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Buy To Let Mortgages for Expats

Buy To Let Mortgages for Expats

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Expats living abroad often look at buy-to-let property options as an investment, a commercial project, or as a holiday home.

However, it can be tricky to find expat mortgages if you're not resident in the UK.

Buy to let lending itself is a slightly more complex sector than residential mortgages, and therefore finding a buy to let mortgage UK expat relevant requires an experienced broker to steer you through.

Revolution Brokers work with thousands of expats living abroad and seeking a mortgage in the UK, whether you hold British citizenship but live elsewhere or are a foreign national looking for expat buy to let mortgages.

There are restrictions and complications around borrowing in the UK while residing abroad, so we have created the below guideline to help.

In short, a lender will have a tough time verifying your income or running their eligibility checks if you're not on the UK electoral roll and don't have a British credit history.

Therefore, you must seek professional advice to ensure you select the appropriate lenders offering expat mortgages UK and at competitive interest rates!

Read on for more information about the best expat mortgages on the UK market, or give us a call on 0330 304 3040, or email at info@revolutionbrokers.co.uk for independent advice from the experts in expat buy to let mortgages UK.

The following topics are covered below:

Can I Get a UK Mortgage as an Expat?

How to Find UK Buy to Let Mortgages for Expats?

Apply Through an Expert Broker in Expat Mortgages UK

Get Advice on Evidencing Your Income for Expat Buy to Let Mortgages UK

Check the General Eligibility Criteria

How Can I Improve My Credit Report to Qualify for UK Buy to Let Mortgages for Expats?

Can I Get Expat Buy to Let Mortgages With Adverse Credit?

Can I Get a UK Mortgage as an Expat on an Interest-Only BTL Basis?

What Are the Income Requirements on Expat Buy to Let Mortgages?

What Deposit Do I Need for Expat Mortgages UK?

Do I Need a Higher Deposit as a New Landlord to Get the Best Expat Mortgages?

Forms of deposit for an expat BTL mortgage

Tips for Applying for UK Buy to Let Mortgages for Expats

How Revolutions Brokers Can Help With Expat Buy to Let Mortgages

Can I Get a UK Mortgage as an Expat?

If you are a UK expat living abroad, you can obtain a buy-to-let mortgage, although the application will be somewhat different from residential applicants.

Lenders need to work harder to establish your affordability if you live outside of the UK. There are also higher risks associated with their lending, and you may have less readily available credit information to provide them with.

Mainstream banks don't tend to offer expat buy to let mortgages UK-based, so it's almost always necessary to use a niche lender specialising in this form of property financing.

Revolution Brokers work with expats looking for UK mortgages for any number of purposes. Our specialist lenders are experienced in this type of lending and can extend competitive offers.

Many of the best expat mortgages are only available through broker-exclusive deals and require extensive background checks to mitigate the lender's risk.

Give us a call if you're interested in UK buy to let mortgages for expats, and we'll ensure you get the mortgage borrowing you need at a great rate - without the stress!

How to Find UK Buy to Let Mortgages for Expats?

Some expats retain their UK property or expand their property portfolio and conduct a rental business as a landlord from their base overseas.

It isn't impossible to start a new rental business from abroad or manage an existing property across borders.

However, if you decide to move and have an existing buy to let properties, you will need to remortgage through a buy to let mortgage UK expat specific. That is because a current lender is unlikely to offer the same terms once you're not resident in Britain.

Here are a few tips that will help you secure a buy-to-let mortgage as an overseas landlord:

Apply Through an Expert Broker in Expat Mortgages UK

A broker has access to the full spectrum of the UK market and can walk you through all of the stages of your mortgage application, whether you are an experienced investor or a first-time buyer.

Using a UK broker is even more essential if you are based abroad, as this makes the search process quicker and more straightforward with a local broker on the ground to do the legwork for you.

You will also find this a convenient way to save time by avoiding applying to unsuitable lenders. A broker will help you secure competitive interest rates by comparing all of the rates on the market.

Get Advice on Evidencing Your Income for Expat Buy to Let Mortgages UK

One of the most common reasons lenders find it difficult to lend to expats is that they need to have evidence of your income to complete an affordability assessment.

If you are self-employed, whether in the UK or overseas, you will need to have copies of your accounts available. If you run an overseas business, an accountant with an internationally accepted accreditation can help with this.

The trick is to make sure your application contains all the information the lender needs to approve an application for an expat buy to let mortgage UK applicant.

The fewer questions they have, the more likely the underwriter is to approve your expat mortgage.

Give us a call if you need any tips and advice structuring your application to ensure you have access to the best expat buy to let mortgages UK.

Check the General Eligibility Criteria

As well as criteria specific to expat buy to let mortgages UK, your lender will still need to run through other checks.

That means your circumstances will dictate which mortgage provider is right for you. For example, some lenders will struggle to accept an application that ends when the applicant is over the age of 70.

You can avoid this issue by considering your age when the loan term will end and adjusting your mortgage application to finish before this date.

Alternatively, Revolution can advise on a range of potential mortgage lenders and products specifically designed for people approaching or above retirement age, offering expat mortgages.

There are also specialist lenders who exclusively provide later-life borrowing and may be more suitable than a general mortgage provider with a few expat mortgages UK products.

If this applies, give Revolution Brokers a call, and we will advise on the most suitable mortgage lenders for you.

How Can I Improve My Credit Report to Qualify for UK Buy to Let Mortgages for Expats?

Your credit file is an essential factor since a lender will need to establish whether you are creditworthy.

All UK lenders need to assess the affordability of a mortgage. Still, they'll also want assurances that applicants for expat buy to let mortgages haven't been in severe credit problems before.

A history of repossessions or bankruptcy, for example, make it significantly harder to find a mortgage since the lender will need to consider the risk that a similar scenario will arise.

It's also very difficult for a lender to pursue debts or begin the legal repossession process if the property is owned through a buy to let mortgage UK expat living overseas. Therefore, the underwriter will want more credit information to verify the application is acceptable.

Demonstrating your credit history can be tricky for expats since you are unlikely to have had any UK finance history for some time.

For example, if you have a UK credit card, this can help prospective lenders assess your good standing with credit providers.

If you haven't lived in the UK for a few years, you can start to build up a track record of healthy credit by taking out a credit card with a small balance and ensuring you pay back the total in good time.

While it does cost a little more to pay for items with a credit card in an alternative currency, having a credit report in the UK could significantly impact the interest rates you can achieve on expat buy to let mortgages UK.

Can I Get Expat Buy to Let Mortgages With Adverse Credit?

While fewer lenders will consider an expat buy-to-let mortgage application from somebody with an adverse credit file, there are still lenders who will be happy to lend.

This lending is highly specialist, so it's crucial to work with a professional broker with plenty of experience negotiating UK buy to let mortgages for expats.

The likelihood of approval all depends on the property's value, your security and the amount of deposit you can offer.

There are also several strategies to help lower the risk and make a lender more likely to consider your application, for example:

  • Offering a higher deposit to reduce the Loan to Value ratio.
  • Providing additional security in addition to the property - ideally a UK asset.
  • Contextual information demonstrating the reason for your credit issues was a one-off.

Remember that credit issues remain in your file for six years, so even some late payments or a default five years ago will still crop up in the application for a buy to let mortgage UK expat.

It's always better to be proactive in addressing the issue and structuring your application to acknowledge that the lender might be reluctant to lend because of credit problems in the past.

Often, if you can show that these are unlikely to recur - for example, you had some credit issues due to redundancy and are now in stable employment - the lender may take a much more flexible view.

If you are looking to invest in a UK property as an expat and have a bad credit rating, give Revolution Brokers a call on 0330 304 3040, and we will help find the best way forward.

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Can I Get a UK Mortgage as an Expat on an Interest-Only BTL Basis?

It is highly unusual for an expat buy-to-let mortgage to be issued on an interest-only basis.

This likelihood is because an expat mortgage is already riskier than most other types of mortgage, and your lender might find that the risk profile on an interest-only basis is too high.

As an illustration:

  • A lender approves a buy to let mortgage UK expat for £90,000 with a 10% deposit, paid back interest-only.
  • After three years, the borrower becomes bankrupt, and the lender is in a repossession scenario.
  • They haven't received any repayments against the £90,000 they have loaned and need to try and recoup this by selling the property.
  • If that property has fallen in market value by 10% in the last three years, the lender will undoubtedly make a loss.
  • Should they sell the property for the full £100,000, they still may incur a loss when considering the legal and administrative costs of repossessing ownership of a property, putting it on the market, and going through the process of recording a sale and handover of title deeds.

This illustration shows why the risks are so high - although, if you were to offer a sizable deposit and require a small mortgage for the balance of the purchase, a specialist lender might consider offering an expat mortgage.

There can be circumstances where lenders will agree to an interest-only buy to let mortgage UK expat. However, it will depend on having an excellent credit rating and a high-value deposit.

Any other risks, such as poor credit, being close to retirement, or a non-standard property, would make it extremely unlikely you'd find an interest-only deal.

What Are the Income Requirements on Expat Buy to Let Mortgages?

One of the common reasons that expat BTL mortgage applications are rejected is that it can be challenging to demonstrate affordability through income.

The minimum annual salary for an expat buy-to-let mortgage is usually at least £25,000.

Some lenders will only consider UK income in their affordability assessment - that must be paid into a UK bank account. Others are experienced in expat mortgages and are happy to consider income earned overseas.

Therefore, if you earn a salary overseas and have no income streams in the UK, your pool of potential lenders immediately drops.

Many expat buy-to-let mortgage lenders will have criteria showing which countries they will consider applications from expat residents and which currencies of income they will find relevant.

It's essential you work with an independent broker to verify whether your income will be considered in your expat mortgages applications.

Revolution can also recommend lenders who will include income from your current home nation in their affordability calculations.

Your choice of mortgage provider is also dependent on where you live, how much you earn, and in what currency.

What Deposit Do I Need for Expat Mortgages UK?

The deposit you require will depend on your lender, how much you wish to borrow, and the property's value.

Typically, you will need a 25% deposit if you already own a UK property, but the lender will also take a charge against the second property.

If you have an extensive property portfolio, this makes it easier to achieve lending. There is more security available, the LTV rate is often lower, and the interest rates are more favourable.

Should you be looking for an expat mortgage and not have any UK property, you might be asked to pay a deposit starting at 35% of the value of your new investment property.

 

Do I Need a Higher Deposit as a New Landlord to Get the Best Expat Mortgages?

Quite possibly, yes. If you are an established and experienced landlord, this poses a less risky proposition for a lender.

If you are a new expat landlord, other factors will be considered, such as the growth of the rental market and the projected income achievable from your new property investment.

New expat landlords looking for a UK buy-to-let mortgage are strongly advised to work with a broker to ensure you can obtain the lending you need.

Forms of deposit for an expat BTL mortgage

Most lenders will require a deposit payable from your savings, or released from other equity, to consider your application.

Other lenders will accept applications where the deposit is gifted; this is where the deposit is paid by a third party - usually a family member.

Common sources of deposit include:

  • Equity in an existing property.
  • Sale proceeds of another property.
  • Investments - in the UK or overseas.
  • Savings - depending on the country and the currency.

Tips for Applying for UK Buy to Let Mortgages for Expats

It can feel like a minefield trying to find the right lender for your buy-to-let mortgage, with the added complication of being an expat living overseas.

Our top tips to make the process streamlined are to:

  1. Use a solicitor who speaks both your local language and English and is familiar with UK property law.
  2. Make sure any UK legal representatives are properly registered with the Law Society and are experienced in international real estate.
  3. Use an independent lawyer.
  4. Think about insurance - expat buy-to-let insurance is a security for you and may be required by some lenders.
  5. Consider whether your payslips or other financial information can be translated, or hire a translator to do this for you.
  6. Don't rely on online calculators for a definitive answer as to what you can borrow - these can't take into consideration all the details and criteria surrounding an expat buy-to-let mortgage.

How Revolutions Brokers Can Help With Expat Buy to Let Mortgages

There are multiple benefits to using an independent broker to help access the best mortgage rates for your investment property, including:

  • Support with verifying paperwork and checking documents. Revolution Brokers will help you understand each step of the process and identify any hidden fees or charges you need to be aware of.
  • Help with applications - mortgage applications can require a lot of paperwork, and Revolution Brokers help to streamline the application process to ensure everything is completed thoroughly, correctly, and on time.

Using a broker ensures that you have access to rates and terms not available on the open market and is the safest way to ensure you are getting the best deal when trying to compare different mortgage costs from outside of the UK.

Revolution Brokers work with specialist mortgage providers. We negotiate rates on your behalf and work with each lender to ensure that your application is accepted smoothly and processed quickly.

For help and advice securing an expat buy-to-let mortgage, give us a call on 0330 304 3040 or drop us a message at info@revolutionbrokers.co.uk.

Finding the Best Expat Mortgages - Frequently Asked Questions

Let's run through some of the most popular questions about finding expat buy to let mortgages for a UK rental property!

How Long Does a Buy to Let Mortgage UK Expat Application Take?

The duration of your application depends on lots of factors, such as:

  • How many queries the lender has, or any enquiries performed by their underwriters.
  • The complexity of the application.
  • Timescales for valuation reports and credit searches to be returned.

Most applications take around four to six weeks, from the point of application to receiving a mortgage offer, although this can vary depending on the lender.

During that time, the expat buy to let mortgage provider will verify your employment information, confirm your ID and investigate the source of your deposit funds to ensure this is all compliant with their policies.

The property will also require a valuation. If a surveyor isn't available quickly, that process can add a few weeks to the mortgage turnaround time.

What Paperwork is Required for Expat Buy to Let Mortgages?

Initially, an expat buy to let mortgage lender will need to verify your identity. Many rules around money laundering and fraud become even more critical when lending to a person living overseas.

You will need to provide as a minimum:

  • A certified copy of your passport and potentially other photo ID.
  • Three months of bank statements - some lenders will ask for six months.
  • Proof of where your deposit funds originate.
  • Three to six months of payslips, sometimes with tax return documents, a letter from your employer, a copy of your contract or other details to confirm your annual income and the terms of your employment.
  • Residence permit, where applicable - lenders need to comply with laws around lending, so this requirement depends on where you live and whether you have a UK passport.
Do I Need to Travel to the UK to Sign Documents for an Expat Mortgage?

Not necessarily, no. Contact Revolution if you're looking for UK buy to let mortgages for expats and don't anticipate returning to the UK to sign the documentation.

In most cases, you can sign paperwork in person and have a courier deliver this or send signed documents via our secure email network.

Where documents need to be witnessed or verified, we can help advise on appropriate organisations that will confirm your signature or witness the document signing, usually for a nominal fee.

Who Values a Property for Expat Buy to Let Mortgages UK?

As with any other type of mortgage, the lender will typically appoint their own independent surveyor to value the property.

Valuations are essential since an expat buy to let mortgage is relatively high risk. The lender will want an independent opinion to ensure that the property is worth well over the value they are lending against it.

You may also find that your mortgage offer depends on the valuation. Most lenders have an LTV cap (or a minimum percentage deposit requirement), so they'll need a formal valuation before making a final mortgage offer.

Expats looking for UK buy to let mortgages can appoint their own surveyor - however, you'll need to cover those additional fees, and the lender will usually still require a basic valuation from their own appointed professional.

How Long Do Offers Last on UK Buy to Let Mortgages for Expats?

If your application for an expat buy to let mortgage is successful, you will receive a formal offer from the lender.

Note that you aren't obliged to accept the offer - although if you've paid any application fees, those likely won't be refundable if you decide not to go ahead.

Once you get an offer, it will state how long it is valid for, which is usually two or three months on average.

Your mortgage offer is usually sent via letter or potentially email, and this will include details such as:

  • How much the lender will offer you
  • When the offer expires
  • What to do to proceed

If you have a mortgage offer and aren't sure whether to proceed or whether there are better deals available on the market, please give the Revolution team a call, and we'll advise whether it's a good deal.

Do I Need Life Insurance to Qualify for the Best Expat Mortgages?

Insurance (aside from buildings insurance) isn't a mandatory part of a mortgage application process.

However, remember that you're investing in a rental property in an overseas country, so the lender may have requirements for landlord's insurances and other covers to mitigate the risk that the property will fall in value.

Life insurance is not compulsory, but it can be helpful when you're looking to reduce the risk profile associated with your applications for expat mortgages.

Can I Apply for Expat Buy to Let Mortgages Online?

Some lenders will accept most documents online, usually using an encrypted server where you can upload scanned copies of paperwork, usually with a verification stamp or signature from a recognised body such as a bank.

Others will require original copies, and you may need to post originals via courier before your application can go ahead.

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FCA disclaimer

The content included in our articles, blogs, web pages and news publications is based on information accurate at the time of writing. Note that policies and criteria can change regularly throughout the UK mortgage lending market, and it remains essential to contact the consultation team to receive up to date guidance. The information included on the Revolution Brokers site is not bespoke to any circumstances or individual application scenarios and therefore is not intended to be used as financial advice. The content we share is designed to be informative and helpful but cannot be relied upon to provide individual advice relevant to your mortgage requirements. All Revolution team members are fully qualified, trained and experienced to provide mortgage advice of an independent nature. We collaborate with lenders and providers who are regulated, authorised and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Should you require specific mortgage borrowing types, some products such as buy to let mortgages may not be FCA regulated. The Revolution team can provide further information about regulated and unregulated lending as required. Please remember that a mortgage is a debt which is secured against your home or property. Your home can be at risk of repossession if you do not keep up with the repayments or encounter any other difficulties in managing your mortgage borrowing responsibly. This also applies to any remortgage or home loan secured against your property, including equity release products.

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