Practical tips for buying in the United Kingdom
1. Eligibility to buy in the UK
At the time of writing, the UK is open for investment, actively encouraging international investment across the country. Investors of all nationalities are eligible to buy a property in the UK. Whether this will change in any way once Britain leaves the EU remains to be seen, but we are keeping a close watch on events as they unfold. Foreign property investors into the UK who live abroad will require proof of income and may be asked to pay up to a 40 per cent deposit upfront.
2. Remaining in the UK
If you are looking for a permanent home in the UK, then you will need to check that you are allowed to stay in the country. While the UK at present remains a member of the EU, residents from any fellow member state continue to have the right to reside in the UK for as long as they want. Once the UK leaves the EU, however, it still remains unclear whether the freedom of movement agreement will remain in place. Therefore, EU residents may well become subject to the same immigration conditions that surround non-EU immigrants. Generally, in order to secure residency, non-EU immigrants will need a job offer from an employer in an occupation considered to be in demand in the UK. Britain offers opportunities for self-employed workers and entrepreneurs from outside of the EU to become resident there.
3. What kind of UK property do you want to buy?
What are your plans for your new home in the UK? Are you looking for a permanent home, or will it be a holiday home? Are you looking for a property with investment potential, either residential or commercial? Short or long-term? Or are you looking for somewhere where you will live in the future? This will all shape how you go about your purchase.
For example, property prices in East London grew exponentially during the build up to the 2012 Olympics as the area underwent huge regeneration. The North West, Midlands and North East of the UK are all seeing significant regeneration and investment interest, both from overseas and domestically. Likewise, if you are seeking a holiday home, take a look at the style and popularity of the area in which you wish to buy, and try to find out exactly how busy your desired location is during peak – and off-peak – season.
Consider the style of property you would like to buy in the UK. There is a wide variety of property types to choose from, from older houses with historical charm, to purpose-built apartment builds from various decades, to brand new developments, and everything in between…
4. Have you thought about where in the UK you want to buy?
The internet is of course an incredibly useful tool for research, and this will be vital in the early stages of investigating and planning your British property purchase. However, there is nothing quite like checking out an area for yourself. We recommend making a fact-finding trip to the UK before purchasing a new home. This allows you to check out the actual neighbourhood and different areas you are interested in, so you can see what the place is really like. You can assess the local amenities, as well as public transport links. Just because a real estate agency may say that the house is located minutes away from the town centre, doesn’t mean it definitely will be – and it will give you the chance to make sure it’s as good as they say. Consider all the different factors that would make it a good choice or a sound investment and make a note of everything so you can review clearly after the trip. Make sure you find a reliable estate agent to view a selection of suitable properties with and find properties and areas of interest.
5. Budgeting effectivelySetting a budget as early as possible in the purchase process is important, along with your anticipated timescales. This will help you ensure you make the most of any funds you have available to you to find the right property and suit your specific requirements.
Buying property in the UK will usually mean you will have to exchange your currency to Pounds Sterling, and given the British currency’s poor performance in recent years, this is an attraction for those buying a property in the UK from overseas. The currency markets are incredibly volatile, with political and economic events having a significant effect on the movements – as has been seen by the recent events such as the ongoing Brexit negotiations, for example. This makes it so important to understand how your currency exchanges will be affected; and therefore, your property purchase. The price of your property will change alongside the political and economic factors that are shaping the currency markets.You can protect your international money transfers while the markets are in flux by working with a currency specialist, like Halo Financial.
6. Extra costs and hidden fees
Beware of the extra charges and fees that come along with purchasing a property in the UK. A UK-based solicitor can – and should – provide all buyers with a list of additional costs, which will include Stamp Duty and various other ancillary charges included in purchasing a property. The conveyancing process in the UK usually entails the solicitors handling all the required paperwork and payments needed. This legal advice is incredibly important and we would recommend that you never purchase a property without it.