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An international mortgage is any mortgage taken out against a property in a country different to the one you live in. You may want an international mortgage in a couple of different situations:
- You’re a US citizen living in the US and investing in property overseas
- You’re a US citizen living abroad and investing in property back home
This guide to international mortgage lenders for US citizens covers all you need to know. We’ll also introduce Wise as a good option to send money internationally when you buy property abroad.
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Most regular US banks don’t offer international mortgages — but some with specific international operations do offer this service. The other option open to most people is to use a mortgage broker to connect you to a suitable lender. Let’s run through some key pointers about each alternative — and some options to try.
While it’s absolutely worth checking if your current bank offers international mortgages, be prepared that the answer is probably no. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to set up an international mortgage directly with a bank.
Many global banking brands have specific international services designed for expats and people who invest overseas. These tend to be a better place to look when looking for an international mortgage direct from a bank. Here are a few to consider.
HSBC international services cover mortgages for US citizens buying in 11 countries around the world¹.
Eligibility requirements include:
To find out more head to the HSBC international desktop site, and complete the contact form to get a call back. A team member will then talk you through your options.
Barclays International offers US citizens international mortgages if they’re buying property in the UK².
Mortgages are available both for people who plan to live in the home, and for those buying international property as an investment. Age and deposit requirements apply, which vary depending on how you intend to use the property.
Standard Chartered (SC) Global Banking has services for US customers looking to finance or refinance a property internationally³.
Options will depend on whether you’re already a customer, and also where the property you want to buy is located. Depending on your status, SC can help with property purchases in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, UAE, Jersey (UK) and India. To find out more you’ll need to complete the call back form on the SC website to be connected with an agent.
Mortgage brokers are specialists in connecting customers with lenders. You may pay a fee for the service, but you could also unlock better deals and a bigger choice of providers.
Because many international mortgage brokers specialise in specific regions — helping connect customers with lenders in Mexico or Europe for example — a quick Google search including your region will help you generate a long list of options.
To get you started, here are a couple of international mortgage brokers for US citizens which work globally to consider:
Enness Global has helped people from 78 different countries complete mortgages in 20 different countries through its network of international lenders⁴. Their key areas include parts of Europe, prime US cities and the Caribbean — but they can help people all over the world.
Get in touch by email, Whatsapp, phone — or use the online contact form to learn more.
America Mortgages may be for you if you’re a US citizen living abroad and wanting to buy back in the US⁵. They also offer products for foreign nationals living outside their home country⁶.
Under normal circumstances getting a US mortgage may be tricky if you’re planning on relying on foreign income. It can also be problematic if you don’t have a credit history in the US due to living abroad. America Mortgages works with a network of 150 lenders to help connect expats with the right loan providers.
Services for other nationalities include support for mortgages when buying in the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Thailand, and Hong Kong.
Neither option is perfect — so finding the right one for you will probably take a bit of research. Here are some pointers to think about:
|Range of mortgages available||Only 1 bank’s products — but you’ll see all you’re eligible for||Multiple banks’ products — but what you see is controlled by the broker|
|Application process||Direct with bank||With broker support|
|Fees||Only bank fees||Bank + broker fees|
|Trust||Big bank brands are safe and trustworthy||Check your broker is licensed and trained|
Make sure you know who your broker is being paid by if you choose to use one. Not all brokers work with all lenders — and unscrupulous brokers may choose to only present lenders which pay them a higher fee. Make sure your broker has access to a really good range of lenders before you commit.
|Further reading: how to transfer money to buy overseas property|
If you need to send money abroad for a downpayment or to close a real estate purchase, you want the very best deal on international transfers to make sure you don’t lose out on high fees and a poor exchange rate.
Wise can help. Currency exchange uses the real exchange rate with no markup, and you’ll only ever pay a low, transparent fee — which means you can save compared to using your regular bank.
If you’re getting a mortgage for a property in a different country, there may be extra costs to consider, as well as the monthly repayments. Here are some to check out:
How the costs of a property transaction are split between buyer and seller varies in different countries. Don’t get caught out by unexpected charges — work with local experts in your destination to make sure you fully understand the buying process.
One option when you buy a property internationally is to try to get a home loan in the destination country. This may be possible, but there are often restrictions on foreign buyers, particularly if you’re not resident.
Individual banks and mortgage providers have the final say on who they’re willing to offer a loan to. Check out a few in your destination country to see if it’s common to approve applications from international buyers — and don’t forget to look carefully at local interest rates and mortgage charges, as these may be quite different to at home.
|💡 Convert money automatically at your preferred rate using Wise's auto conversion feature. All you have to do is pick the rate you want and Wise will take care of the rest!|
Buying a property in a different country could be a long term place for you or a family member to live, a vacation home, or an investment. But getting an international mortgage from a regular bank can be a challenge. Use this guide as a starting point to find the best option for you — and check out Wise when you need to make international payments to secure your new home.
|If you want to learn more, check out this full guide to getting a mortgage for an overseas property.|
- HSBC - Buy property abroad
- Barclays - Mortgages
- SC - International mortgage
- Enness Global - International mortgages
- America Mortgages - US citizen overseas
- America Mortgages - Foreign national overseas
Sources checked on 11. .2021
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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