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Buying a House In The United Kingdom

Buying a House in London

With its 32 boroughs of incomparable history, architecture, and cultural significance, London is a dream city for those who want to live in the center of it all. Although London features some of the higher-priced real estate in the United Kingdom (U.K.), it comes with storied properties and diverse neighborhoods. Proximity to transport links is never an issue in London with its world-famous underground train.

Nevertheless, despite recent fluctuations in London’s housing market brought on by Brexit, England’s capital city remains one of the world’s economic hubs and an excellent place to put down roots as a foreign buyer. There is a wide variety of home types and price points to fit everyone’s tastes and pockets, respectively. This article will go through the basic information you need to understand the process of buying a house in London.

Finding Your New Home in London as a Foreigner

In line with a recent British government initiative to build more affordable homes, your dream of owning a London property might seem more achievable than ever. House prices are slowly back on the rise after the impact of Brexit and the pandemic but are still accessible if you know where to look.

Consider London House Prices by Property Type

England is revered for its architecture, and location is everything in London. The difference is that London’s size and scope mean you have much more varied housing options than many other cities of the same size.

For example, the areas of Central London, such as Knightsbridge and Chelsea, are known for luxury townhouses and high-end new-builds that may appeal to more financially established expats who wish to be situated in the middle of the city’s activity. By contrast, South London neighborhoods, such as Wandsworth and Croydon, offer a more affordable property market, whether you are looking for a one-bedroom flat or a classically refurbished terraced house.

The average house price for a property in London is roughly £660,754, while the borough of Barking and Dagenham currently ranks as the most affordable place to jump on the London property ladder.

How to Buy Property as an Expat in London

London welcomes investment and real estate purchases from people all over the world. There are a few things to know about the home buying process in London, though.

One such consideration is that U.K. banks are more likely to lend to borrowers who have proof of a visa, visa in progress, or formal job offer with intent to stay. It is possible to buy your London property while still in your native country. Yet, having paperwork to show you are meeting a partner in England, accepting a job there, or attempting dual nationality is always helpful if you intend to work with a British mortgage broker.

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Why Expat Homebuyers Need a London Real Estate Lawyer

Taking on the services of a London solicitor for the purchase of your new home is wise for many reasons. One of the major ones is that the English real estate law can be tricky even for residents to understand. For example, the difference between a freehold versus leasehold property purchase may not be something non-resident buyers in England have encountered before.

Essentially, a freehold purchase occurs when you buy and become the official owner of both the land and buildings on it. A leasehold purchase is when you only own the building. You can get into unnecessarily difficult waters with the Land Registry if you are not aware of how to report such purchases.

By the same token, your London solicitor often works in conjunction with your estate agent to make any formal offers for housing in England. Moreover, there are rules about the completion date of property transfers that an expat may have no way of understanding without London legal counsel.

Depending on how you arrange to buy London property, your solicitor may extend bids for you at home auctions, relay contract details to selling parties on your behalf, or organize the visa paperwork you may need to secure a mortgage. Ultimately, using a real estate solicitor to ensure legal compliance can keep you out of trouble and prevent paperwork headaches as you search for your new home.

Moving Into Your London Home

New London homeowners may wonder if their real estate purchase qualifies them to reside in London. Unfortunately, the process to be granted full-time or even extended residency in England is a bit more complicated than that. There are, however, a number of ways that non-resident homeowners can position themselves through visas for long-term and eventually permanent stays.

One such example is the Investor Visa. This visa allows eligible homeowners in England with enough investment capital to remain for three years and then gives the option to extend the visa for an additional two years. During that time, homeowners who meet the criteria for this visa can apply for British citizenship.

At present, due to Brexit concerns and an unstable relationship with the EU, it is not possible to apply for permanent residence in the U.K. if you have not already submitted paperwork to do so before Dec. 21, 2020. The ability to apply for permanent resident status in England is likely to change as Brexit regulations are formally set and become established.

In the meantime, England offers a wide variety of visa options that permit long-term stay and can offer pathways to full British citizenship. One good place to start figuring out which options for English residency are best for you is to consult with licensed Immigration Solicitors (i.e., lawyers) Advisors on Relocate for advice on all aspects of your move to London.

Trust Relocate to Help Get You to London

Whether you are looking to invest in business property in Canary Wharf from overseas or moving down from Scotland to find your new home in Hounslow, Relocate is here to help. Dig-deeper into relevant material about immigrating to the United Kingdom, browse through highly qualified experts and submit your questions to be addressed.

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