I know a few of you have moved internationally. My family is considering such a move, to a European country. I am at a loss, however, when it comes to figuring the financial aspects of it. Should we ship our car or not? Furniture is an obvious ditch and buy new (er, used, but new to us). Does it cost a lot in taxes to buy a house overseas? ie if we sold our house here, could we just use the profits to buy a new property there? I see there's a 25% capital gains tax for foreign buyers, but is that only on investment properties? (Plus, I'm a dual resident of both countries, so I don't know how that would work.) I know moving space is limited, but I can't even get a decent moving quote for a cargo rate - you have to give the sites all sorts of specifics that I just don't know how to answer, so I can't even get a roundabout figure. I also don't know about documents... how much would we need to factor in for all the necessary paperwork, visas, clearance... etc.
My head is just spinning. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to even start? I've moved internationally before, but I was never in charge of finances - my father was, and he has since passed away, so I don't know who else to ask. I also have a few friends who have moved but their situations were very different (they were students or single and not permanent residents etc.). I wonder how it's different for a family.
I think it depends a lot of what country you are moving to. We moved to Sweden this past year and rules and regulations here are unbelievable. Taxes are enormous and it has taken some time to get used to the financial system. I do know that most European countries require large down payments and extensive financial documentation before buying a home. They simply don't let you buy more house than you can afford.
We moved with 3 children and each took one large duffel bag. We moved no furniture, but knew that we were going to be renting a furnished house. It was the easiest way to do it for us. Public transportation is excellent, we have not had much need for a car. When we do, day rentals are widely available and very mainstream.
Depending on where you are moving, you may not need a car at all. In many areas, cars are a luxury and very expensive to own. Gas run about $8-10 a gallon. Many European cities have initiatives to make driving as expensive and uncomfortable as possible. I kid you not. Europeans walk everywhere. Bicycles are the norm and public transportation is excellent.
We are here short term (less than a year), so I don't have experience with a permanent international move. I found an online forum for English speaking women in Sweden and it was the very best resource available. I learned so much from other women who had made a similar move. I would look for something similar in your country of focus. Natives will not have the kind of information you want -- you need to talk to the person who just made the same move and is willing to help you avoid some of the pitfalls.
We know lots and lots of people who move internationally and most of them ship large quantities of household goods and even cars. There are international companies that ship goods, but it is a slow boat. Be prepared to live without your stuff for 4-8 weeks. I just helped friends load a crate of housewares that they are taking with them to Iceland. We laughed that they won't see their things till September if they are lucky.
International moves are expensive! Be prepared for large fees -- passports and visas for a family of 5 ran about $900. Airfare was about $4,000. The taxi from the airport to our house was $150. And then the cost of living here is much higher than in the US -- we went from spending $125 a week Stateside to $300 a week on groceries alone. And that was after making dramatic changes to our diet to take advantage of cheaper foods.
My little one is pulling me away. I'll post more if I think of anything.
Oh, and I love, love, love living here. All the money and aggravation have been worth every penny. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.
Frugal, food growing mama to my four loves
We'd be moving to Hungary.
I do know that most European countries require large down payments and extensive financial documentation before buying a home. They simply don't let you buy more house than you can afford.
This wouldn't be an issue as we would be paying for the house in cash... But I don't know how much taxes they would levy, or on which side (American? Hungarian?)
We moved with 3 children and each took one large duffel bag. We moved no furniture, but knew that we were going to be renting a furnished house. It was the easiest way to do it for us.
The last time I moved overseas as a teen, that's exactly what I had - a duffel bag. This time, I'd want considerably more space for irreplaceable things like some books, photo albums, etc. Much of it can be digitized, and we obviously won't be taking a whole lot, and no furniture, but I'd want more than what fits into a duffel bag.
Public transportation is excellent, we have not had much need for a car. When we do, day rentals are widely available and very mainstream. Depending on where you are moving, you may not need a car at all. In many areas, cars are a luxury and very expensive to own. Gas run about $8-10 a gallon. Many European cities have initiatives to make driving as expensive and uncomfortable as possible. I kid you not. Europeans walk everywhere. Bicycles are the norm and public transportation is excellent.
We're going to need a car as we're not going to be living in a city (assuming we do move). Day to day, one doesn't need a car in villages, etc., but I'm not a huge fan of long-distance public transportation, even though I know they exist. But if we do want to travel around the countryside (which wouldn't be an everyday thing but it would happen on ocassion) I'd want to have a car. I wouldn't dream of driving within the city, that's expensive but also quite dangerous. (Hungary's one of the worst nations for road safety.) My parents always shipped cars to Hungary but that was before the days when quality cars were available there. However, we could not afford a new car, and we have a new Honda that we received as a present, it's paid off and I don't want to part with it if I can help it. I just have no idea how much it would cost to ship over.
Be prepared to live without your stuff for 4-8 weeks.
For us it's quite a bit longer - we have our stuff packed up and we haven't seen it since, erm, May? And we won't for a while. (We're staying with my mom until our old house sells. It's just a matter of trying to figure out if we're going to pare it down even more and take it to Hungary or try to find a region of the U.S. to settle in.)
International moves are expensive! Be prepared for large fees -- passports and visas for a family of 5 ran about $900.
I think only my husband would need a visa - that'd be EU$60. I'm not sure if the kids would - they are citizens by right but they are not officially citizens yet (if that makes sense - they don't have paperwork yet, so not really citizens yet at all.) I hear even pets cost loads and loads to send overseas... =( Like $1000 apiece...
Oh, I love Hungary! What a wonderful place to be moving to.
Have you seen expatexchange.com? Decent website with lots of people who have made a move similar to yours. They will have more applicable info and may be able to hook you up with an international shipping service. Sounds like you will need to move your car. I can completely understand needing one living in the Hungarian countryside.
Have you called the Hungarian embassy in the US? We had a lot of help from the embassy both while we were prepping for the move and also when we got here. They were very patient and helped us through a lot of the paperwork and tax details. They might be able to answer your questions about real estate taxes and citizenship.
And yes, I think if I had to do it over again or if I were staying longer, I would have liked to bring more of our things. The duffel bag packing method was light and easy, but we have lived very lean for a long time now. I miss my cooking pots! If I was making a permanent move, I would absolutely bring more stuff. I don't know how taxes work in Hungary, but here in Sweden, there is a 30% tax on all consumable goods. So, even the simplest, most basic items are ridiculously expensive.
What an exciting time for your family. Good luck with the details. I know they can seem overwhelming, but you can do it.
Frugal, food growing mama to my four loves
I'd find an expat website in Hungary. They are going to be your best resources for Hungary specific information.
Shipping a car internationally is a huge pain and expense. If you needed a car, it would likely be much cheaper to buy another one when you get there.
We are moving back to Canada from Hong Kong and we have found the price of sending things to be insane. We have pared everything down to about 50 cubic feet and we are going to send things home by post. With the cheap price of post in HK, it'll cost about HKD$3000-4000 (400-450USD). But we are bringing the bare minimum for us.
We aren't sponsored by a company, so we need to keep our expenses down, but if you are sponsored by a company that is a whole 'nother kettle of fish.
I believe some European countries tax cars by their weight. If Hungary does that, you'll need to take those fees into account.
Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, and cane sugar free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it. See me at
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