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United Kingdom > Property

United Kingdom

Should You Buy Or Build A House In the UK?

Published Monday July 20, 2015 (14:16:10)

Image © Dave_S on Flickr

When you move to a different country, you are faced with the option of either buying a home or building your own from scratch. These are two different paths that come with their own sets of benefits and challenges.

Buying
The main advantage of buying an existing home is that you can complete the deal and start living in your new home in a shorter period of time.

One of the drawbacks is that in the UK, depending on the location, the available options are likely to be either standard new-build homes or older ones that date back to the Victorian era. Some may be even older. Both types of homes may have problems of space, inadequate energy efficiency, dampness, and even decorating choices that go against your own tastes.

The process of buying a home usually begins with evaluating your financial situation, and figuring out how much you can borrow to make the purchase. A mortgage broker will be able to help you find the best available option.

Apart from the cost of the house, there are likely to be additional costs like deposit, stamp duty and other fees. When selecting a home, keep in mind criteria such as location, number of rooms, parking, and proximity to shops and local transport links. Property listings can be found in local newspapers, estate agents and online property portals. A physical visit to the properties will help to further narrow down your choices.

Once you find a property you like, you can make an offer and negotiate with the owner or agent. If your offer is accepted, you can prepare the paperwork for your mortgage application and have your solicitor work on the contract. Then comes the step of surveys, wherein your lender sends a surveyor to value the property. You can compare this with quotes from other surveyors. Once the required checks are conducted, you can sign the contract and pay a deposit, which is usually about 5 to 10 percent of the price. Following this, you can plan your move, pick up your keys from the estate agent and officially move in to your new home.

Building
Building a house in the UK affords you the flexibility of having everything your own way. The material you will be buying will be brand new and therefore in keeping with the latest safety standards. Some of the obstacles that may crop up include unpredictable weather, delayed inspections and dealing with difficult contractors.

When building a house in the UK, you can choose how involved you want to be throughout the process. You can employ a contractor or take care of the entire construction and design on your own. You could even choose to become part of a community project. These choices are influenced by how much time you want to dedicate, and your financial situation.

The process of self-building a property begins with finding a suitable plot of land. You will require planning permission for this and will also need to adhere to the relevant rules and regulations. Websites such as PrimeLocation and Rightmove provide listings of unused land, while other similar portals feature advertisements for land plots. Other ways to find a plot include consulting an estate agent or the local planning office. Most people who prefer to build their own home go in for self-build mortgages. These mortgages are different from residential ones, as the funds are released in stages throughout the course of the project. To obtain a self-build mortgage, you will be asked to provide details of plans, cost projections and proof of planning permission. You can apply for planning permission at Planning Portal, the UK government’s official planning website. Most applications are decided within eight weeks.

Self-building is a major undertaking and most people who choose to self-build are those who have some experience in building before. However, there are many who do it without any prior experience too. You can also go ahead and hire an architect and a builder. This is helpful, as you will have experts to guide you through the design and construction of the home. This can make the process easier for you, and also enable you to navigate the paperwork and schedule of the project.

Have you built or bought a house in the UK? How did you find the process? Share your experiences in the comments.


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