Back to basics: What you need to know about getting a mortgage

Taking out a mortgage is likely to be the biggest financial commitment you’ll ever make, so it’s vital you find the best deal you can. There’s plenty you can do to improve your chances of getting your mortgage application accepted – follow our top 10 tips to ensure you get the mortgage you want.

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1. Your credit score matters

Before applying for a mortgage, get a copy of your credit report which is held by credit reference agencies such as Experian or Equifax. This will allow you to see what lenders see when they review your application. If your credit rating isn’t looking that great, try to improve it. There are lots of simple things you can do which can give your score a boost such as ensuring you are on the electoral roll, and closing down credit card accounts which you no longer use.

2. The starting point is your own sums

Sit down and work out your budget before applying for a mortgage. You will need to be sure you can borrow enough to cover the purchase of the property and that you’ll have enough spare to cover all the associated costs and fees. Monthly mortgage repayments will depend on how much you want to borrow (and over how long) and the interest rate charged. Our mortgage calculator will help you do the sums.

3. You’ll be better off in the same job

Most lenders will want to see that you’ve been with your employer for a decent length of time before they’ll give you a mortgage, so if you’re thinking of switching jobs, it’s a good idea to hang on until you’ve got your mortgage in place. Usually, it’s a good idea to have been in your existing job for at least three to six months before applying. 

David Hollingworth, of London & Country mortgage brokers said; “If someone has recently changed job then it need not be a problem but if still in a probationary period it makes sense to double check if the lender will be happy to lend before it finishes.  Even then there should be lenders that can consider the situation.”

4. Debts don’t help

If you’re submitting a mortgage application, the last thing any prospective lender is going to want to see is that you owe a load of cash on credit cards or you’ve got outstanding loans. Before you apply for a mortgage, try and reduce any debts you have – this will help demonstrate that you manage your money responsibly, and will mean any mortgage application you make is more likely to succeed. It will also mean you will potentially be able to borrow more when it comes to a lender’s affordability calculations.

5. You’ll need proof of income

Mortgage lenders will want to see proof of how much you earn, so you’ll probably need a P60 form which you get every year from your employer and shows a summary of your pay and how much tax has been deducted. You’re also likely to be asked for six months’ worth of bank statements so the lender can look at both how much you have coming in as well as your outgoings.

6 … or accounts if you’re self-employed

Getting a mortgage when you’re self-employed can be really tricky, especially if you’ve only recently decided to go it alone. Lenders want prove that you’ll be able to keep up repayments, so they usually ask to see at least three years’ worth of accounts before they’ll agree to give you a mortgage. Your application is likely to be refused if you don’t have these available.

7. The bigger the deposit the better

The more you can save up to put down as a deposit, the bigger the choice of mortgages that will be available to you. Lenders reserve their best rates for those with hefty deposits, so you’ll also benefit from lower monthly payments because you’ll have qualified for a better deal.

8. Buying with someone else can be easier

If you’ve no hope of building up a decent deposit on your own, you might want to think about buying with someone else. This could boost your chances of securing a decent mortgage, particularly if they’ve got an excellent credit history and a higher income than you. But remember that this is a big commitment, so you’ll need to sit down and work out with the other person what would happen if one of you wanted to move in future.

9. You shouldn’t chop and change your application

Once you’ve started your mortgage application, don’t mess around with it and start changing figures as it could hold up your property purchase. David Hollingworth said; “Changing the figures further down the line will mean the offer being reassessed which, although may not necessarily be a problem, could add unnecessary delay.”

10. It can pay to get help

If you’re struggling to find the right mortgage deal, or you don’t know what you’d be eligible for or how much you can borrow, it might be a good idea to enlist the help of a mortgage broker. They can research the market for you and help you through the application process so you don’t have to go it alone. At MoneySuperMarket, we partner with London & Country – a telephone mortgage broker which is totally fee-free. Call on 0844 209 8725.

Want to know more? Read Rachel Wait’s, 5 things that could scupper your mortgage application

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct

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