This article, written by our Managing Director Fiona Watts, first appeared in the August 2021 Issue of French Property News


Q. What checks do the French banks carry out when assessing a mortgage application for non residents? Do they have access to UK credit reports? name supplied

Fiona Watts of Anglophone French mortgage brokers International Private Finance, replies:

A. As an overseas resident buying in France, the French lenders (based on their analysis of past borrowers) view you as having a much higher chance of defaulting on your mortgage than that of a French resident. Therefore their criteria for lending to non-residents and the checks they carry out when assessing your mortgage application can feel more obtrusive and forensic than anything you may have been used to when purchasing in the UK.

To understand your credit worthiness, the French lenders will:

  • Want to see that you do not spend more than 33% of your monthly income paying off any contractual debts (mortgages, car loans and leases, credit cards that are not cleared every month without fail).
  • Need to see your 'capacity to save' and be reassured that you have a sizeable level of savings left over after the French purchase (typically between 12-24 months of the monthly French mortgage payment).
  • Check that you have not missed any mortgage payments, or other direct debits, or had any unauthorised use of an overdraft facility.

Be aware that if you regularly reach your overdraft limit or have taken advantage of any mortgage 'holiday' over the course of the pandemic, this will have a negative impact on your application.

Most lenders will also run a series of checks with other agencies. Most use Experian and will require a basic Experian check (though not an in-depth report) on individuals, as well as a business report and a check of Companies House for those who are self-employed or directors of a limited company. They will also do a domestic check with the French tax authorities to verify you have not been 'blacklisted' by another French lender.

The paperwork required to 'prove' your credit worthiness can feel extensive, and may require a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with the bank, who often have a limited grasp of English. Using an experienced, FCA-regulated and bilingual French mortgage broker, that specialises in non-resident mortgages, is a worthwhile investment as they will undoubtedly save you time, have access to discounted rates and fees and ensure you have the best change of getting your application approved.

15 Sep 2021