Mortgages for Expats – How to find a good deal

Mortgages for expats are aimed at non-British nationals buying a UK home – or British expats buying from overseas. While these situations are a little outside the norm, a good broker can usually help you achieve your home-owning goals.

Can I find a mortgage if I am an expat?

Mortgage lenders do accept expat borrowers, but they sometimes see you as a higher risk. 

It’s often more difficult for lenders to research an expat’s financial background and credit rating, and run required anti-fraud checks. This could mean you’re offered higher mortgage rates, which may mean the repayments on your mortgage are more expensive.

Some specialist mortgage providers are more flexible in how they assess applicants, and it can often help to seek these out. 

Do I need a UK bank account? 

It’s much easier to explore UK expat mortgages if you have a UK bank account, and some banks offer special expat accounts that accept income in foreign currency. Having this kind of account addresses any concerns about exchange rates in assessing your income. 

If you’re from the UK but living overseas you may already have a British account, which will be helpful in seeking out mortgage products. 

How is my overseas credit rating assessed?

Your credit history is important to a mortgage lender because it helps them understand your past borrowing habits and how reliable you will be in paying back the loan. If you’ve lived abroad for a long time, you might not have any visible credit information. 

That doesn’t mean a lender will decline your application, but it could make the process more challenging. A mortgage broker will explore the relevant options with you.

How can I improve my chances of getting an expat mortgage? 

The following actions can help your expat mortgage application:

  • Set up a UK address – If you’re living overseas, having a British address for correspondence makes things a good deal simpler.
  • Put down a bigger deposit – The more you can contribute in cash towards the mortgage cost, the smaller the risk to the mortgage lender. A deposit of 20 per cent or more will be very helpful in securing a loan.
  • Build up your UK credit rating – use your UK bank account wisely and avoid going overdrawn. Ensure you pay any UK phone or utility bills on time. If possible, get a credit card and pay off the balance each month; even a six month credit history can make a big difference.
  • Have a job in the UK – being employed on a permanent contract in the UK is a big positive. If you live overseas but are planning to return home, it could be worth waiting until you have a job lined up.
  • Be clear about affordability – use a mortgage calculator to check that you can comfortably accommodate the monthly repayments.

Can expats get a Buy to Let mortgage?

Britain is popular for Expat Buy to Let as there is strong demand for rental property and profit margins are good. 

Expat Buy to Let mortgages are fairly common, and not difficult to get as long as you have at least a 25% deposit. Putting down 40% or more will give you access to more lenders and lower interest rates. 

You will also need to explore typical rent values for Buy to Let properties, as mortgage lenders base the mortgage loan amount on the expected rental income.

What is the best mortgage type for expats? 

There’s no single type of residential mortgage product for the expat market – the kind of mortgage deals you look at will depend on your situation and what you’re looking to achieve. 

A mortgage adviser will talk you through your options. We’ll explore international mortgage options that most closely match your needs.

How can a Mortgage Broker help?

Buying a residential UK property as an expat can be complex, and seeking the support of an expat  mortgage broker will help you find a suitable and competitive deal. 

We’ll talk through your specific situation and plans for purchasing a property. Then we explore the options across banks, building societies and specialist lenders. Once we have secured a mortgage offer we will support you through the full mortgage application process.

Contact us to see how we can help you.

We are registered in England as financial services advisors, so get in touch today for an introductory chat about expat mortgages and how we can help. Before you make any commitment to a financial services provider, do check that they are listed on the Financial Services Register, to protect you against unfair practice.

YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate most Buy to Let Mortgages.

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