Hi there, Weekend Warriors getting geared up to move to London! Over the last couple weeks, I’ve discussed the international relocation matter of deciding whether to rent or buy a house in London and, if buying, what that process may entail. Last week, I’d specifically mentioned how the internet can be a good resource for kick-starting your research into home-buying. Remember, you’ll want to undertake the critical viewing steps in person here in London, but until you can get here, your computer can help you know where to begin.
The Times Online offers “A Basic Guide to Mortgages” that you can peruse for better understanding of such, especially if you’re a first-time buyer unfamiliar with the lingo and concepts. The government also offers a HomeBuy equity loan scheme for first-time buyers that earn less than £60,000 annually and can’t otherwise afford to buy a home in their area. This equity loan covers up to the remaining 30% cost of a property when at least 70% of it is already paid for through deposit and mortgage. I am assuming any London resident could be eligible, expats included, but be sure to enquire on this to be certain if you think you’d otherwise be eligible for this option (more information can be found at www.direct.gov.uk).
Another consideration to look into is the Stamp Tax on purchases/transfers of UK property. This is a duty ranging from 1-5% that is payable on properties valued in excess of £125,000. First-time buyers also catch a break here as of March last year through March 24, 2012, during which time they’re exempt from the 1% stamp tax on properties costing between £125,000 and £250,000. Bear in mind, however, that “first-time buyer” applies not only to someone who hasn’t previously owned property in the UK but anywhere in the world. I’m not kidding. I also have no idea how they follow up on this to verify, but that’s what they claim, anyway. At any rate, the stamp tax is what homeowners in the UK find a real kick in the pants (or trousers, as the Brits would say).
Finally, if you’re wanting to feel out what types of housing is available in what neighborhoods and at what prices, a few online resources are www.findaproperty.com, www.rightmove.co.uk, and www.zoopla.co.uk.
Good luck with your research, and, remember, if you’re still considering renting a London apartment as you explore your buying options or would even just like more information on certain London neighborhoods and what to expect in local properties, London Relocation Ltd. (the 2010/11 winner of Re:locate Magazine’s Rising Star Award!) is an invaluable resource that you can consult via phone or online.