Relocating when you own a house
Relocating when you own a house can present a range of logistical challenges. In addition to the many other organisational tasks required for a relocation, deciding what to do with your property can be a stressful and lengthy process.
In this guide
- How to relocate when you own a property
- Renting out your house when relocating
- Selling your house when relocating
- Steps to take when selling a house to relocate
- Should you sell your current house before or after you relocate?
- Should I rent or buy when I relocate?
- How to rent a house when relocating
- Buying a house when relocating
- Relocating for work
- Tips for relocating for work
How to relocate when you own a property
There are several options available if you’re relocating when you own a house. Whether you choose to rent out or sell your existing property will likely depend on your financial situation, personal circumstances and your long-term plans.
Renting out your house when relocating
Renting your house when relocating can be a great option. If you’re not sure about your long-term plans, renting will help you to keep your options open. It gives you the security of keeping hold of a large financial asset, whilst also allowing you the freedom to relocate at fairly short notice without having to wait for a property sale to complete.
Of course, there is a reasonable amount of admin associated with renting out a property, and that shouldn’t be underestimated. You will need to consider how you will manage the property if you are not nearby, especially if moving abroad. A local agent can manage the rental for you, but you can expect to pay 12-20% in management fees. A budget will also need to be put aside for property maintenance.
Mortgage repayments on a buy-to-let mortgage are usually higher than a residential mortgage. This means your monthly costs are likely to increase. You will also need to complete an annual tax return and pay tax on any rental income profit.
Selling your house when relocating
If you know you’re unlikely to return to your current location, or don’t want the hassle of renting out your property when you relocate, selling your current property quickly is likely to be your best option.
Selling your house when relocating is also likely to free up a lump sum from the equity you had in your property. Having access to this money will give you more freedom to choose whether to buy or rent a home in your new location.
Steps to take when selling a house to relocate
If you decide to sell your house when you relocate, it’s important that you’re clear with your estate agent about relocating. You should be realistic about when you need to sell by. This will mean your agent only considers offers from buyers who are in a position to meet that deadline. Any offers from those in lengthy property chains should not be pursued. The property market is notoriously unpredictable, and it’s not uncommon for obstacles or delays to come up. Before you list your property with an agent, it’s important to think through what you will do if your sale is delayed or falls through before completion.
Should you sell your current house before or after you relocate?
Whether it’s better to sell your current house before or after you relocate will depend on your personal circumstances. There are advantages to both.
Selling before you move
Selling your house before you relocate will free up your finances and leave you with no ‘unresolved business’. However, it can be tricky to manage the timing of a sale. Sell your property too quickly and you may have to go into rented property before you relocate. Sell too late and the sale may not complete before your move. The UK property market is notoriously unpredictable. Even once a sale has been agreed, it can often take several months for the sale to complete. Additionally, around one-in-three agreed property sales will fall through before completion. An agreed sale is not definite until contracts have been exchanged. This is often just a week before completion. This makes it very difficult to make any plans around your property sale.
Selling after you move
Choosing to sell your property after you move will ensure you can remain living in the property until you relocate. However, selling a property from afar can get complicated, especially if you’re moving abroad. It also may not be an affordable option, unless you’re relocating for work and receiving financial assistance. Selling after you move is likely to result in extra costs, stress and responsibilities. This is on top of the usual ‘life admin’ that ordinarily comes with moving to a new area.
If you want to be able to live in your current property right up until your move, but don’t want the hassle and uncertainty of trying to sell your property on the open market once you’re in your new home, you could consider selling your current house to a cash home buying company.
Cash home buying companies can offer a guaranteed house sale on the date of your choice. This means you can remain in your property as long as you want, safe in the knowledge that you have a guaranteed sale which will complete on the day you need it to. A genuine cash home buyer will pay less for your property than you would get selling via an estate agent on the open market, so it won’t be the right option for everyone, but it does offer a level of ease, convenience and certainty that is unmatched by any other method of sale.
Should I rent or buy when I relocate?
If you’re unsure how long you intend to stay in your new location, or are unfamiliar with the area, it may be wiser to rent, at least initially. If you know the move is going to be long-term, you may prefer to consider buying straight away. This will offer the advantage of you only having to move once. Whether you rent or buy will also depend largely on your financial situation.
How to rent a house when relocating
If you’re completely new to the area you’re moving to, it’s important that you spend some time in the local area to get an idea of the more and less desirable places to live. If you can, visit the area in person and book in to meet with local letting agents. They will be able to talk about different areas and find out what you’re looking for. Making contact with the local letting agents is a great way to get ‘on their books’. This means they can let you know about any properties coming onto the market. Meeting them in person will make more of an impression than email or telephone.
The rental market is highly competitive at the moment. This means you may need to be flexible regarding the date you’re willing to begin your tenancy. It’s important that you’re ready to move quickly when a desirable property becomes available. You should have a deposit readily available in order to secure your new home.
If you’re relocating for work and already have your new position lined up, you shouldn’t have a problem securing a rental property. If, however, you are relocating for personal reasons and plan to find a new job once you’ve moved, you may need to provide additional financial information regarding your ability to pay the rent on your new home without the security of a permanent job.
Buying a house when relocating
If you’re looking at buying a house before relocating, it’s important to get an idea about where in the area you might want to live. This may be largely dictated by proximity to your work and, if you have a family, good schools.
The same principle applies whether you’re wanting to buy or rent. Get in contact with local estate agents and talk them through what you’re looking for. What do you want in a property, where’s your ideal location and what’s your budget? This will hopefully mean you’re alerted to new properties becoming available before they officially hit the market.
If you’re planning to coordinate the purchase of your new home with the sale of your old home, it’s important to explain the circumstances of the move to the estate agent and the timeframe you’re working to. This will help to avoid you being shown properties where there is a lengthy onward chain. If you need a quick sale, it’s important to focus on properties with highly motivated sellers.
Relocating for work
If you’re relocating for work, there may be relocation packages or other support available. Some companies will provide a relocation allowance to help with house relocation costs. Others may offer other house relocation services, such as use of a house relocation company who can support with all aspects of moving. This may be more likely if you are relocating abroad for work.
What is a relocation package
A relocation package is a collection of services and assistance available to support you in your move. These may include:
- Help selling your current property, eg. assisting with the sale of the property through estate agents or making up any financial shortfall that comes from needing a quick sale. If you need your sale to complete on a certain date, a professional property buying company is the most reliable option. As a business, they will pay less than market value, so a relocation package may compensate you for that.
- Help with property search services in your new location. This may include shortlisting properties for you to view, based on your search criteria.
- Packing and removal services.
- Providing temporary accommodation during relocation.
- Covering travel expenses for any visits.
- Paying for any storage facilities required to help with the move.
- Advice and assistance in your new location – this is more likely if you’re relocating abroad.
It’s important to consider the financial implications of relocating, and ensure it’s a wise and financially viable move.
If you’re moving at the request of your company, you should ensure that you are appropriately compensated.
Questions to ask employer before relocating for work
If you’ve been asked to relocate for work, these are some questions you may want to ask your employer:
- How long is the relocation likely to last? Is this a permanent move or a temporary secondment?
- Is there any financial assistance with house relocation costs or other support in place to help with the relocation?
- How quickly will you need to relocate? What is your expected relocation date?
Tips for relocating for work
If your employer has asked you to move for your job, you might find these relocating for work tips helpful.
- It’s important to visit the area you’re relocating to as soon as possible. This will help you get to know the area and help you consider where you might want to look.
- Visiting some local pubs is a great way to get a feel for the area. It’s also a great place to find out about any clubs or groups locally.
- Think early about your budget for the move and how you will fund it. Will you be able to afford the upfront expenses associated with relocating? How will owning a house in your current location impact this? Will you need to free up the cash from your current property before you’re able to afford a deposit on a new home? Will you be able to afford to rent or buy a new property whilst you wait for your current home to sell?
- If you have a family with school-age children, think about school places as early as possible. Visit the local schools and speak to the headteacher about the likelihood of a space being available for your child/children.
Find out more about:
- Selling a buy-to-let property in 2023
- Selling a UK property from abroad
- How long does a mortgage offer last?
- Selling a house at auction
- What is a mortgage prisoner and how do you break free?
- Top causes of damp in UK homes
- The cost of house clearance when selling a property in 2023
- How to sell a flat quickly 2023
- Retirement properties guide – what are my options?
- Selling your house to fund retirement – is it a good idea?