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What To Do Before Moving Abroad

If the current state of affairs in the United States has you ready to pack up and move out of the country, well honestly, we wouldn’t blame you.

The ex-pat life can be alluring, exciting and overwhelming all at once.  Even if you are heading for culinary school in France or starting a new career in Singapore.  But before jumping on that one-way flight, there are a few things you should take care to make the transition as smooth as possible while you’re still stateside.  Keep reading to learn what to do before moving abroad, and click this link to read the full article.

1. Renew your passports (and gather other vital paperwork)

Obvious? Yep, but you’d be surprised at how often this crucial step is overlooked. Be sure to give yourself at least a few months’ lead time to avoid costly expedited processing fees. While you’re at it, assemble your kids’ school records and your family’s medical records, and figure out which vaccinations you need, if any, to travel to your new home.

2. Prep your house to sell or rent

Offloading your current home when you’re on a timeline to move is always a delicate dance. Your house could fly off the market in a matter of days, or it could languish for months. Make sure you’ve mapped out a plan for either eventuality.

If you’re selling your pad, you’ll need to secure a real estate agent and begin packing up. If you choose to stage your home, experts recommend clearing out at least 50% of clutter in key areas like your closets and bedrooms before showings begin. That means you’ll want to start strategically packing (be sure to label those boxes) and putting stuff in storage far in advance of your intended move.

If you’re going to hang on to your place, you’ll need to advertise it for rent, screen the applicants, and seal the deal with a signed lease. If you don’t want the headache, hire a licensed, experienced property manager (be sure to ask for references) to take care of the details for you.

3. House hunt from afar

You might not find your dream pad while you’re still stateside, but it pays to at least begin your search before you move. The Internet is an obvious place to begin: If you’ll be renting, start by researching property management companies in your new area and Googling long-term rentals. It’s important to be flexible: You may have fallen in love with a city when you visited, only to find that the tourist spots you enjoyed are far from the residential areas.

Since you won’t yet have credit history in your new country, it’s likely that property managers or landlords will want proof of income or other documentation, which will vary by country (in Panama, for example, it’s the norm to provide a letter of recommendation from a local). Do your research before moving.

And if your lease is in a foreign language, hire a translator and local attorney to guide you through the process so you’re crystal-clear on the details—the extra expense up front will be well worth it to avoid costly misunderstandings later on. (A good adviser will also be able to walk you through details such as which utilities are typically paid for by a landlord, whether security deposits are the norm, and what’s customary to pay up front.)

If you’re considering buying, consult with a lawyer to ensure that you can (since some countries restrict purchases by foreigners) and to better understand the tax implications of your investment.

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