Using expat forums to help with expat mortgages.

One way to learn about a country and its peculiar mortgage problems would be to go to an expat forum. A person should go to one of the expat forums on the Internet and talk to expats all over the world. Some of these expats would know what it is like to live in that country and what rules they have for a foreigner to buy a house or to have a mortgage in that country. They would know what particular bank has the best mortgage rates in that country.

An expat forum would be a good place to get information about a country and there are some expat forums that a person should try. Thailand has two expat forums that you could try for example. One expat forum is on the website called ajarn.com.  Ajarn is Thai for teacher and it is actually meant for expats who want to teach in Thailand. It does have a forum section and a person can be sure that he or she will find a teacher who has been able to afford a house and had to deal with the problem of having a mortgage in Thailand. The other expat forum in Thailand is on the website called thaivisa.com. This website was obviously meant to deal with the immigration problems that a foreigner faces in Thailand. It does have good news and classifieds sections. It does have a forum section where a person can talk to a variety of Thai expats about the problems that they are having in Thailand. Some of these expats will know about what is like to get a mortgage in Thailand as well as buying a house.

Internatons.org is a truly international website. It has members that are in almost every city on the planet. The purpose of this website is to serve the expats in those cities and try to get them to form a community on the Internet. The website also tries to get the expats in those cities also to meet at least a month in various locations in those cities. The website has an expat forum for the expats in each of those cities to get in touch each other through the Internet. A person could type in expatforum.com and there is indeed a website with that name. One goal of this website is to get the most expat members on the Internet. With 175,000 members, it seems well on its way to achieving that goal with about 175,000 members. Some of these members will have have answers to mortgage problems in the country that a person would be interested in living in.

Becoming an expat in Spain – Some facts you need to consider

Although Spain is a wonderful country with many tourist attraction facilities, there are several factors that one needs to consider before deciding to become an expat in this country.

Spain has more than 90% of its population speaking native Spanish languages. Regarding the weather it has warm and dry summers and very cold winters. It is a multi-religious society with most major religions well represented. Currently there are close to 5.8 million foreign residents in the country, and the immigration rate is still very high. Spain has the second highest immigration rate in the world.

Whether you want to move to Spain for work, leisure or to become a citizen, you first need to obtain several documents. Residency visas are needed in order to work, reside, invest or find a home in the country. Most expats moving to Spain usually reside in cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Costa Brava and Granada. A large population of Spanish people own cars and hence personal vehicles are the most preferred mode of transport. The Spanish government is now investing in electric cars to save on fuel consumption. Buses are mainly used for intra-city and inter-city movements. Railway transport and airport transport are also well advanced in Spain with several high speed rails and 47 public transport airports. There six major highways connecting the Spanish cities which form a centralized road transport system.

Investment in mortgages from Spain is easy for both expats and citizens if they have a good financial channel. Spanish banks offer mortgages for real estate investment and are therefore a good investment haven for everyone. You can purchase holiday apartments, new homes with your Spanish mortgage, whatever you like. The interest rates normally vary from bank to bank but they are generally low due to fierce competition between several banks. Comparing several bank rates before choosing one will help you get the best financier. They only require proof that you can pay them within good time. Self-employed people are usually requested for their last three year accounts while employed people are requested for their 6-months bank statements. If you have been renting a house, some banks will require statements that prove your ability to pay.

Those who are not legal Spain residents are usually asked to produce an oval, an agreement with a Spanish resident who can pay for you in case you default. The property prices by most banks are about 60 to 80 per cent depending on your residence status, over a period of 5, 10 or 20 years.

Mortgages made easy for people emigrating to America

Emigrating to America can be both exciting and stressful. This is especially true when you have to go through the process of getting a mortgage. People emigrating have more difficulty doing this, but it is not an impossible task. Let’s take a look at some information that will help you along the way.

First of all it is important to be well aware that there are predatory companies out there that target people who are emigrating to America. You have to know that the company that you choose is really working for you. Knowing the steps that it takes to get a mortgage will help you understand the process meaning you will be less likely to be taken advantage of.
You can have the home of your dreams. What it all comes down to is your immigration status. If you are a legal immigrant with a permanent address the procedure is almost identical to the one any American citizen would have to go through.
You will have to fill out the forms and application as well as give all of your information and requested documents to the bank. It sounds simple enough, but many people emigrating do face some difficulties in this area.

The most prominent problem that people emigrating to America will face while trying to obtain a mortgage is their lack of a credit history. It does not matter how well your credit looks in your native country; it is the United States credit history the banks want to see. So, what does that mean for you?

You will have to take a few steps to get your US credit history established. This means while you can still get a mortgage, it may take a bit of time. While you are establishing your US credit you will also want to make sure that you take this time to obtain any and all documents that you will need to get the mortgage secured. This will save you some time and stress. Remember, it is the US documents that they will want to see.

If you are in the US on a legal visa that will not allow you to have a social security card then getting a mortgage may be a lot more difficult. It is still not impossible though. Your documentation will need to also include an individual taxpayer number. Once you have your individual taxpayer number, your documents and your established credit history in the US then you can try and apply for your mortgage.

This can be great deal of hassle so getting assistance with the mortgage process is your best bet. A trustworthy mortgage broker is almost mandatory, and this is especially true for those who are emigrating to America. These are professionals who are familiar with the process and all of the red tape. They will be able to direct you to all of the right lenders ultimately tripling your odds of getting your mortgage. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to these qualified professionals for help, and you will get your mortgage faster than you had first thought possible.

5 Reasons why using a specialist broker is best when searching for an expat mortgage

With employment opportunities becoming increasingly globalised, it’s common to find UK nationals (both non-domiciled as well as non-resident) settled outside the country. But being an expat need not stop you from investing and building your dream home in the UK. A home in the UK serves as an excellent financial investment as well as provides a place to live in when you return home for good. Are expat mortgages any different in process from conventional mortgages in the UK?

The main difference lies in tax and currency related considerations. As far as currency implications go, in all likelihood, you may be earning in a currency other than the Pound Sterling. What you need to  pay closer attention to is currency exchange fluctuations that may make property investment more expensive than it should. Foreign exchange rates change on a daily basis and since property purchase is a heavy investment, you need to be particularly vigilant about currency volatility. Since you are earning an income abroad, there will be various tax implications to consider. Although there are several UK banks and money lenders that service the expat population, they are often sceptical about approving overseas mortgage loans. This is the reason why you often find much fewer lenders willing to service expat mortgages compared to local clients. Expat mortgage loans stand higher chances of being rejected simply because lenders consider these as high-risk cases.
Looking for a competent and reputed broker has several benefits to offer.

Firstly, you don’t have to worry about issues such as taxation and currency exchange rates. The broker will be able to connect you to trustworthy and reliable lenders and you stand a much better chance of getting a property loan approved as you have a professional working on your behalf.

An independent expat mortgage broker will be able to recommend properties and loans that suit your preferences and budget. The best part is that you do not have to pay your broker out of your pocket. Most expat mortgage brokers earn their commissions from property investment banks and lenders.

Expat mortgages often involve a staggering amount of paperwork that can feel overwhelming. A broker will help you prepare your documents and keep you briefed on whatever you need to submit to get a loan approved.

Expat mortgages tend to get processed faster and more efficiently through a broker given the privileged relationship between brokers and lending institutions. In addition to this, brokers are often successful in securing attractive lending rates for expat clients. This is because they transact huge volumes of business for specific lending institutions and are able to offer lower rates than you might have been offered on your own.

The bank or lending institution underwriting your loan application will give priority to your application over others when using an experienced broker.  Expat mortgages transacted through a broker will tend to much more relaxed, hassle-free and smooth compared to doing it on your own. The broker will handle any questions or issues that arise with the bank.

To conclude, a competent broker for expat mortgages can effectively save you time, money and effort and help you get a preferred property in the UK.

Are Expat Buy to Let Mortgages Increasing In Popularity?

Buy to let mortgages have recently seen resurgence in popularity because of increased uncertainty in the stock market and low savings interest rates. More and more expatriates are adding buy to let mortgages to their portfolios because of increasing rents, better mortgage deals, and reduced house prices. However, is the expat buy to let mortgage industry all that it’s cracked up to be? What is so attractive that people are choosing buy to let mortgages over other investment vehicles?

Despite frequent slumps in the real estate industry, house prices in major cities often remain consistent. In London, for example, the price of houses remained stable even when prices in other areas dipped in 2012. The same case applied to many big cities and prime properties such as beach houses. As a result, an expat buy to let mortgage is increasingly popular among people who want to make long-term investments.

Increasing interest for properties for rent in certain areas is another driver of popularity for buy to let mortgages. Again, with London as an example, each available property is sought after by an average of seven renters which drives up rent for the properties. Property rent in London saw a 4.5% increase in 2012 over the previous year.

Apart from rents going up, there is increased demand for properties from foreign investors. This makes the prices of properties  remain fairly stable and increase gradually over time. Due to the relatively steady demand for properties, markets in certain areas are able to remain fairly stable even in the wake of economic fluctuations in the country.

How the interest of an expat buy to let mortgage is treated also makes the mortgage more attractive for investors. This means that an investor will have more money left over from collected rent. Other expenses can also be offset from tax paid on the income of a property including property valuation and mortgage application fees.

An expat buy to let mortgage can be managed and the investor does not have to worry about things such as property maintenance and finding tenants. This makes investing in buy to let mortgages a hassle-free investment. If an expat with a buy to let mortgage plans to be away from the country for a long time, he can still get guaranteed income from certain letting agents regardless of whether the house is occupied or not. This makes the investment relatively safer than other investments such as the stock market or currency market.

Expat Mortgages

Over the last 20 years, there has been an increase of expats the world over. The national markets in many countries are now merging to form a global market whereby businesses and organisations are moving from their home countries to capture international markets abroad. It is for this reason that expats are being sent to foreign countries to assist with the running of businesses or organizations that have branches overseas. They are chosen on the basis of their expertise in certain fields that is needed.
Working abroad could be seen as a positive step to climbing the career ladder. While it may be exciting to experience new possibilities provided in another country, challenges are equally real. Expats just like everyone else would like to own a home. They may want to buy it in the country they are working from or alternatively buy one in their home country. The great thing is that there are mortgages available for those working overseas. Expat communities can seek such services to enable them to buy homes with ease.

As an expat, your homework would be to look for credible and trusted expat mortgage services. After identifying one, the next step is to find out your most suitable mortgage. Usually there are two types of expat mortgages; interest only mortgages, these are currently rare, which require you to only pay interest to the lender and repayment mortgages which require both interest and part capital to be paid to the lender each month. The latter is can be a better option because it means you are paying off your loan as well as the interest and house will become yours at the end of the mortgage. Lenders can give you up to four times your income, it will vary from lender to lender as well as what your personal circumstances are. They are often cautious if you have taken out another loan and will give you only what you are capable of paying back.

Expats often have a chance to own homes for letting and there are mortgages for this purpose. Advice should be taken on all types of mortgages available for foreigners. Expat mortgage institutions will give you all the information you need to buy a home in the country you’re working in or in your home country. The lender will in most cases consider the value of the property, the amount of rental income you’ll probably get and how much deposit you can afford to put down. An expat needs to understand the overall costs implicated in each mortgage before embarking on buying any piece of property.

Expats all over the world can also own their dream home which is not an easy task as more mortgage institutions tighten their credit facilities. This does not mean that all hope is lost. You just have to find a genuine company and if you fulfil all their conditions, will be more than happy to help you out. As an expat, it would be wise to take your time to understand all the variables involved in purchasing a home while taking advice from experienced financial companies who deal specifically in the expat mortgage sector.

5 helpful things to know before moving to Qatar

The number of people relocating to Qatar is growing year on year. This country is rich in oil and therefore it offers well-paid jobs that attract professionals from other countries. Unfortunately these people often do not take time to find out about expat life in Qatar. In order to ensure a smooth transition, here are 5 things you need to know well in advance.

  1. One crucial item is about family visas. Some expats cannot bring in their own families. You must be earning an amount that exceeds a level set by the Qatar authorities (currently 10,000 qar a month) for you to bring in your family. With regard to recent rule changes, some women working in private firms are not able to sponsor their families causing the application to be rejected. If this happens to you, you can appeal. Some firms will process family visas if the employee has been in the country for at least 6 months. You need to check if this applies to you.
  2. Qatar has enormous expansion plans that ensure that professionals moving into the country bring in their young children. While schools belonging to the country are not full, the best schools have waiting lists that are long. If you have enough time for planning your move make an application for a place early. Most of the schools will only accept applicants for a very short period every year.
  3. The healthcare system is well resourced in Qatar. Medical corporations offer treatment for free to those that are registered including expats, but the very best care is in private health care.  If you choose private health care it can be costly especially for complex operations and maternity care. The best thing is to check whether the policy covers health insurance for your dependants as well. You also need to note if there are any exclusions.
  4. Driving in Qatar can be challenging. However it may be necessary to drive because taxis are under high pressure and the bus system is unreliable. If you hold a valid licence, even if it is from a different country, you can drive rented cars for a period that does not exceed one week. From there you will need an IDL (International Driver’s License). It will keep you legal on the roads for 6 months. Your IDL will be invalid once you are issued with a residence permit.
  5. Before you begin the expat life in Qatar, you need to know about the cost of living. Even if you expect an impressive salary you should check carefully that it is possible to live on it as well as save appropriately too. Petrol is cheap, but most of the everyday goods are expensive. One of the reasons is that Qatar imports 90% of its food. The cost of cultural pursuits and entertainment went up by 7.8% last year so the cost of living is increasing. You may also need to consider annual travel costs for additional flights to home for example, that are not covered by your company.

Expat life in Qatar can be great if you keep your eyes open before you relocate. Qatar people are welcoming, therefore they will be of great help as you settle. It is normal for you to have the odd bad experiences in some areas because you are new in the country. However, you must prevent such experiences from putting you down and keep them to a minimum by carefully planning before you move to the country.

The Internet and Tradition Can Help the Children of Expat Families Settle Happily

One of the biggest challenges that expat families encounter when making the move abroad is helping their children settle comfortably and seeing them smile on a regular basis once the move is made. Change is never easy for anyone, especially children, but moving can be a fun experience if all members of the family become involved in the moving process.

When the decision is made to move abroad the first step a family needs to do is research their new destination together. Go on the internet as a family and find out about the area in which you are going to live. If you have children of varying ages you can gather them all around the computer and search for things in your new area that they might enjoy. It might be best if the adults did some early research to help guide the internet search with the children later rather than  just jump in and look. Your family can visit the community office of your new destination on the internet and find out what they recommend for visitors and people new to the community. Another fun activity is to visit social networks such as Facebook and connect with people in your new area through this medium. If you have very young children it would be a very good decision to buy some books about moving abroad and read them with them. The family should read the books together so the adults and older siblings can show the younger children the advantages of moving such as making new friends and learning new things.

One mistake that some expat families make is they don’t show their children how to say farewell. Take the time to collect mementos and have the friends and relatives of the children come to your home and show them where you are going as a family. Turn the experience into a party and take pictures that you can put on a family website or a website for your children. By taking these actions your children will be able to move forward to their new home while still remembering and maintaining contact with their friends and loved ones.

When expat families arrive in their new home they need to immediately help their children connect with children in their new neighbourhoods. The best way to do this is for the adults to knock on the doors of their neighbours and invite them over to your new home. Having a barbecue or even just sharing some snacks in your home can help your children interact with the children of people in your new neighbourhood. Your children might already have made connections through the various social networks but now they get to meet their neighbours and new friends in the comfort of your new home. Once your children have made new friends you will see your children smile and be more accepting of new and different cultures and activities.

Another challenge for expat families is helping their children become comfortable in their new school. However, this can be achieved by meeting with the teachers in person. Sit down and make a list about what type of character your child is and take it to the school. Meet with those individuals who will teach your child and have a discussion about their personalities. Give the teachers some further information about your children so that they have some insights and can find a way to connect with your child. This knowledge will help the teachers make your child feel less nervous when meeting their new teachers and learning in a different environment. The last thing expat families need to do when moving abroad is to remember to retain some of their family traditions. Your family is moving as a unit so the things you did in your past home you should try to do in your new home. If the family used to eat together on Sunday afternoon and then watch a television show as a family then that tradition should be maintained. This familiarity will help your children realise that while the location of the family home may be different the good things about the family which is the members of the family and their values are still the same. This will help your children embrace the move and help bring smiles to their faces which for expat families, is the most important thing.

Reason why people move to Australia

Australia has always hit the highest mark in attracting foreigner’s to live within its shores. It has been one of the most popular destination for everyone regardless of their country of origin. This cannot just be because of the name or its location in the map of the world, so there must be more reasons behind this magnetic attraction it has on foreigners. If you are thinking of relocating to a different country abroad, then living in Australia could be one of the best choices you ever make. Your decision to move to Australia could be helped by knowing the following awaits you:

1. The best economic activities – Australia has beaten most of the European countries by avoiding sinking into recession. It is the thirteenth largest economy in the world with high GDP per capita. There are also low levels of poverty with the lowest unemployment rate in the world at 5.1% as at July 2011. The country has rich natural resources. You are therefore more assured of employment and business opportunities especially in IT, financial and services sectors than in any European country.

2. High quality of life – The country offers a high quality of life and one of the best living standards you can find. This is attributed to its good climate, lifestyle and a relatively stable economy. The UN’s 2010 Human Development Index ranked the country at position two. This ranking is normally based on the life expectancy of the citizens of the country, standards of living and the quality of education. Major cities of this country also rank highly in the global live-ability survey.

3. Excellent and world class cities – Most of the country’s cities are situated along the coastline. These cities are included in the top 10 list of the world’s most live-able cities with Melbourne ranking the first. This is because these cities have good housing options that are affordable, have excellent transport systems, great universal health care and a world-class education system which reflects the state of the whole country. Sydney is a cosmopolitan and dynamic city with its population comprising of multicultural individuals. The city leads the world in fashion and boasts of being one of the most innovative cities. All your needs whether arts, sports or business related will be met here. Adelaide is the heart of all commercial and financial activities of the country with a vibrant cultural life that is unmatched by any other city in the world. The city is also a leader in wine production. Melbourne offers an exciting cultural landscape with events like film, arts, drama, literature, architecture being the top of the list.

4. Attractive Landscape and Wildlife – The country offers unlimited scenery that is attractive to any foreigner migrating to Australia. You will probably never lack a place to visit i.e. a museum, a zoo or physical features located in the country. The country boasts of excellent beaches and wonderful weather throughout the year. It is such a wonderful gesture to be greeted by a shiny blue sky everyday as you wake up. It will undoubtedly give you a good mood to start the day with.

With so many reasons listed above and many more besides it makes for a compelling story as to why so many people move to live in Australia.

5 Favourite Expat Destinations

Spain

This has been a hugely attractive expat destination since the 1960s. It’s sometimes overlooked that during the first decades of mass British immigration to Spain, the country was still technically a fascist dictatorship under General Franco. Whatever affects that may have had on the internal politics of the country, it didn’t stop vast numbers of British people moving there and apparently living very contented lives.

The return of democracy made no difference to the trend whatsoever, with a net result being that nobody really has any idea just how many Brits are now living there – but the figure is likely to be millions. There are probably three main reasons why it continues to be an attractive destination:

  1. the weather;
  2. low prices;
  3. largely friendly people and welcoming culture.

It probably also has to be admitted that since the arrival of the European Union, it has been an easy destination to get into and that helps. All the above points make it a particularly attractive destination for older people.  Though current economic issues have put a bit of a dampener on this as a destination

France

Just like Spain, nobody really has a clue how many British people live permanently or semi-permanently in France. Some figures put the estimate at around 400,000 though many people suggest that is far too low and that the true number is almost certainly above one million. In some parts of the country, entire villages are now populated almost entirely by British people.

People are attracted there by the weather, the culture, the relaxed lifestyle, the proximity to the UK, the traffic-free roads and the still phenomenally cheap land and property prices by the standards of countries such as the UK and even Spain. However, apart from property, prices in France are broadly comparable to the UK and that can sometimes cause a problem for people on limited and fixed incomes.

As an overseas destination, though it attracts retired people, it is also very attractive for younger families who wish to radically change their lifestyle and drop out of the UK rat-race.

Australia and New Zealand

The historic and family ties that link the UK to these countries remain strong.  What that means is that they continue to be a particularly attractive destination for both young professionals and younger families. The specific nature of those attractions is legendary.  Things like the weather, the beaches, the open spaces and the sense that these are lands of opportunity and countries of the future, all make them prime targets for certain types of expat.

However, some of the gloss may have gone out of this destination, as over recent decades, successive Australian and NZ governments have significantly increased the entry criteria for immigrants. The net result of that is that it is no longer a routine matter for British people to obtain residency permission – particularly in situations where they are unqualified, above a certain age or without significant financial reserves behind them.

The net result of this is that once seen as a total family destination, these countries are increasingly targeted by younger professional people and younger professional families, as others may find them difficult to get into. Corporate sponsorship by local organisations may be the only viable route in some cases.

The United States and Canada

In many respects, both of these countries can be broadly seen in the same context as Australia and New Zealand. If you are young, well qualified or have significant financial reserves behind you, obtaining permission to go and live and work in North America may take time but might be achievable. The same comments relating to corporate sponsorship above, apply here also.

The attractions of these countries are clear.  Open spaces, entrepreneurial orientation, relatively low tax regimes and a sense that the future is there to be grabbed.  On the downside, the United States has received considerable negative publicity over recent years for things relating to crime and the cost of healthcare, things that may put some potential expats off.

South Eastern Europe and Turkey

This is a rapidly growing and very attractive destination for British expats. Yet again, weather will be a predictable factor together with very low prices for things such as property and land plus ease of entry for those countries that are now part of the European Union.

These destinations are particularly attractive to older people or those facing retirement, as their money is likely to go a lot further.  As there is very little history of expat settlement in some of them, the people are particularly welcoming and are eager to see new sources of money and renovation entering their communities.

Countries to watch for the future are Bulgaria, Romania and with more reservations due to political instability, perhaps Turkey.