With 1,194,980 properties sold in the UK in 2018, it is clear to see that property is big business in the UK. With most of those homes being sold through estate agencies, it is clear to see why setting up as an estate agent is still a very tempting idea (considering it also as a viable alternative to the standard Tier 2 application to work in the country). So, how do you go about it?
Deciding What Sort Of Agency You Wish To Run
The first decision that you will need to make is what kind of agency you will run. While the majority of agents focus on residential buying and selling, there is big business in other key areas such as lettings and commercial property. This decision is likely to be framed by the areas in which you have experience and knowledge. While it wholly possible to start a real estate agency with no experience, it is likely not a particularly wise manoeuvre.
So how do you choose your specialty? Again knowledge and experience are key. Another option is opening up to all of these possibilities, as many agents do. Whatever option you choose, getting the right help and knowledge is going to be vital to running a successful real estate business.
Getting Your Idea Off Of The Ground
Once you have decided which type of estate agency you wish to run, you will then need to start making progress in that area. The first step will normally be researching your subject. If you have no prior experience (or have never had dealings with the UK’s property market), we would suggest that you take a course with one of the many providers available in the UK. While there is, surprisingly, no requirement to have a qualification in order to become an estate agent in the UK, we still suggest that getting a qualification is a good idea, as not only will this help to ensure that you have a strong grasp of the rules and regulations that govern Britain’s property market, you will also have a useful qualification that can help to support your business plan.
Once you have your qualification (or have decided not to pursue one), you will then need to research the market. This research will help you to decide where you want to set up, the target demographic and also give you a guide as to the costs that are involved in setting up your agency. All of this research will help to form the basis of what is arguably one of the more important issues that you will face getting your business off of the ground: your business plan.
The next step on your journey is creating your business plan. If you are applying for finance (as the vast majority of businesses will), you will need to convince your selected financial institution that you have the knowledge, experience and research to ensure that you are likely to make a strong business. This is normally achieved with the creation of a business plan. Your plan is essentially the blueprint of how your business will go from an idea to a successful business. A strong business plan clearly lays out the research that identifies a market need, and cost projections that will help to convince a financial institution to lend you the capital you need to get your business off of the ground.
Before you select a financial institution, it may be an idea to look at alternative types of funding in order to ensure that you have not only the money that you require to start your business but also the support. While financial institutions can help with financing, many offer little else. By looking at seed funding options, you may find that there are options out there that offer a whole lot more than just money. Options such as seed funds and angel investment are a great alternative to traditional financing, and can also offer benefits such as business mentoring and the creation of beneficial contact networks. Before you settle on just approaching a bank, consider if there are better options out there.
Starting A Real Estate Business As A Visa Holder
If you are looking at making the UK your home, you may be wondering if setting up a real estate business is an ideal option for you. While we have noted that the UK has a busy and buoyant market, you must ensure that your experience and skills are well suited to starting this kind of business – if you have never lived in the UK or participated in real estate agency in the past, coming to the UK to set up a real estate business may not be the best option. This isn’t to say that it is impossible but it will not be easy.
One option, if you have no experience but have an innovative idea, is to try and come to the UK on one of the UK’s two entrepreneurial visa routes: the Start-Up Visa and the Innovator Visa. Aimed at slightly different groups, these two routes are an excellent way for those with an innovative idea to come to the UK. While the UK’s property market is buoyant, it is not exactly innovative, and a new breakthrough idea could gain traction.
Perhaps you do not have an innovative idea and want to start more of a traditional real estate business. If this is the case, you could come to the UK on a Tier 1 Investor Visa. This visa allows those with investable assets of more than £2m to come to the UK in order to invest in a going concern. While one of the main issues with this visa is that you cannot use property as an investment vehicle, you would be able to invest in a business that facilitates the buying, selling and letting of property. Your investment has to be either loan capital or share purchase, but this is a great way for you to be involved in the UK’s property market and use it as a way to secure your stay in the UK.
The UK has a buoyant property market that offers options for those who wish to come to the UK in order to invest. As well as having plenty of opportunity, there are also excellent visa options for those who wish to come to the UK to participate in the market. No matter where you are in terms of expertise, there is a way into the market for anyone who is prepared to work hard and invest.
So, if you’re looking to start a real estate business in the UK (or you have any other immigration-related enquiry) then do not hesitate to get in touch with our expert team of immigration lawyers, who will be more than happy to assist you on your journey forward.