Where to buy a house in London

Decisions, decisions … once you reach the major decision to purchase a house in the UK and specifically London, the question “Where?” becomes a key factor.  The area you choose to buy a house is of utmost importance.  It depends on many factors such as price, the reason for purchase and others.  You will be aware that, even in London, prices differ in various locations.  So, depending on your budget, purpose and area preference, many options will be open to you.  To guide you to make the correct decision, an experienced estate agent is a must.  One of the most reliable estate agents in London is Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Kay & Co.  Their team will be able to help you from start to finish.

Whether you are a first time buyer or an investor in properties, the main asset is having a professionally trained estate agent.  Marylebone letting agents are world-renowned and, being in the heart of the city, can offer firsthand and extensive knowledge and advice on the purchase of property in London.

You would have already discerned that now is one of the best times to invest in UK property.  The exchange rate is favorable, and the range of options is enormous.

However, there are various factors to consider before coming to a final decision.  Some of these are listed below:

Budget:  This will be the first item to plan and, depending on your budget, your estate agent will be able to guide you to the areas and type of property that will “fit” it.

  • Price:  The main issue!  This will depend on the area you select and the category of property you choose.
  • Deposit:  A deposit will be required, and it is advisable to save up to 20% of the cost of the property for this.

Additional Expenses:  Your budget should include all foreseeable expenses including building insurance, survey costs and valuation fees, legal fees, costs for furnishing and decorating, repairs and renovation and stamp duty, if applicable.  A small amount for the “unexpected” expenses should also be taken into consideration.

  • Mortgage:  If you are planning to take a mortgage to invest in property in London, then various mortgage offers will need to be scrutinized. These will include
  • Documentation:  will be required as evidence of your income (even if you are self-employed) with bank statements, tax returns, bills, expenses and debts if any.
  • Non-sterling income:  If your salary is paid in a currency other than sterling, then a suitable mortgage will have to be looked into, conforming to rules and regulations.

Area:   The area you choose is crucial and will depend on what you are looking for.

  • Residential:   If you are planning on a residential house, it should be in a relatively calm, peaceful and safe location, maybe towards the outskirts of the city. You should ensure that transport, shopping, a hospital and other facilities (perhaps a gym or a park) are conveniently close by.  If it is a young family, then school locations should also be considered.  A check on the neighbourhood will help, to make sure that it is not encumbered and that you will not be disturbed.
  • Commercial:  If you are considering a commercial property, then the location will be necessary.  Depending on your budget, you can be guided to an area which will suit your requirements (whether to rent or sell at a later date).  It will be an added incentive to the property to have easy access to transport, banks, coffee shops and restaurants

Purpose:  The area will depend on the reason for the purchase of the property.

  • Residence –   you will know exactly what you are looking for and your estate agent will help you find it!

If it is an investment: 

Buy to Let –  the area should be easily accessible, and a modest house or apartment will generate income, and the property will increase in value.

  • Buying to Sell – you should look for low-price areas (preferably those which may experience price growth) and be prepared for renovation/repair costs to enable you to sell at a profit.
  • Student accommodation is widespread, and the area should be within reachable distance of colleges or universities.  It usually involves a small unit and moderate returns.

Surveyance:

  • Physical survey and Evaluation:  Since the seller is not obliged to disclose defects in the property, it is essential to have a physical survey done and evaluation of the property recorded, to ensure that it is suitable for purchase, even if you are considering renovations.
  • Environmental survey:  This is advisable as you, as the buyer, can be held liable for any contamination that has already been existing at the property.  It is wise to have this done early as, if any faults are noticed, then negotiations can be made on the price factor also.  It will also be helpful to check out the surrounding area.

Conveyancing:  A conveyancer will look at the legal viewpoint and make sure that the seller has the right to sell the property and that there are no legal restrictions in purchase of the same.

  • Title Deeds:  will have to be scrutinised and cleared.
  • Municipal authority checks:  will include clarification with the authorities regarding zoning restrictions, whether access roads are publicly maintained, availability of sewers and whether there are any proposals to affect the property.

Freehold or Leasehold:

  • Freehold:  If the property is bought freehold, you own the building and the land it is on.
  • Leasehold: However, if you buy a property leasehold, you own only the property for a set number of years.  When the term of the lease expires, the property becomes the landowner’s unless you extend the lease.

Usually, independent houses are freehold while apartments in London are usually leasehold.  The pros and cons of these will be explained more in detail by your estate agent.

Conclusion:  It does not matter why you wish to purchase a house in London.  The ultimate question is “Where?”.  With the experienced guidance from your professional estate agent, this query will be studied following your budget and requirements, ensuring that a satisfactory result is provided to you!

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