Should you sell when you move abroad?

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Moving abroad is a thrilling and equally daunting experience as you set out to build a life in a different country and culture. It can be difficult to know what to do with all your belongings in South Africa. Small things can easily be taken along, but what do you do with your car and home, especially if you bought a property. The conundrum that many face is, do you sell your property or use it as a source of income back home? The questions to ask when you need to make this choice include: do you own the property outright and if not, how much do you still ow on it; do you need the possible profit from a property sale to fund your move abroad; can you manage a property back home?


A question of ownership

The manner in which you own your home can influence whether it is feasible to sell it or keep it. If you own the property outright, it could be beneficial to you to actually hang on to the property and rent it out as it can provide you with a comfortable nest egg back home. The rental income can add to your retirement fund or any investments you still have in RSA. As you will probably still have family in South Africa, it can also help to have money in the country should you have to assist anyone financially.


If, however, you still need to pay the bond on your home, another question becomes important. Does the rental income you would receive from the property cover your bond and maybe then some or not? If it won’t and you end up just having to pay additional funds from abroad to keep the property, it could be more beneficial to you to just sell the property whether you make a large profit or not.


Do you need the funds?

Immigrating is not a cheap venture, and many might need the profit from a home sale to fund the move. This matter ties in with the previous question. There are many costs involved in selling your home like interest costs, maintenance, selling costs, bond settlement, etc. These costs can quickly make your profit dwindle down to very little.  This is even more true if you have not owned the property for a long time as it is then more challenging to make a profit on your property sale. If, however, you have owned your property for a number of years, you own it outright, and you have minimal hidden fees, it can provide you with a great profit to then fund your move abroad. Even if you can get a great profit, a house sale won’t necessarily fit in with your timeline and can even drag on for a long time. If the housing market is not in your favour, it might still be a better idea to hold on to your property for a while before selling it. A property practitioner can give you the right advice in this regard.


Can you manage the property in RSA?

If you decide to keep your property and rent it out, the next issue you have is managing your property here and whether or not you are up for it. You don’t have the option of checking up on the property yourself, so it is imperative to get someone you can trust to manage the property. Getting trustworthy renters that will take care of the property is the best-case scenario and you could also consider giving a trusted family member, friend, or legal entity the power of attorney to make and sign legal decisions to ease the management.


If the management of your property is a constant headache and worry and doesn’t provide you with a worthwhile income, it might still be a better option to sell the property.


Final thoughts

There are many things to consider when it comes to whether or not you should sell your property in South Africa when you move abroad. It is also not just a financial decision. If the property was an inheritance from your parents or grandparents or has sentimental value for any other reason, you might be reticent to sell it. You might also want to have a backup plan should anything with the immigration go south as the job market can change or there could be issues with your visa or residency and you need to go back home. Whether your reasons are financial or personal, if you need a trustworthy agency to sell your property or manage your rental, let Karis Properties know how we can help. Should you require property in Denver, USA, we can also help you there.