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Buy to let mortgages for overseas property

Looking for information about buy to let mortgages overseas? Get the right advice here.

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By Pete Mugleston  | Mortgage Advisor Pete has been a mortgage advisor for over 10 years, and is regularly cited in both trade and national press.

Updated: 12th July 2019 *

Many Brits consider buying an overseas buy to let (BTL) property but feel confused about where to go for advice, or are simply unsure whether an overseas property is a good investment.

As well as this, BTL mortgages for overseas properties can be a tad trickier to arrange because  there can be different rules regarding taxes and property laws - but that’s not to say it’s impossible.

The good news is that there may be lenders in the UK and overseas who are willing to approve your mortgage application

To help make the process as simple as possible, we’ve created this guide with lots of helpful tips including where you can turn to for advice.

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Can I get a buy to let mortgage for a property abroad?

Yes. Although it can sometimes be more complicated to get a mortgage for an overseas Buy to Let because every country has different rules, taxes and processes when it comes to property, not to mention a different language.

Whether or not you will be approved for a Buy to Let overseas mortgage will depend heavily on:

  • The lender
  • Your income
  • Your employment type
  • Your age
  • Any bad credit or debt you have
  • The amount of deposit you have to put down

For more information on how any of the above factors could affect your BTL overseas mortgage application, speak to an advisor. 

Why invest in a Buy to Let property abroad?

A BTL let property can be a great investment opportunity and can also help landlords build an international property portfolio.

Many landlords are drawn to overseas property because the interest rates on mortgages can be lower in some countries. 

As well as this, in certain locations, property can be cheaper in comparison to investment opportunities in the UK.

Of course, another great appeal is that depending on the country you choose to buy in, an overseas property can provide a great holiday home when not occupied by tenants. 

Where to buy your overseas Buy to Let

Many investors seek buy to let opportunities abroad as opposed to the UK because of the prospect of higher rental yields. 

Perhaps you’re seeking a holiday villa near the beach? If so, you’ll need to consider the upfront costs versus the return on rent. 

When considering the various locations to buy in, it can be helpful to research and get a good understanding of the demand for property in the area.

This, combined with a prediction of rental profit, can help you make a decision about where you can potentially make the most money with the least risk.

Which countries are the most popular among international BTL buyers?

Although the advisors we work with have helped customers secure mortgages in a broad range of different countries, there are a handful of territories that are particularly popular. Including…

  • Turkey
  • Canada
  • USA
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • France
  • Italy
  • Portugal

Click on any of the countries above for detailed information about buying in that territory. If the country you’re interested in isn’t on that list, make an enquiry and the expert brokers we work with will help you find the right international lender for your needs and circumstances.

How to calculate the rental yield for an overseas property

To be confident that your initial investment will give you a good return in rent, you need to work out how much rent you would charge per year.

If you are unsure, look at similar rental properties in the area on letting agency websites to compare rental fees.

One you have this figure, divide it by the market price of the property and multiply by 100 to give you your rental yield percentage. 

Ideally a rental yield of 7% or more is good and the higher the percentage, the better value the property. 

Here’s an example

If you were to purchase a buy to let property in Spain for £120,000 and charge £700 a month in rent, your annual rent income would be £8,400.

To calculate the rental yield, divides your annual rent by the property price.

(£8,400 / £120,000 = 0.07)

Multiply this by 100 and your rental yield is 7%.

If you would like professional advice about the rental yield or profitability of a Buy to Let overseas property, contact an advisor.

How to find tenants for a buy to let property abroad 

Often landlords will remain in the UK whilst they rent our their BTL property, so some use letting agents to manage their property and find tenants.

This can be expensive though with some agents asking for a 20% fee on rental income.

If you don’t want to hire a lettings agent who can help you find tenants, there are things you can do yourself to market your Buy to Let overseas property.

  • Use your own social media to market to your friends and family
  • Create a Facebook business page to promote your property / properties 
  • Create your own website 
  • Advertise in local newspapers 
  • Advertise on rural tourism websites
  • Ask local businesses if you can leave flyers in their shop / restaurant to attract tourist
  • Attach flyers to local notice boards 

How to finance an overseas mortgage

There are a couple of BTL overseas mortgage options that may be suitable for you. These include:

  • Using an international Buy to Let lender
  • Using a UK-based lender
  • Raise capital on a property you already own

International lender

Using an international lender can sometimes be confusing, especially if you do not know the language and are unfamiliar with the local property laws. 

As well as this, because international lenders do not have access to your UK credit file, it can take longer for them to establish whether or not you have bad credit and pose a risk to them.

This can slow things down although in the right circumstances it may be possible to find a lower interest rate for your mortgage.

In some countries, you may also require a larger, non-refundable deposit for a buy to let foreign property mortgage, so have your mortgage advisor thoroughly check your paperwork and contract before paying any money upfront.

UK-based lender 

Taking out an international buy to let mortgage with a UK lender can be easier because you’ll be dealing with a UK lender and may be more familiar with the processes of a mortgage application. 

Another benefit is that there are specialist UK lenders who offer overseas mortgages which can help to avoid any document translation issues or fees.

That being said, some UK lenders can be more restrictive when it comes to BTL properties so buying one abroad can sometimes heighten caution and result in higher interest charges or larger deposits

You’ll also need to pass the lender’s affordability checks although keep in mind that every lender you approach will have different rules on how much they can lend.

A disadvantage of getting a loan from a UK lender for an overseas property is that the lender will have a lack of local market expertise.

Because of this, it is important that you seek advice from a broker who has experience with overseas mortgages, like the ones we work with. 

I’m moving abroad. Is changing my mortgage to buy to let possible?

Moving abroad and changing your mortgage to buy to let can be a very risky decision, especially if the property you’re considering remortgaging is your home, 

This is because having your UK property as collateral for your new BTL mortgage will put it at risk if you cannot repay.

It’s important to work out if you can afford to pay your existing mortgage as well as your new BTL mortgage without relying on the rental income, in case the worst should happen and you are unable to find tenants for your overseas property to pay your mortgage or you experience periods when the property is untenanted.

In order to find a remortgage offer that is affordable for you, get in touch and speak to a specialist broker who can research the market for the best remortgaging deals as well as the best buy to let abroad mortgages.

What should I look out for when buying an overseas BTL property?

When buying a foreign buy to let property it can be difficult to get to grips with the different laws and taxes surrounding property ownership in a foreign country.

Tax 

Make sure you account for all the tax you’ll be liable to pay, both in the UK and in the country where you have the property.

A mistake or a misunderstanding of how much tax or what tax you’re required to pay could end up costing you a lot of money in missed payments and fees.

Planning permission

If you start to build or even rent out your property without the correct permissions, you could end up with heavy fines or face prosecution in some countries.

Your lawyer should thoroughly check that you have the correct permissions, licences and planning consents before you sign any form of contract or agreement.

Exchange rate changes 

Be aware that lenders have a legal obligation to tell you if the exchange rate fluctuates by more than 20%. 

This is because even a small change to the exchange rate could drastically affect the value of your purchase which in turn would affect your mortgage repayments. 

Good advice is key

An overseas mortgage can involve different processes, contracts as well as different considerations including how you’ll find tenants whilst potentially not knowing the native language. 

Therefore, accurate advice is crucial, and we will only put you in touch with professionals who are best suited to your mortgage and the circumstances it is agreed upon. 

To save you time and money in translation fees, we can find you a specialist that is fluent in both English and the local language.

We work with advisors who have knowledge of the property law in many countries which can allow them to give you advice on properties and the laws you must adhere to as a non-resident.

How to find the best overseas BTL lender

Researching international buy to let mortgages from the UK  can be really time consuming and stressful but the advisors we work with have access to hundreds of lenders and can do all of this for you.

Using their own experience they will dedicate their time to compare the various BTL mortgages that may be available to you both in the UK and overseas.

Is there a mortgage calculator for buy to lets abroad I can use?

You might struggle to find a specific one that’s universally relevant to ever overseas territory as well as your personal profile as a borrow.

With this in mind, the best way to get accurate calculations for how much you can borrow on an overseas BTL mortgage and what the potential monthly payments will be is to make an enquiry and speak to a whole-of-market broker.

Not only can they give you bespoke calculations, based on your needs and circumstances, they can also introduce you to the lender whose calculator is most likely to return favourable results to a customer with your profile.

Speak to a buy to let mortgage expert about properties abroad today 

If you have questions about a buy to let mortgage abroad and want to speak to an expert for the right advice, call Online Mortgage Advisor today on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry.

Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the broker with the right expertise for your circumstances. We don’t charge a fee and there’s absolutely no obligation or marks on your credit rating.

Updated: 12th July 2019
OnlineMortgageAdvisor 2019 ©

FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The info on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs. Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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