Life changes don’t come much bigger than moving to another country and as such the decision to move overseas is not one made lightly. If you are considering moving over the pond to the UK, whether because of marriage, divorce or because of business, it pays to be aware of the property market over there. If you are buying in England and Wales, in particular you’ll need to be aware of the buying process so you can avoid the nasty practice of gazumping. Here’s a quick breakdown of how property purchase works in England and Wales:
1) If your own home is sold in the US you can get the process moving fairly quickly. In the UK it can be hard to secure a property if you don’t have a buyer for your own because the process can become so drawn out. For this reason some people use the services of property buyers to speed it up.
2) Most UK homeowners fund house purchase through mortgages – these are usually approved in kind before offers are made, so that individuals know how much they are able to bid on a home. If you’ve sold a property in the US or have other savings than you’ll be able to skip this step and move on to the interesting bit!
3) Choosing your new home and area is always the most exciting part of the buying process – perhaps even more so in a new country. Seek the help of local experts to help guide you – family and friends and even forums. Also try looking at sites to help you find local agents and give you some guidance on prices you can expect to pay. They produce a monthly house price index that will give you an idea of the going rate across the nation.
4) To secure the home of your dreams you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a good team in place – namely a solicitor and surveyor. Once you’ve had an offer accepted on a property you’ll need to move fast, because someone can still come in and make a higher offer right up until the day of completion.
5) Once you’ve had a survey completed to make sure your property is structurally sound you should finalise a mortgage if you need one, if not move swiftly on!
6) After contract exchange day it’s time to get everything rolling – that means having your goods shipped over from the States and/or shopping to fill your new home.
7) Once the title deed is transferred into your possession on completion day and you’ve paid stamp duty and land registry fees paid, all you’ll need to do is move into your new home and pay any remaining legal fees.
Take your time to plan things out if you move to England or another country. Settling into a new area can be tricky and is even more difficult when you are in an entirely new country, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to settle in straight away. Pursue your hobbies and interests through local groups and chat to colleagues and neighbors and hopefully you’ll feel at home in no time.