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stevie-s

Expat from UK starting BTL journey

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Hi all,

I'm an expat from Liverpool currently living in Qatar. I'm 29 and work in aviation.  

I'm planning to buy my first BTL in the next few months all being well. I currently just have one property in the UK which was my residential property but I now rent out as a result of living abroad. That's sort of how I decided to get into this. I realised that I was making a magic profit every month from renting my property and doing very little work for it, whilst also achieving capital growth... I have no other experience in property. 

Until now, we have only invested in low cost index funds which are essentially our pension as we aren't provided with a pension plan out here, we will continue to do this, but plan to subsidise it with BTL. So my plan is to focus predominantly on yield. I plan to buy properties in the £70,000 - £90,000 range in Liverpool and I am aiming for a ROI of around 9%. I am hoping to buy 1-2 properties a year using savings. I intend to get all properties on a 30 year BTL mortgage. All being well I aim to be in Qatar for the foreseeable future. I plan to then return to the UK and continue to work full time as I enjoy my job, but by this point we would hopefully have around £25,000 gross in BTL income too (not adjusted for inflation). 

I'm currently in the middle of reading 'The Complete Guide To Property Investment' and I am also working my way through the podcasts and this forum. This has been a massive help so far so thanks to everyone for the contributions I really appreciate it. I would be really interested in having a chat to any other expats who have invested in BTL or even anybody who has BTL properties in the Merseyside area.

Cheers all, 

Stevie

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Hey Stevie

Great plan and a great time to get stuck in with low interest rates and a potential slowing of growth for a bit.

My path is almost parallel one to yours. I too am an expat airline employee set on the property investment journey. A bit further down the road at 36 years old I would be happy to share/ advise on anything you may need to help you avoid the mistakes I have made along the way. From reading your post it sounds like you are already well on your way to success with such a defined achievable goal. Good luck to you! You will get to £25,000 gross quickly and im pretty sure your goals will grow as did mine.

My airline has just gone into administration and a good chance of being furloughed. Although sooner than I would have hoped, the cash flow from the BTLs have afforded us options go into property full time should we so wish.

 

Best regards,

Wes

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Hey Stevie,

I’m in a similar boat. Not in aviation and living in Singapore but am a first time investor none the less and doing it 100% remote. Also in low cost funds and want to supplement with property. About to go in for my first purchase, pending mortgage offer now. I’m weighting more towards capital growth so have picked slightly higher value properties in city centres at the sacrifice of yields.

Good luck to you mate, would be interested to compare notes as we go. Where are you in the process with researching your first?

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@stevie-s

I too am in almost exactly the same boat as you, expat from London living in Singapore like @sijfish, im at the very early stages of speaking to mortgage brokers about remortgaging my current property to release some equity to fund other BTL's in the UK.

What I have found so far from only 1 conversation with a mortgage broker is that lending for properties under £100k for expats can limit the number of lenders.

Have you or anyone else on this thread decided how you will manage the property from overseas e.g. a fully managed service provided by the letting agents or something else?

Interested to hear peoples learnings on any of this, this forum is such a great wealth of knowledge and information.

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Hi @rookiep, will have to be fully managed for me. I don’t have family or contacts in the growth cities I’m focussed on and I need to be as remote and hands off as possible. 

Early days for me because I’m still completing on my first but I did ring around lots of local estate agents when doing my initial due diligence and there are 2-3 I feel comfortable dealing with on the letting and management side. Let’s see... only time will tell!

Would be interested to hear from other expats who manage out as well.

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12 hours ago, rookiep said:

@stevie-s

I too am in almost exactly the same boat as you, expat from London living in Singapore like @sijfish, im at the very early stages of speaking to mortgage brokers about remortgaging my current property to release some equity to fund other BTL's in the UK.

What I have found so far from only 1 conversation with a mortgage broker is that lending for properties under £100k for expats can limit the number of lenders.

Have you or anyone else on this thread decided how you will manage the property from overseas e.g. a fully managed service provided by the letting agents or something else?

Interested to hear peoples learnings on any of this, this forum is such a great wealth of knowledge and information.

Hi mate, 

Good to hear, sounds like we're at similar stages. 

Yes, I've also been told that you are going to be limited for properties under £100k. My initial strategy was to go even lower than £75k, but have been told since that as an expat, mortgage companies just aren't interested below this amount. If anybody knows different, please reach out.

I'm planning to go fully managed as I just don't see another viable way with living abroad. Still in the process of finding an agent.

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Hi all,

Nice reading that there are expats at the beginning of the journey. I'm a Brit in Singapore too, maybe we should a little property hub group in Singapore to help each other out. I was in the middle of my first property purchase before the UK lockdown hit, it's still on hold but actually I've learnt so much more since then so currently reviewing options. Can you guys recommend a good UK mortgage broker for expats?

Thanks!!

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Hi, 

I'm also in Singapore (and no plans to return UK in the near future) 

Also looking to get a BTL for cashflow

It has been a struggle at times to get things moving whilst overseas but it can be done. 

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Hi all,

Great to see people in the same boat and sharing similar goals! I'm an expat currently living in Spain, no real plans to move back to the UK any time soon however I work remotely so work doesn't require my Spanish residency... more of a lifestyle choice.

I have no property at this time but am educating myself and working numbers to work out my long term + short term goals. 

Briefly: I want to invest in UK BTL's, with the end goal of having the option to replace my current job in approx 10 years time. (34yrs old as we speak)

I'm aiming to buy at least one, possibly two per year...depending on my own salary and buying costs.

These properties will be 100% managed by an agency.

Fortunately, I'm not concerned about creating extra income right now so will keep rental profits within the plan, re-invest most likely. 

Right now I am calculating the average difference in expenses that the Expat BTL's will cost me as opposed to resident's BTL's, over 3/5/7/10 year period, along with the potential long term costs if I move back to the UK and want to re-organise things.

Lots to do...

If anyone wants to chirp in, please do so! :)

Good luck + i'll stay in touch,

Cheers,

Jon

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Great to hear lots of us in similar shoes. There should be an expat area of the forum, if not already? And a Singapore meetup :-)

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Morning,

I have a number of clients based in China, UAE and the US (as well as based in the UK) so have been through this process a few times.

The biggest restriction for ex-pats that I have seen is the lending value.  Our client in Dubai was able to get a minimum purchase price of £80k, but most PP need to be at the £100k mark for the lenders to be happy.  We usually source properties under £60k for our UK clients (as they can get mortgages at £50k) but we have started looking more into the higher purchase price properties for our ex-pat clients.

One challenge that I know you guys will struggle with is finding how to do the complete package of sourcing, renovating (if needed) and renting out a property.  I have been packaging this full process now for the last few years and as I type we have sourced 64 properties where we will then renovate (this can be as minor as a lick of paint or as major as a full rip out).  We then complete the process with a full lettings management service.  My clients are mainly UK based but have very busy lives which is why they use our service.  We have been fortunate enough to pop the property cherry of a large number of clients and most of them come back for repeat purchases because they are happy with what we can provide.  I also post everything that we do online every day (just click the links in my signature) and you can see exactly what we get up to.

If anyone wants a chat or just some advice feel free to ping me an email.  If you have free time you can also read my full story from when I first started out 3 years ago (its a long one) but a lot of people have given me some great feedback on it:

Cheers

Darren

 

701670177_HighQualityPNGfileSMALLER.png.5f70ca4cb0d136ae226eb81e0e3e2155.png

      BTS -- BTL -- Lettings -- Sourcing

          www.fmp-investments.com   

             image.png.9da6b48b22099e71e6b38c5c9da690c3.png  image.png.316a3d05478f9de07be32739d4fe4c03.png  image.png.d47c317e14dca0e4c4944a92e2a8e35b.png

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Hi everyone - I’m also a UK expat living in Singapore. I became an accidental landlord 6 years ago when I left the UK. I never intended to be away this long (a common story), so didn’t do anything to make the letting of my place more efficient. That said, it covers my costs and delivers a tiny profit, so all good. I’m lucky enough to have had the same tenants throughout and they’ve been excellent.

I’m now selling (contracts exchanged and completion in early August, fingers crossed) and I want to put the bulk of the sale proceeds towards proper BTL investments. The two main issues I face are:

1. I grew up in the south east, know Cornwall well and lived in London for 12 years... none of these areas is great for BTL given the extremely high purchase prices and, in the lower value parts of Cornwall, poor rental demand; and

2. I live 7,000 miles away!

My focus is on income, rather than capital appreciation (which I consider to be a given over the long run, purely because of inflation, but not to be relied upon given its lack of liquidity). I’ve not started speaking to brokers yet but my initial thoughts are that interest-only mortgages are the way to go, although I know that expats can find financing tricky (or at least more limited).

Several northern and midlands towns seem to be the places to invest, but I have no family/contacts there and I’m personally unfamiliar with those parts of the country (southern fairy through-and-through).

Since there are a few of us in Singapore, I thought I’d introduce myself and see whether we can share some ideas/tips.

Alex 

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Hi @alexanderrw nice to hear from another Singapore based expat. There are quite a few of us on here, many more experienced than me! I'm just about to (fingers crossed) complete on my first BTL in Leeds using an expat mortgage so happy to trade stories. It's been a 4 month journey chatting with all number of so called expat advisors, marketing agents and mortgage brokers. But I can attest it is absolutely possible to (1) buy in an area of the UK you are not familiar with (I'm from Dorset and have never been to Leeds) and (2) do it from 7,000 miles away (if you've never been to the area, its pretty much immaterial how many miles away you are!), with the right amount of research of course!

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On 7/2/2020 at 9:46 AM, alexanderrw said:

I’m now selling (contracts exchanged and completion in early August, fingers crossed) and I want to put the bulk of the sale proceeds towards proper BTL investments. The two main issues I face are:

1. I grew up in the south east, know Cornwall well and lived in London for 12 years... none of these areas is great for BTL given the extremely high purchase prices and, in the lower value parts of Cornwall, poor rental demand; and

2. I live 7,000 miles away!

My focus is on income, rather than capital appreciation (which I consider to be a given over the long run, purely because of inflation, but not to be relied upon given its lack of liquidity). I’ve not started speaking to brokers yet but my initial thoughts are that interest-only mortgages are the way to go, although I know that expats can find financing tricky (or at least more limited).

Hi Alex, I am happy to have a chat with you and help you with your needs.  I usually cater for clients looking to spend lower amounts of money (50-65k per property) but I do have ex-pat clients who have been restricted on purchase price so have bought higher value properties (£80k upwards).  You can still achieve some really good returns on these and although £80k is not a massive amount of money for a property where I operate £80-100k does start to get you the much better areas in the towns and rental returns around £600-£650PCM.  It must be a daunting thing to do to buy so far away but we have a large number of clients who do it and they have been glad to take the plunge.

Darren

 

701670177_HighQualityPNGfileSMALLER.png.5f70ca4cb0d136ae226eb81e0e3e2155.png

      BTS -- BTL -- Lettings -- Sourcing

          www.fmp-investments.com   

             image.png.9da6b48b22099e71e6b38c5c9da690c3.png  image.png.316a3d05478f9de07be32739d4fe4c03.png  image.png.d47c317e14dca0e4c4944a92e2a8e35b.png

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On 7/5/2020 at 4:37 PM, sijfish said:

Hi @alexanderrw nice to hear from another Singapore based expat. There are quite a few of us on here, many more experienced than me! I'm just about to (fingers crossed) complete on my first BTL in Leeds using an expat mortgage so happy to trade stories. It's been a 4 month journey chatting with all number of so called expat advisors, marketing agents and mortgage brokers. But I can attest it is absolutely possible to (1) buy in an area of the UK you are not familiar with (I'm from Dorset and have never been to Leeds) and (2) do it from 7,000 miles away (if you've never been to the area, its pretty much immaterial how many miles away you are!), with the right amount of research of course!

Hi @sijfish - thanks for your message. I take it you used a sourcing company etc.? Would you mind disclosing who you used and how the process went? Happy for that to be by direct message if you prefer!

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1 hour ago, alexanderrw said:

Hi @sijfish - thanks for your message. I take it you used a sourcing company etc.? Would you mind disclosing who you used and how the process went? Happy for that to be by direct message if you prefer!

I didn’t use a sourcing agent for this one (i.e. an agent compensated with a finder’s fee paid by the buyer). I did my own research on areas and then reached out to a tonne of marketing agents (i.e. compensated with commission by the developer) to find listings for new build apartments in those areas. It was quite a lot of work dealing with sales people who just want to do deals but after identifying the key players I was confident I had good coverage of available stock.

I’ll give sourcing agents more of a try next time around, I know some are able to secure deals/bulk discounts that marketing agents don’t have. It just worked out well this time around that there happened to be stock available in my preferred location at the right time.

DM me if you want names, happy to refer you to a few.

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