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How to Get a Mortgage

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You will need a mortgage to climb onto the property ladder unless you are a cash house buyer. If you are a first-time buyer, you may have no experience with the mortgage application process and will undoubtedly have plenty of questions.

Furthermore, even if you sell your existing house, which has a mortgage, it may have been decades since you last secured a mortgage. In this instance, it’s natural to wonder how things might have changed.

Getting a mortgage requires jumping through several hoops and demonstrating your credibility as an applicant. We have walked you through all the key steps in the blog below so that you know exactly how to get a mortgage by the end.

How easy is it to get a mortgage?

Your salary typically determines the amount that a bank will lend you. In most cases, you are permitted to borrow between 4 to 5 times your annual salary. This means, for example, that if your salary is £50,000, you will be allowed to borrow somewhere between £200,000 to £250,000. It would help if you spoke to a bank to find out their exact offer.

That said, your deposit will need to cover the remainder of the money for the house you are trying to buy. Otherwise, it will simply be out of your price range.

Other factors besides your income and deposit determine how easily you can get a mortgage. Your credit score, job history, history on the property market, and whether you have a guarantor. Different lenders have varying rates and thresholds for acceptability, so shopping around is usually smart.

What do I need to get a mortgage?

A lender will need a reasonable credit score to grant you a mortgage. Some apps and websites allow you to check your score – and if it is poor, you can improve it.

The application process also requires you to have the following:

  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of address documents
  • Evidence of where your deposit is coming from
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of expenses

The type of mortgage you are getting may require additional steps, too. For example, if you are applying for a Joint Mortgage, your partner must also complete these steps. Equally, if you have a guarantor on your mortgage, then this will result in extra measures. 

How long does the mortgage application process take?

The application process length can vary, depending on the lender, your solicitor, the clarity of the documents you provide, the type of mortgage, and more. On average, it should take anywhere between two to six weeks. You can speed this process up by having everything you need ready beforehand. 

Does it cost money to apply for a mortgage?

Some lenders charge a ‘Mortgage Booking Fee’, a small amount you have to pay to get a mortgage offer arranged. This is typically somewhere between £100 to £200.

You may encounter other costs during the mortgage application process, too. A ‘Mortgage Application Fee’, a ‘Booking Fee’ and a ‘Mortgage Account Fee’ have all been known to pop up occasionally, too. Sometimes, you can pay for these out of your conveyancing costs, but you may have to treat it as a separate charge on other occasions.

Before you spend any money, speak to your lender to find out exactly how much it will cost so you can budget accordingly and know what to expect. 

What if I can’t afford a mortgage?

If you are unable to afford a mortgage, all is not lost. There are alternative routes available to you that can enable you to get onto the property ladder.

Shared Ownership is a scheme running in the UK that enables you to buy a share of a property and continue paying rent on the rest. This allows you to own some home equity and build it over time. You can then also do something called ‘Staircasing’, which allows you to buy more shares in the property until you (in an ideal world) eventually reach 100%.

Some other financial support initiatives that you can benefit from include a 100% mortgage – in which you borrow the entire value of the house – or a guarantor mortgage, in which someone offers to take over your mortgage repayments if you fail to meet them.

It is also worth considering moving in with someone else, too. This generally makes it more affordable to get onto the property ladder, as your combined deposit and salaries enable you to get a larger mortgage. 

How important is my credit score when getting a mortgage?

The higher your credit score, the better your chance of getting a mortgage. Some of the factors that influence your credit score include:

  • How often do you borrow money
  • Whether you pay that money back
  • How close you are to your credit limit
  • Missing payments
  • Having little or no credit history

Different lenders have varying minimum credit score ratings for you to secure a mortgage. Anything above 960 is often considered ‘excellent’ and should enable you to get a better deal. 

How long does a mortgage offer last?

You’re in the right place if you wonder how long a mortgage offer lasts. Once you receive your offer, it is usually valid for between three to six months. Conversely, it will usually explicitly state how long it is valid. 

Do I need a solicitor to get a mortgage offer?

Generally speaking, you must get a mortgage offer in principle before instructing a solicitor. This legal support only comes in after you know what you can afford. 

Am I allowed to negotiate on my mortgage offer?

While it is possible to negotiate your mortgage offer, each bank will differ in how much change they tolerate. After all, with high-interest rates and the UK housing market in an unstable position, they want to be assured that lending you money is not a risk.

You can take steps to make an improved mortgage offer more palatable. This includes getting a guarantor, increasing your salary, or borrowing more money to improve your deposit. 

Each of these methods has its own pros and cons, though, so you should carefully consider them before making a decision.

Do you need a mortgage to buy a house?

It is possible to purchase a property without a mortgage if you have all the funds needed up-front to buy it outright. Cash house buyers are chain-free and do not need to borrow money from the bank to complete their purchase. If you can get yourself in this position, it can be extremely advantageous. 

Do I need a mortgage broker?

If this is your first time getting a mortgage, then it may be worthwhile considering a mortgage broker. An advisor/broker has detailed knowledge and experience of the mortgage you can get from different lenders. They can search the market on your behalf and recommend the best deal.

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