Buying property in the UK while living in Germany

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Has anyone ever bought a house whilst living and working over here? With the housing market collapsing, now could be a good time to get on the ladder there so I have something to go back to (whenever that may be).

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Well, the huuuuuuuuuge $64,000 question is - how you gonna pay for it???

 

I don't think the timing is necessarily bad, especially as the €uro is looking strong against the Pound but...

 

If you are paying CASH then sure - go for it.

 

But if you need any mortgage then that is gonna be seriously fucking hard work. Bordering on the impossible, even with only wanting for example a 50% mortgage.

 

The German banks won't wanna lend on a UK property. And the UK banks won't wanna lend to anyone living overseas.

 

Good example would be Ipswich Building Society. Early 2008 they were one of the few willing to offer a "Buy to Let" mortgage for ex-pats. You can forget that now.

They won't touch expats OR even "buy to let" punters now with a shitty stick. All withdrawn.

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now could be a good time to get on the ladder there so I have something to go back to (whenever that may be).

I'd say make sure that having "something to go back to" is a real, key aim in your life. No point in entering to a big obligation that ties cash just because something looks cheap when you could be using that time / cash on living now. And do you know now what that "something to go back to" or where it is is for an uncertain point in future (next year? 2015? 2030?) although I appreciate you can move again etc.

 

Also little info to go on - cash buyer? mortgage? being a landlord in the meantime? As another poster mentioned, the days of high LTV mortgages for pretty much anyone who wants one (or even more) are gone for the time being.

 

I'm vaguely contemplating it as a cash buyer btw (as in part savings and part mortgaging my German home) and would go "small place, good London area" but I've no idea whether either I *will* go back or what the "good area" may be like in decades' time.

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Be very wary. Nothing ventured nothing gained perhaps but you can also save yourself a lot of headache by not buying... buy to let can be fraught with difficulties. Tennants can be a nightmare and the law is on their side. An empty property is a liability. How do you plan to maintain a property if you are absent? Remember maintenance costs money. What about local taxes and running costs? Also I believe the tax you pay upon purchase/sale is different when non-resident - maybe lazybum can enlighten us more on that one? This is the sort of thing that looks easy until you scratch beneath the surface. Would love to hear more from lazybum on all this if you are a professional landlord.

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A lot of the issues you mention can be overcome through the use of a letting agency. I think this is really the only route if you are living abroad.

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The stamp duty is the same for non-residents as residents.

 

I have a few buy-to-lets that I rent to students in Brighton. During the last year I have had to fork out serious amounts of dosh to comply with recent HMO (house of multiple occupancy) legislation, that's done now and I get a very good rental income from them.

 

I have a very good letting agency that I use, who charge 9% +vat, and they sort out the maintenance. Small stuff they just do and for the bigger stuff I have a gang of Poles that are cheap and good.

 

If you are going for buy-to-let I think using a letting agency is absolutely essential, even if you are based locally. It's just too much hastle without one.

 

I would disagree with featherlight about the law being on the tenants' side though. I haven't found this to be the case. I had squatters once and the law was on their side, you even have to pay for the electricity and gas they use and the utility companies are not legally allowed to cut them off!

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I would disagree with featherlight about the law being on the tenants' side though. I haven't found this to be the case. I had squatters once and the law was on their side, you even have to pay for the electricity and gas they use and the utility companies are not legally allowed to cut them off!

???. Sounds like the law was on the tenants side here? Undesirable ones, but still tenants. (i.e. law not on the landlord side)

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Yeeeeeeeees but...prices in UK will fall for at least a year...probably a fair bit longer...why buy now? Admittedly, exchange rates complicate things.

 

I'm actually thinking of putting in an offer on a UK place (Bournemouth) at 60% of asking price... my argument being they can either have the money now or wait a year until they're forced to drop the price to that. With very low interest rates, and rents not really dropping (yet), rent looks like a bit of a rip off and since I'm not confident of a new contract anytime soon I figure 6 - 8 months spent doing up a place to live is a nice way to pass the time.

 

It all hinges on getting the place massively cheaper than it's on the market for.

 

Not overly hopeful, but nothing ventured and all that...

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If you work for a big company that is known in the UK that helps as does having a UK correspondence address. Oh yes and of course you will be moving back soon you are just waiting for the secondment to end:))

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All interesting thoughts, - and thank you for them.

 

Nothing is definate yet, just starting to mull the idea over. I'd be looking for a mortgage, true. When I left the UK I started some discussions with banks then, and was told by one high street bank about something called a 'Tied' Mortgage (no idea if the spelling is correct). Designed just for an ex-pat, it's not a buy-to-let one, but for ex-pats who can demonstrate that they will live in it when they come home, which I would plan to do.

 

Rate are indeed still falling, which is why I'm starting to consider things now, - I'd like to try and be suitably placed for when the market does level out. Which as you all quire rightly say is the place to start. It would probably be a 50/50 share with friends or family in the UK, and obviosuly I'd get all the sorted out correctly too (you never know what the future holds etc).

 

Simply curious to hear any tales, whether they be of warning, encouragement, etc.

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