Decision time for returning Expats

Bill Spreckley of Stacks Property Search says, “For expats, returning to the UK can be a daunting prospect after a posting overseas. Depending on how long they have been away, they can be out of touch about many aspects of UK life, property and schooling being the most frequently cited areas of difficulty.

“In the past many expats moved back into London, and followed it up with a move to the country after a couple of years. But with moving costs being so prohibitive and with the eye-watering prices of property in the Capital, a high percentage of expats are now returning directly to the Home Counties and beyond.

“The main buying challenges for expats are associated with finding the right location and the right property from a great distance. Evaluating market conditions, values, unfamiliar bureaucracy and dealing with estate agents remotely is an unenviable task.

Spreckley’s advice is that the exercise should be treated as a mission – to be taken on either by a member of the family or a friend based in the UK, or of course by a professional (independent from all estate agents), with only your interests at heart. “If the property search is treated as something to be fitted into short bursts of downtime, it’s unlikely to be successful. A bad purchase will probably be a short-term purchase, and the costs of buying and selling are much too onerous to be relaxed about doing it more than once. Much better, less stressful and cheaper to get it right the first time.

“Your UK based collaborator should be ready to go and look at properties without delay and send you a report about the pros and cons, even video footage if necessary. If and when they find a potentially suitable house, then you will need to get on a plane to come and have a look. Most estate agents and therefore vendors are reluctant to accept an offer from buyers who haven’t physically seen the property.”

Bill Spreckley suggests “it is usually sensible to begin the house hunting process with employment – where are you going to be working or where can you commute from?  Swiftly followed by schools and proximity to friends/family (close to grandparents, but not too close!). Only then can you start to understand which areas would be suitable for you to centre your property search. Once you have committed to a certain area, the more times you can visit it before you move back and the more houses you can view, the more local knowledge you will build up and the more certain you will be when the right house becomes available.

“Most expats are paid in Dollars or Euros, so due to currency exchange rates, now is a good time financially to buy a property. Especially as the Stamp Duty surcharge widely expected in the Autumn 2018 budget for foreign purchasers hasn’t materialised. Many of our recent expat clients aren’t due to return to the UK in the immediate future, but have decided that now is the right time to buy themselves a foothold for when/if they come back, or even purely as an investment.”

Stacks Property Search & Acquisition, 01594 842880 /

For the last 35 years Stacks’ clients have benefited from a tried and tested plan of action. Following an initial discussion (on Facetime or Skype if our clients are not in the UK) and a very thorough investigation of potential houses both on and off the market in the chosen area, Stacks are then able to arrange a targeted and productive viewing day for when clients are next in the UK. This comprises of driving around the location to improve their local knowledge and viewing  the most suitable five or six houses according to the brief.

Spreckley says, “We will regularly view over twenty houses before narrowing it down for our client’s visit. After the viewing day both we and our clients have clarity about what sort of property will or won’t work for them.”

Ends – 

For press information contact Amanda MacCaw, 01386 700068 / 07977 238175 /

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