Manage Your Home and Your Possessions When You Go Abroad

Tips to help you manage what you do with your home and your possessions when you go live abroad

Are you going abroad only for a short duration or moving abroad permanently? Don’t forget to plan what you’re going to do with your current housing situation and your possessions when you prepare your stay abroad, as this can be very time consuming. 

What to Do With Your Home When You Go Abroad?

Subletting or Renting

Paying rent in two countries at the same time will set you back financially. If you sublet your place during your stay abroad, you will just have to pay for your housing in your new country.

If you’re a tenant, talk to your landlord about subletting your room or apartment for the duration of your stay abroad. You will need to find someone who will live in your place for the duration of your stay. If you’re going for an unknown duration, you will need to pick the duration for your sublet, as you’ll need a proper contract with an ending date. 

Usually, a sublet will include all of the furniture and kitchen equipment. You will just need to store your personal stuff somewhere else. Subletting is a great way to save money on a storage unit. Make sure that you choose someone that will take good care of your things! Subletting is also a good idea to make sure that you have a place to live when you get back, and to keep your current rent price!

If you own a house or an apartment, you can find someone to rent your place, either indefinitely or for a fixed duration. Make sure that you have someone back home to take care of your place if there are any issues with the person that is subletting or renting your place, or if any damage occurs. 

Whether you’re renting or subletting your place, make sure to inform your home insurance company, as you can be liable if your tenant or subtenant causes damage to the property. Be advised that many home insurance companies will not insure you if you sublease your place to someone that is not a family member or long-term friend. If you plan to sublease your place, ask your insurance company if you will be covered during your sublease. If not, change to another one as soon as possible, before the sublease starts, as the companies that do accept to insure you during your sublease will only allow that to existing customers. Also, make sure that you will have liability insurance while abroad. This type of insurance is usually only offered with home or car insurance. Find out more about liability insurance in our Insurance section. 

Getting Rid of Your Lease

Talk to your landlord about leaving your apartment and check the rules in your province about breaking your contract. You most likely will have to find someone to take over your lease. If you’re selling all of your furniture, you can choose a person who is willing to buy your furniture.  

Selling Your Home

Depending on the real estate market, it can take a while to sell your house or apartment. If you need to move abroad quickly, talk to a real estate agent to see if the deal can be finalized when you have already moved abroad if it’s not sold by the time that you need to leave the country. 

Leaving Your Home Empty

If you’re leaving for a short period of time, or if you can afford it, leave your home empty for the duration of your stay abroad. That means that you’ll have to keep on paying your rent and all of your bills. Make sure to have someone to manage the temperature if you’ll be gone during the winter, and inform your home insurance company that you’ll be away. This option is the easiest logistically, but you’ll have to pay housing costs in 2 places.

What to Do With Your Possessions When You Go Abroad?

Decide What You Will Bring and What You Will Leave Back Home

It’s hard to pack when you’re going on holiday; it’s even harder to pack for a long stay abroad! Depending on whether you’re leaving just for a few months, a few years or forever, you’re gonna have to make choices of what you bring, what you leave in storage and what you sell or give away. Ask on Expat Facebook groups for your destination what they wished they had brought, and what they wished they had left behind. Depending on the quantity of luggage that you will be bringing, this will influence your choice. 

Storing Your Possessions

Whether you’re leaving for a short term or long term and that you want to keep some of your furniture and personal possessions back home, you will need to get a storage unit or have friends or family members store your things at their house. Make sure that your things will be insured there in case of sinister or theft!

If you have a car, make sure someone takes care of the maintenance during your stay abroad, and inform your car insurance company that someone else will be driving your car during your stay abroad. 

Selling or Giving Away Your Possessions

Selling your furniture or personal belongings can be a good way to save money for your stay abroad, and avoid having to pay to store your things. Start advertising your things for sale as soon as possible as it can take a few weeks to sell everything. This can be very time consuming as well, having to message a lot of people and fix appointments. If you can, try to do a garage sale. Or sell a few things online as a “lot”. 

Shipping Your Possessions Abroad

If you’re moving abroad permanently, make a few quotes with different shipping services to see how much it will cost and how long it will take. Often, it’s not worth it and you’ll be better off selling your furniture and buying new ones abroad. If you’re bringing just small things, see with your airlines how many suitcases you can bring, and bring as many suitcases full of your things as possible. You can buy second hand suitcases and resell them in your new country. 

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