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What Visa Options Will Allow Me Invest in Real Estate?

With such a vibrant and diverse number of options, Britain's housing market is a well-known target for foreign investment. For those who are applying for a visa, one major question that comes up time and again is whether purchasing a property, or making an investment in property, can be used to satisfy the criteria of a visa. In this article, we are going to look at the ways migrants in the UK can get involved in the housing market, and whether their investment can be used to satisfy your visa conditions.

Can I Use Property Investment to Satisfy the Requirements of a Tier 1 Investor Visa?

It is not possible to use real estate investments to satisfy the investment portion of the Tier 1 Investor Visa. The guidance for the visa explicitly mentions the fact that property investment is not allowed under the visa. This means that you cannot be involved in a business that earns its money from the value of a property (i.e. as a landlord). But you can invest in real estate related businesses (such as an estate agent) as long as it is only marketing a property and not letting it itself. This rule does cause some confusion, but if you would like to seek clarification on a specific investment, get in touch today and our team will be happy to investigate your specific investment.

Due to the complex nature of the Tier 1 Investor Visa, you will need to ensure that any investment you plan to make is allowable under the rules that are set out for the visa. If you fail to meet these explicit rules, you will struggle to be eligible when it comes time to try and extend. The rules as laid out on investments mention that you need to have "invested those funds in share capital or loan capital in active UK companies". If you need clarification, please get in touch and our team will be able to help you to decide if an investment you wish to make is eligible.

I'm Living in the UK on a Spouse Visa - Can I Invest in Property?

Yes, if you're in the UK on a Spouse Visa, you and your partner will be eligible to invest in property. There are many ways in which you can do this. From buying property yourself to investing via a third party (like buying into a Real Estate Investment Trust or REIT), the UK has fantastic options for those who have some money and are looking to put it into property. There are many great financial advisors out there who can help. It is vital that you take appropriate advice from experts in the know. In the following section we will look at some ideas for those who wish to invest specifically in property.

The UK doesn't just have fantastic property investment opportunities, there are opportunities of all sorts in the UK that will allow you to try and gain a return on your investment. So if you are looking for advice on where to invest, we would suggest you find an independent financial advisor. Just like we would urge you to seek expert advice when it comes to visas, we would also suggest that speaking to a financial expert is the best thing to do if you are looking to invest your money.

What Ways Can You Invest in Property in the UK?

There are many ways in which you can invest in property in the UK. Please note that nothing contained here is given as financial advice. We would always urge you to speak to an independent financial advisor before investing your money.

There are two specific ways at which we are going to look at property investment: direct investment (where you make the investment yourself), and investing via a third party (where you give someone else your money to invest). There are positive and negatives to both of these approaches, and we'll cover these in more detail in the relevant sections.

Direct Investment

Direct investment is essentially putting your money directly into the property. There are several things you can do after buying a property, but direct investment will rely on you buying the property (whether on a mortgage or outright) and then following one of the paths below in order to try and make a profit.

Becoming a Landlord - This is the usual route of property investment in the UK. Landlords normally buy a property and then let it to tenants (also known as buy to let). The profit is usually made over the long-term as the property gains value and the rental money is used to pay the mortgage (if applicable).

Refurbishing Property - Another common way of making money in property in the UK is by refurbishing a property. Many in this space have the skills that mean that they can either do the necessary work themselves, or know someone who can do it for them. Essentially they buy the property for significantly less than its potential value and do the work to get it there.

Flipping Property - Flipping property is similar to property refurbishment, but without the improvements. There are many ways in which to buy property for less than its market value (such as at auction). The flippers then resell the property on the open market for nearer its actual value.

Investing via Third Party

The UK has many different third party options for property investment and these have boomed in recent years. The two most common way of investing via a third party are laid out below.

REITs - Real Estate Investment Trusts or REITs are similar to a mutual fund. Investors buy into the fund. The fund is often based on the investments made by a single company. The main benefit for investors is a low cost of buy in; you only pay for as many shares as you can afford. There is also the benefit that you can sell your shares at any time.

Property Crowdfunding - A new way of getting into third party property investment is via crowdfunding. New opportunities are coming onto the market all the time and these offer a way for people to club together to buy property and split any profit.

Whichever way you choose to get into property investment, you need to get the right financial advice. Get in touch with an independent financial advisor before going down any of these routes to ensure that your money is as safe as possible.

Where Can I Get More Help with Property in the UK?

If you need help when it comes to property investment in the UK while you are on a visa then please get in touch. Our team can help you to make the right decisions and avoid mistakes which could affect your visa.

If you need any further information, get in contact and our team will be more than happy to help you.

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