3 Tips For Selling Your Home Before Volunteering Abroad

2 December 2014
 Categories: Real Estate, Articles


There are many reasons you may want to sell your home before joining the Peace Corps, teaching abroad, or volunteering longterm with a private agency. Selling saves you from having to pay someone to maintain your home while you are away, frees you from property taxes, and gives you more freedom to decide what you want to do with your life when your time as a volunteer is over. However, trying to sell your house when you are making arrangements to leave the country can be stressful. There are several things you should keep in mind to make selling your house easier. 

Start the Process Early 

Many volunteer placement agencies only give you 3-4 months notice before you relocate abroad. For example, with the Peace Corps, your application may sit for a year before you know for sure that you will be going, and then you will be asked to leave three months from your invitation. Alternatively, many teaching organizations have multiple leave dates and can ask you to leave a month earlier than expected, or push your departure back a few months. This makes knowing when you should start selling your home difficult. 

The average length of time it takes to sell a home varies based on your asking price, the season you are selling in, the condition of your home, and your current local market. If you are in a rush to get everything sorted before you leave, you may end up having to sell your house for less than it is worth. 

You should consider putting your home on the market at the same time you submit your international applications. If the application process takes longer than expected, you may have to rent a place for a few months before leaving. 

Appoint a Power of Attorney 

One of the first things you should do when you decide you want to sell your home is appoint someone you trust to have power of attorney over the selling process. This way, if selling your house takes longer than expected, you will not have to deal with minor decisions and signing paperwork while you are in a foreign country. This is important because even after you have a buyer, the escrow process can take another month, and you will be expected to participate in the evaluation process. 

The agent you assign power of attorney to can be a family member, friend, lawyer, or accountant. If it is a lawyer or accountant whom you hire specifically to sell your home, you will sign a specialized power of attorney agreement. However, if it is a family member who you trust, you may want to sign a more general power of attorney agreement so they can deal with other issues during your absence from the states. 

Be Prepared for Repairs 

Before selling your home, you should make minor repairs in order to get the best price for it. This can include replacing windows, minor roof work, and finishing any project areas you have started. 

Depending on your contract, you may also be responsible for repairs after your home is sold, if the new owners determine that you should have known about them and did not disclose them. You should budget for these expenses in advance and make sure you have plenty of liquid capital the year before and after you sell. 

Moving abroad to volunteer can be a life changing event, so it makes sense to sell your home before you go. However, it is better to take the time to get the best price and close with confidence rather than trying to sell in the months before you move. For more information on selling your home, you can check out the site.