The Expat Home Buyer Guide

by | Nov 23, 2017 | Home

The movement of people in and out of the UK continues to rise with every passing year. According to the Office for National Statistics, around 588,000 individuals immigrated to the UK during 2016/2017. Around 342,000 residents of the UK left the country during the same period. Dealing with a change in the country you live in is no easy task, given that various aspects require your attention. If buying a home is in your list of to-dos, carrying out some groundwork may hold you in good stead.

Getting a Loan

You don’t need a UK-based credit history to qualify for a home loan. However, if you have a favourable credit history in the UK you may benefit through competitive exchange rates and flexible lending terms. One drawback when buying a home in the UK as an expat is you may need to pay a considerable deposit amount that can extend to 40% of the home’s selling price.


When you purchase a home, prepare to start paying property taxes. How you get taxed when you sell your home in the UK depends on your original country of residence. For instance, if you’ve come to the UK from the U.S. and purchased a home here, you may qualify for private residence relief upon selling your house. This gives you a way to avoid paying capital gains tax if the house sells for less than $250,000. If the house sells for over $250,000, you will need to pay capital gains tax.

Estate Agent Fees

Unlike some countries, homes buyers who use the services of real estate agents in the UK do not have to pay any fees for their services. These fees are borne by sellers, and may range from 0.75% to 3.5% of the selling price. If you’re travelling out of the UK and plan to buy a home in a foreign country, this aspect requires your attention.  For instance, home buyers in India typically pay 1% of the home’s selling price as agent fees. In Germany, it usually varies from 2% to 6%.

What About Flat Pack Houses?

A flat pack house or a kit house is a home that is built using prefabricated materials. These homes are easy to personalize and come in different t sizes. According to a recent news report, a flat pack home priced at £24,800 took no more than six hours to assemble.

Paying for the House

If you’re moving to the UK from another country and want to purchase a house here, using a specialist money transfer company to facilitate the payment may work well for you. Consider this – you transfer funds from your local bank account to a bank account in the UK. In the process, there is a good chance you have to settle with less-than-favourable exchange rates. Overseas money transfer companies such as CurrencyFair and TransferWise consistently offer bank-beating rates and may make a noticeable difference with transfers that involve large sums.


While buying a home in the UK might seem like a daunting task, you may simplify the process by seeking help from the right quarters. For example, while a real estate agent may guide you through the search, a home inspector might be of assistance if you plan to buy a relatively old house.

Read through our useful guide for more information

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