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Can I find a mortgage if I am an Expat?
If you’re living abroad and looking to buy a UK property, either to return to or as an investment, then you will need to find a lender who is willing to offer you an Expat mortgage. UK Expat mortgages function in the same way as a traditional mortgage product would, however, there are usually significantly more restrictive lending criteria that you will need to meet.
You will benefit from using a Mortgage Broker who is experienced in sourcing UK mortgage deals for Expats, as this is a specialist area of lending, which will not necessarily be available from every high street bank.
You will be perceived to be a high risk borrower, particularly if your income originates from abroad, so the interest rates associated with Expat mortgages tend to be higher. Having said that, there are still competitive rates to be found, so it’s worth getting in touch with us to discuss your needs.
Do I need a UK bank account?
Whilst it’s not essential that you have a UK bank account, it would make the process much simpler. This would be beneficial to both your UK credit score and make your income easier for the lender to assess.
If you get paid in foreign currency, the fluctuating exchange rate can be an issue, whether or not you have a UK bank account, as this will make it difficult to determine your exact income. Your income also has the potential to lose value over time, against UK currency, which makes it harder for the lender to be certain you will still meet the mortgage terms in the future.
How is my overseas credit rating assessed?
Purchasing a property, regardless of the circumstances, will always involve undergoing credit searches. If you’ve lived outside of the UK for a considerable amount of time, it may be that you no longer have a credit history, which can make it more difficult for lenders to assess your financial responsibility.
Having no credit score is not necessarily as bad as having a poor credit score, but it does mean that Mortgage Lenders will potentially act with caution. This may mean that they limit the multiple of your income that you can borrow and/or increase the interest rate on your mortgage, to mitigate some of the risk involved.
Using a broker that specialises in Expat mortgages, such as ourselves, will ensure that you are able to access those lenders who are willing to consider you for a mortgage in these circumstances.
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Can Expats access Buy to Let mortgages?
It’s certainly possible to obtain a Buy to Let mortgage as an Expat, although you should bear in mind that the standard deposit requirement is likely to be higher. As the standard deposit requirement for a Buy to Let mortgage is a minimum of 25% under normal circumstances, your financial outlay will need to be substantially higher in order to purchase an investment property as an Expat.
As this form of investment has gained popularity in recent years, however, there are a number of lenders who will be willing to offer you a Buy to Let mortgage as an expat, and Mortgage Brokers like ourselves, can help you to find the most affordable option.
What is the best mortgage type for Expats?
If you already own property in the UK, it’s often easier to source an Expat remortgage, than apply for a new mortgage from abroad. There are various circumstances, however, that will affect this process and how likely you are to be accepted.
If you plan to return home permanently or intermittently, then it may be easier to secure a remortgage, however, there are likely to be stipulations on how regularly you will need to stay at the property and how long you may leave it uninhabited.
If you plan to stay abroad, then you should be aware that, although the risk of lending to you when you are a current UK homeowner is lower than if you were to purchase a new property, the interest rates will still be reflective of your Expat status, and you will need an Expat remortgage.
How can an IMS Mortgage Broker help?
Whether you’re looking to buy a residential property, an investment property or simply remortgage your current home in the UK, a mortgage application made from abroad can be complex. Here, at IMS, we have access to a wealth of lenders with mortgage offerings available to Expats.
As well as helping you source the most suitable deal for your circumstances, we can take care of the administrative aspects of your mortgage on your behalf, to save you travelling back to the UK or endless international phone calls with estate agents, surveyors and solicitors. We’ll keep you updated with the progress of your application remotely, saving time, money and hassle.
YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate most Buy to Let Mortgages