Expat Mortgages for UK Nationals

Access your guide to the suitable solutions to securing an expat mortgage as a UK national with support from the expat mortgage specialists at Revolution Finance Brokers.

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Based on your details, you can borrow up to:

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This calculator is an estimation of how much you could borrow. If you’re ready to take out a mortgage, speak to a Revolution brokers to see what options are available.

Expat Mortgages for UK Nationals

Many Revolution Brokers expat clients have found themselves stuck - rejected by their bank, turned down by a mainstream lender, or struggling to understand the eligibility requirements for offshore mortgages.

Here we'll explain how expat mortgages work, where to find one, and the most important criteria to bear in mind.

If you need help finding the right expat mortgage for you, give the Revolution Brokers team a call! We are available on 0330 304 3040 or via email at info@revolutionbrokers.co.uk.

What is an Expat Mortgage?

Expat mortgages are specific products designed for applicants living abroad - either mortgaging a domestic property whilst living overseas, or investing in a property in another state.

This type of lending is typically more complex and difficult to source than a residential mortgage, given the higher risk and specialist nature of expat mortgages.

How Do Mortgages for UK Expats Work?

Mortgages for expats work just the same way as any other mortgage.

The differences appear in the application process, and the more strict eligibility requirements due to the need for the lender to mitigate the higher risk.

Can I Get a UK Mortgage as an Expat?

You can, yes - most Revolution expat clients are UK nationals wanting to buy a British property while living overseas. Alternatively, we help overseas citizens wanting to mortgage a local property.

Either scenario has its complications, but as an experienced international broker, the Revolution Brokers team is on hand to assist.

Can I Buy a UK Property from Overseas?

With the support of a broker, it is certainly possible to buy a property in the UK from overseas; however, the criteria from lenders is likely to vary a little:

  • You must be in employment, and usually need a contract to demonstrate this, or
  • You'll need to prove your earnings, using an accountant with an internationally recognised accountant to certify your filed accounts if you are self-employed.
  • You will usually need a clean credit history.
  • The mortgage term should end before you reach age 70.
  • Ideally, you'll have a UK bank account - some lenders make this mandatory.

How Do I Get a UK Mortgage When I Live Overseas?

The first step is to contact a whole-of-market broker. Using a bank or provider may mean missing out on some of the best expat mortgage offers, which are often available through off-market specialist lenders.

Contact Revolution Brokers on 0330 304 3040 - our team will schedule a convenient time for a chat with one of our expat mortgage specialists. When they know a little more about you, and what lending you need, they will begin a search of every lender and product on the market to make an independent recommendation about the best way to go.

What Do Lenders Look For in Expat Mortgage Eligibility?

The criteria for an expat mortgage will depend on whether you are mortgaging or remortgaging.

If you are remortgaging, the criteria might be slightly relaxed, since an existing UK mortgage likely means you have built up a credit history.

Primary criteria include:

  • Credit Rating: this can be an obstacle for expats who have been abroad for some time, as without a credit rating, it can be hard to find a UK lender. If you have adverse credit, our team can advise on bad credit lenders who can help.
  • Income: If you are employed, some lenders will only accept applicants working on a contract for an internationally recognised company. You'll need to supply payslips and/or bank statements to prove your income, and some mainstream lenders only consider income paid to a UK bank account.
  • Self-employment: For self-employed applicants, you will need to provide up to three years of accounts, and have these verified by an accountant with an internationally recognised qualification.

Are There Different Types of Expat Mortgage?

Most expat mortgages are residential - i.e. an expat relocating back to the UK and wanting to purchase a home, or new expats searching for a mortgage to buy an overseas property.

Can I Get a Buy to Let Mortgage as a British Expat?

You can - many expats either keep a UK property and switch to a buy to let mortgage as an ongoing investment or retain an overseas property and rent it out when they return to the UK.

Can UK Expats Get Mortgages for Holiday Homes?

Holiday home mortgages are more unusual and require a specialist lender. This is a further niche within the expat mortgage sector, and so you must use an expert broker to ensure you have the leverage to negotiate a competitive offer.

Can I Get a Mortgage as an Expat Due to Relocate Back to the UK?

Usually, you’ll need a specialist lender in these circumstances, as most mainstream lenders will not consider applicants who are unable to provide a fixed UK address over the last three years.

You may also find that you have little or no credit history if you have been abroad for some time, which can make it trickier to find a lender.

There are a few steps you can take to strengthen your chances of getting a UK mortgage as a returning expat:

  • Keep an address in the UK for correspondence, such as through a family member.
  • Provide as much deposit as you can - the higher the deposit, the lower the risk, and the better your chances of finding a lender.
  • Maintain a UK credit file by using a UK credit card or British bank account from time to time.
  • Demonstrate a viable employment status on your return to the UK, which may improve your prospects rather than having no work lined up.

Even where these options are not possible, Revolution can recommend lenders for expats who are returning to the UK, self-employed, and returning on retirement, or those who have experienced negative credit issues, usually most achievable if these are over six years ago.

What Deposit Do I Need for an Expat Mortgage If I'm Coming Back to the UK?

Generally, a lender will ask for a 25% deposit, but this can change significantly.

If you have a 10% deposit, you can find 90% LTV deals, but these are unusual and only available through experienced brokers who can negotiate the terms with the lender.

What Deposit Sources are Acceptable on Expat Mortgages?

Money laundering regulations mean that lenders can only accept mortgage deposits from verifiable income sources.

The most commonly approved deposit sources include:

  • UK or international savings
  • Investments either in the UK or overseas
  • Property sale proceeds
  • Equity held in an existing property
  • Capital inheritances
  • Gifts from family - depending on how close the relationship.

Can I Get a UK Mortgage to Buy an Overseas Property?

If you are a UK national wanting a mortgage to purchase an overseas property, you can choose from a few options:

  • Find an international mortgage lender offering UK mortgage products.
  • Apply to a UK mortgage provider who offers overseas mortgages.
  • Source a mortgage lender in your new country of residence.

How Much Can I Borrow Through an Expat Mortgage?

The largest expat mortgage you can get depends on your income, credit history, and the value of deposit available.

Each lender uses its own affordability calculation, usually taking your net income as a starting point and multiplying this by a fixed amount.

Lenders also place caps on the maximum they can lend, also calculated as a multiple of your average net income.

Typically, this cap is based on between 4-4.5 times your annual income, with some lenders extending the multiple up to five or even six times.

The below table illustrates the different calculations used by different lenders, and how this might impact the maximum can you can apply for on an expat mortgage:

Annual Income

Maximum mortgage from a lender with a 4 x cap

Maximum mortgage from a lender with a 5 x cap

Maximum mortgage from a lender with a 6 x cap

£35,000

£140,000

£175,000

£210,000

£40,000

£160,000

£200,000

£240,000

£45,000

£180,000

£225,000

£270,000

£50,000

£200,000

£250,000

£300,000

£55,000

£220,000

£275,000

£330,000

£60,000

£240,000

£300,000

£360,000

£65,000

£260,000

£325,000

£390,000

£70,000

£280,000

£350,000

£420,000

This table illustrates the importance of using a broker to ensure you apply to the right lender - the same expat, with the same income, might see as much as a £140,000 difference in the maximum they can borrow, from two different lenders.

What Loan to Value Ratio Can I Borrow Up to on an Expat Mortgage?

Loan to value means the amount you wish to borrow as a proportion of the value of the property. Typically a lender will offer up to 75% LTV - so for a £100,000 property, they will lend you up to £75,000.

Other lenders offer LTVs up to 85%, with specialists offering mortgages as high as 90% LTV, depending on the circumstances.

What Other Eligibility Factors Apply to Expat Mortgages?

There are different risks and costs associated with purchasing overseas property, and you should always make sure you are fully versed in the costs before proceeding with a mortgage application.

Expat considerations and costs include:

  • The tax implications - depending on your tax residency status, you could be liable to pay tax in two countries, so need to understand the double-tax treaties in play and how to proceed.
  • Paperwork must be letter-perfect - you may need licenses, permissions and consents before taking out overseas lending, so will need a competent solicitor experienced in cross border transactions.
  • Exchange rates present a risk, with fluctuations potentially making a significant difference to your repayments.
  • Language barriers can also cause issues, so it is essential to use reliable professionals or have all documents translated before signing.
Why Revolution Brokers?
  • Whole of market brokers

  • Mortgage that suits you

  • On time customer support

FAQs

How does our broker-matching service work?

Potentially, but you'll need to find a specialist lender and meet other eligibility requirements to find an expat mortgage with an LTV this high.

The typical maximum is 75%, with some lenders offering up to 85%.

Yes, an offset mortgage is an alternative to using a repayment expat mortgage, or an interest-free product (which might be more difficult to find).

Offset mortgages leverage your savings to reduce the mortgage balance against which you pay interest. As an illustration, if you have £20,000 in savings and owe £200,000 on your mortgage, the interest will only be charged on the £180,000 difference.

The savings must be held in an account with the same provider as your mortgage. Give Revolution a call on 0330 304 3040 for more information about expat offset mortgages.

If you make mortgage payments in an alternative currency, your lender has a responsibility to let you know if the exchange rate changes either way by over 20%.

Lenders should offer you the option of making repayments in an alternative currency, which is an excellent option to stabilise your repayments and not be subjected to sudden changes when the currencies shift.

Bad credit makes a niche mortgage that much more difficult to secure - the likelihood of being accepted depends on when the adverse credit issues occurred, and how serious they were.

There are bad credit specialist lenders who can help, but you'll usually expect to pay higher rates and need a larger deposit.

An interest-only expat mortgage is rare, and will always require you to have an exit strategy to demonstrate how you will repay the mortgage balance when the loan term ends.

Suppose the property is a buy to let. In that case, this is slightly different depending on the lender and usually will work based on the investment property being sold to repay the interest-only mortgage capital balance.

If you need a large expat mortgage, you are strongly advised to contact the Revolution team.

Typically, a large expat mortgage is only available through a private lender or niche mortgage provider.

Should you be looking for a small expat mortgage, these are easier to find!

It very much depends on the nature of the application and your circumstances, but the average processing time is around four to six weeks.

We never recommend using online calculators or price comparison sites to make an application - these do not reflect an in-depth illustration and can result in making applications to the wrong lender, being rejected, and racking up credit searches on your credit history.

The best option is to contact the Revolution Brokers team on 0330 304 3040, and we will walk you through the next steps.

As a leading UK mortgage provider, Revolution Brokers are proud to be fully independent, and whole-of-market, meaning that we scour the sector for the best deals and offers for our clients.

For help finding the most competitive expat mortgage lending, even if you have been turned down elsewhere, give us a call or drop an email to info@revolutionbrokers.co.uk and we'll get to work!

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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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