Expat Mortgages



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Things have changed hugely for expats over recent years with Brexit and the pandemic having affected living abroad in significant ways.

This hasn’t stopped Brits from moving abroad, of course, with just under 800k British expats choosing to live in the EU and many more live in Australia and New Zealand.

Living abroad does, however, often make things more complicated financially, especially if you work and earn your income in another country as this can then make you liable for certain taxes and you may also need to provide extra evidence and paperwork when looking to bank or invest in the UK.

With the UK property market having done so well over recent years, the demand for mortgages and other financial products for people living abroad has grown almost exponentially over that period and we’re now seeing a much broader range of these types of loans and mortgages available for expats and foreign nationals too.

What is an expat mortgage?

Expat mortgages, or an expat mortgage, is a specialist type of lending that allows investors living in another country to invest in UK property and provides them with lending in order to buy property.

An expat is somebody who is residing in a country in which they’re not a citizen or where they don’t currently hold citizenship. You’d be a UK expat if you’re currently living abroad but remain a UK national or citizen. More often than not, our clients use expat mortgages to purchase investment and buy-to-let properties, or to release equity in a property they already own in the UK.

These types of expat mortgages are designed specifically for these types of residents as it’s quite a specialised form of lending due to different tax legislation and laws depending on where you’re currently residing.

How do expats get a mortgage in the UK?

As we’ve previously mentioned, this is a specialised form of lending as, more often than not, you’ll need to prove where you’re funding things from, where your income comes from and where you’re currently paying tax.

Expat mortgages are specifically designed for this, however, and make the process much easier than if you approached a standard high street bank in the UK.

Most high street banks don’t offer this type of expat mortgage as, for an expatriate, it’s difficult to easily credit check them and so they aren’t able to commit too much funding towards it as this would require further checks and tests, which specialist lenders provide for an expat mortgage.


Do I need an expat mortgage broker?

It’s perfectly possible to go directly to some providers but they all have different criteria, income thresholds and rates. When you get feedback from our clients who come to us they often tell us they prefer to use a broker or intermediary as a way to ensure they’re getting the best deal on the market, to get access to providers they may not be aware of and to also save time. We also have a team of highly skilled and experienced brokers who have helped to fund millions of pounds of mortgages for expats over the years and are able to provide you with some of the best advice on the finance market. If you’d like support from start to finish and access to a diverse lending panel with exclusive rates for expats you should reach out to one of our brokers for advice.


Expat mortgages UK calculator

For an expat looking for mortgages on UK property, it can be a little difficult to know where to start and what sort of deposit you might require and what sort of rate you may be able to get.

To help you out we’ve provided an expat calculator to give you an overview of what sort of mortgages may be available to you. Our calculator is included below and is perfectly straight forward to use, simply fill in all the fields and the calculator will show you what you may qualify for. If you’d like further advice on this then arrange a call with one of our brokers today.


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How much deposit do I need for an expat mortgage?

Again, with these types of mortgages much will depend on your financial situation such as your income and also what your credit rating in the UK is like, as well as the value of the house and the length of the mortgage you’re looking to agree with the lender, and whether it’s interest only or whether you’re intending to pay back the loan amount too.

Having said that, we have lenders on our panel who are willing to lend up to 90% of the value of the house or properties you’re looking to purchase, so as a guide we’d advise you to have at least a 5% deposit. There are even situations where our lenders may do a 100% mortgage, but these would be under specific circumstances.

Ultimately, we’d advise you to get in touch with one of our brokers who can provide you with further information and a better idea of what you’re likely to be able to qualify for.

Lending criteria

Before you speak to one of our brokers about mortgages it would be useful if you could get together the following information:

  • Details of any income you receive
  • Your projected pension income figures if the mortgage term will carry on after your retirement in later life
  • Your monthly / annual council tax payments
  • Details of any credit commitments
  • Details of any life insurance payments

Different types of expat mortgages

There are, of course, a few different options when it comes to looking for mortgages specifically for an expat. We understand this and advise our clients accordingly, and ensure they’re always offered the most suitable option for them and at the best rates too.

The type of mortgages you’ll be looking for as an expat will vary depending on what types of properties you’re looking to buy either on a residential basis for you or your immediate family to live in, or whether you’re looking to get involved in the booming UK buy-to-let market.

Buy to let mortgage

Buy to let mortgages are designed for investors who want to buy properties to make an income from. You’ll often need a deposit and the Loan To Value (LTV) is often lower as a percentage of the overall value of the investment.

You can either choose to repay the loan amount with the interest, or interest only, which many landlords opt for as a way to make more profit on their properties and allow them to increase in value over time.

Main UK resident mortgage

In order to qualify for these types of mortgages the house you’re paying must be one of your residencies which means that you must be intending to live in it for at least part of the year. This is ideal for UK expats who spend some of the year abroad and some of the year in the UK, or with family.

These can be complex to arrange, however, and if you’re looking to buy this type of house then it would be advisable to speak to a broker or one of our team beforehand to gain some advice.

What is the best type of mortgage for an UK Expat?

The right types of mortgages will depend on your situation and what type of expat you are, where you’re currently resident and where you get your income from. It will also broadly depend on the type of house you’re looking to purchase, the location, the value and how much deposit you have.

Most believe that the range of mortgages available to them as an expat is quite limited due to the variety available to them with high street banks, however, we work with a varied panel of lenders who cater to fairly niche markets such as mortgages for a UK expat. We work with pension funds, foreign banks and other types of investors who may be able to offer you an exclusive rate or terms, so we’d advise you to speak to a broker first and foremost to run through your situation so we can recommend the right product.

How Long Does an Expat Mortgage Take?

If you’re able to apply for mortgages via our brokers then they can help you through the entire application process from start to finish and this will allow you to shorten the process markedly rather than if you approach a high street lender without first preparing which can take much longer.

Broadly speaking, if you’re prepared and our brokers are able to put your application together quickly we can often get an approval in as little as 16 days from the submission of your application from a number of lenders which will allow you to select the right option for you and your situation.

Can I get an expat mortgage with bad credit?

Mortgages for a UK expat work differently to a standard mortgage application for a UK resident as it isn’t exclusively decided on a credit rating via one of the UK rating agencies given that you’re not a UK resident.

You’ll need to provide proof of income and there are some criteria to meet but broadly speaking yes, we can usually find lenders who would be willing to lend to you even if you have bad credit.

Again, everybody’s situation is different, and it may affect, for example, the fee that you pay or the interest, however, the fee for these tends to be broadly consistent and we’d advise you to speak to one of our brokers who can give you more detailed advice.

Expat mortgages in Ireland

If you’re living in Ireland as a UK citizen you’d still be considered a UK expat, so you’d still likely need to arrange these specialist types of mortgages in order to be able to buy a UK property either for investment or for residential mortgages too.

Although the UK and Ireland have a number of special arrangements in place, Ireland is still considered as part of the EU for both residency and tax purposes, and is still classed as abroad so the same logic applies when looking to be approved for mortgages on UK properties.

Speak to our expat mortgage brokers today

We’ve spent years assembling a team of expert mortgage brokers that have funded millions in lending for British expats looking to buy houses in the UK.

If you’re looking to buy then we have a panel of lenders that you may not have heard of or have had access to normally, and they’re specialists in lending for this type of mortgage. We have access to all sorts of investors such as foreign banks, pension funds and investment companies that are all happy to lend in this niche area.

Our mortgage brokers are able to take you through the process from start to finish and give you an oversight of the entire mortgage markets for an expat rather than just a few lenders. They can ensure that your application is in the best possible shape to give yourself the best chance of being approved for a great rate.

Our lenders know that we only submit quality applications and due to the fact that we’ve worked with them for years they’re able to offer our clients exclusive rates and terms, meaning you’re always confident that you’re getting the best rates available on the market.

We also appreciate that our clients want things done as quickly as possible and that’s why we’re always on hand to help you get your application through as quickly as possible, offering no obligation and free advice to those seeking our expertise.

Why not get in touch with one of our experts today to see what we might be able to offer you?