Can expats buy property in the UK? Here’s what you need to know.

There has never been a better time to invest hard-earned money in UK properties. But can expatriates and foreign nationals easily purchase properties here in Britain? In short, yes, they can. But how do they go about doing it? The thought of reams and reams of red tape is enough to put one off the idea, but luckily we’ve put together a guide to help you navigate the potential pitfalls.

Get the ball rolling by finding a property you’re interested in, before contacting the estate agent with any questions you may have. All of their contact details will be available to view on the website, so ask away. You may want to arrange a viewing of the property once things are in motion, it’s certainly advisable, though understandably tricky. If you know and trust someone who could do the viewing on your behalf, this would be best, alternatively, you could set up a video tour of the property to set eyes on what you’ll be investing in. Now comes the difficult part, arranging the mortgage. We’ll gloss over this for now, as we have a whole other blog devoted to this subject, and obviously, this won’t apply to you if you decide to pay cash.

Next, you need to make a formal offer on the property, and it’s advisable to do this either by email or text message so you have a record of the transaction you’re undertaking. Then you’ll have to instruct a lawyer to purchase the property on your behalf, and if you don’t have one already, it may be best to ask the agent to provide you with some names. Once you’ve had a few quotes, it’s time to make a decision and move on to the final step!

Now comes the second most difficult part, playing the waiting game. The agents and lawyers will do their thing, and from time to time will contact you for any info should they require it. Finally, the lawyer will be in touch to inform you (hopefully) that the property is now yours! Cue the celebrations!

Now, purchasing a property with a mortgage does indeed muddy the waters a little when it comes to exchanging, mainly because you’re expected to provide both proof of identity (passport, driving license) as well as proof of income (bank statements). To further complicate matters, this needs to be physical copies as opposed to scanned documents. As a result, you may have to use a courier service to ensure safe delivery of all items. Depending on where you’re sending documents from and to, this could prove expensive, but a drop in the ocean compared to the price of a house.