Q. I am based in Singapore and would really love to invest in the UK, the problem is I don’t know the market over there and I really don’t have anyone that I can get good solid advice from. My worry is being so far away is that I am going to be ill advised and buy something that is really not great, obviously I know there are basic rules of what to look for when buying but I feel this is holding me back, can you make any suggestions?
A. Being a foreigner based overseas and not knowing the UK market at all is certainly not ideal, however there are lots of things you can do to familiarise yourself with the market so that you are able to make an informed decision when purchasing an investment. First of all talk to colleagues and friends in Singapore, reach out to those that you know have already invested in the UK as they may be willing to share information on how they managed to buy in the UK with confidence. Singaporeans are buying here in the UK in droves so I’d be surprised if you didn’t have someone that had recently already done this. Narrowing down the area is a really good idea as deciding on say London as a whole would be too wider net to try and get to grips with, and decide what’s good and what’s not. Once a decision has been made on the area then you can start using the portals to search for desired properties, when you have a feel for what you like then call the agents and have a chat with them ‘pick their brains’ and ask them why one property is so much more expensive than another ask what the rental yields might be, by doing this you will find an agent that you connect with who is willing to hold your hand and guide you through the process, remember a great chain free buyer with his finances in place is very valuable to an agent and if they are professional they will want to build a good relationship with you and of course establish your trust. A good agent will not only help you find the right property but will also be able to recommend a great lawyer to conduct the conveyancing as well as line up a tenant on completion, they really are your key to the door as it were.