Author Topic: Buying house in UK  (Read 788 times)

London Moustache

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Buying house in UK
« on: April 22, 2017, 06:19:28 AM »
Seeking advice on buying a house in the UK with commuting distance to London.

I live in a rented flat now that allows me to walk to work, which is great. However, I am paying a lot for this privilege and I would prefer access to a garden. So, I am hoping that in net terms I will save money, even counting commuting expenses.

My goal is to put at least half down and get a 10 year mortgage at a fixed rate for the other half. I am hoping to bypass the mortgage broker and any other middle men I can. I am from the USA, so I know there are things "I don't know that I don't know" about UK houses and the house building process.

Of course, I was hoping the silver lining of Brexit would be cheaper prices, but this is hard to predict!

Any advice/ideas related to the following are much appreciated!

New build versus older
The middlemen that can be reasonably avoided in the house buying process
Good hidden gems within an hour of central London (eg places that lack vanity but are cheaper and offer good value for money)
Most/least expensive mainline train lines (and those to avoid eg Southern)
Hidden costs of ownership
Boiler versus hot water tank
Gas versus electric where the option exists
Things to be aware of - eg certain types of pests, mould, flood areas, structural problems etc
In terms of getting a mortgage - is it a good idea to open a bank account and fill it with cash a year or so in advance to improve your chances or is this irrelevant?
Anything else you can think of!



  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Buying house in UK
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2017, 06:32:48 AM »
Middlemen? None, really - you buy through a single estate agent, who is hired by the seller. You do not have a 'buyer's agent' - and the commissions tend to be a LOT lower, 1-1.5%.

You can go directly to any bank and ask for a mortgage. I would check out pretty much any of the comparison sites. There will be an 'arrangement' fee or something similar.

You'll pay land transfer tax which is not insignificant, especially on something expensive.

I wouldn't worry about older vs newer - older tend to be built with brick. IMHO British houses don't need the same level of upkeep as North American ones can (ie, roof doesn't need redoing every 15 years!).

Within an hour of London you're, frankly, fucked. Check the train in every direction. I used to live on the Milton Keynes line and a fast train would get to Euston within half an hour I think? So check that area out - Leighton Buzzard. Tring is lovely but super expensive. LB less so.

If you live in any town you will be on natural gas. You absolutely want to heat with natural gas. I would avoid oil and electric like the plague... Most places with gas central heating will have a boiler to heat the water for both taps and radiators, storing tap water in a hot water tank. Some will have instant boilers so no hot water tank. I prefer a hot water tank but not having one saves space.

You will want to get a home inspection after putting an offer in just like in the US. You will do all sorts of surveys, just like the US. Yeah obv. avoid flood plains... nothing much to worry about round London I don't think. Mould, well, yeah the UK is kind've damp, but nothing unusual. Again, home inspector should find all that.

Bank account - no. You can go to any bank. Having an account with them doesn't matter. Your credit score does. But people aren't as 'aware' of the credit score number in the UK I don't think; you'll need employment info and all that.

London Moustache

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Re: Buying house in UK
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2017, 11:37:23 AM »
Thanks bud - great info.