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Settling your property while abroad: What you should know

Sep 19, 2023

The idea of managing property settlements in Western Australia while you’re overseas might seem like a daunting challenge. Yet, in our interconnected digital era, being on the opposite side of the globe doesn’t mean you can’t efficiently handle your property affairs back home.

Whether you’re taking an extended holiday, moving overseas for work, or embarking on a new adventure, understanding the nuances of remote property settlements can give you peace of mind. Let’s dive into the key considerations for Western Australians looking to process property settlements from abroad.

#1 Having representation is crucial

Appointing a trusted conveyancer settlement representative in WA is essential when you’re abroad. They will act on your behalf, ensuring all requirements and paperwork are in order. Essence Conveyancing, with its vast experience in property settlements, can play this pivotal role, ensuring seamless communication and effective management of your property matters.

#2 Certifying documents and identification

Times have changed. It is no longer a need for clients to go to the Consulate or embassy to identify themselves.  There is a list of authorised witnesses that can certify their documents and identification. We then need the originals of certain documents for settlement.

#3 Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney

If you anticipate difficulties in managing transactions from abroad, consider assigning a Power of Attorney (POA) or Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) to a trusted individual in WA. This document allows the person you nominate (typically a close family member or friend) to act on your behalf in property settlement matters. However, the process of setting up a POA while you’re overseas can be complex. It might require visiting an Australian consulate or embassy, so plan ahead.

#4 Time zones and communication

One of the evident challenges of managing settlements from overseas is the time difference. Make sure to establish a communication plan with your conveyancer. Set regular check-ins and updates at times that work for both parties.

#5 Understand tax implications

If you’re selling property while overseas, be aware of the potential tax implications both in Australia and in your current country of residence. For instance, non-resident Australians might be subject to different Capital Gains Tax rules. It’s advisable to consult with a tax professional familiar with international property transactions.

#6 Banking and money transfers

Ensure you have a reliable method to transfer funds across borders. Funds are paid through the PEXA platform, so if you do not have an Australian bank account, it is recommended that you speak to your settlement agent.

#7 Stay informed

Property laws and regulations might undergo changes. Ensure you’re updated about any new regulations, especially those affecting non-residents. Your conveyancer should keep you informed, but it never hurts to do your own research or subscribe to updates from relevant WA property authorities.

In closing…

Handling property settlements in Western Australia from abroad is entirely feasible with the right preparation and support. While it involves additional layers of complexity compared to local settlements, with the right conveyancing partner and tools at your disposal, you can navigate the process with confidence.

I encourage you to get in touch ASAP if you plan to be abroad and happen to have a property that could be sold in your foreseeable future, we can then work together to pre-empt the future, so you can have peace of mind.

Disclaimer: Please note, the contents of this article do not constitute conveyancing advice, are not intended to be a substitute for conveyancing advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek conveyancing advice or other professional advice in relation to any particular matters you or your organisation may have. To find out more, please contact us.