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Last updated: 23/07/2020 | Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Mortgages for expats

Getting a mortgage as an expat living in the UK can be tricky as most lenders will perceive you as higher risk borrowers. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of providers who will offer you a mortgage whether you’re moving into your first UK property, remortgaging or buying to let.

In This Guide:

Why is it harder to get a mortgage as an expat?

There are various reasons why mortgage lenders will be, on the whole, more reluctant to lend to expats. These reasons are centred around the difficulty in following procedures that guarantee the borrower’s financial stability when they have been living abroad for a potentially very long time.

If a mortgage provider sees a certain kind of customer as higher risk then they will either refuse them a loan altogether, or offer higher interest to offset said risk.

But while, as an expat, you might find it harder to get a mortgage and might pay a little more when you do, this doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. Compare mortgage deals using Money Expert’s online comparison service to see what kind of great mortgage rates you could be enjoying.

Overseas income and credit rating

If your primary income is earned overseas, then this presents problems for the lender on various levels.

Things like the sustainability of your income, as well as its actual size are harder to ascertain given things like fluctuating exchange rates. The mortgage provider will also have more difficulty in actually identifying your employer if they are based abroad. The difficulty in getting hold of all of the relevant information, coupled with the risk of fraud that comes with it, lead many mortgage lenders to flat out refuse expats, or to at least charge higher rates to those they do lend to.

It’s a similar story when it comes to credit ratings. Your credit history is important to a mortgage lender as it allows them to see how viable a candidate you are for borrowing money. If you’ve lived abroad for a relatively long time, then your credit history might not be traceable at all. This does not necessarily make you a bad candidate to lend to, but it does make you an unknown quantity and this leads lenders to err on the side of caution.

Can expats get buy to let mortgages?

The demand for expats to take out buy to let mortgages and capitalise on the rental market in the UK has grown steadily in recent years.

Providers of buy to let mortgages often require relatively high deposits, reflecting the increased uncertainty of income from rent. Given all of the above, expats who want to take out a buy to let mortgage can expect to come up with yet more money up front as a deposit.

This shouldn’t put you off though if you’re set on getting hold of a UK property to rent out, just make sure you shop around online to get the best mortgage deals.

Whether you’re after a buy to let mortgage or just a residential mortgage, as an expat you should use our free and impartial mortgage comparison service to make sure that you’re getting the best rates available.