Buy-to-Let-Mortgages for Expats

Being a Briton living and working abroad, you may still wish to purchase a property in the UK for an investment and/or for your own personal use for if/when you return. When living abroad and looking to buy a property in the UK, this will likely fall into the criteria of an Expat Buy to Let Mortgage.

Do you qualify?


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Author: Carl Shave - CEO and co-founder
Last updated: 30 May 2024

Can I get an Expat Buy-to-Let mortgage?

Whilst numerous lenders participated in this type of lending pre-credit crunch, we did experience a hefty cull of those willing to offer loans in this sector which for a time made it virtually impossible. Albeit the criteria are still relatively restrictive, we are now experiencing an increase in the number of lenders that have expat Buy-to-Let Mortgages in their portfolio of mortgage products.

The rules and criteria imposed by the lenders can and indeed do vary significantly between one to another. Some may place a restriction on which countries they will consider whilst others are more accommodating and include some of the more popular areas that can be perceived as more complex such as Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Certain lenders will simply not entertain First Time Buyers; however, some place no restrictions here at all.

Things can also become complicated depending on the currency you are paid in and if you are a UK taxpayer or not. Verifying income where necessary can also be difficult if you are self-employed or where the usual channels of verification may differ to that which lenders are accustomed to in the UK.

Although, we are seeing an increase in the number of lenders offering expat Buy-to-Let Mortgages, the picking remains relatively slim, in context of the mortgage market as a whole, and with such varying criteria imposed by those lenders that do offer such loans. It is strongly advised that you speak to a mortgage adviser familiar with this sector, such as one of our expert professionals here at Just Mortgage Brokers.

There is no guarantee that it will be possible to arrange continuous letting of the property, nor that rental income will be sufficient to meet the cost of the mortgage.

An introduction to Buy-to-Let Mortgages

Buy-to-Let topics

Whether you're investing in your first Buy-to-Let Mortgage or an experienced landlord, we can help.

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I am an expat, can I get a Buy to Let mortgage?

A question we are asked on numerous occasions here at Just Mortgage Brokers is, “I am an expat, can I get a buy to let mortgage?”

Sadly, there is rarely a simple and swift yes or no answer, as although the number of lenders in this sector is still relatively small, each comes with its own set of rules and criteria. This means that although one may not be able to assist, others may have a different view resulting in you being able to qualify.

Where you live may have an impact, with some lenders being much more restrictive in the countries they will consider and some of the more popular such as Australia, New Zealand and the USA being those they will not entertain.

How your income is generated could also be a factor i.e. are you employed or self-employed, are you paid in sterling or an alternative currency plus also your longer term intentions with the property you are looking to purchase i.e. is it to be your own residence when or if you look to return to the UK.

Many questions therefore need to be answered and it may feel like a box ticking exercise to see if you fulfil a certain lender’s set of criteria. It can certainly be a time consuming one if you are not familiar with the basics. We recommend you contact a Mortgage Adviser familiar with this sector, such as our expat brokers at Just Mortgage Brokers, who can guide and assist you in checking all the relevant elements of differing criteria and establish if you qualify.

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Buy-to-Let mortgage advice for expats

Finding the right expat mortgage can seem quite daunting. With such a vast array of information at your disposal in the world we live in, you can still be forgiven in your frustrations looking into an expat buy to let mortgage. Many websites and information booklets offer huge amounts of detail in regard to standard buy to let mortgages but, due to the extra complexity of the expat sector few give any great input when it comes to this area of lending. Interest rates can and do differ to those of standard buy to let rates and the amount of deposit, that has an influence in the rate you obtain, can also be very different from one lender to another.

Of course, normally regardless of where you are in the world the internet can be used to find out all the information you require however, with topics such as expat buy to let mortgages this can be a very time-consuming exercise and indeed confusing. Speaking to a mortgage adviser who has the right knowledge in this arena, can pay dividends in your search and ultimately make the whole process from start to finish a more pleasant experience. Why not contact us today at Just Mortgage Brokers where one of our fully qualified advisers will be happy to discuss all that you need to know and assist you with your mortgage arrangement should you wish to apply.

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Expat Buy-to-Let mortgages FAQs

Criteria for any expat buy to let mortgage can and does vary from one lender to another even when looking at a standard residential property purchase for your own occupation. Bring in the added potential complication of an applicant looking for an expat Buy to Let Mortgage and this varying criteria can seem to take on a life of its own.

Such is the varying criteria for this type of specialist lending between those lenders that offer these products it is impossible to cover all within this content. Elements such as the following can all have an impact and the view on each can and does vary from lender to lender:

  • What country do you reside in?
  • What currency are you paid in?
  • What is your longer term plan for the property i.e. is it intended to be your own residence when you return to the UK?
  • How much deposit do you have? – typically you will need a 25% deposit for a buy to let

Due to the limited nature of financial history a lender will have at their fingertips i.e. a credit history or a record of you on an electoral register, they do expect a slightly more vigorous approach to their underwriting. However, using an experienced mortgage broker can make this journey a much easier one so please do contact us here at Just Mortgage Brokers and one of our advisers will look to assist.

One important aspect for any borrower to consider is what rate of interest are they going to be charged for the loan. Finding the right expat buy-to-let mortgage rates can sometimes feel like an extremely difficult up-hill struggle as although the choices arguably come with slim pickings very few search engines or web sites cater for this small sector of the market.

The rates offered by lenders for expat buy to let loans are typically priced differently to their standard buy to let counterparts, where the perceived additional risk is usually offset by the rates being priced slightly higher and on occasion also with higher arrangement fees.

One constant that tends to run through the industry regardless of the type of mortgage being applied for, is in respect to the size of your deposit or the amount of equity you may have. Invariably the bigger the deposit or amount of equity the lower the interest rate available.

Your choice of rates may also be dictated by which lenders offer expat buy to let mortgages that meet your criteria. Again, this can vary from one to another and you may find that if you are restricted in the availability of lenders, this in turn, will have the same effect on the rate. Added to this however, is that if you may be in a position of restricted choice does not necessarily mean you have inferior choice. By carrying out your research wisely or perhaps using a Mortgage Adviser who is familiar with this sector, you should still be able to locate and arrange your mortgage on the scheme that is most appropriate to your needs.

We are frequently asked, who are the best lenders for expat buy-to-let mortgages. Although the number of lenders who offer this type of mortgage is very limited, each and every one will have its own set of criteria and in turn their own portfolio of products making these questions virtually impossible to answer without knowing the full details of the applicant the question relates to.

Certainly, with a vastly limited number of lenders being available offering this type of mortgage, finding the best lender for an individual could be perceived as much simpler than a standard buy to let enquiry. Although the choice is less, the varying criteria for each is one aspect that perhaps differs in a greater degree than any other mortgage. Simple things such as which country you reside in or what currency you are paid in can have an influence over your possible choice. Also, aspects such as your longer-term plans with the property i.e. do you intend to use it for your own personal use when you return to the UK can, and likely will, play its part.

Ultimately the right lender is the one that you meet the necessary criteria for at the time and that offers you the most appropriate solution to your borrowing needs. Finding this is the challenge and here at Just Mortgage Brokers we have advisers who understand this sector of the market and are on hand to assist you in this quest. Drop us a line today for a no obligation discussion.

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