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Expat Mortgages – Some tips and Tricks

There are two main types of Expat Mortgages: mortgages for non-UK nationals buying a residential property in the UK; and British expats buying here from overseas.

Can I get a mortgage if I am an expat?

Various mortgage lenders will accept expat borrowers but some will see you as a higher risk customer. Living overseas makes it more difficult for lenders to research your financial background. They need to look at your credit score and run their anti-fraud checks.

Expats may therefore be offered higher mortgage rates, making your mortgage repayments more expensive.

Some specialist mortgage providers are more flexible in how they assess possible customers. We can help you seek them out.

Do I need a UK bank account?

Having a UK bank account will certainly make it easier to get an expat mortgage. Some banks offer special expat accounts that let you deposit foreign currency. Getting a UK bank account is an important first step for foreign nationals wanting to buy a home.

People from the UK who are living overseas who already have a British account will also find this helpful when looking for a mortgage.

How is my overseas credit rating assessed?

Lenders will always look at your credit history to understand your past borrowing habits and your likelihood of paying back the loan. But living abroad for a number of years can mean there is a lack of visible credit information.

A lender won’t necessarily decline your application for this reason but it could make the process more difficult. Speak to a Mortgage Broker to find out what the implications might be for your specific situation.

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

The following steps could help you have a successful expatriate mortgage application:

  • Set up a UK address if you’re overseas.
  • Increase your deposit – the more you can put towards the mortgage cost, the lower the risk to the Mortgage Lender. A deposit of 20% of the property price or more should make it easier to get a UK mortgage.
  • Improve your UK credit rating – use your UK bank account wisely. Avoid going overdrawn; pay any phone or utility bills on time and if you can, get a credit card. If you pay off the balance each month for six months, this will make a big difference to your credit score.
  • Have a job in the UK – permanent employment in the UK is a big plus for a mortgage application. If you live overseas but are planning to come home, it is often worth waiting until you have a job lined up.
  • Affordability – use a mortgage calculator to check that you can comfortably meet the monthly repayments.

Can Expats get a Buy to Let mortgage?

The UK is a popular market for Expat Buy to Let because Buy to Let property is easy to find, there’s good demand for rented homes and profit margins are healthy.

Expat Buy to Let mortgages are generally straightforward to find, provided you have at least a 25% deposit. A deposit of 40% or more should give you access to more lenders and lower interest rates.

Mortgage Lenders base the loan amount on the expected rental income. Because of this, you need to carefully research rental rates in the area where you plan to buy.

What is the best mortgage type for expats?

There’s no single type of UK expat mortgage product – the kind of mortgage deals you look at will depend on your situation and your property goals.

Talk to a Mortgage Adviser who will explain all the options. For international mortgage advice, just get in touch and we can explore all the potential routes to achieve your plans.

How can a Mortgage Broker help?

Purchasing property as an expat can be complicated and more involved than for a UK resident. The support of an Expat Mortgage Broker will help you find a suitable deal.

We’ll get to know you, your specific situation and what you wish to achieve. Next, we explore mortgages from numerous banks, building societies and specialist lenders. Once we have found an acceptable mortgage offering, we will support you through the full mortgage application process.

Get in touch with the financial services team at Mortgage Co today for an introductory chat about expat mortgages and how we can help.

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