All of us are hoping that 2021 will bring less stress, more fun and many things to look forward to! If you’re planning to buy a property and move abroad next year, then things are already looking up.
However, moving abroad can be nerve-wracking and can come with its own stresses and strains. Luckily, there are a few things you can do now to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible. Tick off these five steps as soon as you can, and you’ll have more time to focus on enjoying your new life in 2021.

If you are planning to buy an overseas property in the new year or need to make regular payments in foreign currency, lock in a forward contract now to ensure that your budget isn’t affected by Brexit.

  1. Protect your property budget to avoid losing money
    An eventful 2020 has brought fluctuations in the currency markets with the pound, euro and dollar moving in ways that no-one expected. Those who hadn’t planned ahead and protected their currency were at risk of losing thousands due to the changing exchange rates.
    2020 isn’t over just yet and Brexit is driving the pound at the moment. News in 2021 of what the new trade deal brings could cause volatility for the pound and other currencies.
    Thankfully, you can act now to ensure that your money is protected, giving you peace of mind. You can do this easily by talking to our trading team about putting a forward contract in place. They will consider your requirements and suggest the best solution for you.
  2. Once you move, will you need to make regular payments?
    As well as the large sum of money that you’ll be using to buy your property, it’s worth considering all of the extra costs that come with this. Once you are settled in your wonderful new home, it’s easy to forget about the ongoing payments and income that might be affected by fluctuations in the currency market.
    Payments to people back home, health insurance, utility bills and council tax might involve receiving or sending money internationally every month or quarter. Start preparing for these now by speaking to us about a Regular Payments Plan. Using a Regular Payments Plan saves the time, trouble and expense of making each transfer individually and manually. It will take away the risk of changing costs due to currency fluctuations and it will also ensure that payments aren’t missed.
  3. Protect your pension or income
    As well as making regular payments, you may be receiving money from abroad regularly, whether that’s your pension, income or rental money from a property you own back home. These will be paid in your home currency and received in the currency of your new home, so you’ll want to make sure that their value doesn’t decrease due to changing exchange rates.
    A Regular Payments Plan can also help with this, allowing you to automate the payments to reach you at a set exchange rate.
  4. Prepare for your viewing trip
    Hopefully, you’ll be able to book a viewing trip next year and finally see a selection of properties in the flesh. If all goes well, you even may find your dream house or apartment.
    The legal process of buying a property abroad often differs from the UK and the need to act quickly to take properties off the market can concern buyers. In much of Europe, for instance, you will need to pay a reservation deposit of around €3,000 to €10,000 to have the property taken off the market. So, if you view your dream property and make the decision to buy there and then, this requires you to have your funds ready and waiting to go.
    Language barriers, authority limits, time differences and so on could make getting hold of this money difficult. However, if you set up an account with Smart before you head to the airport, this will make things infinitely easier. You can even “pre-fund” your account, with pounds converted to euros, US dollars or whatever you need and ready to use instantly.
  5. Plan for your UK bank account closing
    Some British banks have been informing account holders who now live abroad that their accounts are being closed due to new Brexit rules. Before you move, look into whether your bank is closing expat accounts and speak to them about the alternatives. You could potentially switch to another UK-based bank or financial institution that is not closing expat accounts.
    A simpler option might be to open an account in the country where you will reside.
    A Regular Payments Plan set up with Smart will also ensure that you can manage your funds from overseas, whether you’re moving to elsewhere in Europe or further afield.
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