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Ltd company for an expat

ivan j

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Hello everyone,


I am an expat, looking to set up a limited company in the UK. 


Do any other expats have experience of setting up companies? Do you have the same access to lending as companies with UK-based owners?


As an expat, the mortgages I can get at the moment have certain restrictions, for example;

- higher rates (although this is probably similar to company lending rates)

- minimum mortgage loans (around £100,000)

- no off-plan purchases


Using a Ltd company would hopefully provide more flexibility (and has other advantages). 


I have some property experience with three UK properties held privately. 


I will speak with some lenders, but it would be great if anyone could share real experiences.



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  • 2 months later...

Hi AH,


No responses on this I'm afraid. 


But I read a couple of books by Iain Wallis, did some research on the HMRC site and have spoken to some mortgage brokers. 


So to comment on expat mortgages -  

- higher rates (although this is probably similar to company lending rates) - seems that company rates and expat rates are broadly similar

- minimum mortgage loans (around £100,000) - I could only find mortgages of less than 100k for rates that are too high (7-8%)

- no off-plan purchases - this is not strictly true. Although lenders say that they will not lend for off-plan, in fact when I dug deeper, I found that I can borrow for off-plan, but only if the lender can perform a valuation on the property closer to construction. Of course in the meantime conditions could change, but if you are willing to assume that conditions will be broadly the same, then mortgages do look to be possible. 


I am still looking into forming a company for future purchases.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi JJ,


I'm in a similar situation to yourself- Brit, but currently an expat. I've managed to get mortgages in my own name, including off plan. Most of the time I use HSBC / HSBC Expat. They will lend to off plan, but will only start the application 4 months before the completion date. They are slow, but I've not found better rates (currently 3.69% tracker with initial fee of GBP1,800). Natwest in Jersey will also provide similar offers but at 4%. I've not used Natwest to date, but I know someone who has and she noted they were very slow, but this is also true for HSBC Expat.


I have also set up an SPV limited company. I've not used it yet as I plan to maximize properties in my own name first, then future ones in a company. The company was easy to set up through an accountant. I've had agreements in principal from Shawbrook, who normally only deal with mortgage brokers. Incidentally I have a current mortgage agreement in principal form them for a BTL that is below the GBP150k lending threshold HSBC currently have. I understand HSBC are reviewing this and it might drop to min loan of GBP100k later this year, but not confirmed.


Hope this helps.





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Forgot to say: for a company you won't get the same rates as the UK as they will still treat you as an expat, even though it's through a UK company. Most lenders won't lend to overseas investors/expats and those that will expect a personal guarantee form the company directors. Sorry not a way around as you had hoped. My above comment on Shawbrook refer to a mortgage for my company. The rates are higher at just below 5%, with less than attractive early repayment charges.



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  • 1 month later...

Hi Stu, A very belated thanks for your comments, they are very useful and much appreciated. 


The "no-off plan" rule for lenders put me off, but as you say, banks will lend closer to completion (perhaps their marketing should be improved!)


I moved ahead with a property in my name earlier in the year (off-plan also), but I am now at the stage that I am pretty sure I should make new purchases through a company.


This of course creates the issues discussed: higher rates, treated as an ex pat even with UK company. 


My fundamental problem remains - I would like to purchase properties in the 50-100k range, but lenders don't seem interested in this. I'm continuing to explore options and if you have any further thoughts, please let me know. How is your strategy going? Did you buy more through the SPV??

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  • 11 months later...

Hi all, I'm facing exactly the same situation a year on and it's proving to be the major stumbling block to my journey into property investment.


I'm trying to find out what the implication are if I were to include a UK based family member \ friend as a shareholder \ director in the Ltd company set-up - anyone investigated this?


Did any of you succeed in finding a more flexible solution since last year?  Which providers did you end up with?





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Hi Tom


I've found the situation has improved a bit.


I've only purchased one property through my company. Property was £80k, 75% LTV and a rate of just under 4%. This was through a mortgage broker (PM me with your email address if you would like an intro).


I personally still intend to purchase in my own name. I've just had an agreement in principal for a purchase of a house for £80k at an LTV of 70%, £1,800 fees and a rate of 3.04% (tracker 2.79% above base rate) with Bank of China.


Shawbrook seem to do the lowest purchase price of £75k, though worth a conversation with them if you need to go lower just in case they are open to it or their criteria changes. You can call them directly and I find them helpful.


Ive not got any family member in the U.K. as a director in the company, but I doubt this is a work around as my understanding is that landers need to see all of the borrowers details, unless they are not a major shareholder (I think this is defined as a holding of 19% or less). This last sentence is my opinion and from memory, so would need to be checked. A mortgage broker could quickly give you this advice, or phone a lender directly if you've used one before. 


Good luck.



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  • 2 months later...

Hi Guys,


I'm in the same situation and have been looking for ways around it for over a year now. I was thinking the same thing regarding having a UK resident as my partner and as director but can't seem to get anyone to lock down on what I would be required to best position things  

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  • 5 months later...

Hi all,


resurrecting this as I’ve had an idea I’d like to put out there...


So, I find myself no further since all my efforts over half a year ago. I found the small number of mortgage products and rates for a newbie Expat investor a non-starter. However, the cogs are always whirring as I’m so keen to get a portfolio off the ground.


Anyway, the main feedback I got regarding the lack of products available, was that we don’t currently own anything in the UK, despite our situation here in Germany. So I thought what if we bought something/ anything cheap outright in cash as a mule to access more of the market?


Would this achieve what I hope? Would the low value have any impact on further mortgage products? Would the providers see right through my plan.


Once I have access to better rates, I believe we could add a few standard BTL’s fairly swiftly.


Just putting it out there, even if stupid, and interested in any thoughts.





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  • 3 months later...
On 3/18/2018 at 7:14 PM, tom capewell said:

Anyway, the main feedback I got regarding the lack of products available, was that we don’t currently own anything in the UK, despite our situation here in Germany. So I thought what if we bought something/ anything cheap outright in cash as a mule to access more of the market?


What kind of deals do you have access to?


I own in the UK, but still have very limited options to buy through a Ltd company as an expat. 


Best deals I can see at the moment are with Landbay, 3.86% floating rate, 1.87% arrangement fee. 


Slowly there are more banks coming into the sector, but as an expat it is difficult. 


So far, I have just accepted the higher rates and lower ROI and pressed ahead, knowing that in a few years time either there will be more lenders in the market or I will have moved back to the UK and can access cheaper finance. 






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Looking back at the previous comments, a short update... 

In the end with the off-plan flat I bought, I switched to buying through a company. I ran the numbers and it made no sense to buy privately.  I now have six flats bought through the company. All with mortgages from Shawbrook. 

One update on Shawbrook is that after a couple of purchases, you can use them without a broker. 


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  • 10 months later...

hi guys, very interesting post as I am also in a similar position and considering my options. I have currently two mortgages with HSBC(one standard residential and one BTL) for properties in Glasgow which I held in my name. I am looking to buy another property this year and considering options of opening a limited company and buying through company or continue privately. In terms of taxes company may be preferred however I am afraid of limited funding options when buying through company. What is your opinion on access to funding for expat buying through company vs expat buying privately? Does the amount of products similar in both categories? how do the lead time compare ? I heard mortgages for companies take way longer to setup. Any other pointers? Much appreciate any advice from fellow hubbers.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi, just reviving this topic as the situation still remains the same.  I am UK Citizen based in Dubai trying to purchase off plan properties in the UK with very little mortgage options available.

Does anyone know of a good broker that has gone through the process previously?

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