Millions of pounds a year are being unnecessarily wasted on UK property purchases from abroad, with some buyers losing out on as much as £40,000 – but the extra costs can be avoided.

Buying property in the UK is still a top investment choice for thousands of expats, but new research from Thistle Finance and Mercury FX has revealed that many are being stung by high transaction fee costs and poor financing choices, adding thousands of avoidable expenses onto their bill.

According to the companies, expats who opt to use a specialist currency firm rather than a high street bank can save as much as 4% in transaction fees. This means that a buyer converting £500,000 into GBP from abroad for a buy-to-let property purchase can save as much as £20,000.

On the finance side, those who do not shop around for the right type of expat buy-to-let mortgage could end up forking out an additional £4,000 a year on higher interest rates – the difference between the best and the worst rates on the market for a £500,000 purchase – which amounts to £20,000 over a five-year term.

While expats should definitely be looking to UK property investment as a lucrative place for their money, the figures demonstrates how vital it is to do thorough research before making a commitment, so that the extra expenses don’t affect your bottom line.

Find the right rates for the best savings

Mark Dyason, managing director at Thistle Finance, said: “Far too many UK expats purchasing buy-to-let property at home are being hoodwinked by the high street banks when getting their money back into the country.

“They’re then compounding their misery by failing to search for the best finance rates in what is an increasingly competitive market. It’s a painful and wholly avoidable double whammy.”

The two companies – specialist loan packager Thistle Finance and global currency specialist Mercury FX – have joined up to offer a solution to UK expats who are buying rental properties in the UK from overseas.

Alastair Constance, founder at Mercury FX, commented: “For UK expats, buy-to-let is the easiest way to hedge against rising house prices back home. You might be off the radar geographically but you’re on the UK property ladder, which can provide real peace of mind.”