London is a cosmopolitan city with a population of over 8 million. More and more people want to relocate to London due to its welcoming multicultural character, job opportunities, and urban lifestyle.
Although the housing prices are expensive when compared to other major cities in the UK, people still want to take the opportunity to invest in a property in London.
The high prices in housing are by and large brought about by competition among property investors and potential renters/buyers. If you’re a foreigner planning to participate in this competition and invest in UK real estate, proceed to read this post where we’ve presented you with an introduction to investing in a property in London.
Let’s begin with the first two steps of buying property in London which is selecting the housing type and location.
Property Options in London
There are a few types of properties varying in characteristics, design, and size. Find some of these UK real estate types below:
Terraced House (Townhouses): These are rows of houses attached to each other on each side. The prices of these townhouses are relatively low, considering other housing options because they help save considerable space.
Detached House: Unlike terraced houses, this property type is not connected. These are houses that stand separately and therefore they naturally possess more prominent space. These private houses usually have their own gardens and driveways. Space and high level of privacy results in much higher pricing in this type of housing.
Flat: Flats/apartments are segregated housing spaces that are parts of a residential building. These constitute the most prevalent type of housing in the UK. Flats come in different sizes and prices differ accordingly.
Mansions: This “posh” type of housing is inherently the most expensive in the UK for the property comprises a large green area, a swimming pool, enormous grounds, and large rooms. Mansions are ideally suited for organizing events if you’re looking for such space.
- Central London: A little expensive but at the heart of the city
- South London: Has a pretty riverside view and offers exclusive townhouses and flats
- North London: The best option for families with the excellent education it offers, wonderful landscapes and peaceful environment
- West London: A constantly developing area with big houses and recreational green spaces
- East London: Best suitable for expats with its young and diverse population
Freehold and Leasehold: Ownership of Property in London
If you’re thinking about buying property in London, you should note that there are two main ways of buying property in the UK: freehold ownership and leasehold ownership.
This type of ownership means that only you own the building and the land. As the absolute owner of the property, you’re responsible for all kinds of charges regarding the home’s administration and upkeep costs. However, with great responsibility comes several advantages. The following are some of the perks of being a freeholder:
- No annual ground rent
- No worries about maintenance neglects or overcharges
- You design everything to your own liking
This is a type of ownership where you’re not the absolute owner of the property but you rent the property for a long duration (40 to 999 years). Leasehold is the prevalent type of ownership with the apartments in London.
If you’re planning to be a leaseholder, carefully read the lease terms. One downside of leasehold is that you’ll be obliged to pay the annual ground rent. Other than these, a leasehold property has many benefits:
- Cheaper than freehold property
- No exterior maintenance expenses
- No obligation to pay building insurance
- Parking spaces/garages
- The landowner is responsible for the maintenance
Buying a Property in London in Six Steps
- Find the best suitable property for you
- Discover the mortgage alternatives you can benefit from
- Understand the UK property tax
- Hire a solicitor to secure the legal process
- Make your offer for the property
- Initiate the process of conveyance
Following these steps, the buying process is completed with the exchange of the contracts.
A number of documents are required for the process of buying property in the UK:
- A valid passport/driver’s license
- Utility bill/bank statement
- Proof of funding source
We’ve provided you with the essential information to initiate your process for buying property in London. Now that you’re given a head start, make thorough research and find your dream home in the UK!
Our advice to you is to get legal advice throughout the process because investing in UK real estate is a decision you’ll only get to make once. Best of luck!