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expat buy to let mortgages

The UK rental market is a popular investment for foreign nationals and British ex-pats, but these groups often struggle to access buy-to-let mortgages from high street lenders.
Fortunately, there is a range of private lenders in the UK who offer buy-to-let finance on UK property to non-UK residents. These lenders judge borrowers on an individual basis, offering more flexibility with their lending criteria.

We offer our clients:

  • Residential and commercial buy-to-let mortgages from £100k to £25m
  • Finance solutions for clients with complex incomes 
  • UK rate options for returning expats
  • Mortgage finance for Britons and foreign nationals working in the UK who are paid in a foreign currency
  • The option to leverage assets such as your investment portfolio, other property and pensions to negotiate more flexible lending criteria and interest rates.
  • Access to the high street and private banks, specialist lenders, family offices and wealth managers. We also have access to private investor funds.
  • Enhanced, bespoke or exclusive terms to match your unique requirements.
Through our market knowledge, we can deliver bespoke terms based on your requirements.  
Call us on +44 203 900 4322 to discuss your requirements.

Or you can book a free consultation with one of our expert advisors at a convenient time for you, below.

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What Are Buy to Let Mortgages for Non-UK Residents? 

Buy-to-let mortgages for non-UK residents are specifically designed for individuals who live outside the UK but want to purchase property in the UK for the purpose of renting it out. These mortgages are often offered by UK banks and financial institutions, but the terms and conditions can vary widely depending on the lender.  

You may be a British expat working overseas who has decided to put your savings toward an investment property. Or you may be a foreign national looking to diversify your portfolio with a rental property in the UK.  

It’s a common misconception that you need to be a British citizen or have lived in the UK for at least three years before you can get a mortgage. While a standard UK resident mortgage will be usually be cheaper, it’s certainly possible to get a buy to let mortgage while living overseas.  

You’ll need to prove that your property's rental income will cover the monthly mortgage payments and fit other criteria, but there are a variety of lending options available for international buyers. 

At Clifton Private Finance, we can cater to both expat and foreign national borrowers. We have a dedicated team experienced in sourcing funding for buyers based around the globe, and we regularly work with portfolio landlords.  

In this Guide:

Can a Non-UK Resident Buy a Property in the UK?

Eligibility Criteria

Can I Get a Buy to Let Mortgage From Any Country?

Top slicing

How Much Does a Non-UK Resident Buy to Let Mortgage Cost?

How to Get a Buy to Let Mortgage as a Non UK Resident

You don’t need to live in Britain to buy UK property. The British property market is incredibly popular among international investors, thanks to minimal restrictions regarding international property purchases and due to the British economy’s reputation for being relatively stable and highly profitable.  

But in many cases, you may not be able to source funding for a UK property from your country of residence, and it is rarely an option to pay with cash. This is where things can become challenging.  

Legislation surrounding purchasing property from overseas is relatively lenient in the UK, but mortgage eligibility assessments can be quite rigid. High street lenders will usually cater to the most standard of cases, so it can be difficult to know where to begin if you’re looking for a mortgage with more unique circumstances.  

Thankfully, there are a variety of lenders willing to work with complex cases, you just need to know where to look. And if you already have a portfolio of assets, or you’ve found a particularly lucrative investment opportunity, you may be in with a chance in the competitive UK mortgage market.  

What Are The Eligibility Criteria for a Non-UK Resident Buy to Let Mortgage? 

To be eligible for any non-UK resident mortgage, you’ll almost always need to provide a large deposit, usually around 25-40%.In some cases, you can borrow using equity in other assets worth 25% or more of the loan amount. Additional requirements such as proof of income, credit history, and residency status are also common. 

You don't need to be a UK resident to qualify for a buy-to-let mortgage, but many high street lenders prefer applicants with some form of residency status in the UK, such as UK citizenship,permanent residence or a work visa. If you can prove you have some form of residency in the UK, you’re likely to have access to a wider lending pool and you may be eligible for standard buy to let mortgage rates.  

This is particularly useful if you’re an expat working overseas. You may still have a credit footprint in the UK, a British bank account, or a regular visit to the UK. These can all be leveraged within your application and get you more favourable rates. 

However, if you don’t have any ties to the UK, lenders can still offer you a mortgage. The lending pool may be smaller, especially so if you’re purchasing a rental property, but it is still achievable. In many cases, these lenders will be more accommodating to your circumstances because they are used to working with unique cases. High street lenders typically tend to use a more one-size-fits-all approach to mortgage applications.  

Buy-to-let mortgages are specifically for purchasing properties to rent out, so lenders will want to ensure that the property will generate rental income. They may assess the property's rental potential and the demand for rental properties in its location. 

Some lenders may also have restrictions on the types of properties they finance and their locations. Some may not lend on certain property types, such as ex-local authority flats or properties with short leases, while others may have restrictions on properties in certain areas. 

Can I Get a Buy to Let Mortgage from Any Country? 

It can be easier to get a mortgage from some countries than others. This is mainly because there is more demand for international lending from the UK in certain countries.  

In order to get finance for a buy-to-let property, you’ll need to find a lender familiar with funding buy to lets and the unique processes associated with lending to borrowers based in your country of residence. For example, some currencies are more stable and easier to verify than others. 

The UK also has more financial regulations surrounding lending to certain countries, which can make the process more challenging. In many cases, you will need to provide additional verification, in some cases, lenders won't consider your application.  

Below is a list of some popular expat locations for which we frequently source mortgages, a rating out of 10 for difficulty, and a link to our guide on how to secure a mortgage as an expat from each location. 

Locations are rated from 1-10 based on how many finance options will be available to you, with 1 being plenty of options and 10 being very few options. 

And here are some other expat locations that are less common and more difficult to rank but that we can still help with: 

See the full list: Countries where we can help expats 

Can You Top Slice an International Buy to Let Mortgage? 

While there are some hoops to jump through when arranging an international mortgage, some lenders allow you to top slice a buy to let mortgage even if you’re not a UK resident.  

When applying for a mortgage, top slicing allows you to substitute part of your rental income with your employed salary or rent from other properties in your portfolio. This can allow you to borrow more and can make securing a buy to let mortgage more accessible if the profit margins for the property you want to buy are quite slim.  

When you apply for a buy to let mortgage, lenders typically don’t take your income into account and will instead analyse the projected rental income of the property you plan to buy.  

To work out your projected rental income, a lender will use theproperty valuation results, which the surveyor will then confirm.  

Mortgage providers typically only consider 75% of your rental income to ensure that you’ll still be able to keep up with your mortgage payments if interest rates were to rise substantially.  

This process is known as stress-testing and can be a source of headaches for most prospective landlords. It doesn’t allow much leeway in terms of affordability calculations, particularly if you’re applying for an international mortgage, which may come with higher interest rates.  

Buy to let mortgages for non-UK residents are particularly niche, and the eligibility criteria can be extensive. Top slicing can provide some flexibility surrounding the otherwise rigid affordability calculations. 

It’s also worth noting that specialist international lenders are familiar with more niche circumstances, such as buying a rental property from overseas. The advantage of working with these lenders is that they can get a more accurate view of your overall financial position and even provide finance solutions tailored to your needs.  

Lenders like this are usually smaller and harder to find, which is where working with a specialist finance broker can help. An international mortgage broker will have long-term relationships with specialist lenders and can liaise with suitable mortgage providers on your behalf.

How Much Does a Non-UK Resident Buy to Let Mortgage Cost? 

These types of mortgages are typically subject to elevated interest rates. The primary reason for this is because non-UK residents, particularly expats, are seen as a high-risk group to lend to.  

In some cases, it can be difficult to establish your credit footprint (or it may be the credit that you don’t have a UK credit footprint at all), and due to the unique processes associated with these mortgages, there’s a smaller lending pool that leads to rates being less competitive.  

Additionally, living outside of the UK may mean that there is less structure in place if you don’t keep up with your mortgage payments, so lenders raise the costs to offset these risks.  

The key costs you’ll need to account for when taking out a non-resident buy to let mortgage are that you’ll need to provide a large deposit and prepare for elevated interest rates, which could eat into your monthly rental yield. 

As well as this, your mortgage deal may have arrangement fees, and you might need to pay for a valuation and a solicitor.Once you buy the property, you’ll also be financially responsible for maintaining the property, and it’s wise to have a financial buffer to repay your mortgage if your property is vacant between tenancies.  

How to Get a Buy to Let Mortgage as a Non-UK Resident 

If you’re a foreign national or expat looking to buy a rental property in the UK, we can help you. You don't need to be a UK national or reside in the UK currently to secure funding for UK property investment. 

At Clifton Private Finance, we have experienced international mortgage brokers with contacts of specialist lenders across the whole expat lending market. Give us a call, and we can suggest some options and a rough idea of what rates you're looking at.  

We'll usually get back to you with indicative terms within a couple of days, and our advice is free before you decide to go ahead with us. With expert market knowledge, we can deliver terms tailored to your needs.    

Call us at +44 203 900 4322 to discuss your requirements, or you can book a free consultation below. 

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