Expat services in the UK

Old Nov 15th 2012, 7:50 pm
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Default Expat services in the UK

I'm not really sure how to word what I want to search for on the internet so am hoping some of you can help me out.

I'm told there are home rental agencies and such that are set up specifically to help expats who are returning to the UK. If so what would I search for? I've found 'relocation specialists' .. but frankly .. I don't need all the faff they do with it, all we need help with is finding somewhere to rent so we can move straight in when we get off the plane.

On our recent visit back we paid a visit to a couple of estate agents to talk about sorting out a rental property for when we return. We explained we'd have to rent unseen (well we would see photographs) but we'd have family go to the property for us to ensure its something we'd be happy with as they know what we'd like and they we'd sign forms and scan/email them/send payment and they seemed a bit shy about renting unseen.

I can't imagine we are the first family in this predicament? Any advice?
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Old Nov 15th 2012, 8:02 pm
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Default Re: Expat services in the UK

Originally Posted by Okuda View Post
I'm not really sure how to word what I want to search for on the internet so am hoping some of you can help me out.

I'm told there are home rental agencies and such that are set up specifically to help expats who are returning to the UK. If so what would I search for? I've found 'relocation specialists' .. but frankly .. I don't need all the faff they do with it, all we need help with is finding somewhere to rent so we can move straight in when we get off the plane.

On our recent visit back we paid a visit to a couple of estate agents to talk about sorting out a rental property for when we return. We explained we'd have to rent unseen (well we would see photographs) but we'd have family go to the property for us to ensure its something we'd be happy with as they know what we'd like and they we'd sign forms and scan/email them/send payment and they seemed a bit shy about renting unseen.

I can't imagine we are the first family in this predicament? Any advice?
Try looking up Rightmove on the internet it may help but I think most landlords wont want to rent to someone they haven't seen and I think you can understand.
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Old Nov 15th 2012, 8:23 pm
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Default Re: Expat services in the UK

We've had a nightmare renting because we've lived out of the country for 15 years. With basic credit and no job we've had to agree to 12 months up front. The contract on the property is 12 months if it were 6 months we'd be paying 6 months up front.
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Old Nov 16th 2012, 8:41 am
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Default Re: Expat services in the UK

Having just moved (again) I think you need to speak to local agents and hopefully find one who is willing to work with you.

We are moving from Cornwall to Herts and I have had few decent responses and mostly indifference. Unless you're there to say yes and hand over the cheque they're mostly not interested.

Depending on where you are looking to live if demand is high then the agents have a ready supply of renters locally so they have no incentive to go the extra mile (or even yard) to help someone renting remotely.
If demand is lower you might get a better response if property has been available unlet for a while.

I had a real battle to arrange for paper to be sent for signature. They were ready to insist on a 700 mile round trip just to make my mark!

Do you have anyone local to your destination who can help you on the ground?
I would avoid buying or renting unseen especially if it's for a 12 month contract. Even B&B for a week or so would be better than being locked into a contract you don't like.

I wish you the best.
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Old Nov 16th 2012, 12:21 pm
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Default Re: Expat services in the UK

Originally Posted by mayhemuk View Post
Even B&B for a week or so would be better than being locked into a contract you don't like.
This is what we did, looked online to find a B&B/self-catering room in a village nearby to where we were moving. I think we googled "holiday lets". We communicated by email with the owner & took it for an initial 3 weeks.

When we got to England, we found it was comically tiny (hadn't looked that small online! ) but it worked for the time we needed it. You could have your relatives look it over in advance perhaps.
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Old Nov 16th 2012, 4:45 pm
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Default Re: Expat services in the UK

Can you arrange a storage facility in the area you want to live in as the address to send all your belongings too for the shipping company? That way you can stay at a B&B for a couple of weeks or a holiday let while you find a rental you want that isn't a 12 month let requiring 12 months rent up front.
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Old Nov 16th 2012, 5:19 pm
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Default Re: Expat services in the UK

Originally Posted by Okuda View Post
I'm not really sure how to word what I want to search for on the internet so am hoping some of you can help me out.

I'm told there are home rental agencies and such that are set up specifically to help expats who are returning to the UK. If so what would I search for? I've found 'relocation specialists' .. but frankly .. I don't need all the faff they do with it, all we need help with is finding somewhere to rent so we can move straight in when we get off the plane.

On our recent visit back we paid a visit to a couple of estate agents to talk about sorting out a rental property for when we return. We explained we'd have to rent unseen (well we would see photographs) but we'd have family go to the property for us to ensure its something we'd be happy with as they know what we'd like and they we'd sign forms and scan/email them/send payment and they seemed a bit shy about renting unseen.

I can't imagine we are the first family in this predicament? Any advice?
We used a firm called County Homesearch. They offer all kinds of services, but one of them is to find you a home from a distance (to rent or buy). They found us a rental property and we've been very happy with it. They charge a registration fee that I think was a few hundred pounds, and then one month's rent once you moved in.

For that they do a lot of work - calling to check out available properties, visiting the good ones, and then sending photos, videos and reports by email.

Our search was complicated by having pets and needing very fast broadband, and yet they came through for us. I recommend them.

Oh one other good thing was that they helped negotiating with the landlord - we didn't need to pay lots of money upfront despite being away for 20 years. They just accepted our references and a copy of our US credit reports. I don't think that would have been the case had we gone direct.
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Old Nov 16th 2012, 5:52 pm
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Default Re: Expat services in the UK

Originally Posted by sallysimmons View Post
We used a firm called County Homesearch. They offer all kinds of services, but one of them is to find you a home from a distance (to rent or buy). They found us a rental property and we've been very happy with it. They charge a registration fee that I think was a few hundred pounds, and then one month's rent once you moved in.

For that they do a lot of work - calling to check out available properties, visiting the good ones, and then sending photos, videos and reports by email.

Our search was complicated by having pets and needing very fast broadband, and yet they came through for us. I recommend them.

Oh one other good thing was that they helped negotiating with the landlord - we didn't need to pay lots of money upfront despite being away for 20 years. They just accepted our references and a copy of our US credit reports. I don't think that would have been the case had we gone direct.
Excellent, thank you, this is exactly what I was looking for. We have 2 cats (although I'm told cats are some what easier to find rental properties with than dogs? Not sure how true that is) I was hoping our US credit reports would help us if we brought our credit reports with us along with references and proof of our mortgage payments being in good standing and such.

All the 'relocation specialists' I have come across on line offer so much other fluff along with the task of finding some where to live, and really that's all we need help with. Thank you so much for this information!
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Old Nov 16th 2012, 6:04 pm
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Default Re: Expat services in the UK

Google 'property finder' rather than 'relocation specialist', as that's what they're known as.

There's loads of them around so hope you can find one to suit.
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Old Nov 16th 2012, 10:15 pm
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Oh I should also mention we have 4 dogs....which really didn't help our search!!!
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Old Nov 16th 2012, 11:09 pm
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Default Re: Expat services in the UK

Originally Posted by Okuda View Post
I'm not really sure how to word what I want to search for on the internet so am hoping some of you can help me out.

I'm told there are home rental agencies and such that are set up specifically to help expats who are returning to the UK. If so what would I search for? I've found 'relocation specialists' .. but frankly .. I don't need all the faff they do with it, all we need help with is finding somewhere to rent so we can move straight in when we get off the plane.

On our recent visit back we paid a visit to a couple of estate agents to talk about sorting out a rental property for when we return. We explained we'd have to rent unseen (well we would see photographs) but we'd have family go to the property for us to ensure its something we'd be happy with as they know what we'd like and they we'd sign forms and scan/email them/send payment and they seemed a bit shy about renting unseen.

I can't imagine we are the first family in this predicament? Any advice?
Not sure how long you're looking for, but try Airbnb or Home Away. They're websites where people rent out their apartments/houses for vacations and sometimes longer. We used Home Away on a trip back to the UK and got a great little apartment.
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Old Nov 18th 2012, 9:23 am
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Default Re: Expat services in the UK

Originally Posted by Okuda View Post
Excellent, thank you, this is exactly what I was looking for. We have 2 cats (although I'm told cats are some what easier to find rental properties with than dogs? Not sure how true that is) I was hoping our US credit reports would help us if we brought our credit reports with us along with references and proof of our mortgage payments being in good standing and such.

All the 'relocation specialists' I have come across on line offer so much other fluff along with the task of finding some where to live, and really that's all we need help with. Thank you so much for this information!
You're welcome. It shouldn't be the case, but I really do think having a home finder helps you with estate agents and landlords. Because Brits are very careful with their money, people tend to think you must be swimming in cash if you are willing to pay someone to find a home for you (even though honestly the fees are not all that expensive).

I'd far rather pay the home finder fee than pay 6 or 12 months rent in advance, because obviously when you do that, you lose all leverage. Our boiler went out the other day - if I'd already paid the landlord, I wonder how fast he would have been at fixing it.

Good luck!
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Old Nov 18th 2012, 4:11 pm
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What area are you looking to move too?
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Old Nov 20th 2012, 6:46 pm
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Default Re: Expat services in the UK

Originally Posted by UK IFA View Post
What area are you looking to move too?
Kent
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Old Nov 20th 2012, 8:41 pm
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That's relatively close to me and I know the area, which part? And exactly what do you want?

I will see what I can help you with.
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