Question to people living in the UK

Discussion in 'UK All Regions' started by sterioma, May 31, 2008.

  1. sterioma

    sterioma Member

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    Hope this is not too off topic...

    I am considering moving to UK next fall/winter with my family (wife and 2 pre-school children) for a career move (I am in the IT field). This is just a little more than a thought right now, but I have started my investigations.

    I have one question for all the people living there. Suppose I buy a house which is advertised for 200.000£. How much taxes should I expect to pay? Any other hidden fees, like commissions, etc...? Also, are there any yearly taxes on the house?

    I am trying to understand which is the total cost of buying and ownership, and decide whether the move would be financially sound or not. If it matters, I am considering West Sussex (Crawley) and Surrey, to commute to central London in less than 1 hour. If you have any other suggestion, I would be glad to hear.
     
  2. rob champagne

    rob champagne Member

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    well the costs of moving house in the UK are quite high.

    Some are:

    stamp duty: 1% on £200,000 http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/so/rates/index.htm

    Conveyancing/Solicitors fees: ??? depends but I would allow at least £2000 but could be less depending on who you get to do it.

    House survey: ??? several hundred pounds.

    If you take a loan/mortgage for the house, you will also have to pay for a survey by the lendor. This is a basic survey to check the house isn't falling down etc. But they nearly always find some work that needs doing unless its a new property, and that work has to be carried out as a condition of the loan so there is cost involved.

    Moving costs from Italy.

    £200,000 won't buy very much in sussex or surrey. A very small house if you are lucky otherwise a flat. They are very expensive areas to live.

    Then yearly you have to pay Council Tax which would be at least £1000.00 and probably more in the area you are planning on.

    Commuting costs to London are very high. You should check with British Rail website. And if you have to leave car at station they will charge a lot for that.

    Then fuel costs are very high because of very high fuel tax. Currently £1.30 a litre and rising fast.

    VAT 17.5% on almost everything.
     
  3. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    You don't say how long you plan to stay but renting a property may be a better option for you to consider.
     
  4. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    I was brought up in Horsham, the next major town south of Crawley, so you can take it as a combination of partisanship but also experience when I tell you Crawley ain't exactly the most beautiful part of West Sussex and isn't somewhere I'd choose to raise my kids ;-).

    That said, that line and area is major commuter belt - the downside is that house prices reflect that, the upside is that for all it's traditional for us to moan, the trains are fast, frequent and run all day and late at night (anyone in the south who complains about trains needs to spend some time here up north...) Ferrovia also have the honour of making our trains look like a model of reliability in my experience, so you shouldn't have any surprises on that score :smile:
     
  5. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    The main ongoing tax associated with owning a house is what is called council tax. This tax covers all the amenities provided by the local(town/village) and county council such as street maintenance, libraries, street lighting etc. Each house is classified into a band ( A,B,C, etc). All houses were placed into bands by valuations made some years ago and these bands do not depend on the current or future house prices but on the property's current address. I don't live in the area you mention but currently in the Sussex, Surrey area I'd be surprised if you could get a house for £200,000 for a family requiring at least two bedrooms but of course I am wrong if you have a specific house in mind which is currently advertised at £200,000.

    We are at the start of a "property market price correction" in the U.K. I have every reason to believe that property prices by the next autumn/winter( 2009) will have fallen. I take it you mean 2009 and not this year.

    There's no question that London is where the high salaries are. It is also where the highest house prices are and the most hassle in terms of commuting etc.

    Those who have lived in the South East within say 25/30 miles of London all their lives might regard that area as the best place to live and I have no means of comparing London and the South East/South coast with what you are used to in Italy but the overall quality of life may be better in other areas if you can secure a job outside London and the South East. The world and his uncle seem to live and work in London and it shows in terms of congestion, pace of life etc.

    I live in the South Midlands near where the two main motorways called the MI and M6 join and on a Sunday evening and I have seen close to traffic jams caused by the rest of the country driving back to London from the Midlands and North for another 5 days of work. This is still some ^amin

    When I visit there occasionally, one day is enough!

    pentaxuser


    pentaxuser
     
  6. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Sorry pressed the wrong button. I meant to finally say that this is still some 80 miles from London where traffic congestion is caused by this mass weekly migration to London.

    pentaxuser
     
  7. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    Oh, as a guide to prices - quarter of a million will buy you a two bedroom semi in the nicer part of Croydon walking distance from the station and fifteen minutes train from central London; somewhere like that and you don't even need a car or to worry about fuel costs (I've never even learnt to drive.) I'd expect you to get significantly more for your money than that in somewhere like Crawley. A large three bedroom detached walking distance from the station is about 400k+ depending on condition in Horsham.

    Be warned though, the stamp duty tax is an evil thing that jumps from 1% to 3% *on the whole value* as soon as the purchase price goes above 250k; the only upside is that makes 249k the magic number for doing deals as vendors know buyers aren't willing to pay the added tax.
     
  8. rob champagne

    rob champagne Member

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    I didn't know there were any nicer parts of Croydon :D
     
  9. Austerby

    Austerby Member

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    I would recommend renting a house for at least the first six months to give yourself time to familiarise yourself with the UK, to find somewhere you wanted to live and to make sure it is the right decision for you. At this point in the market you should have plenty of choice in properties to rent. It will be a while before house prices start to rise in the UK and a family such as yours sounds like it will be very attractive to have as tenants so you should be able to negotiate a good price.
     
  10. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    Meeow ;-). Although I like the snobbery against Croydon - it means I can afford to live there and be in London in fifteen minutes while the snobs are stuck on their boiling Northern Line train for 45 minutes congratulating themselves on their choice of places to live ;-)
     
  11. rob champagne

    rob champagne Member

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    Your profile says you are in Leeds but you are telling us you are in Croydon. What does that say? You prefer Leeds but you live in Croydon? Is there a difference? :D
     
  12. rob champagne

    rob champagne Member

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    The so called credit crunch ( euphamism for money lenders getting caught with their trowsers down ) is leading to a high rate of house repossessions. These houses are usually put out to auction to capitalise the debt. And houses can be bought for very little if you are not so fussy about where you live and the finance in place to buy. But in a falling price market its a risky business as you could still end up with negative equity.

    In other words, until the market picks up, its not really a good time to be buying property right now. Especially as no one knows how deep this recession will be. The first to get hit will be the freelance market which is a big part of the IT industry. I have seen this happen twice over the years. Its a very easy way for companies to save money by chopping all their freelance staff and that makes the permanent IT staff market even more difficult to enter into than it already is. But I guess that if you have a job offer before moving then that's not such a problem, especially if the company you are working for in Italy is moving you over here. But if that were the case, then they should be paying the moving costs for you.
     
  13. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    Rob - I have places in Leeds and Croydon, but was permanently exiled in Leeds for a while; I guess updating my APUG profile wasn't top of my priorities ;-).

    As to the credit crunch - if you're buying to invest, now is not a good time. If you are buying somewhere to live on the other hand, the value of your property is irrelevant as long as you can keep paying the mortgage and now is as good a time as any - you can drive a harder bargain now than at any time in the recent past. If you're a good credit risk the banks will bite your hand off to give you a mortgage - it's people who overextended themselves, lied about their incomes on self-certify loans and people buying homes assuming the market would pay instead of them who are the main casualties of the 'credit crunch' ('return to sane lending' being a more accurate phrase.)
     
  14. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    House price changes is a valid point. House prices in the UK have fallen generally in the last year except, notably or the sake of this discussion, in most of London and the immediate vicinity so you really need to check the particular area carefully in respect to this. Prices in Crawley for example have risen but probably not in all areas of Crawley.

    The advice to rent for the first six months is an excellent one. There is no shortage of rental property and although not cheap (the high house prices of London and environs makes sure of that) the time renting allows you to investigate something more permanent could save you an expensive error.

    I also agree that you should budget £2,000-£2,500 for legal and other fees and perhaps another £500-600 for a more detailed survey on the house. There are several levels of survey: a basic one to satisfy the lender that the house is a good credit risk (this is NOT recommended as the only survey conducted), a medium level one that checks most things but does not include investigation into structural matters unless they are visibly obvious, and a full structural survey where the surveyor pokes into all aspects of the house and it's structure, pulling up floorboards, digging down to foundations etc if necessary. Needless to say, the cost increases accordingly. The seller pays all the Estate Agent's fees so that will not effect you as a buyer.

    House prices can be difficult to understand as an otherwise identical house 100 metres away can be worth substantially more due to a number of reasons such as school catchment areas, proximity to transport links, distance from less desirable areas etc. This is heightened in and around London due to the high population density. Because of this, I would not advise buying a house on the back of a few visits to the country; wait until you have been here a while and can view the local area at your leisure and at different times of the day.

    A useful site to investigate a particular area, once you have narrowed your favourite areas down a little is www.upmystreet.com. You type in the area - preferably the full postcode (it will take partial postcodes, whole town names or named areas of towns and cities but a full postcode is much more precise as it identifies an area of a handful of houses). The menu on the left hand side then allows you to investigate that area.

    I've lived in West London most of my life so am not really closely familiar with Crawley at all (except that I know it is a popular commuter town) but a general rule is that there are nice, and not so nice, parts of any town and they can often be within 200 metres of each other - hence the need to investigate on the ground, in person.

    To recap: do rent for the first 6 months while you sort out something more permanent. Your costs over and above the house will be £2,000-3,000 + 1% of the house price up to £250,000 and 3% of the price over £250,000 (up to £500,000 when it becomes 4%) plus the cost of moving your goods to England. Council taxes are typically £1,200-1,400 per year.

    Oh, and you will not be alone in London being from Italy: it is estimated (exact figures are impossible) that 1/3rd of people currently living in London were born outside the UK and there is of course a large Italian community here.

    Good luck, Bob.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2008
  15. yellowcat

    yellowcat Member

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  16. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Restricted Access

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    what does this question have to do with analogue photography?

    aren't there better and more realiable places to ask such questions?
     
  17. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Nothing. :surprised:

    Possibly, probably even, but shouldn't we try and help a fellow snapper?:smile:

    I shall ask a Mod to move it to the UK forum. :wink:
     
  18. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    I can vouch for Tim on that.
     
  19. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    When I placed my flat on the market last September I was advised to budget about £5000 for solicitors, surveyors, HIPS and other moving costs. Up until the end of April I had just three people view. I have now taken the flat off the market until things settle.
     
  20. markbb

    markbb Member

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    Stefano,
    you might find this site useful: http://www.mortgagetalk.co.uk/buyingmovingcostcalculator.aspx.
    You mention you have two pre-school children. In England education is compulsory from age 5, but many local schools will start taking children as young as 3 into nursery classes for 1/2 a day. I suggest you contact the Local Education Authority for the areas you are looking at to find out what is on offer. Of course, if you will be wealthy enough to take the private education route I'm sure you can find professional bodies ready to help you out.
    As other's have indicated, house prices can vary enormously, often connected to how 'good' the local schools are.
     
  21. sterioma

    sterioma Member

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    All,

    thank you for the information and links, I have something to read now!

    I'd be curious to know what makes Crawley a place not suitable for raising children... :wink:

    About the example price (200000), it was just well.. an example price to make calculations easier. It does seem that one needs a little more than that to move a family in.

    And when I wrote "house" I mean house, flat... bungalow (?).. etc.. :D

    Here in Italy when we say house we mean "anything" somebody can live in.. and only after we distinguish between a flat (appartamento), a house (villa), etc... What stroke me in my initial search on the web, beside the prices which are obviously higher than around here, is that bedroom seem so small. I doubt our furniture will fit in there. On the other hand, it's nice to see that when you buy a new house/flat it usually comes with the complete kitchen and appliances.


    Finally, I apologize if all this sounds too off topic (something which I warned you about at opening of my thread). I remembered there's a conspicuous set of people joining the forum from UK and I wanted to capitalize on your knowledge :smile:
     
  22. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Indeed, you should expect a certain amount of culture shock :smile:. Houses for example are generally smaller than in many countries, not least because this is a small Island with a lot of people living on it so land is expensive, especially in London and the surrounding areas (the "home counties" or "the south-east"). We are not talking Japan here, but all the same, do not expect a Californian style ranch-house for 200k :wink: ...

    Fitted kitchens are always included in the selling price but if there are any free-standing components they may not be; tables and chairs will most certainly go with the seller unless you do a side-deal on those. You are given a list of all things that are included in the sale so it is worth taking time to check exactly what is included.

    A good site to get an idea of prices and house types is: http://www.rightmove.co.uk.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  23. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    Another point for an Italian Ex-pat, is that if you are prepared to commute further distances places like Bedford have a very large Italian community.
    When I lived in Bedford I was about 200m away from a small corner shop who had weekly deliveries from Italy, so I got very attached to proper ferrero cakes, fig rolls, and decent olives and parmesan
    Downside, its over an hour by train into central London. Also like most British towns, there are nice parts of Bedford, and there really crappy bits.
    The advice about renting for 6 months is one of the best, as you'll never know an area well until you live there for a while