Expat buy-to-let mortgage
What is an expat buy-to-let mortgage?
An expat buy-to-let mortgage allows non-UK residents and expats living abroad to purchase or remortgage a UK investment property. The property is rented out, generating an income for the expat landlord.
With an expat buy-to-let mortgage, you can invest in the UK property market even while living overseas. The rental income can provide a steady stream of funds, often in British pounds. This type of investment can provide valuable income diversification for expats.
Expats may want a UK property investment for:
- Potential rental income and capital growth
- Keeping a financial foothold in the UK
- Purchasing a property for family members
- Retiring back to the UK eventually
No matter the motivation, an expat buy-to-let mortgage makes it possible to invest even when living abroad long-term.
UK investments made easy – Expat-friendly mortgages for you
Expat mortgage options for buy-to-let
As specialised mortgage brokers, we have access to lenders which offer expat buy-to-let mortgages either directly or via our packaging partners. Lenders will consider applicants living overseas and often have specific criteria.
Most lenders will offer only a standard buy-to-let mortgage for expats to invest in using their personal name. But as mortgage specialists, we have access to lenders willing to offer mortgages for HMO properties. We also have access to mortgages for expats property investors using a limited company as an SPV.
Our brokers are prepared to give you options even if you are an expat looking for a more complex property investment in the UK. Give us a quick call, and you will receive a same-day indicative free quote for your property investment goals.
Criteria for expat buy-to-let mortgages
While each lender has its own criteria, common requirements for expat buy-to-let mortgages include:
- Minimum income of £25,000 from a verifiable source
- UK current account for payments
- UK address for correspondence
- Deposit of at least 25%
- Good credit history
Meeting these standards helps demonstrate you can manage the mortgage from overseas. Having money in a UK bank account shows you can transfer funds when needed.
Some lenders may require you to have property lets already or to have owned property in the past. This proves experience managing an investment property, but some lenders are happy to offer a mortgage for first-time expat landlords.
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020 8517 1141
Expat buy-to-let mortgage rates
Expat buy-to-let mortgage rates are often higher, comparable to standard buy-to-let rates.
Rates range from 6-7% generally. The exact rate offered will depend on your overall profile as a borrower.
Factors affecting expat mortgage rates include:
- Your loan to value (LTV) – lower LTV means better rates
- Credit score and history
- Income level and type
- Property value and type
- Loan amount requested
Transferring a residential mortgage to an expat buy-to-let
If you have an existing UK residential mortgage, it may be possible to change this to a buy-to-let mortgage when moving overseas. This avoids having to repay the current mortgage or incurring a contract breach with the lender because a residential mortgage is just for you to live on the property and not rent it.
Our advisors will let you know if this can be arranged by us or whether you need to contact your lender directly, as not all letting requests can be handled by brokers. There may be fees involved, but these are often less than repaying the loan completely and arranging a new mortgage.
Switching to an expat buy-to-let with your current lender has these benefits:
- Avoid repayment charges
- Avoid contract breach
- Retain your credit history
- Often simpler admin than a new lender
If your existing lender cannot offer this, you can remortgage with another lender that will provide a mortgage to an expat.
Are expat buy-to-let rates higher?
Expat buy-to-let rates can be slightly higher than for UK-based borrowers due to the perceived additional risk. However, increased expat lending has driven competition and reduced this rate gap.
Working with an experienced Home of Mortgages broker provides an advantage in finding competitive expat buy-to-let rates, as we can access the whole market. Look beyond just interest rates to compare fees, features, and criteria. Our expertise can deliver increased options for favourable expat BTL deals.
Deposit for expat buy-to-let mortgages
The minimum deposit is usually 25% of the property value. Some lenders may accept 20%. The higher the deposit, the better the mortgage rates and maximum lending (in value, not percentage) you can secure.
How much can I borrow?
How much an expat can borrow depends on:
- Income – most lenders require a minimum of £25,000
- Existing debt commitments
- Credit history – good score improves odds
- Rental value of the property
Many lenders will require rental income to cover 125% of the mortgage payments (at a stressed interest rate). The maximum loan to value may be 75%.
Call us to discover the rental income and LTV of the mortgage for the property you want to purchase.
020 8517 1141
Can a self-employed expat get a buy-to-let mortgage?
Yes, it is possible for self-employed expats to be approved for a UK buy-to-let mortgage.
Lenders will want consistent overseas income and evidence that you can cover the mortgage payments. Solid account records are fundamental when self-employed.
Lenders will ask self-employed applicants for:
- 2-3 years of accounts
- Proof of earnings
- Tax statements
- Accountant references
- Source of wealth
Providing this documentation can help demonstrate the sustainability of your self-employed income as an expat.
Getting a buy-to-let mortgage as an expat or overseas landlord requires some additional steps, but with the right broker, it is achievable, and you will not deal with all the paperwork. Specialist expat lenders offer more flexible criteria for non-UK residents. While rates may have a slight premium, competition has driven pricing down.
With the right advice, expats can access attractive lending. While qualifying as an expat borrower presents hurdles, the rewards of generating passive rental income (in GBP!) and diversifying your investments may make the effort worthwhile. With careful planning and a Home of Mortgage expert broker on your side, your dream of owning UK property while living abroad can become a reality.
Please note: Our advisors can only apply for an expat buy-to-let mortgage on your behalf when you are in the UK. Should you not be returning to the UK for a visit, we can refer you to our specialist partners to take care of your mortgage application for you.
Expat buy-to-let FAQs
Can I get a buy-to-let mortgage if I live abroad?
Yes! There are specialist expat lenders who will consider overseas borrowers for UK buy-to-let mortgages. Contact us today. We will connect you with the best lender for your situation.
Can an expat buy a UK property with a buy-to-let mortgage?
Yes! Expats can purchase UK property using a specific expat buy-to-let mortgage. Some lenders also provide residential mortgages for expats wanting to buy a home for their family to live in.
How can I improve my chances of getting an expat mortgage?
Having a larger deposit, strong credit history and high income will increase expats chances to secure a buy-to-let mortgage more easily. Using an experienced expat broker can be the key to getting your mortgage approved.
Can I get an expat buy-to-let mortgage for an HMO?
Possibly, but many lenders restrict expat products to standard buy-to-lets. We have access to some private banks and premium lenders willing to approve HMOs and limited companies for expats. Give us a quick call, and we will list the options for your situation.
Can I remortgage my UK property as an expat?
Yes! It may be possible to remortgage the property onto a buy-to-let basis if you are moving overseas.
Can first-time expat landlords get a mortgage?
Yes! First-timers can get UK expat buy-to-let mortgages from various lenders. Our expert mortgage brokers can find the best rates for you.
What documents must I provide when applying for an expat buy-to-let mortgage?
Typical documents include: passport, UK bank statements, proof of property deposit, references, credit report, tenancy agreements if an existing landlord and some lenders will ask for proof of income/funds. Our advisors will provide a full list of documents depending on the lender requirements and fill all the paperwork for you.
Do I need an expat buy-to-let mortgage if my family is staying in the property?
If your family members will be living in the property as their permanent residence, a regular expat buy-to-let mortgage is unsuitable.
For a property occupied by a family, the criteria differ:
- The borrower’s family must use the property as their main home.
- There must be intent for the borrower or their family to move back into the property at some point in the future.
- The expat borrower must be in employment with regular income. Self-employed income can be accepted depending on the country the business operates. Pension earnings may be allowed as proof of income.
If the intention is to get a buy-to-let mortgage on the same property your family is living in before moving to the other country, they would need to confirm they have no intention of moving back themselves in the future.
So if your family will live in the property, a standard residential owner-occupier expat mortgage should be considered rather than a buy-to-let. The requirements vary based on the occupancy status.
Get in touch today to speak with an advisor and receive a no-obligation personalised quote indicating potential rates and lending amounts.
Can I use income from my existing property investments to qualify for an expat buy-to-let mortgage?
Yes! Many lenders will consider rental income from an existing property portfolio to assess affordability for an expat buy-to-let mortgage, provided you have a track record of managing the properties. Proof of recent rental income and active management will be required.
Can I get a buy-to-let mortgage if I am paid in foreign currency?
Getting a buy-to-let mortgage with income that is in a foreign currency can be possible in certain situations. However, the options will be more limited compared to having a UK-based Sterling income.
Some key considerations for foreign currency income:
- You will need to apply for a specialised expat buy-to-let mortgage product, as regular UK products do not accept non-Sterling income. Your options will be more restricted.
- These type of mortgages will only offer an interest-only repayment structure. A traditional repayment mortgage is not available if paid in foreign currency.
- To repay the mortgage at the end of the term, the funds need to come from a UK asset denominated in British Pounds Sterling. Foreign assets generally cannot be used for repaying the mortgage.
- The foreign currency income can only be from an approved list of countries that the lender specifies. Contact our brokers to see if the lender you plan to apply with accepts income paid in the currency of your current country of residence.
- The lender will determine the equivalent Sterling income using exchange rates over a period, such as the lowest rate in the past 10 years. This provides them with a conservative value for affordability calculations.
- Applicants need long-term rights to live in the UK. Income fully based abroad brings uncertainty to lenders and can compromise approval on the mortgage loan.
How HOM can help with your Expat BTL Mortgage
While qualifying criteria is tight, for expats with income in foreign currency but strong UK ties, a buy-to-let mortgage approval can be closer than you think.
Reach us online, by phone on 020 8517 1141, or, if in the UK, book a consultation to meet in person.
Take the first step and get the information you need to make the right mortgage decision.
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020 8517 1141
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Remember | Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
Not all Buy to Let Mortgages are regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority.