Are you looking to buy a new property in the UK
? One that you can call home? Or perhaps, one that you can rent out and earn money off of? Well, it would be a great investment. No matter what you use it for, if you can afford it, there's no harm in owning a place in this country. The process, however, comes with a few legal issues you'll need to settle. There are the legal taxes you need to pay, the matter regarding your residency status, and more. You'd do well to know about them before you start dealing with real estate in the UK.
Your Legal Residency Status
First things first, there's your residency status in the UK. Do you have to be a citizen or resident of the United Kingdom to legally buy property here? The answer is no, you don't have to! As of this writing, there are no British laws that prohibit foreigners and expats from owning property in the UK. As long as you have the right visa
that will let you travel to the country for as much as you can, you're good to do. The only time your residency status might be an issue is when you get a mortgage loan in the UK, but that's a matter for another time!
The Costs You Have to Pay
Buying real estate in the United Kingdom comes with a few costs. And that doesn't just pertain to the property's final price. Buying a new property in this country comes with a number of taxes
, charges, and fees, a few of which are legal obligations that you can't escape from. According to Expatica
, they include your deposit, mortgage repayment, stamp duty fees, land registry fees, and the legal fees for your solicitor. You can also pay for your removal fees, which are for when you transfer your belongings from your old place to the new property you just bought.
Hiring a Solicitor
You probably already know this but you're legally required to hire a solicitor when you want to buy a new property in the UK. Not only will they give you legal advice on how to go about the purchase, but they'll also serve as your legal representation throughout the process. More often than not, they'll do the grunt work for you. All you really have to do is to prepare the necessary documents, pay all the needed payments, and sign the papers. If you face any legal issues along the way, rest assured that your solicitor will take care of them for you.
What You Need To Let Your Solicitor Know
When you hire a solicitor, there are a few things you will need to let them know. Firstly, you have to provide as many legal identification documents as you can. These are also needed to start the purchasing process. Then, you have to let your solicitor know about the property you intend to buy, the price you're willing to pay, how you plan to pay for it, and when you want to move into the place. If applicable, you'll also need to let them know your residency status and what you plan to use the property for if you don't intend to use it as your main residence.
Dealing with The HM Land Registry
One of the biggest responsibilities of your solicitor is dealing with the HM Land Registry. At this point of the purchasing process, they'll need to prove that the seller is, in fact, the legal owner of the property you intend to buy. And they'll only know this if they search for any document that can prove it in the HM Land Registry. At the end of the purchasing process, when you finally own the place, your solicitor will then list you down as the property's new owner in the same registry.
Drawing Up a Memorandum of Sale
If you're already settled on a specific property in the UK, it's time to sign the reservation agreement. Also known as the “Memorandum of Sale,“ this will serve as your intention to purchase the property at hand. Though it won't necessarily legally bind you and the seller to the transaction, it does have a somewhat similar effect. Once signed, the seller has to mark the property as 'sold to contract' (STC) to let others know that they already have a buyer (you) in mind. In most cases, they're even obliged to take the place off the market. And while potential buyers can still check the property out, you will still get priority over everyone else.
Getting a Mortgage in The UK
Speaking of your mortgage in the UK, getting one is your best bet if you need financial assistance when buying a property here. This is especially since apartments and luxury homes in London
, Machester, and other big cities tend to be quite expensive
. On its own, the process of getting a mortgage loan in the UK is already quite arduous. You need to meet certain qualifications, submit required documents, and the like. There are even a few financial institutions that will require you to sign a memorandum of sale before they agree to lend you the mortgage loan. And if you terminate that memorandum, you may face some financial consequences.
When you deal with real estate in the UK, know that you will face a few legal issues along the way. You ought to know about them now before doing anything else. This will help you avoid trouble along the way!