you store and here are some of them.
Make Use of Pallets
When trying to keep your items in good shape, one of the main things that you will need to do is to make use of pallets. Generally, you will be able to find wooden pallets in your area for a low price.
By using these pallets, you will be able to keep your things off of the ground and away from moisture. There are some storage buildings out there who will sell the pallets onsite. The price that you pay for a pallet will be worth it considering how much damage it can prevent.
Wrap What You Can
The next thing that you will need to do in order to protect your things in storage is to wrap them in up with plastic. By doing this, you will be able to avoid moisture and it can also protect against insects.
A large roll of plastic wrap is very cheap. It can help you greatly in the pursuit to protect your belongings. The thicker the wrap is, the better it will be at keeping your things safe and moisture free. Be sure to speak with the storage unit supervisors about whether or not their units are temperature controlled.
Check Out the Security of the Facility
Before making a decision regarding which storage unit to use. You will need to check to see what type of security they have in place. Ideally, you will need to find a facility that has cameras and that will have someone on site at all times.
Even if you have to pay a bit more money for this type of security. It will be money well spent. By taking the time to visit each of the storage units in your area, you will be able to get an idea of what type of security they have in place.
Investing time and effort into this process is essential when trying to make the right selection when moving abroad.
Migration paperwork, Visas and Taxation
The old adage that only two things are certain in life, namely death and taxes apply to moving abroad or buying a holiday home also. While we hope that life will be long and fruitful, taxation on the other hand is a yearly burden. As is fulfilling the visa entry requirements for many countries in order to live and work in these nations. Some nations though offer tax incentives to highly skilled applicants.
Some countries are very strict over immigration and with very good reason. The United Kingdom for example has long been seen as a soft target by low skilled migrants and those from poor undeveloped nations.
The UK has seen its towns and cities become swamped in some cases with migrants that invariably impose some of their own culture and traditions onto the local area. Unfortunately in many cases quality over quality took precedence over a long period of time.
When the UK government finally realised an open doors policy on immigration was not the wisest thing the country had already been flooded. Free movement across Europe has only served to make the immigration issue more political and contentious than ever before.
Quality Over Quantity
Australia on the other hand long recognised the value of preserving valuable Australian culture and traditions and imposed a strict points and vetting system. This means that buying a second home or gaining residency here is much harder.
In short it is essential to be able to offer skills and abilities that are considered economic assets. Hence a shift towards professional people rather than the unskilled with little to contribute. If unsure about eligibility to move abroad then there are plenty of guides to assist in researching the problem and successfully relocating.
Broadly certain nations will look at an individuals skill set, their education, criminal record and their likely contribution to the economy in assessing any new visa application. Obviously it is unwise to explore purchasing property overseas until the visa status has been established and confirmed in writing.
Moving abroad, either as a permanent resident or on a temporary basis is a pivotal point in family life for many people. The points raised in this feature article on moving overseas and buying second homes are far from exhaustive of all the complex issues.
In a foreign country many things will work the same way as at home such as healthcare, taxation, law and so forth. Yet there will be differences in procedure and in implementing. There will be lots of small changes and minutia also such as driving and local laws, practices, language and customs. While many people speak English, learning a foreign language is a good asset. Second language skills can often tip a visa application in favor of acceptance.
Understand that whether purchasing a dream holiday home in the sun or moving across the world to work with family. There will be much soul searching, stressful paperwork and stressful red tape. Be prepared to take financial and logistical advice and allow plenty of time for the whole process to complete. It make take more than a year for any move abroad or second property purchase to actually complete and settle.