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“We wish we’d done this 10 years ago” 

Jonathan Smith

Jonathan Smith lives in Saudi Arabia with his partner and children. He came across Property Hub Invest after listening to The Property Podcast.

What motivated you to invest in UK property?  

I’d tried other forms of investment, but I had reached a point where I felt I needed something more tangible. My partner’s sister had bought a property in a new development in Northampton and was already seeing an increase in its value, so I took the plunge and bought there too – with zero knowledge of property investment. I encountered a few issues during the purchase process which I could have foreseen had I known more, so after that I decided to educate myself. I listened to The Property Podcast and read Rob D’s books. As I learned more, I realised how property investing could benefit us. It offers long-term growth and regular income, which are crucial for achieving financial freedom and security for my partner, myself, and our children.  

Why did you choose to use Property Hub Invest?  

For our first and second purchases we relied on our own connections and resources. By the time we were ready to make our third purchase, it was a no-brainer to buy through Property Hub Invest. The team secures fantastic discounts on purchase prices, and their supportive care team assists seamlessly throughout the buying and rental process. 

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

We’ve bought two new-build apartments through Property Hub Invest: one in Halifax and one in Birmingham. The fundamentals for both were very strong; they are built to a high specification, provide strong rental yields and offer promising appreciation potential over the mid to long term. As expats we need the comfort of knowing that we won’t have to deal with repairs or refurbishment projects. Vanilla buy-to-lets is what we are looking for and Property Hub Invest aligns perfectly with our strategy.  

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

As an expat there are additional challenges when purchasing property in the UK. However, by working with a specialist mortgage broker and by ensuring that we select properties that have strong fundamentals and generate positive cashflow in the right locations we are still able to generate healthy profits, even with the interest rate rises faced over the past 18 months.  

How did Property Hub Invest help with this process?  

Property Hub Invest provide great opportunities for the best investment deals in a clear, concise and transparent manner. Of course, we do our own due diligence, but the investment reports provided by the team reduces the workload on us and helps us to make an informed decision. This is especially important for expats because we can’t easily travel to view properties or developments we’re interested in.   

How much work has there been to do since your purchase?  

We are definitely in the ‘hands-off’ camp when it comes to property management and maintenance. We want truly passive income, so we always opt to utilise full managed services through a letting agent. Having a strong partner in this is critical for us as we cannot jump in the car or get on a train to our properties if issues arise.  

How did you handle financial aspects like mortgages, taxes, and currency exchange related to your UK property investment?  

We always secure our mortgages through a specialist expat broker. Attempting to navigate this independently will almost certainly lead you down a rabbit hole and require a lot of work.  

As for taxes, we made our first few purchases in our personal names. However, as we ramp up our portfolio, we will be making purchases via a limited company which we have already set up. Before making these purchases, we will be seeking expert property tax advice, so we don’t make any costly mistakes.  

For currency exchanges we’re fortunate we can opt for our salaries to be deposited into our UK account in GBP so this hasn’t been an issue for us. 

Have you encountered any cultural or regulatory differences that have had an impact on your property investment experience?  

We haven’t encountered any cultural differences thankfully, but of course there are regulatory differences in mortgage applications and documentation required and we have been impacted by the surcharge on stamp duty land tax. Other than that, investing as an expat is actually more straightforward than a lot of people think. 

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

Start now. We wish we’d done this 10 years ago. I’d also advise seeking out a specialist expat mortgage broker and making sure you have a buffer in funds.  

We’ve learned so much from our experiences, we’re now helping educate other expats living in Saudi Arabia about the benefits of investing in the UK. 

Would you recommend Property Hub Invest to other expats?  

One hundred per cent! The deals that Property Hub Invest source are amazing. They are all in the right locations to generate great returns over the long term as well as strong monthly rental yields in the short term. 

The team are extremely knowledgeable and supportive. Our account manager has been fantastic and we would highly recommend starting any expat property investing journey with Property Hub Invest for a smooth and easy experience.