Expat Mortgages – a guide to buying property in the UK
Residential and Buy to Let mortgages for UK expats living abroad
Whether you’re a UK foreign national living outside the UK, or soon to be an expat making preparations to move abroad, there may be a number of reasons why you want to buy or remortgage a property in the UK.
You may want to keep a foothold in the UK if you plan to return to live in the UK at some point in the future. Or you may be thinking about investing in a buy to let (BTL) property to provide an additional income for you and your family while maintaining your position on the UK property ladder.
Another reason may be that you are buying a property for a member of your family to live in, such as a parent, brother, sister, or an adult son or daughter returning to live in the UK.
If you already own buy-to-let properties in the UK, you may be looking for a mortgage that will enable you to release some equity. Or you may be moving overseas soon and want to remortgage a residential property on a buy to let basis.
Whatever your reason, unless you own the property outright, you will need to apply for a UK expat mortgage. Applying for and succeeding in getting the right expatriate mortgage will help you turn your plans into reality.
Mortgages for Expats living overseas
As an expat, you probably want to know the answers to the following questions before you start looking for a mortgage lender:
Can I get a mortgage in the UK if I am an expat?
What type of mortgage is right for a UK expat?
- Can I get a BTL mortgage as an expat?
- Do I need to open a UK bank account?
- How will my overseas income and credit rating be assessed?
Can I get a Mortgage in the UK if I’m an Expat?
The answer, in short, is yes! Mortgages are available to foreign nationals living abroad and there are a wide range of mortgage lenders we have access to that specialise in mortgages for UK expats.
Getting the go-ahead on an expat mortgage does depend on how well you match the mortgage provider’s lending criteria. All expat mortgage lenders will want to see proof of income and your credit history.
Some lending criteria may apply based on the exchange rates of the country you are living in or moving to.
Proving your overseas income and credit rating
Before you start the ball rolling, compiling some of the basic information you’ll need to show a potential mortgage lender will give you a head start. This can include copies of your most recent payslips, your last three bank statements, your contract of employment and recent utility bills for proof of address.
Being able to show a solid UK credit history is important. Having a UK credit card registered at a UK address may also give you access to a wider range of mortgages.
What type of mortgage is best for an Expat?
UK expats can apply for both residential and buy to let (BTL) mortgages. If you’re applying for a residential mortgage for a property you, or a member of your family intend to live in, the cost of living abroad and foreign currency exchange rates may be taken into consideration.
Are you looking for an interest only or repayment mortgage? Interest only mortgage payments are lower which may help you in the short term. Monthly payments on repayment mortgages, however, are higher, although they have an advantage longer term.
The right type of interest rate is another important consideration. Fixed rate mortgages offer ‘stability’ as you pay the same amount each month for the duration of the fixed term.
Tracker, discount and variable rates will fluctuate up or down depending on the lender and the Bank of England interest rate. However, one of these may help you take advantage of current lower interest rates.
We can help you choose which type of mortgage is right for you, taking your individual circumstances as a UK expat and your future plans into consideration.
BTL – Buy to Let Mortgages for Expats
UK foreign nationals living abroad purchase buy-to-let properties in the UK for a number of reasons.
You may wish to remortgage a residential property as a BTL because you’re about to leave the UK, or you may already live abroad, own a buy to let property (or properties) and want to remortgage them to release some equity.
Most buy to let mortgages are interest only, however you can choose a repayment option if that works better for you, especially if you plan to live in the property at some point in the future and pay off some of the capital. In the short term, interest only mortgages can reduce the immediate and ongoing expense of owning a buy to let property, enabling you as the landlord to retain the lion’s share of the rental income.
Do I need a UK bank account to apply for an Expat Mortgage?
As an expat looking for a UK mortgage, you’re probably wondering whether you should open an account with a UK bank or building society registered in the UK. However you might be surprised to find that UK expats do not need a UK based bank account to secure a residential or buy to let mortgage in the UK. While you think it might give you an advantage as an expat, it may be a hindrance, as a UK bank will expect you to provide a UK residential address to send correspondence to.
It’s worth considering other banking options such as offshore banks or specialist expat banks designed specifically for foreign nationals who live and work abroad.
Whether you live in Hong Kong, Australia or the United States, expat banks operate round the clock and around the globe so you can access support wherever you are in the world and at whatever time suits you. They also enable you to receive and transfer money in a number of different currencies.
It may also be worth looking at one of the new ‘Challenger’ banks which could offer greater flexibility and lower charges for expats.
We hope we’ve answered most of your questions. You may need answers to more specific questions as an expat looking for a mortgage or remortgage deal, if you do, just call or fill in our simple contact form and we’ll be happy to answer them for you.
Always choose a mortgage broker that is limited, authorised and regulated by the UK financial conduct authority.
Why Use The Mortgage Broker (London) Ltd?
At The Mortgage Broker (London) Ltd, it’s our vision to become the UK’s most trusted and respected mortgage broker. The only way for us to achieve this is by providing straightforward and transparent advice to every one of our clients.
From your first call to your last, we put customer service first before all else so you can be confident in getting expert mortgage advice.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances. The fee is up to 2% maximum of the loan amount.