Relocating to the United Kingdom? Should you Rent or Buy?

Kate Morova
April 13, 2021

Are you relocating to the United Kingdom? With our guide to housing in the UK, we address one of the most difficult questions for expats: renting vs buying.

Are you considering relocating to the United Kingdom but are unsure where to begin? The good news is that you are not alone. Every year, thousands of people move to the United Kingdom, where they face unexpected expenses, untrustworthy estate agents, and mountains of paperwork. Making the process easier entails narrowing down what kind of property you’re looking for and determining whether to rent or purchase.


The pros

Renting can be an excellent choice for those who are less financially secure and are unsure about where they want to live. It also takes less time than buying. Current tenants or owners often list good properties on sites like Gumtree. By eliminating the need to go through an entity, you can make the process much faster and simpler.

Another significant advantage of renting is that you would have a landlord who is responsible for any property loss. Best of all, renting helps you to test out a neighborhood without putting too much money at risk. When renting in the UK, especially in a busy city like London, short-term leases or rolling contracts with short notice periods are frequently available.

The Cons

The lack of stability is the flip side of the simplicity and comfort of renting a property in the UK. A decent landlord can be the stuff of dreams, but a poor landlord can have you pulling your hair out. Phone calls may be missed, renovations may be neglected, and tenancies may be terminated with just a few weeks’ notice; as a result, it is critical that you study your rights as a tenant before moving. Going through an organization is also a good way to avoid a bad landlord. However, this also comes with additional hassles and fees. If you plan on renting for an extended period of time, you can also plan for rent increases.

On a more superficial level, leased properties are often restrictive when it comes to redecorating or even hanging items on the wall. As a newcomer to the UK, the inability to make a property feel like a home can be a major turn-off.


The Pros

Non-UK residents may be worried about obtaining a mortgage, but it is not as complicated as you may believe. A UK credit rating is not necessary, but it can be beneficial. There are several banks that will assist you with the transaction and have competitive rates. When you get a mortgage, you know that any payment you make goes back into your house. After all, once you’ve paid it off absolutely, the house or apartment will be yours forever. In certain cases, a mortgage can be less expensive than renting. What are the most popular cities to buy property in the UK today.

If you’re smart (or just plain lucky), you’ll buy in an up-and-coming neighborhood where house prices are predicted to rise. Selling your house for a higher price than you paid for it a few years ago is an excellent way to finance a potential property. When you buy your own home, you become your own landlord. You can decorate however you want, and you’ll be able to handle any issues or breakages on your own.

The Drawbacks

To begin with, buying a home is often more complicated than renting. If you’re starting the process from another country, you’ll almost certainly have to depend on a UK-based agency, which means fees.

Purchasing a home is also not always a sure bet. House prices will collapse, and if they do so while you are still paying off your mortgage, you will be unable to sell your house (if the value of your home is less than the amount of mortgage remaining). That interest rates will cause your mortgage payments to increase, and any damage to your home will have to be paid for out of your own pocket.

Other things to remember when relocating to the United Kingdom

Link to the internet

Being away from home is never easy, and when you’re dealing with shaky Skype connections and emails that won’t send, homesickness can set in. Internet speed is now a major consideration for people looking to rent or purchase a home. If providing high-speed broadband is critical to your job or staying connected with family and friends, it should be for you as well. Test broadband speeds in particular areas before signing up for internet in the UK. It’s also a good idea to speak with former tenants if possible.

Possible damage to your house

Some parts of the United Kingdom are vulnerable to severe flooding. Though house prices or rental rates may be lower in these regions, home or contents insurance may be prohibitively expensive. This is in addition to the emotional and financial destruction that you will face if your property floods. It is important to double-check the area’s history and whether it is vulnerable to these natural weather variations.

Relocating to the United Kingdom? Should you Rent or Buy?

The cost of living

Living in London is not cheap. However, the capital is not the only part of the country with higher property prices — Oxford, Brighton, Bath, and Edinburgh are all sought-after areas, and property prices reflect this. However, in many instances, this is offset by much lower living expenses. If you’re thinking about moving to the UK, remember all of your potential costs, in addition to the cost of renting or buying, such as local gas rates, public transportation, and conveniences like supermarkets.

Opportunities for Jobs

Even if you have your heart set on living in a village, moving to a city would still make it easier to find jobs.

Relocating to another country can be extremely satisfying, but it is rarely easy. There are many advantages and disadvantages to renting and purchasing a home in the United Kingdom. The most important thing is to approach the process with an open mind and a willingness to do research in your desired field.

Related articles