Expat investors what’s different about what you seek?

April 5, 2019

Following an exploratory business trip to Dubai, I reflected on what Expat investors look for when buying investment property back in the UK. This can be for wealth-building reasons, to provide for a family or as part of lining up a retirement plan.

As an Expat your hopes, aspirations and challenges are similar to many other investors but you’ll also be well aware of the differences.

Differences for Expat investors

Expats_Burj-Al-Arab_DubaiNotably doing everything from afar can be challenging and finding someone on the ground to help from start to finish is not always an easy nut to crack. You could be looking for a vanilla buy-to-let, finding a suitable property, conducting the transaction and then subsequently setting it up to be rental-ready.

There are some simple options like buying a PDR – a Permitted Development Rights’ home, which has been converted from an office to residential. These offer keen prices and are usually ready-to-go as rental properties. The downsides can be if they are located in non-residential neighbourhoods and if the look and feel is too business-like.

For a buy-to-let that is sourced specifically to your requirements that may involve more work and cost. Or to replicate the kind of prices a PDR home represents, buying a resale home, which might be a bit run down and need a spruce-up. So you might save on the property purchase price, but you might have to pay a bit more post-purchase to decorate and set up. So the calculation of the entire cost – buy price and any works – matters.

For other options like HMOs (Housing of Multiple Occupation) a team to support through the process, get involved with re-configuring a home and getting it licence-ready will be important.

For you Expat property investors, obtaining finance is usually trickier, validating paperwork and getting favourable loan-to-values is not always easy.

And accounting for your investments and tax liabilities to HMRC is not always as simple and straight forward as domestic investors, who can usually do this locally online.

Expat similarities to domestic investors

Many challenges are the same though, whether an Expat investor or a local investor.

Understanding what you want to achieve?

Are you looking to supplement your income from your day job, or move full-time into investing? Or are you seeing it as part of a long term plan to build your retirement nest egg?

What is your level of ambition?

To rise to the top of the property industry, or to pursue your existing career but use property investment to kick-start or plug gaps in your pension provision?

What are your timeframes to achieve this?

Have you got the luxury of a decent number of years to pursue a modest and balanced strategy of slowly building your asset base? Or are you going for maximum gain in a matter of months?

What is your approach to risk?

What are you comfortable doing that won’t make you lose sleep?

What do you have experience of, or where are your connections?

You may feel more comfortable starting with single household homes. If you decide to go for one sector or another it is a good idea to focus, given you will build an experience bank and if you seek finance, your experience in a particular field will provide more credibility with banks when they consider lending to you. This might be a consideration for if you decide on HMO as a strategy for example.

What funds have you got available?

If you do not currently have lots of cash to inject into a property project, are you going to save for a deposit? Or go for making money out of assets that you don’t own?

These are all questions for every investor.

If you want to talk through your plans and get clarity then please get in contact by telephone +44 (0) 1932 849 536 or contact us

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Property Venture® is an award-winning, European investment property specialist who helps time-strapped entrepreneurs and expats enrich their lives through property investment in Europe.

The focus is mainly greater Europe: buy-to-let and homes in Poland, UK investment property, Managed Leaseback in France, Spanish homes.

On the Advisory Board and a Member of the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) the business has been vetted, approved and voluntarily commits to Industry Regulation and the Professional Code of Conduct. We are known for our quality customer service and non-pressurised approach to sales. Take a look at what our clients say

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