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Paying a UK mortgage in the US

Paying a UK mortgage in the US

Old Jan 5th 2010, 11:06 am
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Default Paying a UK mortgage in the US

Hello,

As some of you might have seen in my other thread, I'm moving to San Francisco in about 4 weeks on a H1-B visa and was hoping someone could help me out with a couple of questions

1. I've looked around the web for advice about setting up a US bank account and didn't find anything relating to someone who was about to move and how best to go about it. I understand banks are a little different and more local in the states. What ID is required and do I need a fixed address to open a bank account? My company will be putting me up for the first couple of weeks while I search for a place and obviously I won't have any bills linked to any address in America so I was just wondering how best to go about it all? Is this something I can start doing now or do I need to wait until I'm in America?

2. I've got a mortgage over here in the UK that I will still be paying while I'm over in the states. Does anyone here have any experience paying for a UK mortgage out in the US and what is the best way of paying? I was thinking of ringing them up (Nationwide is my mortgage provider) and asking them if they can take the money from my new American bank account once it's setup; is there a cheaper (conversion rates, commision etc), better way?

3. Utility bills in the US; above and beyond the rent for an apartment, what are the other bills like compared to over here? I guess that's like asking how long a piece of string is but I was hoping that with petrol being cheaper in the states, the same might be true of gas and electric?

Thanks in advance everyone

Peter
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Old Jan 5th 2010, 11:52 am
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Default Re: Paying a UK mortgage in the US

we opened a bank account fairly easily and got a US mortgage. Look for smaller community banks , they tend to be more flexible than the bigger ones.

For currency transfers search for companies like forex or sterling exhange, they will give you a better rate . you may also be able to set up a standing order with them
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Old Jan 5th 2010, 1:42 pm
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Default Re: Paying a UK mortgage in the US

Originally Posted by KnickKnack View Post
Hello,

As some of you might have seen in my other thread, I'm moving to San Francisco in about 4 weeks on a H1-B visa and was hoping someone could help me out with a couple of questions

1. I've looked around the web for advice about setting up a US bank account and didn't find anything relating to someone who was about to move and how best to go about it. I understand banks are a little different and more local in the states. What ID is required and do I need a fixed address to open a bank account? My company will be putting me up for the first couple of weeks while I search for a place and obviously I won't have any bills linked to any address in America so I was just wondering how best to go about it all? Is this something I can start doing now or do I need to wait until I'm in America?

2. I've got a mortgage over here in the UK that I will still be paying while I'm over in the states. Does anyone here have any experience paying for a UK mortgage out in the US and what is the best way of paying? I was thinking of ringing them up (Nationwide is my mortgage provider) and asking them if they can take the money from my new American bank account once it's setup; is there a cheaper (conversion rates, commision etc), better way?

3. Utility bills in the US; above and beyond the rent for an apartment, what are the other bills like compared to over here? I guess that's like asking how long a piece of string is but I was hoping that with petrol being cheaper in the states, the same might be true of gas and electric?

Thanks in advance everyone

Peter
Some thoughts for you...

Get some letters from the HR department saying that you are working for them, your job title and what your salary is. These will help a lot with some of the aspects below.

Bank Account
You will NOT need a Social Security number to open a bank account. Your passport will suffice. The banks should know this, but if you go to a regional bank, they may not understand this. Might be better off going for a large bank like Bank of America, Citi Bank, Chase, etc. They will give you the bank details there and then and you can give these to your employer.

Credit Card
You probably wont be able to get one, at least not for a little while due to lack of credit history. However, these people can help
http://www.aig.com/inbound-united-st..._20_15807.html
you have to pay to join, but you will get a discount on your car insurance through AIG (saves you more than the joining fee) and they can sort you out with a credit card through HSBC and a cell phone also.

Car
As you have no credit history - you will have difficulty getting a loan / lease for a car. If you dont have the cash to buy one - you might be stuck. However, these people can help
http://www.intlauto.com/
i used them and a lot of others have too.

Car Insurance
Will be *expensive*. Just try not to think too much about it. It renews every 6 months - once you have been here for at least 18 months you will be able to find better quotes.

Cell Phone
Contracts are expensive here compares to what you get in the UK. If you plan on going to the UK a lot, you will want to go with AT&T or T-Mobile. The other ones are not GSM and will not work in the UK. AIG (above) can help you out with getting on if you want. No security deposit, but the company they choose does not have good prices for the equipment. You might be better off going pay-as-you-go for a while.

Accommodation
Rent somewhere first.. Dont buy straight away. When I came here, I brought all my mortgage statements from the UK with me to show the Realtor that we have been paying out bills on time. I also brought utility bills and NTL bills to show that these were paid on time every month. I don't think there is much more you can do than that.

UK Mortgage
Rent out your house if you can. Our mortgage is through HSBC and we didnt get any extra charges for renting out our house and didn't have to move to a buy-to-let mortgage as our move is only temporary and we're not running it as a business. Send money back to the UK to cover the mortgage using something like this company: https://www.xe.com/fx/login/ rates are better than banks and there are no wire fee's.

Driving license
Rules are different state-to-state, but here in GA, you can drive for 1 year on a UK license until you become a resident of GA. You become a resident of GA after you have lived here for 2 weeks. SO, basically - i had 2 weeks to get my GA license. Its not a big deal though, I got it done all on a Saturday morning - took about 2 hours total. I took my test in a rental car. Checkout the DMV website for your state for more details of rules etc.

Utility Bills
We have only electricity. We have a 2.5 bedroom townhouse. Heating and A/C (HVAC) is central air. Hot water is in a boiler. Our electricity bill is between $50 and $80 per month.

HOA Fees
Depending on where you live and your living arrangements, you may have to pay Home Owners Association Fee's. These can be anything from $0 - $300 + per month.

Think thats about it... If I think of anything else, I'll add it later...
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Old Jan 5th 2010, 2:06 pm
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Default Re: Paying a UK mortgage in the US

That's great information dh010447, and very much appreciated, thanks!

Thanks too Flabound!
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Old Jan 5th 2010, 2:52 pm
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Default Re: Paying a UK mortgage in the US

2. I've got a mortgage over here in the UK that I will still be paying while I'm over in the states. Does anyone here have any experience paying for a UK mortgage out in the US and what is the best way of paying? I was thinking of ringing them up (Nationwide is my mortgage provider) and asking them if they can take the money from my new American bank account once it's setup; is there a cheaper (conversion rates, commision etc), better way?
I pay my mortgage in the UK by transferring cash every 3 months or so. There are various posts on the best ways to transfer cash from US to UK.

I personally use XE.com, its a bit of a pain to set up but once done is an excellent way to transfer cash in either direction.

Oh yes and if the nationwide can pull money from a US account (which i doubt) they will likely charge all sorts of fee's for the currency conversion.
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Old Jan 5th 2010, 4:21 pm
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Default Re: Paying a UK mortgage in the US

Originally Posted by BostonWeedgie View Post
Oh yes and if the nationwide can pull money from a US account (which i doubt) they will likely charge all sorts of fee's for the currency conversion.
I have a (pretty dormant) Nationwide account. I wanted to do a bank transfer to another bank, they said I had to complete a form and bring it into a branch. I explained I was in the US, they didn't care. Not a forward thinking / tech savvy "bank". I personally wouldn't go down that road
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Old Jan 5th 2010, 4:37 pm
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Default Re: Paying a UK mortgage in the US

If you ever sell the UK property, you may have to account for a foreign exchange gain or loss on the mortgage for tax purposes... this is a complex area so make sure your tax pro knows what they're doing if you're ever in this situation!
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Old Jan 5th 2010, 8:53 pm
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Default Re: Paying a UK mortgage in the US

Originally Posted by KnickKnack View Post
Hello,

As some of you might have seen in my other thread, I'm moving to San Francisco in about 4 weeks on a H1-B visa and was hoping someone could help me out with a couple of questions

1. I've looked around the web for advice about setting up a US bank account and didn't find anything relating to someone who was about to move and how best to go about it. I understand banks are a little different and more local in the states. What ID is required and do I need a fixed address to open a bank account? My company will be putting me up for the first couple of weeks while I search for a place and obviously I won't have any bills linked to any address in America so I was just wondering how best to go about it all? Is this something I can start doing now or do I need to wait until I'm in America?

2. I've got a mortgage over here in the UK that I will still be paying while I'm over in the states. Does anyone here have any experience paying for a UK mortgage out in the US and what is the best way of paying? I was thinking of ringing them up (Nationwide is my mortgage provider) and asking them if they can take the money from my new American bank account once it's setup; is there a cheaper (conversion rates, commision etc), better way?

3. Utility bills in the US; above and beyond the rent for an apartment, what are the other bills like compared to over here? I guess that's like asking how long a piece of string is but I was hoping that with petrol being cheaper in the states, the same might be true of gas and electric?

Thanks in advance everyone

Peter
On the mortgage front, I would simply leave a direct debit open from a UK account and transfer funds to that account from your US account every six months or so. It's easy to set up international electronic funds transfers (direct bank to bank -- I had one from BofA to Barclays) and fees are generally modest, or you could go the XE route as others have suggested. If you want to chosoe a bank, I'd go for BofA in SF simply because it has the biggest network of ATMs (cash machines) and you generally pay a fee to use another bank's cash machine in the US.

The credit problem is one of the biggest financial hurdles I faced when I moved to the US. Look for local credit cooperatives or ask banks about secured credit cards (you get a credit limit equivalent to the amount of money you put up to secure it). Whatever your credit record in the UK, you'll be building one from scratch in the US (and without a credit history in the US you might as well be invisible). It took me about a year to build enough history to finally get a "real" credit card.

You will also want to talk to a tax expert in the US and/or UK to determine the best way to deal with a british mortgage from a tax perspective. I'm not sure if that's something to be concerned about right now, but longer term it might be beneficial to figure it out.

Other advice... take the CA driving test asap, if for no other reason than to get proper ID (which you must carry on you at all times here) and not have to carry your passport around with you. I took 4-5 lessons and passed first time. Be warned, however... the DMV in CA is not the most efficient so make a test appointment soon because you'll have to wait at least a month for a date (I had to make an appointment a month in advance last year just for a simple renewal of my license in San Francisco).

Utilities (gas, electric, water) are generally far cheaper in the US, but cellphone plans are rip-offs. For my trips back to the UK, I simply got a pay-as-you-go SIM pack from Virgin to pop into my (unlocked) phone when I'm over there. In the US, however, I bend over for AT&T and its crummy service.

Rents in San Francisco, on the other hand, are generally astronomical because the demand/supply balance is perpetually tight. Think close to London prices. Living in the East Bay or down the peninsula will be cheaper and tolerable depending on where you work (the weather is also better than in SF). You'll pick up the market nuances pretty quick once here.

I hope the weather is nice to you -- you'll be arriving in one of the wettest months of the year in this part of the world (although wet by CA standards is not close to UK style wet), but you might luck out and hit a winter warm patch.

Last edited by wordfool; Jan 5th 2010 at 8:57 pm.
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Old Jan 5th 2010, 9:38 pm
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Default Re: Paying a UK mortgage in the US

Originally Posted by KnickKnack View Post

1. I've looked around the web for advice about setting up a US bank account and didn't find anything relating to someone who was about to move and how best to go about it.

2. I've got a mortgage over here in the UK that I will still be paying while I'm over in the states. Does anyone here have any experience paying for a UK mortgage out in the US and what is the best way of paying? I was thinking of ringing them up (Nationwide is my mortgage provider) and asking them if they can take the money from my new American bank account once it's setup; is there a cheaper (conversion rates, commision etc), better way?

3. Utility bills in the US; above and beyond the rent for an apartment, what are the other bills like compared to over here? I guess that's like asking how long a piece of string is but I was hoping that with petrol being cheaper in the states, the same might be true of gas and electric?
1- didn't look hard enough, lot of threads and wiki info on getting a bank account, just need ID, passport will do even if the bank is a pain.

2- Tell the lender you are leaving the UK, sometimes it can be a problem....as for actual paying, plenty of threads on the pro/cons of shifting money around, but generally use something like xe.com

3- depends exactly where you live.

Petrol isn't really cheaper when you consider how much more you'll drive in the US, cost of running a car is about the same, car insurance will be higher. Electric also isn't all that cheap, don't have off peak hours type of deal either....summer can be pricey because of the AC.

Don't forget you'll probably need to put down deposits down for this stuff without having a US credit history.
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Old Jan 5th 2010, 11:22 pm
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Default Re: Paying a UK mortgage in the US

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Summer can be pricey because of the AC.
Not in San Francisco
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Old Jan 6th 2010, 8:47 am
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Default Re: Paying a UK mortgage in the US

More great advice from everyone, thanks very much, it's really appreciated.

Sorry Bob, I promise to look harder for any other info before creating another thread.

thanks again peeps!
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