Property in the UK is consistently seen as a good investment, and many British expats are keen to either keep or purchase a property at home. This is more complicated in some cases than others—securing a UK mortgage for a non-resident who has US residency, for example, can be quite challenging.
I recently assisted a British expat in her forties to secure a mortgage on a property in North West London. My client and her husband were first time buyers, looking for a residential property, as their long-term plan was to settle down in the UK to raise their family.
UK mortgages for British expats are not overly complicated—however, there were a number of factors in this case which posed a real challenge. My client and her husband were living and working in the US, and were US taxpayers. The husband was a US national resident, which many lenders are uncomfortable with due to the Internal Revenue Service.
He was also a self-employed contractor on a day rate, and had only had the contract for six months. At the time of the application, his employment changed to full-time employment. Lenders generally look to see that a borrower has had the same employer for a minimum of three to six months. Also, as they had recently had their first baby, my client was on maternity leave when she made the enquiry through our website.
Furthermore, they were purchasing a residential property which was not going to be occupied from day one—on top of paying for rent and living expenses whilst residing in the US. My clients also wanted the mortgage to be under a joint mortgage for affordability purposes, but for the property deeds to be in the wife’s name only.
Fortunately, we have lenders within our extensive lender network who are comfortable dealing with US nationals and residents. Due to the complexity of my clients’ requests, I approached a private bank that I have a particularly strong relationship with. I demonstrated the husband’s solid employment record to this lender, showing he had a consistent level of income over the last three years.
Regarding her income, I secured a letter from her employer showing what her income would be on her return to work, showing no reductions. I convinced the bank to allow the mortgage to be completed in a joint name but have the title deeds in her name solely, as this would have future tax benefits.
The final terms agreed was a 2-year fixed rate of 2.44% on a capital repayment basis, which my client was extremely happy with as this was within the budget they had planned.