Moving To The UK? Here Are The Kinds Of Funding You Can Apply For To Help You Set Up A Home

Although Malawians tend to migrate to Zimbabwe and South Africa in much larger numbers there is still a significant amount of movement from the landlocked Southern African country to the very much not land locked United Kingdom. Malawi and the United Kingdom are both commonwealth countries with strong ties. Commonwealth citizens were once automatically entitled to move to the United Kingdom. This was due to the huge deficit in workers that the island nation experienced after the Second World War and contributed to the multicultural society that it currently enjoys. This has now changed, and commonwealth citizens need to apply for visas in much the same way as other citizens. Many commonwealth citizens can also claim to have some form of UK ancestry. During the long years of imperial control many people were born with mixed parentage, which in some cases can count towards a visa appeal. 

If you have any family ties in the United Kingdom or find yourself eligible for a work visa, then your pathway to the UK is far less complex. Once you arrive – or preferably before you arrive – you will undoubtably want to go about setting up a home for yourself and your family if you have one. This can be done by sustainably renting property or purchasing property of your own. Both of these options take a large amount of financial might that some Malawians might find tough to muster up without already having worked in the UK. Luckily, there are several schemes and grants available to recently arrived Malawian immigrants in the United Kingdom. This article is a very brief introduction to some of the main funding streams. It is by no means exhaustive. 

Insulation And Double Glazing

If you are lucky enough to move to the United Kingdom with enough money to afford the deposit on a house, then you will need to ensure that you have a warm and efficient home. Heating a home in the United Kingdom, where the climate is markedly cooler than in Malawi, is not cheap by any means. Installing proper double glazing and insulation is one way of bringing the cost of heating a home down, but these modifications require a considerable one-time investment. Fortunately, the UK government is very keen to promote the installation of effective installation. To this end they have developed several schemes aimed at funding insulation and double glazing. There is no reason why a recent immigrant cannot apply for funding

The savings that double glazing and good insulation provide are large, and the fact that they can be installed with no cost to the homeowner should be enough to convince you to look into options if you have moved into a house with single panes. It might be worth making the decision not to move into a home with single paned windows in the first place. When negotiating with real estate agents or private owners, always ask about what kind of insulating features the house has. If it is poorly insulated it will cost a fortune to heat. 

Other than double glazing there are several features that a house can have that will help it stay warm for reasonable prices. Heat rises, which means that a great deal of heat is lost through the roof of a home. Insulating foam in the loft of a house will ensure that it can be heated for less. Wall cavities should be filled with rock wool or foam in order to make heat transfer through walls less of a problem. Winters in the UK can be harsh, but they do not need to be expensive. 

Affordable Home Ownership Schemes 

Affordable home ownership schemes are available to recent immigrants if they have valid visas. They are perfect for families that want to move into the property market and have a secure space that can be owned indefinitely. They do not suit people that want to move into the buy to let market or who want to begin developing land. 

In recent years, the UK government has put its faith in new build privately funded housing in a bid to solve the housing crisis. This is a contrary approach to the council housing led measures favored by previous UK governments. Developers are being offered generous grants to build new houses that can be made affordable to people that have never owned a house before. As well as incentivizing the developers, the government is attempting to incentivize buyers through the Affordable Home Ownership Schemes. These schemes include a series of loans and grants that can be applied for. The loans or grants must be spent on the purchase of a newly built affordable home. The government is hoping to create a self-perpetuating ecosystem of home development and ownership in an affordable way. Whether this is a sustainable or responsible social scheme will have to be seen, but it is certainly worth taking advantage of if you are looking to become a homeowner. Newly built homes are often very energy efficient and practically designed. Taking out a low interest loan or non-repayable grant from the government to buy one is a smart move by anybody’s standards. 

Help To Buy

Much like the Affordable Home Ownership Schemes, the Help To Buy initiatives created by the UK government were set in place in an attempt to reverse the housing crisis and decrease property ownership disparity. One of the problems that the United Kingdom faces is the huge gap in wealth between people that own property and people that do not. This creates obvious inequality problems that will stretch far into the future and have grave economic and political ramifications. 

There are several Help To Buy initiatives available in the UK at the moment:

Equity Loans

Equity loans are guaranteed loans that help to pay for up to 20 percent (or 40 percent in London) of the price of a home. Until you pay back the loan, the government owns the share of the home that they have paid for. In practice, this just means that you are slowly purchasing your home from the government, which offers far better terms than a for profit lender. 

Mortgage Guarantee Scheme

Launched in April 2021, the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme is an attempt by the government to counter the large deposit minimums set by mortgage lenders. Private lenders typically require prospective homeowners to pay a 10 percent deposit – an amount that will daunt many people. Using the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, prospective homeowners can reduce that deposit to 5 percent so long as the home is worth less than 600 thousand pounds. Individual lenders sign up to the scheme. To find out which lenders are taking part, visit this government website

First Homes

The First Homes scheme is one that will certainly interest new arrivals looking to invest in a home. This scheme is aimed at people with jobs in key areas such as the NHS that have never owned a home. If, as many new migrants to the UK do, you find yourself a job in the health service then you may be eligible for this scheme. The scheme involves the government paying for up to 30 percent of the price for a home, which can often mean savings of tens of thousands of pounds for new homeowners and allow them to enter the property market for the first time. 

Shared Ownership 

Shared ownership schemes allow you to buy a portion of a home and pay rent on the rest of it. The idea is that you will eventually be able to buy out your rental share and gain full control of the property. 

Grant Giving Organizations 

Not everybody arrives in the UK with enough money to participate in one of these schemes. Luckily, there are many grant giving organizations that can help give you a leg up and find a place to stay. The housing charity Shelter offers grants and access to other organizations. Shelter is an organization set up with the express purpose of finding people places to live and making the housing market a fairer place. If you are looking to rent a home and want to know your rights and access grants, then you can do a lot worse than giving Shelter a call as soon as you touch down. 

Universal Credit 

If you have arrived without much money and have a valid visa it is wise to sign up for Universal Credit. Although the payments offered are small, the service also gives you access to work coaching and help navigating the UK employment market. Universal credit is a monthly payment designed to help you with your living costs while you look for work. It is not sufficient to permanently live on, but it is worth applying for as soon as possible if you are low on cash. As somebody who will pay tax when you own a home and find a job, you are entitled to make use of this service.

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