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Should you rent out or sell your home when moving overseas?

sell your home when moving overseas

Moving abroad is stressful enough, and then many of us need to make a decision on whether to rent out or sell your home when moving overseas.  What you should do will depend on your personal circumstances, however we take a look at some factors you may not be aware of.

Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home When Moving Overseas

The main reason most people decide to sell their home when moving overseas is they don’t want the hassle of managing and maintaining their property when living half way across the world.  However the main reason most people keep their home and rent it out is so they have somewhere to live when they return to Australia.

Here are some other considerations for deciding on whether you want to sell your home when moving overseas :

Pros:

  • Foreign residents (including Australians living abroad) will soon lose the Capital Gains Tax exemption on houses that were formerly the person’s main residence.  This includes losing the benefit of the six year rule if the property is sold whilst the owner is a foreign resident.  So if there is a chance you will want to sell your house during your time overseas, then there will be a strong tax incentive to do it before leaving Australia.  There is a transition period, and you can read more about in Capital Gains Tax on Main Residence – Aussie Expats to be hit.
  • There may be more tax effective investments (depending on the tax regime you are moving to) or better performing asset classes at the time you are moving overseas.
  • You may want to use the money to buy a home overseas rather than renting overseas.
  • Your house may be difficult to rent due to location, style of house, etc

Cons:

  • Unless you have other investment properties, selling your house in Australia will mean you no longer maintain a foot on the property ladder and are potentially exposed to getting priced out of the market during your time abroad.
  • If you sell your home when moving overseas then obviously you won’t have a home to return to when coming back to Australia.  For many people, with say growing families, you may well want to live somewhere else when you return, while for others this could be quite an inconvenience.  When we returned to Australia, we found not having a home to return to made our transition back to Australia much more difficult.
  • Timing of the sale of your property when moving overseas could have enormous implications on the tax consequences depending on whether you are an Australian resident for tax purposes or not.  Depending on your situation, you may cease to be an Australian resident for tax purposes the day you leave the country, and you may then face losing your CGT exemption on your main residence.  We strongly recommend you seek personal tax advice before selling your home if you are moving or living overseas.

If you decide to sell your house when moving overseas, check out our partners at Upside Realty for a great deal on selling your property in Australia for one flat fee.

Pros and Cons of Renting Out Your Home When Moving Overseas

Many people (particularly those who have never owned an investment property) worry that if they rent their home to strangers then it will get damaged, or they’ll get phone calls in the middle of the night about a leaking roof, or they won’t be able to evict a bad tenant.  In my twenty years of experience owning property, I have personally not experienced any situation where I thought I wished I never rented out the house.  Most of the issues people worry about are easily managed by appointing a good property manager or taking out appropriate insurance.

So what are the pros and cons of renting out your home when moving overseas?

Pros:

  • You can return to live in your home when you move back to Australia
  • You might be able to rent the house partly or fully furnished (for a slightly higher rent) and save needing to either send your furniture overseas, sell it, or store it.
  • Gain access to potential tax benefits of renting out your home including rental property depreciation, tax deductions (for such things as maintenance, and property management), and negative gearing benefits from the ability to accumulate any tax losses for use when you return to Australia.
  • Still exposed to potential capital growth (or loss) in the Australian property market.

Cons

  • Finding a good property manager can sometimes be difficult
  • The house may not be cared for as well as you would care for your home
  • House may no longer suit your needs when you return to Australia
  • Some state governments (particularly Qld and Victoria) are increasing the land tax payable by foreign resident landlords.

If you are looking for a property manager take advantage of our special offer and get 6 months free property management services when signing up with our partners at Little Real Estate.  You must use this link to receive this special benefit.

Disclaimer : This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute financial or taxation advice. As this information is not advice and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness for your circumstances. Independent advice should be obtained from an Australian financial services licensee before making investment decisions, and a registered (tax) financial advisor/accountant in relation to taxation decisions. To the extent permitted by law, we exclude all liability for any loss or damage arising in any way.

About the author

Craig

Craig is an Australian Expat and the founder of The Australian Expat Investor. Craig is passionate about investing, and while Craig cannot give personal financial or tax advice, Craig enjoys sharing investing, tax, and other tips for Australian expats to help them to build their wealth while living abroad and get the most out of their time living overseas. Get his free ebook on 9 Financial Surprises That Could Cost Australian Expats Thousands of Dollars

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