We’ll explore how getting a mortgage for someone with a poor credit history differs in Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, how you can still secure the lending you need and where to find the right advice.
Can you get a mortgage if you have bad credit in Northern Ireland?
Yes, but if you’ve had some credit issues in the past that are still recorded on your report then getting a mortgage in Northern Ireland can be just as difficult as anywhere else in the UK without expert help and guidance.
The good news is, that it’s absolutely possible, so long as you seek the right advice and approach the right lender for your circumstances.
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How is the bad credit market different in Northern Ireland?
Given that Northern Ireland is much smaller than mainland UK, there are naturally fewer mortgage lenders who specialise in the market there. This means that if you’re looking for a mortgage there are fewer options available to you. Of course, the number of bad credit lenders available is even smaller than that.
Lenders tend to be reluctant to offer mortgages in rural locations, as opposed to popular cities such as Belfast and Bangor and often apply postcode-based restrictions on their lending. With bad credit factored in, this means it can be difficult to get a mortgage outside of the major cities.
Despite these geographical differences, the lending criteria used tends to be very similar to those found in the rest of the UK, except terms lengths can be shorter and income multiples are generally capped at 4 times salary, rather than 4.5 in England and Wales.
As there is less competition due to the relatively small market size, interest rates are often higher on this side of the Irish Sea, and higher still in the case of rural home purchases and bad credit applications.
If you have bad credit and are looking to purchase a rural home, it’s therefore likely to be both difficult and expensive. However, an experienced broker will be able to help you achieve your home ownership goals at the most competitive rate available.
Are there any differences in how bad credit is assessed?
Due to the prevalent use of credit unions In Northern Ireland, the average debt level across the population as a whole is higher than in any other region of the UK, so it’s perhaps not surprising that mortgage lenders can be a little stricter when it comes to lending to applicants with bad credit.
Although they apply similar assessment techniques as bad credit mortgage lenders across the UK, many of them will be less inclined to take on the risk involved with more severe credit issues.
That said, every lender assesses adverse credit differently from the next, so being declined by one lender certainly doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t be accepted elsewhere. Just like the wider UK, there are lenders in Northern Ireland that offer bad credit mortgages, it’s just a matter of finding one whose criteria you’re able to meet.
Bad credit mortgage lenders in Ireland assess applicants based on the following…
- The age of the credit issue (the older, the better)
- The severity of it (some forms of bad credit, such as bankruptcies, are hard to overlook
- The reason for it (an unexpected life event might be overlooked, but general financial mismanagement could be a deal-breaker)
- Deposit amount – bad credit lenders will likely expect more than the standard 10%. The exact amount you need to put down may depend on the specifics surrounding your credit problems
Benefits of using a local bad credit broker
Given that bad credit, lending is incredibly niche in Northern Ireland, using a broker with specific experience in dealing with such situations in that geographical region is essential.
Here are the main advantages of using a specialist advisor:
- Access all of the Irish market: Many Northern Irish lenders won’t be known to brokers outside of the area, so we’ll ensure that you’re paired with a broker that has expert knowledge in the local market, as well as access to all of the bad credit lenders with a presence there.
- Exclusive deals: The brokers we work with have deep working relationships with bad credit lenders in Ireland, and can often access exclusive deals through them. No matter whether you’re looking for a modern apartment in Craigavon or a farmhouse in a small county Tyrone village, they’ll be able to recommend the most suitable bad credit lender available to you
- Help with the application process: Local mortgage brokers will have direct experience with the mortgage application processes over in Ireland and can offer help and guidance from start to finish.
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Which lenders offer these mortgages?
The total number of lenders in this niche is modest, and each one has its own criteria with regard to the type, age, and severity of bad credit they will accept. Those who are willing to consider certain types of bad credit typically apply additional criteria to mitigate some of the risks involved.
For example, Finance Ireland assesses each case on its own merits, however, any unsecured loan arrears (eg credit cards and overdrafts) will need to have been cleared for 24 months and any arrears acquired from secured lending (e.g a mortgage or hire purchase of a car) must have been cleared for 48 months.
There are a few of the UK-wide lenders that are happy to lend in Northern Ireland, for example, Halifax will consider lending to applicants with a default on a case-by-case basis and Natwest will consider applicants with a CCJ (County Court Judgement), providing it was registered more than 12 months ago.
If you have a debt management plan that’s still active, there are a handful of lenders that might consider your application, however, they’re all in the specialist lending niche and will need to be accessed via a broker.
If your debt management plan is satisfied then the field of lenders will broaden somewhat. There will still be additional criteria to meet, such as minimum elapsed time since the end date of your debt management plan, typically ranging between 3-6 years, depending on the individual lender.
If you have an IVA (Individual Voluntary Agreement) or bankruptcy it can be much more difficult, as the lenders in this niche will usually expect them to have been discharged for at least 2-3 years prior to your application.
If now is not the right time for your application, your broker will be able to make recommendations on how to improve your credit score in the future and look at which lenders may be able to help you 6 months down the line.
Speak to a bad credit broker experienced in the Irish market
It can be difficult to find a suitable lender if you have credit issues, but even more difficult in an area such as Northern Ireland, where access to lenders is already fairly slim.
It’s absolutely possible to find a bad credit mortgage, however, you’re unlikely to find one by yourself, and even the majority of UK mortgage brokers are unlikely to have the knowledge that you need. That’s why it’s important to speak to a broker with specific experience in organising this type of mortgage in the local area.
To take advantage of our fee broker matching service, simply call 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry and we’ll put you in touch with your local bad credit mortgage expert. Your initial consultation will always be free, and you’re under absolutely no obligation.
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