Expat Buy To Let Mortgage Options for UK Nationals Living Abroad

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What is an expat buy to let mortgage?

Are you a UK national currently living abroad? Do you want to buy or refinance a buy to let property in the UK? If you are considering extending or updating your UK buy to let portfolio, you will need an expat buy to let mortgage. Expat buy to let mortgages are a specialist type of mortgage finance available to UK nationals living abroad who have investment properties. They work in a similar way to a standard buy to let mortgage but the lender’s criteria and checks tend to be much more stringent. The reason for this is that lenders consider expats higher risk live due to the increased potential for money laundering or fraud. As checks for an expat buy to let mortgage tend to be more stringent, we’d recommend working with a specialist broker, such as ourselves to help you secure your buy to let finance hassle free. 

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Can I get a buy to let mortgage if I live abroad?

If you live abroad, you may be wondering how straightforward it is to secure an expat buy to let mortgage. Some borrowers can struggle to get an expat buy to let mortgage for a number of reasons: 
Some expats receive their income in a foreign currency which some lenders might not accept. 
Some lenders have difficulties carrying out accurate credit checks as your credit history in the UK could be minimal. They might not have access to international credit reference agencies so can’t carry out credit checks on you. 
As there are fewer lenders offering expat buy to let mortgages, the criteria can be tighter. This can make securing the right finance for your circumstances more difficult. 
Different countries have different risk ratings for fraud or money laundering 
It can be more difficult to provide your identity and proof of residence 
Whilst the above can make it more difficult to secure a mortgage, it’s not impossible. Earning a foreign currency is less of an issue when it comes to assessing a buy to let mortgage. This is because lenders assess affordability based on the security property’s expected rental income rather than the landlord’s personal income. Lenders want to ensure the mortgage is self-financing and that the rent comfortably covers the mortgage payment. However, lenders will likely have varying minimum income requirements for you to meet. 
There are other ways of checking your address and credit history, so this needn’t be an obstacle to securing finance as long as you work with a specialist. That’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced expat buy to let mortgage broker who works with international clients. Our knowledgeable team of mortgage experts will help you find a suitable mortgage lender and finance to suit your circumstances for almost any country in the world. 

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How do I get an expat buy to let mortgage?

Applying for an expat buy to let mortgage is similar to applying for most other types of mortgage finance. The main difference is that the lender checks are more stringent, and the criteria is tighter. The lender will want reassurance that you can repay the mortgage. 
You’ll often have to supply more in the way of paperwork too. This could include information on your employment status, address history, visa information, any other mortgages, and your income. Exactly what documentation you will need to provide will depend on your personal circumstances and the mortgage lender. Our mortgage team will be happy to confirm what you need to supply after you start your mortgage application


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What are the criteria for an expat buy to let mortgage?

Each individual lender has their own lending criteria which determines what they will lend and who to. Whilst this will vary, the factors they take into consideration may include:  

  • The size of the deposit – you’ll often need to put down 25% or more. It’s sometimes possible to put down less depending on the lender and deals available. It’s worth remembering that the larger the deposit, the more deals and rates will be available to you. The lender will also check the source of the deposit to ensure it is acceptable to them. The most commonly accepted deposit sources are savings, stocks and shares, the sale of property or from equity raised on other properties. Our mortgage advisors can provide more information. 
  • Payment terms – Will you be taking the mortgage on an interest only or repayment basis? Standard buy to let mortgages are most commonly taken out on an interest only basis. There are some lenders that consider repayment mortgages lower risk, so this is worth thinking about. 
  • Your credit history – Some lenders may struggle to trace your credit history if you’ve spent a lot of time abroad. They will review what is visible and will check the credit has been well maintained whilst you have been out of the UK. It may be worth obtaining a copy of your credit history to check what is on file for you
  • Your current country of residence – Where you live could affect your ability to secure a mortgage. Some lenders will only lend to expats living in the European Economic Area (EEA) or to certain members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). 
    UK Ties – Do you still have bank accounts registered in the UK? Do you have any other mortgages (residential or buy to let)? Have you been paying UK tax? A lender may very well check all of these factors when deciding whether they should lend to you. 
  • Landlord experience – Are you an experienced landlord and how many buy to let properties do you own? Do you have any buy to let mortgages? Your lender may require that you have a minimum amount of landlord experience before advancing funds for your mortgage. 
  • Your income – How much do you earn, who do you work for, what’s your employment status and are you paid in a foreign currency? Each lender will have different criteria which determine what they will and won’t lend on. 

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Are expat buy to let mortgage rates more expensive?

Expat buy to let mortgage rates can be more expensive in comparison to other types of mortgages because lenders consider them to be higher risk. It’s sometimes worth putting down a larger deposit if possible as you’ll have access to more competitive rates. Working with our specialist mortgage team can also help as we have extensive access to the mortgage market. We can therefore help you find the right deal and lender who is the best fit for your circumstances. Contact us to find out more. 

Why choose Simple Fast Mortgage as your expat buy to let mortgage broker?

Here at Simple Fast Mortgage, we have been arranging mortgages for expats from across the world for many years. We have connections with a range of UK mortgage lenders and private banks that are eager to lend to expats. We understand their processes and criteria and can make your mortgage application run as smoothly as possible. 
Due to our expertise and years of experience in the mortgage industry we have the knowledge to find the right deal for you. From the very start, we take the time to get to know you and understand your circumstances to help us determine which lender is most suitable for your needs.  
We understand that as an expatriate you’re unlikely to be in the UK for most if not all of the mortgage process. Our friendly mortgage team therefore aim to take the stress away and will oversee the whole process from start to finish. From submitting your application to liaising with estate agents and solicitors, you are in safe hands. 


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