Monthly Archives: August 2013

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.