How to Buy Property in UK – Guide for Foreign Investors 

Picture of Written by: Meerab Saleem
Written by: Meerab Saleem
Picture of Reviewed by: Majid Hussain
Reviewed by: Majid Hussain

If you plan to stay in the UK for a longer period, purchasing a house may be the most cost-effective option. For aspiring immigrants, property investment is the best way to successfully transfer to the UK. Mortgage interest rates and tax implications may be higher for foreign investors, but ROI-wise, especially for buy-to-let properties, they are worth the cost. 

This comprehensive guide outlines the process of buying a house in UK for non-UK residents.  

How to Buy Property in UK
Contents

Buying a Home in UK as a Foreigner

Foreigners are allowed to purchase properties in UK without any limitations. They can also obtain a mortgage even if they are non-citizens. However, if they have been living in UK for less than two years and are unemployed, they may be subject to more stringent requirements and need to pay a larger deposit. 

Buying a Home in UK as a Foreigner

Types of Homes in UK

Residential houses in the United Kingdom are available in numerous styles. However, not all of them may be suitable for your specific requirements. In this regard, let’s explore the most popular types of houses and their unique features 

Detached Houses

Detached homes are standalone buildings that don’t share walls with any other structures, as the name suggests. They typically come with gardens both in the front and at the back. Detached homes are often the ideal choice for families with children, as they offer more privacy compared to other types of homes. 

Semi-Detached Houses

As the name suggests, the only major difference between a detached house and a semi-detached house is that the latter shares at least one wall with another, separately owned building. In addition to saving a lot of space, these types of houses are also significantly less expensive than fully detached homes. 

Terraced Houses

Terraced homes are among the most popular and easily recognizable types of homes in UK. They are constructed with a shared wall on either side, creating a row of homes that span across the entire street. One of the main benefits of this type of construction is that it saves a lot of space, making it a popular choice in urban areas where space is limited, and property is in high demand. However, because they may not have front or back gardens, these homes are typically priced slightly lower than other types of houses. 

Flats

Flats are the most popular type of accommodation in the United Kingdom. They are known for their space-saving ability and are usually provided as a series of units within a single building. These structures can be bought or rented on a contractual basis.  

How to Buy Property in UK as a foreigner

Cottages

Traditional housing forms are prevalent in UK‘s rural areas, and some have existed for centuries. Cottages are known for their sturdy construction, thick walls, and traditional atmosphere. They can be one or two stories tall, and most have access to large gardens. Cottages are often used as vacation homes because they are easy to rent seasonally. 

Mansions

Mansions and historic houses are considered the epitome of luxury in UK, especially for those who can afford to invest in such properties. Some of these buildings are hundreds of years old and are known for their grandeur and rich histories. Many of them are also designated as historical sites of interest, which means that adding additional structures or getting planning approval can take time and effort. 

Steps of Buying a House in UK

Buying a property in a foreign country can be a daunting task. Here are the steps to buying a home in UK: 

  • Calculating moving costs and reviewing mortgage options and loans 
  • Finding the right property for you 
  • Viewing and making an offer 
  • Finding a solicitor and bringing the sale process to an agreement 
  • House surveying and detailing the characteristics of the property 
  • Finalization of the mortgage process 
  • Arranging the relevant insurance 
  • Signing and exchanging the contracts  
  • Finalizing the moving process 
  • Tips for the Preparation Process  

To save time when buying property in UK, conduct thorough online research to establish your needs, budget, and preferred location. You can find properties for sale on real estate agents’ websites, newspapers, and online real estate websites. Alternatively, look for “For Sale” signboards or attend house auctions. Working with an agent will provide you with a wider set of property options and make it easier to negotiate with sellers. They can also arrange mortgages or solicitors, relieving you from the burden of the process of buying a property in UK. 

Seeking the Best Suitable Property in UK

To save time when buying property in UK, conduct thorough online research to establish your needs, budget, and preferred location. You can find properties for sale on real estate agents’ websites, newspapers, and online real estate websites. Alternatively, look for “For Sale” signboards or attend house auctions. Working with an agent will provide you with a wider set of property options and make it easier to negotiate with sellers. They can also arrange mortgages or solicitors, relieving you from the burden of the process of buying a property in UK. 

Financial Aspect of Buying Property in UK

UK mortgage brokers and banks provide financial aid for real estate investment and for foreigners. The mortgage process can be complicated, but there are various offers available. Mortgage payment durations last about 25 years. 

Buying Property in UK: Costs

The total cost of buying a home in UK might increase by more than 10 per cent due to several additional expenses that go above and beyond the price of your new home.  You will have to plan for purchasing and maintaining a home in UK. Here are the highlighted costs that you need immediately. 

  1. Stamp duty: All real estate purchases over £125,000 are subject to this tax, which ranges from 2 to 12%  
  2. Deposit: You will be required to pay a deposit toward expenditures if you obtain a UK mortgage to purchase a home in UK, which typically varies between 5 and 40% of the price of the property 
  3. Mortgage expenses: There are several costs involved with taking out a mortgage to purchase a home, including arrangement fees, booking fees, and valuation fees. 
  4. Legal fees: Whether you obtain a mortgage or not, you must hire a solicitor or conveyancer to work on your behalf.  
  5. Fees for land registry: To transfer the property’s legal deeds to you, the new owner, land registry fees must be paid. 

These are the general costs associated with buying property in UK, including property taxes. 

Purchasing Process

To buy a property, make an offer to the seller directly or through an estate agent. If the seller accepts, they transfer the ownership. Hire a solicitor in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland after the offer is accepted. In Scotland, a solicitor is required to mediate. Then, survey the house; it costs £250 for a basic one and £400+ for a detailed one. If you need a more comprehensive survey, it will cost £600+. You can renegotiate the price if the survey reveals any issues. Once you agree on a new offer, pay a deposit and finalise the mortgage. 

After signing and exchanging contracts, the ownership transfer is complete and relevant funds are transferred through solicitors’ accounts. 

Making a Home Out of a House

Before moving into your new house, two important things need to be taken care of: insurance and utilities. Secure suitable insurance for your house and possessions and compare providers for electricity and internet. Once done, you can move in and start making your new house a home. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Non-UK residents can buy a house in UK. Cash buyers have an advantage since getting a UK mortgage can be difficult. 

The UK has established legal and clear property rights offering huge potential for investment returns. However, risks are involved with every investment, market and regulatory change, 

There are no such rules in UK citizenship by investment program. However, a UK citizenship can be acquired through naturalisation or by applying after living for 5 years. 

Conclusion

Buying a property in UK can be a challenging process due to high demand and competition, leading to high prices. However, the process can be easier with thorough research and working with a solicitor and real estate agent. Foreigners can purchase properties in UK and access various types of homes, from detached houses to flats. Following the necessary steps, such as calculating moving costs, finding the right property, and finalising the mortgage process, can help make buying a home in UK a success. 

If you need help with how to buy property in UK, reach out to our advisor for more information. 

Reviewed by:

Experience hones, but constantly embracing learning and versatility is what brings you to the top.  I have had several years of experience behind me regarding sales and team management in a handful of prestigious companies in the country, and even so, I yearn for further professional and personal growth; hence, the various trainings and courses I attended. Read More

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