Expats buying now with a long-term view to moving back to London.


Many of my clients are ex-pat British nationals that have plans to move back to the UK in 3-5 years’ time.  These clients are looking for homes that can initially double up as rental investments. 

Becoming an “ex-pat” is an exciting time. You have left the comforts of society you know for the unknown and although most move to work within the same industry, business and home life will be a little different for sure. A standard profile would be someone with a minimum of five years of experience in an industry they have become successful in wIth still a level of enthusiasm to push their career forward.  

However, for many, there comes a time that home begins to call and this year I have had many enquiries from ex-pat couples that are planning their return in the next three to five years. 

Hedging on London Property

One such transaction was from a Singapore-based British couple   They had been watching the market price rise in London and wanted to lock in “2021’s” price before they were priced out of the market.   They have no immediate plans to move back right now but wanted me to target a house in the “Counties Estate” in Wanstead E11, London where they would in the future bring up their family.   

Nobody knows where prices will go but with record levels of inflation in the UK in recent times, it’s logical to expect further price increases in property.     

Unfortunately for them, what they wanted to buy was high in demand with little coming to the market (a 3-4 bedroom house with good outside space).  Add to this that they wanted an Edwardian-style house, their search constituted to only a few sections along four residential streets, so we were really up against it! 

 ONE in four will offer after an open day.

A challenge it proved to be, as just one house came to the open market that ticked all their needs.    

I attended the open day along with twenty other potential purchasers and prepared for a “best bidding” scenario the following week. In my experience, about a quarter of people viewing will offer, so in my head we were up against a maximum of four/five bidders.  Of course, my clients had an advantage being chain-free with a mortgage broker and solicitor at the ready.    

For bidding scenarios, it is imperative to be prepared and demonstrate this to the agent. They can only sell to one party and you have to do everything you can to proceed that you are the buyer to back. The last thing an agent wants is a sale falling through.   


After two rounds of bidding, we were delighted to be the preferred bidder and after six weeks of conveyancing, we exchanged on this lovely Edwardian house in The Counties Estate.  The house is now let and managed via our sister company who let & manage property all over London. 

Property tips for ex-pats looking to move back to the UK

  • When thinking to purchase property for a future home, although a high yield may not be on the top of your list, you still need to follow the fundamental rental investment principles to secure a tenant. These include the property being close to amenities, transport links, good schools in the area)
  • Do all you can to prepare, and have your solicitor and mortgage broker available. If you need recommendations let me know as I am very well networked in this industry!
  • When working out your margins don’t forget buying taxes – if you buy a home that you won’t live in for a while, it’s considered a second home and you will pay a 3% stamp duty surcharge. Ex-pats you also pay a 2% non-resident surcharge. (I mentioned this tip in the Sunday Times)
  • Consider adding floorspace by building a loft or floor extension in order to increase the value of your investment and make a profit (This tip was also part of my Sunday Times contribution)

Get in touch if you are planning a move back to London or the Home Counties in the months or years to come.

Leave a comment

* We respected your privacy, your email address will not be published

© Copyright Matt Turner

Website Design London | Top Left Design