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Mortgage Eligibility

Mortgage Eligibility Guide

published: 24 November 2022
Read time: 5 minutes

Learn more about what mortgage lenders look at when deciding how much to let you borrow. Read ahead to discover all you need to know.

What affects my eligibility for a mortgage?

Mortgage lenders have their own set criteria when deciding whether to lend to you or not. This means that if one lender rejects you, another might not. However, it’s best not to make too many applications at the same time.

Generally, a lender will be looking at:

  • The size of the loan you want to take out

  • How much you’ve saved as a deposit

  • The type of property you want to buy (certain properties, such as flats above cafes and bars, are deemed riskier to lenders)

  • Your employment status (the longer you’ve been in your job, the better)

  • Your credit rating

  • Your affordability

Couple relaxing in their home

What do lenders look at when assessing affordability?

All mortgage lenders will want to be convinced you can afford your mortgage before they will lend you the money. No lender will want you to be overstretching yourself, as ultimately you could end up missing payments.

This means you’ll need proof of your income. If you’re employed, you’ll need three to six months' worth of payslips.

Some lenders may also take other forms of income, such as government benefits and child maintenance, into account.

As well as assessing your income, mortgage lenders will also look at your spending habits. They are likely to want to see six months' worth of bank statements too.

They will look at how much you spend on regular household bills and other costs, such as commuting and childcare fees. They will also probably ask you about costs associated with holiday, socialising, and hobbies.

In addition, they will check how much you owe on credit cards, store cards, loans, car finance, catalogue credit accounts, and so on.

Mortgage lenders don’t just need to be satisfied you can afford a mortgage now, they also need to check you can afford it in the future. To work out whether you can afford your mortgage if interest rates rise, they’ll assess your finances.

What about my credit rating?

Mortgage lenders will also take your credit rating into account. This will show lenders whether you are a reliable borrower and if you have missed or made any late payments.

The better your credit score, the more likely you are to be accepted for the most competitive mortgage rates.

Using our mortgage-eligibility check when you compare mortgages won’t affect your credit score.

What do I need to show to prove my mortgage eligibility?

To prove your identity, you’ll need:

  • Passport

  • Driving licence

  • Council tax bill

  • Utility bills dated within three months

  • Bank statements

To prove your income, you’ll need:

  • Payslips from the past three months

  • Evidence of any bonuses or commission

  • Bank statements from the past three to six months (this should be the account your salary is paid into)

  • Your latest P60

To prove your income from self-employment, you’ll need:

  • Two or more years of certified accounts

  • SA302 forms or a tax year overview (from HMRC) for the past two or three years

  • Evidence of upcoming contracts (if you’re a contractor)

  • Evidence of dividend payments or retained profits (if you’re a company director)

To prove your spending patterns, you’ll need:

  • Six months’ worth of bank and credit card statements

Your mortgage is secured on your home, which you could lose if you do not keep up your mortgage repayments.

How do I test my mortgage eligibility?

A good way to check whether you are eligible for a specific type of mortgage, even before submitting your ‘official’ application, is to ask for a mortgage in principle. By doing so, you can test if you’re likely to be approved and understand which types of mortgages you would qualify for.

Bear in mind, though, that some ‘agreement in principle’ applications come with a hard credit check. This means that it will show in future on your score and possibly have an impact on lenders’ assessment of your credit history. However, it’s not always the case, as some lenders will only perform a soft check.

While a mortgage in principle can give you a clearer picture of whether you may be eligible for a certain plan, it is no guarantee. What’s more, you will still need to go through the whole mortgage application process.

Am I still eligible for a mortgage if I have bad credit?

The answer is yes. Some lenders will borrow money regardless of whether you have a good credit history or not.

But there is no hiding that having bad credit could make it more challenging to take out the loan amount you’re hoping for. Not only that, but you’re likely to face higher interest rates.

It is also worth mentioning that bad-credit mortgages usually require a larger deposit. So make sure to take all these factors into consideration when scouring the market in search of the right mortgage deal.

Check your mortgage eligibility with MoneySuperMarket

When you compare remortgage deals with MoneySuperMarket, we’ll ask you a few questions, including how much you want to borrow and what the value of your property is. This will allow us to show you the most relevant deals based on your loan-to-value, including mortgages from your current lender.

But if you choose to answer some additional questions, we can narrow down your results further and exclude those mortgages you won’t be eligible for. This will give you a better idea of the mortgages you can apply for.

We do this by checking the information you’ve provided against lenders’ basic eligibility rules. This way, we can exclude any mortgages where you don’t meet the minimum criteria.

This doesn’t mean you are certain to be accepted for the mortgages you see in the results table. However, it does mean you are eligible to go on to apply for these. The lender or mortgage broker will be able to advise you on your full mortgage eligibility.

Bear in mind that the amount a lender agrees to let you borrow will depend on its own lending criteria.

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