Buy To Let Mortgages for UK Expats

Interested in a buy-to-let mortgage to rent out your previous residential property when you relocate as an overseas expat? Our updated guidance runs through all the lender criteria and lending assessments that matter.

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Buy To Let Mortgages for UK Expats

As relocating to warmer climes continues to be a draw for UK nationals, the Revolution team often deals with enquiries from clients investigating buy to let expat mortgages.

That could include expats living abroad and wanting to let out, or invest in, a UK property, or those needing a new mortgage from overseas.

Here we have explained the most critical information you need to know about expat investment mortgages. For bespoke support with your mortgage application, contact mortgage advisors on 0330 304 3040 or email the team at info@revolutionbrokers.co.uk.

Can I Get a Buy to Let Mortgage in the UK if I Live Overseas?

If you're looking to invest in UK property from overseas, you're likely to find the mortgage application process a little different from someone living in Britain.

The reason for the difference is that lenders will have a more challenging time researching things like your credit history, and regular income if you haven't lived in the UK for some time.

Many mainstream lenders have strict rules about BTL lending for expats, with this becoming a more niche product. However, Revolution Brokers works with a network of specialist lenders who are happy to consider applications from overseas residents.

How Can I Improve the Strength of My Buy to Let Expat Mortgage Application?

There are lots of ways you can improve your chances of finding competitive lending:

  • Choose an Experienced Broker

Possibly the most crucial factor is to work with a broker who has experience in negotiating expat mortgages.

Finding lending within a niche can be extremely difficult on your own, with many lenders only offering products through experienced brokers.

Revolution can advise on the lenders who are best suited to approve your application, negotiate the fees and rates on your behalf, and guide you through the application process.

  • Prepare Evidence of Your Income

Lenders find it difficult to verify your income overseas, so if you can provide evidence, this will streamline the process. For example:

  • Have a copy of your contract of employment available.
  • Prepare copies of your self-employed accounts or tax returns.

In some cases, lenders will require a confirmation from an internationally recognised accountant that your accounts are valid, and you can prepare this evidence in advance.

Consider the Maximum Age Cap on Your Mortgage

While many specialist lenders will offer a mortgage to applicants of any age, some do have caps. For example, you might only be approved for lending if the term ends before you reach age 70.

When considering your application, it is wise to consult a broker who will know the upper age limits of prospective lenders and advise on whether you can reduce the term you apply for, to fall within eligibility requirements.

Look Into Your Credit Rating

As an expat, you are unlikely to have a thorough UK credit rating. Many lenders will automatically reject an applicant on this basis alone.

One option is to take out a UK credit card and use it for minimal spending. This can help create a credit score and provide a traceable history.

If you have bad credit, this should also be addressed before applying, and consideration given to which mortgage lenders are in a position to consider your application.

Can I Apply for a BTL Mortgage as an Expat if I Have Adverse Credit?

Lending to an expat is always higher risk, although the affordability calculation depends more on the anticipated rental income for a BTL mortgage.

If you have a good credit score, you are more likely to be accepted, so in a bad credit scenario, it is often advisable to work with a bad credit lender who has more flexibility in considering your application.

Can UK Expats Get Interest-Only BTL Mortgages?

Most expat mortgages are on a repayment basis, as lending to somebody resident outside of the UK carries a higher risk.

Suppose you have a perfect credit score, a large deposit, and present a low-risk application. In that case, it may be possible to secure interest-only BTL lending as an expat, but this is a highly specialist product.

Is There a Minimum Income Threshold for Expat Buy to Let Mortgages?

Some mortgage lenders require a minimum independent income of £25,000 - so if you have a low income, or cannot demonstrate that income, the number of lenders you can apply to drops.

Likewise, some UK lenders will only consider income paid into a domestic bank account. However, a broker can recommend mortgage providers who consider international income when reviewing your application.

What Deposit is Required for a Buy to Let Mortgage as a UK Expat?

Deposit requirements will depend on the lender and your circumstances:

  • Most lenders will ask for a 25% deposit if you own another property, provided you offer a second charge against that second property as additional security.
  • If you own more equity in an initial property, this presents a lower LTV ratio, and the deposit requirement is likely to be lower.
  • If you do not own a second property, you might be asked for a deposit of 35% or higher.

Does It Matter How Much Landlord Experience I Have as an Expat Applying for a BTL Mortgage?

It does, depending on the lender. If you have a track record as a landlord, a lender is more likely to approve your application.

However, as a first-time landlord, it is possible to find mortgage lending from a specialist buy-to-let lender.

Some niche providers use the rental income as the key driver behind their approval, and so by working with Revolution Brokers, you can still negotiate favourable deals.

Which Deposit Sources are Accepted for Expat Buy to Let Mortgages?

Deposit sources generally accepted for expat buy to let mortgages include:

  • UK or international savings - dependent on being held in an approved country.
  • UK stocks, shares or capital investments, and some overseas investments.
  • UK or overseas property sales, again dependent on the country.
  • Equity held in an existing property offered as security.

In some cases, you will find lenders who will accept deposits gifted from friends or family. However, you will need an experienced lender to negotiate acceptance of this source of deposit. 

Advice for UK Expats Applying for Buy to Let Lending

Here are our top tips for a smooth BTL mortgage application:

  1. Use a solicitor who speaks good English, and is conversant in both UK and overseas legislation.
  2. Make sure any UK solicitors are registered with the Law Society and have the requisite experience.
  3. Use an independent lawyer, avoiding any professionals affiliated with the estate agent or any other concerned party.
  4. Have your proof of income professionally translated into English.
  5. Avoid online calculators - these provide a rough indication, but cannot help with eligibility criteria, and can be misleading.

If you would like to understand what sort of rates and terms are payable on an expat BTL mortgage, or how much you could borrow, call Revolution on 0330 304 3040.

What Difference Will a Mortgage Broker Make to Finding an Expat Buy To Let Loan?

A big difference! An independent, whole-of-market broker can offer a vast range of products, depending on what they think is the best fit for your requirements.

Revolution Brokers also assist with:

  • Processing documents, and providing advice about whether contracts conform to your mortgage offer, or where terms might be negotiable.
  • Negotiating terms, rates and clauses.
  • Submitting your application and helping with identifying the critical documentation required to support your BTL mortgage request.

Where Can I Find the Best Rates on Buy to Let Mortgages for Expats?

To find the most competitive expat investment mortgages, contact Revolution Brokers today as an expert in international lending.

Our team reviews your circumstances and requirements and delivers independent recommendations to help you find the right lending.

Professional Advice for UK Expat Property Investors

Whether you are a first-time investor or an experienced landlord, finding UK mortgage lending from overseas can be complicated and time-consuming.

Give us a call on 0330 304 3040, or drop a message to info@revolutionbrokers.co.uk, and we will get your application started.

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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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