What Should I Consider When Buying To Let Property As An Expat?

If you’ve never considered entering the lucrative property market as an expat before, you’re likely to have numerous questions. GoSimpleTax have already detailed the rules around declaring tax effectively for landlords, but it’s also imperative to have comprehensive knowledge on the mortgage aspect.


Specialist mortgage brokers, Liquid Expat Mortgages, are here to guide you through the most frequently asked questions expats have when investing in buy-to-let (BTL) property.

What mortgage should I get?

There are three different classes for purchasing property, depending on your reasoning for buying the estate: residential purchase, consumer BTL and standard BTL.

If you were looking to live in the property, this would be classed as a resi purchase instead. You would apply for a consumer BTL mortgage if you were buying it with the intention to rent to family, or if you are an ‘accidental’ or non-professional landlord. An investment property requires the standard BTL mortgage.

Where should I invest?

The profitable UK market proposes a wealth of opportunities for those buying to let, and there are specific hotspots to consider investing in. Manchester is one such area that is economically booming. The city is due to open up 55,000 new jobs by 2025, with the government also investing funds in order to enhance the inner city areas and brownfield lands.

It’s not just Manchester that is worthwhile for investment. Other focal areas include Liverpool, Birmingham and Edinburgh – ideal cities for high yields and price growth.

Should I go direct with a lender?

Understanding the process behind applying for a mortgage is complicated for any first-time BTL buyer, let alone a UK expat.

It may seem like dealing directly with a lender will simplify the process for you, but it is unlikely that this will result in value for money. Going through a mortgage broker will provide you with access to a wider selection of products. This will allow you to be more cost-effective when purchasing your property, and boost your investment’s profitability.

Can I apply for a mortgage without a UK credit footprint?

An expat buy-to-let mortgage can feel out of reach to those that lack a UK credit footprint, though this certainly does not automatically disqualify you from applying for a mortgage.

There are significantly stricter criteria in place compared to traditional mortgages, including your personal income, projected rental income, exchange rates, and other assets in your portfolio. Although this will make applying for an expat buy-to-let mortgage more difficult, it will not prevent you from doing so. There will be other factors at play, such as concerns over your long-term employment because you have recently started a new job for example.

Will I need to pay Stamp Duty?

The Stamp Duty threshold has been raised to £300,000, and also applies to those buying from overseas. This means it’s now easier for expat investors to enter the UK property market. As well as this, it’s exceptionally tax efficient, and a saving of up to £5,000 on the investment cost can be made.

It’s important to note that if it’s your first time buying a property in the UK, and you own property in another country, then you’ll be unable to benefit from Stamp Duty relief. However, the cost can be categorised as a ‘buying cost’ when completing your Self Assessment. This will reduce your tax liability, as it can be offset against Capital Gains Tax.

These tax benefits certainly make entering the UK property market significantly more appealing for expats. Whilst GoSimpleTax can help you further your understanding of how to be more tax efficient when buying property, Liquid Expat Mortgages are a specialist broker who can connect you with trusted mortgage lenders. Enquire today to request a free, no obligation quote from our experts.