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Types of Property in UK

When looking for a place in the UK, you will find many different types of property. What are the differences?

Let’s see the differences between the different types of property in the UK:

1. Flat / Apartment:

These types of houses are most popular in urban areas such as London and Birmingham. This is because they save a lot of space and provide accommodation for many people in one building. This type of property is great for smaller families, single people, or couples.

Advantages: Usually near the centre of the city, near convenient transportation, factored
Disadvantages: The space is relatively small, there is usually no garden, no garage, sometimes one or two parking spaces are provided, or you can apply for a resident parking permit from the Council if you are on a public road.

2. Converted Flats conversion unit:

It is usually an older large house. In the past, a whole family would live here. Later, it was rebuilt into different units, ranging from two units to multiple units. Because it was originally built for the whole family, the sound insulation effect is not as good as the new-style apartment.

Advantages: usually located in the centre of the city
Disadvantages: the indoor space is relatively small, the sound insulation is relatively poor, and the degree of privacy is low

3. Detached House:

The detached house, as the name, is the whole building for a single family, the whole building is not connected with other buildings. Therefore, this type of house has higher privacy, usually with a front garden, and a rear garden with a garage and private road. It usually starts from 3 bedrooms.
Advantages: high privacy, large space
Disadvantages: relatively expensive

4. Semi-Detach house:

Compared with semi-detached houses and detached houses, the biggest difference is that the entire building is divided into two halves in the middle, with one family on each side. The privacy is not as good as that of a detached house, and the price is cheaper than that of a detached house.
Advantages: Compared with townhouses, privacy is higher, and the price is lower detach houses
Disadvantages: only one wall away from the neighbouring house

5. Terraced Houses:

Terraced House, as the name suggests, is a whole row of houses connected. This type of house is very popular in the UK, especially in densely populated cities. This type of row house can save a lot of space, usually with a back garden, and usually, there is no garden in front of the house or only a small space.
Advantages: Relatively low price
Disadvantages: There is another household on the left and right sides, the privacy is relatively low, there is no room for expansion, no garage, and usually can only be parked outside the house

6. End of Terraced House:

From the name, it can be estimated that the first and last two households of a row of row houses are similar to semi-detached houses, only one side is connected to another household, usually 2 to 3 bedrooms.
Advantages: the price is lower than the semi-detached house, but the privacy is higher than the townhouse
Disadvantages: no garage, usually only parked outside the house

7. Townhouse :

The townhouse usually has three floors or more. Compared with Terraced House, space is a bit larger. There will be parking spaces in part of the ground floor and a back garden.
Advantages: The indoor area is larger than the Terraced House, and the price is lower than that of a semi-detached house
Disadvantages: Because there are three or more layers, it often goes up and down

8. Cottage:

Cottages often appear in rural areas. On farms and villages. The hut is a small house, usually quite old-fashioned. This type of house can have one or two floors, and the second floor is usually smaller than the ground. The walls of this type of house are very thick and strong, which can withstand the cold in winter. Besides, this type of house can often be used as a holiday/summer residence for families who wish to spend their time in a more rural, more natural area (away from busy cities).
Advantages: stay away from the hustle and bustle and kiss nature
Disadvantages: remote location

9. Bungalows:

This type of house is very unique. This is a single-story house, which is also separated from other houses. Due to the lack of the second or third floor, it is a short-looking house. However, bungalows sometimes have one or two rooms on the “roof”. The origin of the word “bungalow” comes from the word “baṅglā”. This is because the bungalows were originally built for Europeans who settled in Bangladesh in the 17th century.
Nowadays, many retirees choose to move to Bungalows because there is only a single floor, which makes it convenient for the elderly to not have to go up and down the stairs. However, the price of Bungalows will not be cheaper, because the land area occupied by Bungalows is calculated based on the same three-bedroom house. , It is bigger than a detached house.
Advantages: It occupies a large area and is convenient for the elderly to live in
Disadvantages: more expensive

10. Mansions:

Luxury homes are the largest of all housing categories in the UK and the most expensive of all houses. A typical mansion consists of multiple large rooms, multiple floors, and a huge garden consisting of several acres of land. In addition to the large garden, there will be a swimming pool.

Advantages: full of style
Disadvantages: the most expensive

In addition to the above 10 types, there are also student dormitories for students, and Council Houses developed and leased by the government to low-income people. When looking for a house in the UK, you must first think about what type of house you are looking for to find your ideal home.

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How to buy Car Insurance

In the UK, cars are a necessity unless you live in Big City. When you buy a car in the UK, you need to ensure it before you can legally drive it on the road. Nowadays, buying car insurance is very convenient. The whole process is processed online and it will take effect immediately after payment or alternatively you can choose a date on when your insurance will start.

How to buy a car in the UK, please click here!
How to exchange a non-UK license plate for a UK license plate, please click here!

When buying Car insurance, there are a few things to consider:

  • Consider the Car Insurance covering
    • Third-party only: This only covers damage you’ve caused to other vehicles. Damage to your own car is not covered.
    • Third-party, fire, and theft: This is the same as above but you are also covered if your car is stolen, or damaged by fire.
    • Comprehensive: You’re covered for everything above and damage to your own car.
  • UK driving license or an international driver’s license
  • How much NCB do you have? (No Claim Bonus is a discount on your insurance premium if a vehicle owner has not made any claim during the term of the motor insurance policy. For each year you’ve not made a claim, your discount increases. Should you make a claim, you will lose all your NCB unless it’s protected.)
  • Personal use, such as leisure, daily work, or commercial use
  • Parking at night, such as a garage, parking lot, private road, roadside, etc.
  • How many named drivers (A named driver is someone who is insured to drive a vehicle in which another person does most of the driving. When driving that vehicle, the named driver will have the same level of cover as the main driver.)

Each of the above items will affect the premium of car insurance, such as use the UK driving license will have a lower car insurance premium; if you have NCB, the car insurance premium will also be lower, when you park at the parking lot/private road, will have cheaper car insurance premium than the roadside. In addition, the value of the car, the age of the driver, the number of years to receive the license plate also will affect the car insurance premium.

Before buying a car, it is recommended you check the cost of insuring it first so that you aren’t surprised by the cost.
The following websites can compare the premiums of different auto insurance companies


The following are the 10 auto insurance companies with the highest market share in the UK in 2019.

Source: https://www.nimblefins.co.uk/largest-car-insurance-companies

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How to buy a car in UK

A car is a necessity to live in the UK. Unless you live in a big city, you have to drive even to buy a bottle of milk.

To buy a car in the UK, first of all, you must have a driving license. Whether it is an international driving license or a full UK driving license, you can buy a car and buy car insurance. However, under the same background, it is definitely cheaper to buy insurance with a Full UK Driving license than with an international driving license. If possible, you should change to a UK Driving license before purchasing a car to reduce your insurance costs.

For how to exchange a non-UK license plate for a British license plate, please click here.

The first step in purchasing a car is to decide to purchase a new car or a used car. If you are buying a new car, you need to go to the brand retail showroom where you’ll be able to choose options and make your order.

If you are buying a used car, there are a number of options:

Approved used car dealer (checked and sold by the brand)

  • Advantages: Check and approved by the brand. Will come with a warranty
  • Disadvantages: More expensive

Used car dealer

  • Advantages: Choice of different brands and models
  • Disadvantages: Requires careful research for reliable dealers

Private car owner

  • Advantages: Deal directly with the car owner, potentially best price
  • Disadvantages: No guarantee. If you are not familiar with the car, it is difficult to know the actual condition of the car

The following is the Approved Used Car web page of their respective brands:

BMW: https://usedcars.bmw.co.uk/
Mercedes-Benz https://www.mercedes-benzretailgroup.co.uk/mercedes-benz-cars/used-cars/
Toyota: https://www.toyota.co.uk/used-cars
Ford: https://www.ford.co.uk/shop/price-and-locate/approved-used/approved-used-cars
Volks Wagen https://www.volkswagen.co.uk/used-cars
KIA: https://www.kia.com/uk/used-cars/about-approved-used-cars/
Mazda: https://www.mazda.co.uk/used-cars/
Nissan: https://usedcars.nissan.co.uk/en/home
Hyundai: http://used.hyundai.co.uk/home
Audi: https://www.audi.co.uk/approved-used-audi.html
Suzuki: https://ucl.suzuki.co.uk/cars/used
Lexus: https://www.lexus.co.uk/pre-owned/
Honda: https://usedcars.honda.co.uk/en/home

Purchase approved used car process:

  • After finding the car you like on an approved car website, you can request more information online, or call directly to make an appointment to see the car.
  • Compare the equipment of the car and see if the price is satisfactory
  • You can request a test drive (please bring your driving license)
  • Before buying the car, make sure to check if any repairs/maintenance will be needed
  • Pay a deposit
  • Arrange a pick-up date
  • Buy car insurance
  • Please check the car carefully on the pick-up day, especially parts that need to be repaired
  • Pay the balance of the car, and pay the Road Tax

Note: Cars in the UK need to be checked for safety every year (unless the car is less than 3 years old). This check is called an MOT and it is valid for 12 months from the date the check is carried out. During the check, if the car fails any safety requirements (e.g. wheels have lost their treads, brakes are worn, etc.) you will fail the test. In order to pass, you will need to pay for any maintenance/repairs to make the vehicle safe and roadworthy again. It is illegal to drive with an expired or failed MOT so make sure it isn’t about to expire on your car or you could be faced with an expensive maintenance/repair bill.

Buying a car from a dealer is similar to the above. Compared with the approved used car, there is usually no repair or maintenance and there will be a warranty period.

Useful information for driving in the UK:

MOT: Cars are routinely inspected every year, starting after 3 years for new cars, after that, an MOT is required every year

Road Tax: A tax paid to the government

vehicle log book (V5C): Vehicle logbook, registered vehicle data, if there are any changes, such as moving, please notify DVLA

DVLA: Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

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What is a School Catchment Area?

Many people will study which city to settle in before immigrating. In addition to the place of work, one of the factors considered by many families is the school rating and the catchment area of that school.

A Catchment Area in the UK refers to the admission distance of the school. This means that residents in this area can apply to that school. The catchment area of a school is the straight-line distance from the school’s to an applicant’s residence. Because the number of applicants is different every year, the straight-line distance of the school’s admission varies from year to year. A lot of people move near the school to ensure their child can get an offer from their school of choice.

According to the previous two articles on applying for admission and allocation (linked below), you will know that the admission rules of British schools are that the closer to the school you live, the more likely it will be to be accepted and because the population density is relatively low in UK, there are usually not many primary schools near a residential area, so there may not be many primary schools you can choose from. Even if there are many good primary schools or secondary schools in your area, you can only choose the 3-4 schools closest to your home.

How to Apply for State School (Primary School & Secondary School)

How to Apply State School (In-Year Application for Primary School & Secondary School)

If the school is farther away, will you always be rejected?

It depends on how many children enrol in each school. If the school is popular, the council will make offers to children who live closer to the school. If you live far away, it will be harder to get an offer.

Take Wilmington in the city of Kent, as an example. Although there are many primary schools in Wilmington, the schools are scattered.

The picture below shows the Catchment Area of ​​Wilmington Primary School. You must live in a green circle before you can apply to this school. There are only 4 primary schools near this green circle, so if you live to the west of Wilmington Primary School, you can also choose three other primary schools a little bit west (as well as Wilmington Primary School).

If you live in the east of Wilmington Primary School, there are only two primary schools to choose from. Therefore, whether there are many good schools in a county or a city with many good schools, the most important factor is whether they are in your catchment area. As long as the nearest school is good, the number of schools isn’t necessarily important.

How about Secondary school?

The admission distance in secondary schools will be a bit larger but the number of schools will be fewer.

Similarly for Wilmington, when you go from primary school to secondary school, the school you can choose is probably the school in the green circle in the picture. However, four of them are Grammar Schools, one is a sixth form high school, so there are only two state schools that can be selected.

Are Grammar Schools good?

Most Grammar Schools had a higher exams result, but students need to take the 11+ ( 11+ is the exam for year 6 students) at the beginning of Year 6 and have a high enough score to enter Grammar School. The rest of the students are based on the admission standards of the school, which is also based on the straight-line distance from your home to school.

If the children are already Secondary school students when they arrive in the UK, it can be difficult to make an in-year application due to long waiting lists.

Moreover, not every city has a Grammar School. For those cities that don’t have a Grammar School, you will be able to choose from state schools or private schools.

All in all, because state and some grammar schools use distance as a condition for enrolment, applicants can only choose schools near where they live.

The above school admissions straight-line distance method is for children who apply for admission according to the normal procedures. If children need to make in-year applications, the requirement is that the school of choice must have places available, otherwise, there is no way to accommodate additional students even if they live next door.

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How to Rent a house in UK

Once you’ve decided to move to the UK, the first thing you need to look at is which city/town you will want to settle in. After that, you have to consider whether to buy or rent a house.

If you decide to rent a house, you can see which houses are available in your chosen residential area. In the UK, there are two major real estate websites, Rightmove and Zoopla.

Let’s take Rightmove as an example. If you like Kingston Station in London, enter “Kingston Station” in Rightmove, and then select “To rent”

Then, enter advanced information, such as:

How many miles is the distance between the rental listing and Kingston Station
Rental-price range
Number of rooms
Property Type
The date that the property was added to Rightmove

Let’s take a 2-3 bedroom unit as a reference.

Select the number of bedrooms as 2-3, and then click “Find Properties”

This will list the 2-3 bedroom units within 1 Mile near Kingston Station

You can choose from the newest to the oldest, the least expensive to the most expensive, or the most expensive to the least expensive.

If you like anything you see, just click to view detailed information

For example, this two-bedroom flat on Park Road has a monthly rent of £1,350.

On the right, you’ll find the contact information of the real estate company.

Below the picture, there are other photos inside the house. Due to the epidemic, most estate agents also have video tours (also called virtual tours).

Underneath the photos is some other information about the property, such as:

  • When can this unit be rented
  • Will it have any furniture
  • When the property was added to Rightmove
  • Other selling points
  • Other details

In addition to the above information, there is also school information that parents may be interested in.

The “School Checker” will list schools and basic information near the property.

If you are interested in the property, you can contact the estate agent to request a viewing via the contact form.

After sending your personal information, you can wait for the agent to reply, or you can call the agent directly.

When looking at the house, pay attention to the following points:

  • Parking
  • Phone and Internet connections
  • Kitchen equipment
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Storage space
  • Rental fees

As well as the interior of the property, you should check the facilities around the area, particularly:

  • The surrounding environment
  • Convenience stores
  • Schools
  • Parks and other facilities

If you are interested in renting after looking at the property, you should let the estate agent know that you are interested in renting.

The following is the approximate process of renting a house (each property may have a little discrepancy, roughly as follows):

  1. The tenant expresses interest in renting the house, and the estate agent informs the owner
  2. The landlord agrees
  3. You may be asked for a Holding Fee to have the property removed from website listings (only do this if you’re sure you want the property). If the landlord decides not to rent to you, you should receive this fee back but if you decide not to rent the property, the agent or landlord may keep it. The fee should not be any more than 1 week’s worth of rent.
  4. Tenants have to complete a series of Reference Checks, such as proof of work, proof of former landlord, personal identity verification, etc. (If you first arrive in the UK without proof of work, or proof of former landlord, you may be refused rent, or be asked to pay half, to one year of rent up-front. It is advisable to explain to the real estate that it is not possible to provide proof of work before renting the house)
  5. After the above Reference Check is passed, the estate agent will prepare a Tenancy Agreement (make sure you read it carefully)
  6. If everything on the lease is okay, the estate agent will ask for a deposit plus rent
  7. Deposit is usually between 1 to 2 months rent
  8. You shouldn’t be asked to pay any other fees – only the deposit, rent (and potentially a Holding Fee).
  9. The deposit needs to be lodged in a tenancy deposit scheme to safeguard the deposit from the landlord and to ensure that any damage left by the tenant will be paid for
  10. Sign the Tenancy Agreement, get the key and an inventory report
  11. Check for any problems in the new property and compare it with the inventory report. If there are any problems, such as stains on walls, damage to anything, etc. but are not listed in the inventory, inform the agent with photographic proof immediately.

Good luck with finding your new home!