Safeguarding your home's value while living abroad

Ella Jameson / 26 February 2015

If you’ve decided to jet off to live abroad, you might have considered keeping your old property as a form of investment. But how do you ensure you can maintain and grow its value?



You can’t be there to look after it all the time, but what if someone else could?

Renting can be a great way to make sure your house isn’t worthless when you come to sell it, while also bringing in some money each month.

Here’s a few tips on getting it right.

Repair and modernise before you leave

Depending on the last time you did any decorating, the décor and fittings might be a bit out-of-date by contemporary standards. You want your rent price to be as high as possible, and that means catering to the needs of younger tenants who are looking for somewhere modern.

Although it will cost money to do the work, it’s something that can be done over time, with some decent budgeting, before you head off to pastures new. Be sure to spend a reasonable amount of time on the kitchen, as prospective tenants will consider this one of the most important aspects of the property.

Doing up the place will also give you a chance to look for any issues that need to be sorted out. Having the property in top condition will not only increase the rent you can charge, but also decrease the chance of problems after the tenants move in.

Find a letting agent

Dealing with the admin of renting out a property from another country can be awkward, especially if you’re in very different time-zones, so it’s a good idea to get a letting agent who can manage things on your behalf.

It’s important to find a reliable and reputableagent. If you get a bad agent, not only will things get forgotten or go wrong, but they’ll also foster a bad relationship with the tenant. Getting on with your tenant is the first step to them looking after your property and ensuring repair costs don’t build up.

It’s often a good idea to look for a specialist letting agent, rather than one that deals with sales as well. There’s a few ways to make sure your agent is worth the money.

Make sure they’re registered with the Association of Residential Letting Agents, talk to other landlords about them, and even pose as a tenant to see how they work. This kind of research will lead you in the right direction.

A good agent will make sure repairs are carried out properly when needed, so that you won’t end up with long-term damage that becomes more costly over time. They should also develop a good relationship with the tenants, not only so they look after the place, but so they have no problem with reporting any issues as soon as they happen.

Consider installing extra security for peace of mind

Installing quality security and alarms will keep both your tenants and your property safe. There may be times, between tenants, when the property is vacant, making it a prime target for burglars and vandals.

While squatting is less of a threat than it once was, having a house occupied for just a single night can lead to significant damage.

It may be worth investing in additional security measures, such as movement-detecting lights and security cameras. It’s also a good idea to install automatic light systems (ones that create the illusion of someone being home) for tenants to use to give them peace of mind when they are out or away on holiday.

If you don't want to live abroad, but intend to spend a lot of time traveling overseas, have you considered living in a lock-up-and-leave style apartment in a village complex?

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.