Moving to a new area, let alone a new country, can be a daunting task. For international tenants and their families, there can be language and cultural barriers to overcome, as well as having to get to grips with finding new schools, forming new friendships and being away from one’s own home and all the comforts associated with it.
But there are lots of ways to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible. Here are our top tips for relocating from abroad.
When and how to search for property
We generally recommend starting your rental search six weeks prior to the time you need to move into a UK property. We tend to see properties start to come onto the market from roughly 6-8 weeks weeks before they are available to let and therefore giving yourself this time-frame will allow you to see the maximum number of available, suitable properties possible.
Renting a property
In England and Wales there is a Governing body for the lettings industry, known as ARLA. All members must adhere to ARLA's strict code of conduct, so for peace of mind, make sure you only search for property through an ARLA-licensed credible agent.
On a standard, long-term tenancy (over six months in length), the typical procedure would be to pay the rent on a monthly basis, with other costs, such as a gardener, to be separately negotiated if they are to be included in the rent.
A short-term let, which is less than six months in length would be a different scenario. The rent would typically be paid upfront in its entirety.
Choosing where to live
If you are being relocated through work, your company may be able to suggest areas which will be commutable to your office. The internet can be a great help in this respect, enabling you to look into the local community, clubs, events, shops, schools and transport facilities. Having some knowledge of where you want to live before you start your search will help enormously.
Once you have decided on an area, contact essential services such as a doctor’s practice and a dental surgery to gain an understanding of the registration process. Establish which banks operate locally and contact them to open an account. If you have children of school age, contact the local schools to find out what places are available and the process involved in getting children into the school. Schools are often the most salient point where relocation is concerned, frequently determining where a family ends up. Savills works with several school search consultants who can assist with the process.
Look into your preferred area's transportation links and work out how you will get to work and the associated costs. Also establish how far your first choice of school is and whether you will need a car to get there. Helpful websites for working out commutes and include TFL, Citymapper and National Rail.
Furnished vs unfurnished
Most smaller (studio, 1 and 2 bedroom) properties would come furnished, and you would not need to bring your own furniture, however, larger properties such as family homes are more likely to be unfurnished and therefore you would either be required to bring your own furniture, or rent furniture packages.
Utilities and council tax payments
Utilities refer to the supply of services to the property for which the tenant in a normal rental agreement would be liable to pay. These would generally include gas, electricity and water.
There are many suppliers offering different packages that suit different usage needs, and it is the responsibility of the tenant to pay the costs directly to the supplier. The frequency of payment can normally be negotiated, but the most common are monthly or quarterly payments.
Council Tax is a taxation applicable to nearly every residential property in the UK and is the equivalent of 'city tax' in other countries. Tenants are responsible for council tax payments (unless it is a short let of less than six months) and the tenant will make these payments directly to the local council, normally on a monthly basis.
It is often possible to bring animals with you, however this may have implications on your property search, such as paying a higher deposit to cover potential damage.
Seek professional advice
With so much to think about, it is important to be properly advised. Our Corporate Services department has a team dedicated to relocation, with access to all Savills property services, as well as a network of partners to help with some of the non-property related matters.
It's crucial to embrace the new experience and immerse yourself in the community as soon as you arrive. Home may feel a million miles away to begin with, but your new home has so much to offer.