As the effects of Brexit are beginning to be felt more across the UK and Europe, it’s certainly true that we’re seeing more expats approach us about getting a mortgage upon their return to the UK. 

It’s become increasingly difficult in recent times to navigate visas, work rights, taxes and residency rights across the EU since the UK decided to leave the union. Whereas previously UK residents were allowed to reside as an expat in any EU country indefinitely, there is just a 3 month continuous period now allowed without obtaining a visa or a residency pass. 

This has meant that all across Europe, many an expat has decided that now is the time to return to the UK and, in many cases, after selling their property abroad are now looking for a mortgage in the UK, with an expat mortgage proving somewhat more difficult to get approved for. 

With that in mind we’ve created a short guide for any expat looking to return to the UK in search of a mortgage or mortgages. We’ve got the key features, differences, requirements and what to expect upon your return to the UK. 

Is it possible for an expat to get a mortgage returning to the UK?

Hank Zarihs Associates | Mortgages for expats returning to the UK - Is It Possible To Get a Mortgage If I'm an Expat?Yes, it is possible for an expat returning to the UK to get a mortgage or mortgages, however, there are some things to be aware of that most lenders and UK mortgage providers will want to know before progressing your application. 

Because we work as a broker with a great relationship with a number of UK mortgage providers, we know what sort of criteria they’re working towards. 

Primarily you’ll need to provide an address history as well as a comprehensive breakdown of any income you are using to buy your property and any wealth you’re using too. Due to strict money laundering laws there may be a stricter requirement than you think, but our specialists can talk you through this. 

Typical criteria list for lenders

Typical criteria that lenders will consider when you’re a British expat returning to the UK are:

  • If you’ve only just returned to the UK
  • If you’re currently Living outside the UK and haven’t returned yet
  • If you’ve only recently returned to the UK within the last 3-12 months
  • You could be accepted for up to 90% Loan To Value (LTV), subject to other criteria
  • If you’re retired and returning to the UK
  • If you’ve been self-employed in the UK you’ll likely need at least 1 years worth of accounts
  • If you’ve been self-employed outside the UK, however, this can prove very difficult
  • If you’re employed and returning to the UK
  • Whether you’ve got clean credit
  • You may be accepted with adverse credit, but this would need to be discussed

Can I get a mortgage without 3 years of address history?

Potentially, yes you can whether you have an address history in Britain or elsewhere. This would depend on other criteria such as whether you can prove your income, your employer or other details of any expat mortgages you may have had abroad. 

For a UK expat mortgage upon your return, it’s desirable to have 3 years worth of address history, but we may be able to help if not. 

How long do you have to live in the UK to get a mortgage?

In an ideal world most mortgage providers would like you to have lived back in the UK for about 12 months, however, this isn’t written in stone. 

If you’ve just returned to the UK as UK expats then it will certainly be more difficult as the mortgage provider won’t have an address history to use to verify you, however, our experts have excellent relationships with our panel of mortgage lenders and they will be able to help further with this. 

UK mortgages for expats in Australia

If you’re a UK expat returning from Australia this could help your application as some banks have branches and connections across Australia and New Zealand, for example. 

If you’re moving back then mortgages for expats returning from Australia can be difficult or straight forward depending on your address and employment history as well as the size of the deposit you’re able to put down. 

How to get a mortgage when relocating back to the UK

For expats mortgages or an expat mortgage, your best advice would be to get in touch with a broker or an expert upon your return to discuss what sort of documentation you may need so that you can begin collecting this information. 

For a mortgage you’ll need as much information about your employment and address history from your previous country of residence as possible. Finance for these types of mortgages is always much easier when dealing with a broker or expert who can deal on your behalf as they can also shop around and find the best possible rates for you. 

Step 1 – Collect your paperwork

First things first, ensure that you’ve collected paperwork that will allow you to prove your finance position, your credit history, as well as your address history and the source of any income. 

As an example, you may have been self employed whilst living abroad so you’ll need to ensure that you can prove how much you earned, where it came from and where it is now. Things like utility bills, residency passes or tax paperwork will be helpful too. 

Step 2 – Have a think about what you’re looking for

Before you look to buy and look for finance or private credit, you need to have a think about what types of property you’re looking for and what you’re looking to buy. 

Are you looking for an auction property? Are you looking for a residential property? What sort of area are you looking at and how many bedrooms do you need, for example. 

These are all things you need to consider before you start your property search. 

Step 3 – Think about your deposit and your budget

It’s important when you’re looking to buy and get a finance service to think about what your budget and deposit will be.

This allows us when approaching our panel of lenders to be clear about what you’re looking to borrow in a loan or any bridging you might be looking to buy. 

The amount of your deposit is important because it dictates the Loan To Value, or LTV, of the loan and often the larger your deposit the smaller the interest rate is. If you’re not sure about what you can afford then you can always talk to one of our brokers or experts about how to plan your budget. 

Step 4 – Speak to a broker

Once you’ve managed to make your way through the above steps the next move is to get the ball rolling on arranging a UK mortgage, loan or bridging

The smartest move is to get in touch with one of our brokers who can go through your options with you in order to let you know what you qualify for. Whether a mortgage, a bridging loan or other type of finance suits you best our experienced and friendly team will ensure you’re aware of all the available finance options before taking a decision. 

Once we’ve done that we can shop on your behalf with our panel of lenders, many of whom aren’t accessible via traditional means, meaning we can often get you exclusive rates and deals. 

Step 5 – Sign the paperwork and pick your property

Once you’ve ticked all the other boxes for a mortgage we can then crack on with getting paperwork signed and the mortgage arranged with one of our lenders. 

Typically speaking we can make this part of the process relatively speedy and have it all completed within a couple of weeks. Feel free to take a look through our other case studies to get a better idea of the types of mortgages we typically arrange and how long they take. 

Case studies will also show what types of lenders we have on our panel and the types of mortgage providers we work with. 

Do I qualify for a mortgage as an expat that is returning back to the UK?

As we’ve set out with our criteria above, this will depend on your circumstances, but as long as you’re able to provide your residency status, prove your identity, show your income and you have a deposit, then it’s likely we’ll be able to find a mortgage provider for your property.

As with other case studies, it’s always possible for us to help you with almost any time of loan of finance and we help our clients will all sorts of property finance. 

25% deposit

In an ideal world for a mortgage or property finance or loan, we’d expect you to have at least a 25% deposit meaning a maximum Loan To Value or LTV of 75%. Most of our lenders won’t lend out more than this, but it may be possible with other types of bridging loan or finance to be able to get a mortgage approved. 

If you’re concerned or don’t have the full 25% deposit then get in touch today and we can walk you through case studies to see what we may be able to do. 

Employment status

Whilst it is indeed more difficult to get a mortgage if you’re self-employed, it’s not impossible and we can talk you through what type of proof of income you’ll need to be able to get approved for mortgages. 

If you’re full time employed then all we’ll usually need is details of your employer, your income and how long you’ve worked there for. It’s seen as inherently more risky if you’ve been with your employer less than 12 months, however, this can be worked around in the right circumstances. 

Have a correspondence UK address

It’s usually key that you have a UK correspondence address so that your loan or mortgage can be based in the UK to comply with money laundering laws and mortgages that are arranged to foreign residents are inherently more risky for the lender. 

If you’re unsure about this get in touch with a broker and they can give you more information. 

Can I get a UK mortgage with a foreign income?

If you’re looking to get a mortgage or buy a property with a foreign income then it can make things difficult but if you’re able to prove the source of your income over a reliable period of time, or if you’re proving equity from a business, for example, then it makes things easier if you’re able to prove a reliable source of income over a longer period of time. 

If your income comes from a foreign source then get in touch and we can give more advice on this based on your circumstances. 

Speak to our senior lending managers regarding mortgages for expats returning to the UK

Our team are experienced, friendly and ready to take your queries about mortgages so why not get in touch today and we can see if we can help you out with your application. 


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Shiraz Khan is the author of the content. Shiraz is the managing director and founder of Hank Zarihs Associates. With over 16 years' of experience we are master brokers within the short term financing industry. We specialise in a wide variety of short term loans.