If you’ve been living abroad and are looking into expat mortgages, you might be wondering if getting a buy-to-let (BTL) mortgage for a UK investment property is possible.
This guide covers everything you need to know about securing a competitive BTL mortgage as an expat. We’ll explain how much you can borrow, the eligibility criteria involved, and where to find a specialist mortgage broker who can get you the best buy-to-let mortgage rates.
Keep reading for a complete explanation of UK buy-to-let expat mortgages, or click on a link below to jump straight to a section…
Can an expat get a buy-to-let mortgage?
Yes! It’s definitely possible. But as an expatriate (expat) who’s been living abroad and returning to the UK, you’ll likely find that your buy-to-let mortgage options are limited. The mortgage application process can work slightly differently, and the small pool of lenders available will have unique criteria you need to meet.
As an expat, you may face stricter rules around traditional buy-to-let mortgage elements relating to your deposit, credit history, and income type. This is why this type of mortgage is best approached with the help of an expert if you want to find the best terms and rates.
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UK expat buy-to-let mortgage calculator
Mortgage affordability for buy-to-let mortgages works differently than with a residential mortgage. Most BTL mortgages are interest-only, so the strength of your investment (and a solid repayment vehicle), and projections for rental income can be more important than your income from employment/self-employment.
If you’d like to know how much you could borrow with an expat buy-to-let mortgage, try out our calculator below. Just pop in your details, and you’ll get some useful estimates. Keep in mind, the best way to get an accurate calculation of the amount you can borrow is with the help of a specialist expat broker.
Buy-to-Let Mortgage Calculator
Our buy-to-let mortgage calculator can show you how much your mortgage could cost you each month and overall. Simply enter the rental property value, deposit, anticipated monthly rent, interest rate, mortgage term and our calculator will do the rest.
Capital and repayment:
Loan to Value ratio (LTV):
Most lenders won't offer buy-to-let mortgages over a LTV of 80%.
Interest Cover Ratio (ICR):
Most lenders require rental income to be at least 125%-145% of the interest repayments for a buy-to-let mortgage.
Get started with a specialist buy-to-let broker to find out how much they could help you save on your monthly mortgage repayments.
How to get a buy-to-let mortgage if you’re an expat
Your first step should be to speak to a buy-to-let mortgage broker who specialises in expats. Make an enquiry with us and we will match you with one for free.
You handpicked expat mortgage specialist will guide you through the following steps:
- Preparing the documents you’ll need
- Downloading your credit reports and optimising them
- Finding the ideal lender and securing the best rate
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Eligibility criteria and deposits
The deposit requirements and eligibility criteria can vary and are often unique to each lender. This is especially true for a niche area of borrowing like this. To give you an idea about essential factors that impact the process, here’s what lenders will look for if you’re an expat attempting to get a buy-to-let mortgage in the UK:
- Deposit: the deposit for a BTL mortgage tends to be higher, and lenders open to expat applicants can ask for even bigger deposits to offset their risk. Typically, you’d need to put down at least 25%, but some lenders will want more/accept less. The source of your deposit can also be important as only certain lenders will accept deposits that do not originate from the UK.
- Loan-to-value: this ties in with your deposit. Most UK lenders open to expat buy-to-let mortgages will have loan-to-value (LTV) ratio caps in place. These maximums can vary from around 60% to 80%. Some lenders have more flexibility than others, so it’s vital you deal with a lender who can provide a BTL mortgage that fits the size of your deposit.
- Interest-only/repayment: usually, BTL mortgages tend to be interest-only, but some lenders will want you to take out a repayment mortgage if you’re an expat, because this can be less risky for them. The type of mortgage has a significant effect on just about every other area of this process, so you need the one that best suits your finances.
- Income: many lenders will have minimum income thresholds you need to meet if you want an expat buy-to-let mortgage. This can range from £25,000 – £50,000 per year. You’ll also need to have legitimate and acceptable proof of your income. Sometimes you also need to be employed by a large multinational firm, or one with a UK presence.
- Employment: if you’re self-employed, the requirements can be trickier. For example, you may need to have a company based in the UK, and whether you’re a sole trader or a limited company can also play a role. Some lenders won’t offer buy-to-let mortgages to self-employed expats, so it’s crucial that you speak to the right ones from the get-go.
- Previous experience: certain lenders will request that you already own a UK BTL property (sometimes for at least a year). So, if you’re an expat looking to get a buy-to-let mortgage as a first-time landlord, you’ll likely need to deal with a specialist lender open to this.
- Country: if you want a buy-to-let mortgage in the UK as an expat, the country you’re currently residing in will make a difference to some lenders. For example, some will only accept BTL applicants from the European Economic Area (EEA) or certain countries within the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
- Home ties: several lenders will want to see that you have a UK bank account and correspondence address. They may also require that you’ve been paying tax in the UK for a specified period, potentially ranging from 12 months to 5 years.
- Credit: this can be a difficult obstacle if you’ve been living abroad, and most lenders will look for specific things in your credit profile. At the very least, you’ll need an active UK credit record. It’s worth downloading all your credit reports to see where you stand. And as an expat, it can be worth improving your score before applying for a BTL mortgage.
Available buy-to-let lenders
There aren’t many UK lenders open to offering buy-to-let mortgages for expats, and those that do usually have strict and specific requirements in order to qualify. To give you an idea about some of the options available, here are some mainstream lenders who will consider applications:
- Keystone Property Finance – will accept expat BTL applicants, but not for new-build flats, and you must already own at least one investment property in the UK. On top of this, you can only be an expatriate from a particular list of countries.
- Suffolk Building Society – does offer buy-to-let mortgages for expats, but you cannot be self-employed, and there’s a maximum LTV cap of 80%.
- Shawbrook Bank – is open to expat buy-to-let applications. But, you must already have owned at least one UK BTL property for a minimum of 12 months, and at least one applicant must have a minimum income of £50,000.
There are various buy-to-let mortgage options out there for expats. Finding the right one for your specific circumstances should be done with the assistance of an expert broker. They’ll be able to explore every possible choice and get you set up with a BTL mortgage that meets your needs – and comes with the best rates available in the UK.
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Can you get a buy-to-let mortgage overseas if you live in the UK?
Yes, it can be possible to get an international expat mortgage. However, most UK lenders won’t provide a BTL mortgage for buying property abroad because it’s too risky. But there are a small number of specialist lenders who are happy to discuss this possibility. You’ll often need an introduction from a trusted broker to find these lenders.
Speak to a specialist expat mortgage broker
Securing a competitive buy-to-let mortgage can be difficult, especially if you’re an expat looking to buy in the UK. The only way to make sure you deal with a lender who can provide terms that suit your needs whilst also offering the best rates is by using an expert mortgage broker.
We offer a free, broker-matching service. This means we’ll quickly assess your property investment goals and then introduce you to an experienced mortgage broker.
Just call 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry. We’ll arrange a free, no obligation chat between you and a specialist expat buy-to-let mortgage broker today.
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