British expat? Yes, we can get you a UK mortgage

29-November-2019 9:40
in International
by Jennifer Stevenson
How to get A UK mortgage As A British Expat

The work-hard play-hard expat lifestyle is hard to beat. But you probably want to put your earning-power to work in the property market. And your dollars and dirham will go much further in the UK than in most expat relocation hotspots.

Whether you're looking for a straight-up investment property or your future retirement home... These are the issues you'll be looking at when you're organising finance on a property in the UK when you’re living overseas? And here's how can we sort them for.

What do you need an expat mortgage for?

Expats buying a home back in the UK

If your accommodation is paid for as part of your package it makes sense to use those savings to get your foot on the property ladder back home.

  • If this is going to be your home, and may be the place you return to on leave while you’re working abroad, what will happen to it the rest of the time?
  • If it’s going to be empty, a mortgage lender will want to know that someone responsible will be checking the property regularly.
  • If you want to get a tenant in to pay the mortgage until your return, you’ll need a buy to let (BTL) mortgage from the outset.

Remortgaging your home in the UK

  • If you already owned a property before you left, and your fixed-interest deal has come to an end, you’ll want to remortgage to get off your lender’s default Standard Variable Rate.
  • A remortgage arranged while you’re living abroad will be an expat remortgage.
  • Anything else would put you in default of your mortgage agreement. And apart from anything else, your home insurance would probably be invalid.

Buying an investment property in the UK

  • If you want to buy a property for capital growth / rental income, and you’ll be renting it out, you’ll need a BTL mortgage.
  • Your application will need to meet different affordability criteria.
  • If you could be relocating back to the UK within a couple of years, you’ll want to move in, your broker will need to find you a BTL mortgage deal that doesn’t include early repayment charges (ERCs).


What are the issues for borrowers in different parts of the world? Check the Clifton Private Finance Expat UK Mortgage Rating Chart


The expat paperwork you need isn’t particularly difficult to get together, but the requirements are different to previous mortgage application you might be used to:

  • Photographic ID document verified by an approved professional (lawyer, accountant, embassy official…)
  • Employer’s reference
  • "wet signatures" (= original signed documents) are required for:
    • The application form
    • The direct debit for your mortgage payments

Income and currency

  • Expat lenders will be looking for incomes over £37,500
  • Mainstream “high street” lenders usually only include base salary in their income calculations
  • If dividends and bonuses are a significant part of your income, you’ll need a specialist “bespoke” lender
  • Most expat lenders will knock off 20% from your salary total to allow for currency fluctuations

Do you live in a country that meets the FATF standards?

  • The international Financial Action Task Force rates countries on the strength of their measures to combat money-laundering and financing terrorism.
  • UK lenders are very reluctant to receive money from countries that don’t meet the highest FATF standard.

LINK for UK mortgage for British expat in Cayman Islands

Proof of address

  • Utility bills are usually required to confirm your home address
  • If your expat accommodation includes all bills paid, and you use a postbox rather than direct-to-house mail delivery, your employers’ reference will need to confirm your residential address

Credit rating

Many high-earning expats find their UK credit rating has suffered while they’ve been out of the country

  • Lack of activity on credit cards can harm your credit score
  • Old / incorrect addresses associated with previous bills will affect your rating
  • Cancelled services (NB mobile phone contracts) that are still presenting bills which you are ignoring will register on your credit score  
  • We’ll check your credit rating and advise how you can improve it

An extra 1% stamp duty? Read our blog »


Expat mortgage finance is more complex.

  • It usually takes additional time sending original documents.
  • If you approach a high street lender directly, you can waste weeks / months if you proceed through the application process only to find out at a late stage that you don’t meet their criteria.


Extra issues for expat buy to let applications

The success of your application will depend more on the projected rental income for the property than your income. Success depends on:

  • Buying at the right price, in an area with a strong rental market
  • Securing competitive (and affordable) mortgage finance
  • If you own four or more rental properties it’s considered a portfolio
  • Regulations introduced in 2017 by the UK’s Prudential Regulatory Authority require that each property in your portfolio must earn sufficient rent to cover its mortgage costs, allowing for void periods.  
  • Other properties in the portfolio can’t "carry" the cost of a less-profitable property you’re hanging on to for capital gain.

Read our blog all about expat BTL mortgages


A mortgage application is like applying for a job

  • You don’t waste time applying for jobs you’re not qualified for.
  • One size CV does NOT fit all: successful applicants tailor their CV for each job, to highlight the experience the employer is looking for.

Get an experienced broker to handle your application

  • We indentify the banks and private lenders who will consider your circumstances
  • We recommend the lender who’ll offer the best deal for you
  • We pre-package your application to suit their criteria, submitting all the checked documentation at once
  • We tell the lender everything they need to know, but we don’t swamp them with unnecessary information that could make them think your circumstances are actually different  
  • We get you a quick in-principle decision so you can move ahead
  • And we chase up your application through the system to get the money in your bank as fast as possible

Give us a call to find out what we can do for you

Our specialist expat brokers have contacts with the key banks and bespoke lenders working in this area.

They’ll find you the best deal available – and there’s no cost to you until you decide to go ahead

+44 203 900 4322

More about our expat finance service