Step Four: Getting set up
How can you be sure you’re getting the most from your budget when you’re exchanging currency? Unless you plan ahead as early as possible in the property buying process, you can’t. Yes, you can shop around and see who’s offering the best rate and the lowest commission on the day, but currencies fluctuate all the time – this can have a dramatic effect on the price of your property overseas.
Without the help and expertise of a dedicated currency expert constantly watching the markets for you, you are likely to lose money simply by converting it at the wrong time. This is where a currency specialist is a key part of a successful overseas property purchase.
You may need to move money overseas regularly, for example making foreign currency mortgage payments, transferring rental income, paying tuition fees, or picking up your pension in another country. An efficient, time and cost-saving way to do this is to set up a regular payments service with a currency specialist. Because it’s automated, you can be sure that important payments are always met on time.
You can also choose to fix an agreed exchange rate for your regular payments, so you’ll always know how much money you’ll receive and how much you need to pay. This can make budgeting easier, so it’s a good idea to think about it as you are considering the day-to-day costs of your new property.
Removals services – Top Tips
If you’re planning to move into the property you’ve purchased overseas, it’s important to find a reputable and reliable international removals company. Here’s our Top International Removals Tips.
1. Look for accreditations, memberships, awards and accolades
Check their accreditations and professional memberships. We recommend taking a look at the companies who are members of the British Association of Removers Overseas (BAR), the International Association of Movers, the FIDI Global Alliance, and look for accreditations by the FAIM quality standard. Ask us for recommendations – just get in touch.
2. Get recommendations
Personal recommendations are also valuable – if you have friends, colleagues or family members who have moved abroad and were happy with the removals company that they used, or ask for recommendations from your agent or other professionals who helped you with your property purchase. We would also be delighted to recommend removals experts from our network of tried and trusted partners.
3. Check their insurance policies
Check the removal company’s insurance policies and make sure that any items you are transporting overseas are covered for the route they will take. For example, are they covered while in transit by sea, as this requires specific marine insurance? Check that your possessions are insured while they are in storage before they are moved to your end destination.
4. Do your research
It’s important to do your research and approach a removals company early on in the buying process – we recommend 3-6 months before the day you want to move. Removals companies are busy and have long lead times, so you have to plan ahead and get booked in with them well in advance.
5. Find out about packing services
It’s definitely worth asking the removals company to pack up your belongings – this will only cost a little more and means that your belongings will be professionally wrapped and packed. Note that some removals firms will not guarantee the safety of items if they have not been packed by the company itself.
Settling in – Top Tips
Moving to a new country is exciting, but can be daunting. Here are our Five Top Tips for settling in to a new home overseas.
1. Take your time
Don’t feel pressured to get everything done at once. Take time to acclimatise to your new surroundings and take things one step at a time.
2. Stay connected to loved ones
There have never been more options or easier ways to keep in touch: text, phone, email, social media, Skype, FaceTime… Schedule some time to enjoy a good chat with them as a break from unpacking and all the practical elements of your move.
3. Make it a home
Take the time to add those personal, homely touches. Whether you prefer a brand new look and feel, or want to fill your new property with things that remind you of your old home, getting everything looking cosy and homely plays an important part in feeling more settled and grounded.
4. Learn the language
Even if it’s just a few key words and phrases. It will be appreciated by your neighbours and locals and will help you in getting to know new people, getting out and about, shopping, eating out and exploring new places. This will help you feel more at home.
5. Get to know the neighbours
Chat to people living nearby, look to see what local events you can attend, and make the most of local shops, bars and restaurants. You’ll soon build a new network and the opportunity for new hobbies and friendships is an exciting part of moving overseas.
Ever-changing exchange rates
Exchange rates fluctuate constantly. The rate you achieve when you first agree to buy the property will change by the time you pay your deposit, and then it will change again by the time you send the rest of the funds.
If you are buying an off-plan property that you pay for in instalments, you may find that there is a different rate available every single time you transfer your funds. You can protect against this, however, by using specialist currency tools, such as a Forward trade or a Regular currency trades service. Find out more from a Halo currency consultant.
The currency movements are significant in the current political climate. This could mean a difference of hundreds or thousands of pounds, especially when paying the final completion amount.
How a currency specialist can help
A currency specialist can help you save money on every payment that you make for your property – even after the purchase when you are paying for ongoing mortgage or property maintenance costs. Halo Financial can offer you a wealth of knowledge and experience to save you both time and money.
For example, they can monitor the currency markets and let you know how they are moving, as well as alerting you to upcoming political and economic news that will affect future exchange rates. When it comes to actually buying currency, they can also offer rates that are usually closer to the Interbank rate than your local bank. This is the rate banks use to exchange currency with each other, and it can be up to four percent better than the standard high street or retail exchange rate. That’s a difference of €20,000 on a €500,000 property.
Currency tools and services
There are several tools that can be offered to help you with your overseas property or emigration overseas payments. A Forward trade will allow you to set the exchange rate when it is favourable, at a time that suits you, so that you know exactly how much you will need to spend in your home currency to achieve the amount in the new currency.
How to find out more
Your currency specialist at Halo Financial will be able to talk you through any tools and resources available to you to help you maximise your funds for your purchase.
5. How will you pay for ongoing costs when you own property overseas?
You will need to ensure any regular bill and mortgage payments are covered, as well as ongoing maintenance, amenities, and so on. Remember that if you are paying these in another currency, the same currency market movements will affect the price of these payments. Consider any recurring and regular payments and discuss how you could potentially save money on these with a currency specialist.
6. Do you have proper estimates for removals and shipping costs?
Have you thought about how much it will cost you to ship your worldly belongings from country to country? We recommend speaking to at least two professional relocation and removals firms to ensure you get the best deal for your move. If you are looking for recommendations for reliable help to move your belongings from the UK abroad, Halo Financial is a partner of the British Association of Removers (BAR) and can put you in touch with trusted removal specialists.
7. Have you looked in to inheritance implications?
A new property overseas is likely to have an impact on your worldwide estate. You may also be affected by Inheritance Tax in your new country, and we recommend speaking to a solicitor and advisor who specialises in international taxation, as this will ensure you understand the implications of your plans on your estate. This is an especially important area as inheritance laws are generally long and complex.
8. Do you have a bank account in your new country?
It’s a good idea to open a bank account in your new country as soon as you decide to move there. In most places this will be relatively simple and can be done online. This will mean you can move quickly as soon as you find your perfect home.
9. How you will you organise regular salary or pension payments?
If you are emigrating or moving abroad long-term, ensure that your salary or pension can be paid directly to you in your new country. You may wish to consider, if appropriate, moving a pension into a Qualifying Recognized Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS), which may offer improved control over your pension and can be a source of tax savings. Always consult an independent financial advisor (IFA) for any financial decisions of this nature and to find out what best suits your individual needs. Halo Financial would be happy to recommend a trusted financial advisor, just get in touch.
10. Have you thought about what happens next?
What next? Will you be moving overseas permanently, or using the property for investment purposes? Is it simply a holiday home? Each of these international property options has its own individual financial considerations, which need to be taken into account at the very beginning of your overseas property planning and search.
Will you be relying on savings, a salary, or a pension to fund your new property? To ensure you have accounted for all the financial aspects of your property purchase overseas, you need to factor in all ongoing costs once you have bought your home abroad, and your sources of income.
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