And thankfully you obtained your UKC so you have no visa headaches to worry about.
Yes! And we just finished DH's USC as well, so we're free and clear of visa and citizenship paperwork. So happy!
Back when we were looking to buy a house I was gobsmacked that fixed mortgages weren't a thing full stop, unless you count anything that's not constantly floating around, which I don't. (I know terms longer than the usual 2 to 5 years have been available, but for the most part it's just not done here.) I guess this was about the time long term fixed was becoming far less popular in the States, too. Growing up, the standard was 20 years. Try mentioning that to a "mortgage advisor" over here and they look at you like you're mad.
I just found out there's also age caps on UK mortgage eligibility! Apparently a 46 year old cant get a 30 year mortgage because they'd be over 75 at term. That's age discrimination! We don't get many laws right in the US, but the Equal Credit Opportunities Act at least covers this one.
And Interest Only mortgages! They're still a thing in the UK! In fact, they seem to be a core part of the standard residential mortgage line-up. We've almost completely done away with those in the USA because they were such a huge part of the mortgage and housing crisis back in 08/09, which we're still reeling from. Totally irresponsible lending practice. My mind boggles.
It's totally bizarre to see how the definition of "acceptable risk" differs between countries.
Something else to consider is that as you've both been out of the UK for so long, you may have to start over in regards to UK credit. Meaning it could be about 3 years before you are even able to qualify for a mortgage (as lender's will want to see a strong work history before lending - even to UKC's).
I always pay cash for cars. It's just easier. Plus whoever buys the car the first time around pays VAT, so the instant you drive off the lot, the value has crashed by 20%. Cars depreciate shockingly quick here - which has worked out for me because I have owned some seriously fun cars here that I could have never afforded in the US!
Thanks for the tips about the cars and credit file. We've been back so long that our credit files been totally decimated (6 years). Looks like we'll probably qualify for an Expat mortgage though - they don't factor UK credit history if there isn't one. Competitive terms too. Thats a new concept to me - just happened to find it when I was trying to find US mortgages that would lend on foreign property (FWIW, I didn't find one!)