Buying and selling property from a distance can be frustrating and stressful. But thousands of people do it every day. We manage more of our lives remotely than ever before.
Armed with the right knowledge and support, long-distance home buying and selling need not be a headache. Check out our top tips below to ensure your experience is a positive one.
House Buyer Bureau can buy your home completely remotely. We’ll take care of everything, so there’s no hassle or stress for you. Get your free, no-obligation cash offer today.
Tips on Buying a House Remotely
Choose an Estate Agent with Local Knowledge
If you’re unable to visit your target location to scope out potential buys, having an estate agent with local knowledge is essential. There are thousands of agencies to choose from — high street, online and hybrid. By selecting one that knows the area you want to buy in, you’ll reduce the risk of committing to a house purchase in an unsuitable location.
Be sure to communicate with your agent regularly and make your priorities clear. Where are you willing to compromise? What is negotiable? Make the most of your agent’s knowledge to learn more about the area you are hoping to move to.
An experienced estate agent who is well established in your target locations is also more likely to be the first to hear of new properties on the market that meet your criteria. This means you’ll have the opportunity to beat the competition if the market moves quickly.
Decide on Your Top Priorities
Figuring out what you need and want from a new home will make the house-hunting process much easier. Start with a big picture wishlist of everything you’d like from a property in an ideal world. Do you want to live in a rural location or a city? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Is a garden an essential feature or a nice-to-have? How important is access to good transport links? What style of property would you love to live in?
Next, order these in terms of priority, highlight any that are non-negotiable and flag those you’re willing to compromise on. Without a clear understanding of what you’re looking for, long-distance house buying is a real challenge, and you’re much more likely to buy something in haste or with poor judgement.
Set a Realistic Budget
If you’re unfamiliar with a location, take the time to research property prices and get a realistic understanding of how far your budget will stretch.
First, crunch the numbers and figure out how much you can afford to spend based on your income and monthly expenses. Next, explore property prices in your target area. Look at both asking prices and recently-sold prices for the type of property you’re interested in buying. Are your property ambitions realistic for the available budget and the location you want to buy in?
Property prices vary significantly between countries, counties and even neighbourhoods in the same area. There are some handy heatmaps online that show average house prices in different areas, for example, this map of the UK.
If your target destination is out of reach budget-wise, don’t be disheartened. Ask your local estate agent about more affordable options nearby. They may be aware of an up-and-coming area not too far away from your dream spot where property prices are much more affordable.
Research Local Amenities
Make a list of the facilities and services you use regularly. Do you have children of school age? Are you a fitness enthusiast? Check out the area online to identify the best locations for your new home. Perhaps being in the catchment area of a fantastic school is the top priority or maybe access to excellent transport links for commuting is non-negotiable?
There is a wealth of information available online. Research the area to make sure it offers everything you need. Finding the right home is not just about the bricks and mortar building but also its location. This is harder to judge from a long distance but certainly not impossible. If you know anyone locally, ask them to share their personal experience of living in the area. You can also speak to your estate agent about local amenities.
Get a Feel for the Local Community
You can get a good feel for the local community from social media. Sign up to free Facebook groups and check out local businesses on Twitter. This is the next best thing to visiting your target location, walking around and talking to people. By getting involved in group chats and discussions, you’ll get an idea of what it would be like to live in the area, who lives there, what events are frequently held and more.
It’s also worth checking out websites such as StreetCheck — if you’re looking to buy in the UK — to find out the key demographics of an area. All you need is the postcode of a property you’re interested in. Pop this into the search bar, and you’ll be shown a range of data such as the type of housing, the age and occupation of residents, crime rates, broadband speeds and more.
Learn about the House Buying Process in Your Target Destination
Are you thinking about buying a house abroad? Be sure to research and follow local laws on buying property. Even if you’re UK-based with dreams of hopping over the border to Scotland, you’ll notice some differences in the house selling process between the two countries. For example, in Scotland, the seller bears more responsibility and is legally obliged to commission a Home Report before listing their home for sale, whereas in England, the only document a seller must obtain before marketing their property is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The system of making offers is significantly different too.
Wherever you plan to buy, it’s worth checking out the UK government’s Guidance for Buying Property Abroad. Make sure you fully understand how the system works in the country you wish to move to, before committing yourself to a house purchase.
If you have a house to sell before you can buy in your dream location, talk to our expert home buyers today. We’ll take care of everything, which means no hassle or stress for you!
Tips on Selling a House Remotely
Keep Your House Secure
If the property you want to sell is empty, you should take steps to keep it secure while it’s on the market. A vacant property can be vulnerable to criminal activity or maintenance issues. If there are tenants living in the property, there is the risk they will become frustrated and damage the property or become careless about its upkeep once they learn of your plans to sell up.
Understand the Local Market
Speak to local estate agents and do your own research to understand what’s happening in the local property market. Are houses selling fast in the area? Or does supply outstrip demand? How much have properties similar to yours recently sold for?
By getting to grips with the health of the local property market, you’ll have more realistic expectations regarding the sale price and how long it’s likely to take to find a buyer. If you’ve not lived in or visited the area for some time, you may have outdated ideas about how much your home is worth.
Choose an Experienced Conveyancer or Solicitor
Having an experienced legal professional to guide you through the house sale process is important for any homeowner, but if you’re selling from a long distance, this support will be crucial. You won’t be able to travel back and forth every time a document needs scrutinising or amending, so having a solicitor or conveyancer you trust will ensure the house sale process keeps moving forward smoothly and efficiently.
If you’re selling a property in a different country, you will also need a legal professional with the relevant knowledge and experience to manage the conveyancing process and advise you of any tax laws that apply to you.
Know Your Tax Obligations
If you live abroad and are no longer a UK resident for tax purposes, you may be required to pay tax when you sell your UK property. Generally, you won’t be liable to pay tax for any years when you or your partner did not spend more than 90 days in your home. However, if the grounds exceed 5,000 metres, you rented your property out, or used it for business purposes, there may still be some tax to pay. You may also have to pay capital gains tax if the property has increased in value since you bought it.
To make sure that you don’t fall foul of UK tax laws, it’s best to speak to a legal professional with expertise in this area. Even if there is no tax due when you sell, you must tell HMRC that you have sold the property within 30 days of transferring ownership.
If you are selling a property in a country other than the UK, seek legal advice to ensure you are meeting your tax obligations.
Choose a Team You Trust to Sell Your Home
An estate agent can manage the entire house sale process for you. You shouldn’t even need to return to the UK or wherever your property is, as the agency can send important documents to you via courier.
Alternatively, a quick house sale company can offer you a guaranteed house sale for cash. This removes a lot of the delays and risks involved in a traditional on-market sale. Download our guide, “5 Financial Benefits of Selling to a Quick House Sale Company”.
5 Financial Benefits of Selling to a Quick House Sale Company
House Buyer Bureau is a genuine cash house buyer with the funds to buy your property in as little as 7 days. We can give you a free, no-obligation cash offer within 24 hours of speaking to us. Just spend two minutes completing our quick online form and one of our expert house buyers will be in touch.