Expat Guide


Most homes in the UK are brick or stone. Most buildings are attached on one or both sides to another home. There are a few new words to learn where house types are concerned.

  • Detatched Not attached to any other homes on any side.
  • Semi-detatched Attached to another home on one side.
  • Terraced Attached on both sides to other houses. ie. Townhouse.
  • Flats Apartments


The cost of housing is varied by region and housing type. In the south and especially in built up more urban areas, housing is more expensive, as in London. The further away from London you get, the less costly it becomes. (This is also reflected in the wages. You get paid more in the London area than elsewhere, because you need it to live there.)

Generally, flats and homes are for let (rent) or for sale. The cost of letting a home will not include any utilities or council tax, and may be furnished or not. Most flat rentals are arranged and managed by estate agents and many are on the web. Search for Lettings and Estate Agents. Be sure if you are going to be renting your residence, to have some written verifiable references with you, just to make things easier. You can expect to pay for all utilites as well as property taxes (council tax), as well as the usual deposits.

Buying a House

Just as complicated here as it is in the US, you make an offer, arrange financing, go through getting the house valued, an attorney (solicitor) does all the paperwork for you (for a fee) and a couple of months later (if you’re lucky), you’re moving in (and paying a mortgage). Many mortgage lenders offer a cash-back option to give you extra cash for your downpayment, but the condition of this is that you are bound to the mortgage for a few years, no re-financing without paying this back.

Shop around for lenders, and be wary of any so-called “independent” financial advisors. The real estate agents have pictures and proptery information in the shop windows, so a person could make a day of walking around the offices to look for properties. Their websites are very good, with good descriptions and interior and exterior photos. Rightmove.co.uk are a massive national listings at the moment for rentals and buying.

You can find historic property prices by region from the Land Registry website, and other information about neighborhoods from Up My Street.

 Here is a fantastic house price heat map from Estate Angels. Visit them for their interactive search and maps.

House Price Heat Map from Estate Angels

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UK Yankee is a resource and community for expatriate Americans living in or planning to move to the UK, established in 1999. Please join the discussions in our friendly expat community.