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Expat Mortgages – Some Tips and Tricks

If you’re living in the UK as an expat you might be looking at buying a property. Alternatively, perhaps you are living overseas but want to buy a home in the UK. It’s more complicated to buy a home in these situations, but the right advice will help achieve your home-owning goals.

Can I find a Mortgage if I am an expat?

Mortgage lenders will lend to expat borrowers, but they often see expats as a higher risk. You might find you’re offered less competitive mortgage rates for a property in the UK than a local resident.

You’re seen as a higher risk because it’s more difficult for lenders to research your financial background and credit rating. It is also harder to run the anti-fraud checks that are required.

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

Do I need a UK bank account?

It will certainly make it much easier to explore UK expat mortgages if you have a UK bank account. Some banks offer special expat accounts to accept income in foreign currency. That way there is less concern about exchange rates.

If you’re from the UK but living overseas you may already have a British account.

How is my overseas credit rating assessed?

Your credit history is important to a mortgage lender as it helps them understand your past borrowing behaviours and how reliable you will be as a customer. If you’ve lived abroad for a long time, then it might not be possible to find any credit information at all.

Lenders won’t automatically decline your application for this, but it could make the process more difficult.

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

There are a few steps you can take to become a more appealing customer for an expatriate mortgage:

  • If you’re living overseas, make sure you have a UK address for correspondence. This makes things considerably simpler.
  • Put down a bigger deposit – The more you can contribute up front to the mortgage cost, the less exposed the mortgage lender will feel. They will be more likely to take you on if you can reach 20 per cent or more.
  • Build up your UK credit rating – use your UK bank account wisely and never go overdrawn. If you have a British mobile phone contract or utilities, pay all the 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.
  • Prove that you have a job in the UK – iIf you’re already employed on a permanent contract in the UK that will be a big help. If you live overseas but are planning to return home, it will be an advantage to wait until you have a job lined up.

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Can expats get a Buy to Let mortgage?

Britain is a popular market for Buy to Let as there is lots of demand for rental property and the profit margins are good.

Expats can get Buy to Let mortgages, but again you will need a large deposit. Buy to Let mortgages tend to require a 25% downpayment, and if you can raise more it will expand your choice of lenders.

What is the best mortgage type for expats?

There’s no single type of 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 help you choose between fixed rates or variable rates, for example. We can also explore capital repayment and interest only UK mortgages.

The most important consideration is affordability. Make sure you can comfortably pay the monthly repayments as your home may be repossessed if you fall behind.

How can a Mortgage Broker help?

Buying a residential property in the UK can be complex, and seeking the support of a Mortgage Broker will give you the best chance of finding a suitable 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.

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. We have access to mortgages from comprehensive range of lenders across the market, from standard mortgage deals through to products to enable you to release equity.

Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Equity Release refers to home reversion plans and lifetime mortgages. To understand the features and risks, ask for a personalised illustration.

For Equity Release we act as introducers only. 

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