If you are a foreign national living in the UK, you may be wondering how to arrange a mortgage. Should you go directly to your bank, shop around and handle it yourself, or work with a mortgage broker?

As a non-UK national, working with a mortgage broker will give you the best chance of being approved for a UK mortgage. They have access to a wider range of lenders and can assist with paperwork, negotiate a better deal and provide ongoing support throughout the buying process.

In this guide, we’ll answer common questions related to a foreign national mortgage and provide tips on improving your chances of approval.

Strive Mortgages are specialist mortgage brokers for non-UK nationals and understand the challenges you may face. If you want to explore your options, please get in contact with us, we’d be delighted to help. 

What is the difference between going direct to a mortgage lender and to a mortgage broker?

If you go directly to a mortgage lender, you will, of course, only have access to that particular lender’s products, leaving you with fewer choices.

On the other hand, a broker has access to a broader range of lenders, sometimes the entire market. They offer independent advice and can help you to understand your options.

Advantages of using a mortgage broker for a foreign national mortgage

There are many advantages of using a mortgage broker as a non-UK citizen looking to buy a UK property.

Personal service

A broker will offer impartial advice, take the time to understand your circumstances and requirements and research the most suitable deal available to you.

They will then submit a mortgage application on your behalf. It’s important to note that the mortgage broker works for you, not the bank.

Access to more lenders

As a non-UK citizen applying for a UK mortgage, you have a much smaller pool of lenders to work with, as they tend to view non-UK residents as higher risk.

Consequently, they often impose more stringent criteria. For instance, they might demand larger deposit amounts, set minimum income thresholds, or, in some cases, only lend to those with permanent residency status or indefinite leave to remain.

Time-saving

Working with a broker will save you time because you won’t have to shop around for deals yourself. As a specialist mortgage broker, Strive Mortgages works with lenders on a daily basis.

We will know which lenders have the best interest rates for your circumstances and which lenders you stand the best chance of mortgage approval with.

Assistance with paperwork and applications

There’s a significant amount of paperwork involved throughout the mortgage application process. A broker will ensure you have all the necessary paperwork before applying and present it in the right way. They will then act as an intermediary between you and the lender.

Typically, the following paperwork will be required:

  • Proof of identification
  • 3 months’ payslips
  • 3 months’ UK bank account statements showing day-to-day transactions, bills and direct debits
  • Proof of deposit
  • Residency documents – visa/working visa/permanent residency documents
  • An up-to-date copy of your credit report
  • Share code if you are a European Union citizen

Help with negotiation

Brokers direct a significant volume of business to lenders, and in return, these brokers are granted exclusive rates. Your broker may be able to negotiate a more favourable deal than you could get alone, including lower interest rates, monthly mortgage repayments and cash-back incentive deals.

At Strive Mortgages, we are part of a network that has arranged thousands of foreign national mortgages, and therefore we have access to exclusive deals that are not available elsewhere.

Ongoing support

The buying process can be drawn out and stressful at times. It often takes weeks or even months to locate a suitable property and then several more months to finalise your purchase.

A good broker will be there to guide you through the entire process. This includes helping you navigate the UK property market, guidance on the offer-making process, as well as sourcing and coordinating with solicitors, estate agents, and surveyors.

Speak To an Expert

Whether you’ve just had an offer accepted on a property and you’re ready to go, or you’re simply wondering how much you need to save for a deposit, it’s never too soon to reach out.

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Choosing a broker

So you’ve decided to use a broker to help arrange your mortgage. The next step is choosing who to work with, and there’s a lot to consider, especially for foreign nationals. It’s certainly worthwhile to work with someone who specialises in foreign national mortgages, like Strive Mortgages.

If you’re considering an online mortgage advisor, it’s important to check the quality of the website and ensure they have adequate Google and Trustpilot reviews. Recommendations from friends and family are a good starting point. However, keep in mind that they may have different circumstances, and their brokers might not specialise in arranging UK mortgages for foreign nationals.

What are the requirements to get a mortgage in the UK if you’re a non-UK citizen?

The requirements to secure a mortgage in the UK vary depending on the lender and your circumstances.

However, there are a few elements that are typically required by most lenders:

  • Having a UK bank account
  • Having a permanent job in the UK
  • Having a good credit history

How to improve your chances of success with a foreign national mortgage

Use a broker: As already discussed, using a mortgage broker will allow you access to specialist lenders with a wider range of mortgage options than are available through traditional lenders.

Joint Mortgage: Applying for a mortgage with someone else means that a lender can assess your joint income and deposit, which could increase your affordability.

Credit Rating: Having a good credit rating will always improve your chances of success. While it’s certainly more challenging to get a mortgage without a good credit score, it’s not impossible.

Try to minimise the number of credit checks you make in the lead-up to your application because each search you carry out will leave a credit footprint. Too many credit checks can give the impression you are desperate for credit which may put lenders off.

Deposit: Having a bigger deposit can help your chances. While it’s possible to get a mortgage with as little as 5%, many lenders require larger deposits on a foreign national mortgage application.

At what point should I see a mortgage broker for a foreign national mortgage?

If you’re considering getting a mortgage in the future, it’s worth speaking to a mortgage advisor at the earliest opportunity.

They can help you plan for making an application, such as saving for the required deposit or improving your credit history.

Check our guide on what you should consider when applying for a foreign national mortgage.

Get in touch with specialist mortgage brokers at Strive Mortgages today

At Strive Mortgages, we specialise in arranging mortgages for foreign nationals. We are one of the UK’s leading foreign national mortgage brokers and have successfully placed hundreds of mortgages for clients in your position.

For more information on mortgages for foreign nationals, please contact a member of the Strive team, by emailing info@strivemortgages.co.uk or call us on 01273 002697.

Frequently asked questions about getting foreign national mortgages

Who are the best UK lenders for foreign national mortgage deals?

There aren’t any lenders that specifically offer foreign national mortgages. Most lenders offer mortgages to non-UK citizens, however, certain lenders have more lenient criteria than others. Halifax and Barclays are known to have flexible residency lending criteria.

Can I get a mortgage for a property purchase in the UK if I do not live in the UK?

Some lenders offer non-UK resident mortgages, but the vast majority do not. Overseas borrowers looking to purchase property in the UK may have more options if they hold a UK passport and are ex-patriots.

Can I get a buy-to-let mortgage as a foreign national?

Buy-to-let mortgages are available to foreign nationals. Some mortgage lenders may require permanent residency, and others have more relaxed criteria.

Can I use foreign income as part of my application?

Yes, it’s possible, although when applying for a mortgage in the UK, the vast majority of lenders do not accept overseas income.

How long do I need to have been a UK resident?

It’s possible to secure a mortgage in the UK from the moment you arrive, subject to criteria and credit scores. However, lots of lenders have minimum residency requirements. For example, some state a minimum of three years or even five years.