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“It was my first property purchase”

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Daniel Grant Williams moved from South Wales to Beijing, China, in 2010. He bought his first buy-to-let via Property Hub Invest in 2023 and has since purchased another.

What motivated you to invest in UK property?

It helps diversify my portfolio as a steady long-term investment for retirement.

Why did you choose to use Property Hub Invest? 

The transparency of the investments and the additional support offered. I explored different companies, but they seemed to be more interested in pushing their preferred products than actually matching my expectations with what they have to offer.

What type of property did you choose to invest in, and why? 

I chose a new build in Manchester. I looked at areas with good potential for growth as well as offering potential for renting income and Manchester fit the bill.

How did you navigate the process of purchasing property in the UK? 

It was my first property purchase of any description, so it was a challenging process. I had to realign my supporting documentation to be applicable to the UK context, so proof of address, bank statements and other requirements all needed to be in place and translated.

How did Property Hub Invest help with this process? 

I can’t express how pleased I was with the prompt service and support I received. Property Hub served as a central resource, offering guidance on navigating the demands of solicitors and mortgage brokers. As a first-time property buyer unfamiliar with industry norms, my Property Hub advisor helped give me the bigger picture and worked hard to alleviate my concerns with pertinent evidence and resources.

Did you face any challenges?

The challenges were more on the finer details of satisfying the lenders requirements. For instance, in China, they don’t issue bank statements or utility statements with your name and address on them, so satisfying this requirement needed careful consideration of what was acceptable.

The second barrier was the range of products available from lenders. As it was my first property I needed to accept a higher interest rate, but the subsequent mortgages have been much more in line with domestic products.

How did you handle financial aspects like mortgages, taxes, and currency exchange? 

I was recommended an excellent mortgage broker by Property Hub, they really went above and beyond and were instrumental in ensuring I secured a mortgage and provided relevant advice about products.

For taxes, I took independent tax advice, this was actually required by Property Hub before proceeding with the formal process, but I continued to engage with them, particularly on receiving advice about whether or not to purchase the property in my own name or establish a limited company.

For the currency exchange, I bank with HSBC which have a very good network of branches in China and the UK. After ensuring I met the requirements in China to remit the currency back to the UK the process was very smooth at very competitive exchange rates.

How much work has there been since your purchase?

Following the purchase, I haven’t had to be involved much at all. I use a letting agent to manage the property who only contacts me when necessary. I am very happy with the process, and I have secured tenants at very competitive rates with high levels of service

What advice would you give to other expats considering investing in UK property? 

Do your homework and set your own goals. Keep current financial records and certified copies of passports, proof of address, etc., readily available for immediate use.

Would you recommend Property Hub Invest? 

I would recommend Property Hub to other expats for sure, the wrap around support and the commitment to ensuring that as an expat investor the unique challenges expats face are front and centre of their approach.

After my positive experience with my first property, I have since purchased another through Property Hub. This time, the process was remarkably smooth compared to the initial purchase, thanks to the supportive guidance I received. Now, with all my documentation organised, I feel confident in swiftly making future investment decisions.

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