How to Buy UK Property as Foreign National/Overseas in 2020?


15 Jul
15Jul

Yes, it is possible to buy a property in the UK as a foreigner as long as you do not need a Mortgage as this will be a very long process. 

You are also able to prove the source/legitimacy of your funds. This said it is easier to buy property as you will be a cash buyer.If you are a foreign national and interested in buying UK Property. Read here our complete guide on How to Buy UK Property as Foreign National/Overseas in 2020?

Can you buy UK Property from Overseas?

The short answer is Yes. Provided you have the funding in place, Remember you have to prove your funding source and the legitimacy of the funds. 

When you buy UK property as a foreigner, you will be checked for Money laundering as this is a criminal offence in the UK to Launder Money.

  • You have first to Identify the property you would like to buy.
  • Both parties must sign a contract as soon as you have agreed on the price; this will bind the Seller-seller.
  • Do have the Due Diligence done as soon as you can, you solicitor, and do this with the Seller's-seller's solicitor.
  • Once the contracts are in place and the Money is ready to be deposited.
  • The Exchange takes place and keys delivered.
  • You will be liable to pay all the Taxes, e.g., land Tax, Stamp duty, etc.

Understanding the Buying Process

Before buying UK property overseas, each party enters into a binding contract; due diligence is done. 

Due diligence shall include the checking of the title deed, obtaining a survey, carrying out searches of local and other authorities, obtaining information from the Buyer and the freeholder/managing agent (if the property is a flat), and agreeing to the terms of the contract.

If a finance/mortgage is required, then an offer letter is required pre-exchange.

Once both the Seller-seller and the Buyer are ready to proceed, each party signs a separate but similar contract.

The solicitors of each party agree that the contracts are binding, and this process is called "the exchange of contracts." 

A deposit is paid by the Buyer once this process is done and thus is to the tune of 10%; it is regularly 5%. Completion can be done the same day as Exchange, but there is an intervening period, which is relatively short, between 7 and 28 days.

During this period, legal and practical matters are attended to. On completion, the remaining payment is made, the title is transferred to the Buyer, and the property's possession is obtained.

Mandatory Documents

When you make a decision to buy UK property as a foreign national, you need the following documentation:

  • Passport
  • Evidence of funding (This is to confirm no money laundering is involved)
  • Bank Statements should be current (3 months old)
  • Proof of income
  • Tax clearance from the resident country

Terms and conditions

When buying UK property while living abroad, you must read all documents properly to avoid any misinterpretations. Your solicitor will only engage with you if you have the funds (proven) within your reach.

Your Agent or seller agent will also need evidence of this funding. Due diligence will be done once this has been verified.

Fees and investment requirements

The Seller agent is paid by the Seller. All other costs are paid by the Buyer. All the costs are negotiated as every sale has its price.

To be able to buy property in the UK must be able to prove that Money is legitimate and also be able to prove a source of funds.

How long does buying a property in the UK take?

There is no specific timing for this. It usually takes up to 4 months for the keys to be handed to the Buyer. And owning UK Property as a non-resident would take a bit longer as due diligence and clearance of funds do take some extra time.

Steps for Buying UK Property

  1. Search and find the right property
  2. If Cash buyer then exchanges contracts, If taking a Mortgage then letter from the Lender.
  3. Conveyancing and signing and exchanging of contracts.
  4. Delivery of Keys and documentation.
  5. House ready for you.

Benefits of Buying UK Property from Overseas

This is usually very straight forward buying a property in UK non-resident 2020 as most foreign buyers are cash buyers. Most of the buyers take advantage of this due to the foreign exchange rates.Benefits of UK PropertyBuying property in the UK is beneficial as properties in the UK usually appreciate. Once you have stepped into the property ladder, you can expand by buying more properties and forming a company when you have more than two or three properties.

FAQ'S related to Buying UK Property

Q: Can a foreign national buy property in the UK?

A: Yes, Foreigners can buy properties in the UK.

Q: Can I get a UK mortgage if I live overseas?

A: Yes, if you are thinking to Buy and let then possibilities are there. It all depends on how much you can initially put up-front as down-payment etc.

Q: How much UK property is owned by foreigners?

A: Approximately 18% of the total properties are owned by foreign nationals

Q: Can an overseas national own property in the UK?

A: Yes, this is welcomed by most Agents; you can buy properties as an investment.

Q: What percentage of London property is foreign-owned?

A: Approximately 17.9% of the property is foreign-owned in London

Q: What assets does the UK government own?

A: Government owns most of the land and public property. It may be partners with other businesses such as banks, Royal Mail, Trains, Air Transport, tubes. Government-owned property may be titled at the Federal, state, or local level and may not allow public access.

Q: Can non-UK citizens own property in the United Kingdom?

A: Yes, you can own a property in the United Kingdom even if you are a non-UK citizen

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