Moving to the UK – Our tips for moving back to the UK if you are leaving your expat life behind



Major political changes in the far east, the ongoing global pandemic, restrictions on travel, especially to and from Australia and New Zealand and the changing global jobs market, just some of the reasons many British expats cite who are returning to the UK.

Combine all of this with other more personal decisions such as wanting to be near ageing family members, supporting children transitioning from school and university and the need to access better healthcare services and it is clear that decisions in life change. Whether that change happens, 5, 10, 20 or 30 years down the line, if you are living an ex-pat life, you will probably in the future re-evaluate where you want to live.

Whatever your reasons to return to the UK, if you haven’t kept a foothold in the property market you might be surprised about how much it has changed.

Christopher Linton at BTF Finders, gives his tips for finding your perfect home in Kent or Sussex:

“Being a property search expert, it will come as no surprise that my first piece of advice is to use someone like myself, but the market has changed so much, especially here in the South East and I think many people will struggle to find what they want, where they want, at a price they can afford without one.

Also combine this with a property market which remains ‘hot’, with a shortage of supply in many popular areas, especially good rural properties and those in outstanding school catchment areas and it is a very difficult task to buy a property when you are still overseas.

Many people might plan to return to the UK and move into rental accommodation, but there is also a shortage of supply in this sector too, so the faster you can secure your next home, the better.

Once you have determined your budget, search criteria and preferred location we will help you to narrow it down and prioritise what really matters. It is important to take specialist advice about currency conversion and exchange rates to make sure you get the best value when you are ready to buy.

Think hard about location, as places change, usually for the better, but it is also important to understand what building and infrastructure projects might be in the pipeline which could affect your enjoyment of a property in the future.

Architecture and house design in the UK might be very different to what you have been used to. It might be hard to find something of a size you are used to, especially if you are moving from places where land and property is cheaper to buy.

Longer-term options might include finding a project for complete renovation, or a building plot to build your own home. Just a word of caution on this – factoring in the time it takes and costs to obtain planning permission, the rising cost of building materials, shortage of labour and also the simple fact that building a property can take a considerable amount of time and energy means this isn’t an option for the faint-hearted, no matter how many episodes of Grand Designs you watch!

With many people working from home or working a more hybrid arrangement, you could broaden your search area as well as travel options if you need to commute.

Once you have found a house, navigating the buying process might be more challenging than you have previously been used to, as many houses are now going to best and final offers or sealed bids. Be prepared by understanding the process that might be needed to make sure your offer is the one accepted but also be wary about paying too much. It might be worth waiting and taking your time until more properties come onto the market – think head not heart.

There are also the other practicalities of finding the right experts who can help you with mortgage applications, legal services, property surveys and building/renovation queries. We can help you build the right team of contacts to make your move go smoothly.

Be prepared to act swiftly. You may have heard of the term gazumping which is taking place in areas where there is a shortage of supply so do everything you can to get to the exchange of contracts as quickly as possible, to avoid losing out and losing money on surveys and fees.

Finally, don’t give up. Finding the right property can take time, but the more focused and determined you are, the faster you will find it.”


For more information about BTF Finders, call us today 00 44 (0)1233 740077 or click here to view our web page