What Is an Expat?
An expat is someone living in a country where they don't have citizenship. A UK expat is someone from the UK who lives abroad.
The Topics Covered in this Article Are Listed Below:
What Is an Expat Mortgage?
An expat mortgage is a mortgage you take out on a property in the UK when you don’t currently live in the UK.
If you're a UK expat working and living abroad, and you’re looking to buy a property in Britain, you’ll require an expat mortgage.
You’ll also typically require an expat mortgage if you’re not a British national and you don’t currently live in the UK, but you’re looking to buy a property in the UK.
Learn more about expat mortgages on our website.
If you’re due to work and live in the UK within the next 6 months, you may be able to access standard mortgage rates through some lenders. Speak to a mortgage broker if this applies to you.
How Does Our Expat Mortgage Calculator Work?
Simply enter your income based on your employment status to work out how much you could potentially borrow on your mortgage for a main residence.
This is not a quotation under the Consumer Credit Act. Figures are subject to validation of income, credit checks and a property valuation.
This expat calculator is a great place to start – but it’s certainly not a definitive answer – and if it’s not the answer you’re looking for, our experts can review your full situation and advise on the most appropriate course of action, including products you might not previously have considered.
What Is the Eligibility Criteria for an Expat Mortgage?
If you're applying for a mortgage as an expat, you'll probably find you have to meet most of the same criteria as a standard applicant and possibly provide some additional proof of your suitability. You’ll need to consider the following.
- Affordability criteria - you'll have to show your income is sufficient for the amount you want to borrow. Most lenders will lend up to 4.5x your income because this generally ensures that the loan is affordable and you can make your monthly repayments
- Deposit - you'll also need to make sure that you can provide a suitable deposit of at least 25% depending on the lender
What if I Don’t Have a Credit History as an Expat?
Typically, when you apply for a mortgage, a lender will look at your credit history. As an expat, you may not have built up a credit profile. Fortunately, many expat mortgage lenders understand that this is common for expat mortgage applicants and are therefore able to underwrite your application in more detail.
How Much Deposit Do I Need for an Expat Mortgage?
Expat mortgages can be seen as a higher risk to mortgage lenders. This is because it can be harder for UK based lenders to confirm your income, credit history, or other details if you live abroad. Because of this, you'll usually have to offer a higher deposit to get a mortgage application approved. Most lenders will request a deposit of at least 25% for expat mortgages.
Expat Mortgages FAQs
Can I Use an Expat Mortgage to Buy a Buy-to-Let Property?
Yes, you can get an expat mortgage on a buy-to-let property. There are actually more lenders that offer buy-to-let mortgages for expats than those that offer residential mortgages for expats. This is because buy-to-let mortgages are unregulated and the affordability is based on rental income rather than personal income - and personal income for an expat can be more challenging for the lender to assess than personal income for a UK resident. Nonetheless, you’ll still have to meet a lot of criteria and you'll probably need to show that you have a plan in place for managing the property while you're out of the country.
To find out how much you could borrow on a buy-to-let mortgage as an expat, use our calculator.
What Documents Do I Need for an Expat Mortgage?
To apply for an expat mortgage on a residential property, you'll be asked to supply many documents. You'll need to provide proof of your income, which might come from your work contract, tax returns, bank statements, or other documents. You'll also need to provide proof of identity and proof of address. Some lenders might request additional documents. A broker can help ensure you have the right paperwork in order to give to the lender.
Do I Need a Correspondence Address in the UK for an Expat Mortgage?
It’s not necessary to have a correspondence address in the UK for an expat mortgage, as many lenders will understand that you’re living abroad. Most lenders will, however, want you to have a UK bank account so you can service the loan by direct debit.
Do I Need to Return to the UK to Sign Paperwork for an Expat Mortgage?
Some lenders might want you to sign the paperwork in person, but there are other ways to get the paperwork handled. You should talk to a broker about how to get the paperwork sorted to see what options you have.
What Happens to an Expat Mortgage if I Return to the UK?
If you take out an expat mortgage on a residential property, and you therefore move back to and work in the UK, you want to return to the UK, you’ll be able to remortgage onto a standard product once your introductory rate ends. This is because your circumstances will have changed and you may meet the criteria for a better deal.
Is It More Difficult to Get Approved for a Mortgage as a UK Expat?
Yes, it can be harder to get a mortgage when you are an expat, especially if you don’t use a mortgage broker. Fewer mortgage lenders are willing to offer mortgages to expats, which can make it a challenge to find a suitable mortgage on your own. The criteria are also often stricter with lenders that offer expat mortgages. Contact a mortgage broker like John Charcol who can direct you towards specialist lenders with criteria that aligns with your situation.
Can an Expat Get a Mortgage with Bad Credit?
It's generally more difficult to get a mortgage if you have bad credit, let alone if you have bad credit and are an expat. If your credit history features issues such as late payments or county court judgments, you'll often find that getting a mortgage is harder, as your lender options are restricted, but it’s certainly possible. If you have more serious credit issues such as bankruptcy or house repossession, you’ll struggle to get a mortgage unless you use a mortgage broker. Bad credit mortgages often have higher interest rates, and you might need to pay a higher deposit to offset your credit issues. Generally, the more severe your bad credit issues, the less deals available to you and the more expensive they’ll be.
If you’re simply an expat who hasn’t built up a credit history, rather than one who has adverse credit, most expat mortgage lenders will be able to consider underwriting your application in more detail which should give you access to a more competitive deal.
Can an Expat Get an Interest-Only Mortgage?
You can get either a repayment mortgage or an interest-only mortgage as an expat. A repayment mortgage is where you pay back part of the outstanding mortgage balance alongside interest each month. An interest-only mortgage is where you only pay the interest on the mortgage each month. You then pay off the outstanding mortgage amount at the end. You can see how you can borrow on either an interest-only mortgage and a repayment mortgage using our mortgage calculator for UK expats above.
Once you have an idea of the kind of product you’re looking at, check out our repayment calculator to find out what your monthly payments would be.
Do I Need a Good UK Credit History to Get an Expat Mortgage?
A good UK credit history will definitely help make it easier for you to get an expat mortgage, especially at a more competitive rate. To establish a solid credit history, try not to miss payments or default on loans. A good credit history is important as it demonstrates that you reliably pay off debts and will be unlikely to miss payments.
Nonetheless, if you haven’t built up a credit history as an expat, many expat lenders will still be able to consider your application.
Can I Get a UK Mortgage as an Expat?
Yes, there are plenty of options for getting a UK mortgage as an expat, but it can be harder than getting a mortgage as a UK resident. The easiest way to ensure you get a good deal as an expat is to use a broker that can find a specialist lender that offers expat mortgages.
There are expat mortgage options for almost any property type, including a residential home for your family in the UK, a home for when you move back to the UK, a holiday home, a buy-to-let property, or other commercial property. You'll likely find that the terms and rates are different for expat mortgages.
Are Expat Mortgages More Expensive?
Yes, expat mortgages are usually more expensive than standard mortgages for people who live in the UK. This is because lenders find it harder to check your income history and credit history, meaning that expat mortgages present a higher risk to them. You'll usually be required to put down a higher deposit amount and you'll also often pay higher interest rates.
Can I Get an Expat Mortgage on Any Property Type?
Yes, expat mortgages usually cover the same options as standard mortgages. This means that you can get properties such as:
- Residential homes
- Second homes or holiday homes
- Buy-to-let properties
- Commercial properties
- Ex-council homes
- Non-standard construction properties
Some of these property types are seen as a higher risk to lenders, so as an expat you may have less lenders available to you, have to provide a larger deposit, face higher interest rates and/or have to meet stricter criteria. You might also need a specialist lender.
How Can a Broker Help Me Get an Expat Mortgage?
Independent mortgage brokers like John Charcol have access to a wide range of lenders and we’re more likely to find a lender that suits your needs. We can also help you find lenders with better rates and deals, which is very important with expat mortgages, where interest rates are typically higher.
If you want to see how we can help you find the ideal mortgage, get in touch today. Here at John Charcol, we have specialists who can help you find expat mortgage lenders that suit your needs. We help you find the right deal, no matter how complex your situation.