How to Buy a Pub with a Mortgage

If you want to finance a pub purchase, make sure to check our Pub Mortgage Calculator and find out what criteria you need to meet.

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: November 15, 2023

If you fancy becoming a landlord or landlady of a traditional pub and have found an available venue, there’s no reason why you can’t make your public house dream come true. You’d just need to apply for a mortgage that allows for the purchasing of such a business. Which mortgage might that be and would you qualify?

This guide shares all you need to know and where to look for the right guidance and advice.

Can you get a mortgage to buy a pub?

Yes, but you would need a commercial mortgage to cover a purchase of this nature, rather than a residential home loan.

Not all lenders offer such commercial loans and, of those that do, they often have specifications around what kind of business they’re willing to lend to. A specialist commercial mortgage broker would be able to share which lenders they know to regularly offer this type of lending.

Before you apply though, you’ll need to ascertain whether or not you’ll require a freehold pub mortgage or leasehold.

A leasehold pub mortgage

This is the most common arrangement in the UK and means that rather than purchasing the building the pub is situated in, you’d own the pub but only lease the premises. You’d still be responsible for maintaining the property and the pub but the leasehold wouldn’t be indefinite – a typical leasehold is between 10 and 25 years – and you may be contractually obliged to buy your stock from a specific brewery.

A freehold pub mortgage

Via this model, you’d own the pub and the property outright. You’d be able to purchase alcohol from wherever you’d like and own the business indefinitely. The caveat is that owning the entirety of the pub means paying more to purchase it.

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How to get a pub mortgage

Regardless of which type of mortgage you opt for, you’ll need to go through the below steps:

Step 1. Get the paperwork together and create a business plan.

Commercial finance requires quite a lot of paperwork and, prior to submitting an application to a mortgage provider, it’s important to make sure you have all the required documents. This means working through the business’ trading accounts to get an idea of its earning potential, ensuring you have all the necessary licences, crafting a strong business plan that shows the potential for a profit and putting together realistic income projections.

Step 2. Connect with a commercial broker.

Next, take this paperwork to a broker specialising in pub mortgages. They’ll be able to assess your numbers and business plan, share how viable your application is and advise on how it might be approved.

They will also be able to identify the right lenders who offer the best chance of offering the mortgage you need to complete the purchase.

If you get in touch we’ll arrange for a commercial mortgage broker we work with, who specialises in these types of businesses, to contact you straight away.

Step 3. Apply to a lender best suited to your situation.

Many lenders offer commercial mortgages but not all will approve finance for this type of business.

A specialist broker will be able to share, based on their experience, which lender is more likely to approve your application and provide information on any specific nuances within the lender’s criteria.

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Eligibility Criteria

Like with any mortgage, lenders will be assessing your application and looking at specific factors such as:

  • Whether you have a solid business plan: This should include projected earnings and a budget for costs, especially if the earnings don’t quite cover repayments.
  • What level of experience you have in the hospitality sector: Most lenders will be looking for evidence that you have 2-3 years’ experience of running a pub or another type of business. Others will waive such a requirement in place of a higher deposit or interest rate.
  • Whether you have the necessary licences: This includes a personal licence and a premises licence. Any others that can bolster experience, such as an NIIA level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders, would also help to support an application.
  • What the pub’s previous trading accounts look like: There’ll be a focus on what earnings look like before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation.
  • The property’s location: This is examined in terms of how it may affect business.
  • Credit history: This includes that of any business partners and that of the business itself.
  • Debt: Again this applies to your business partners and the business.
  • Affordability: For a residential mortgage, affordability is usually based on an applicant’s income but when it comes to a business, it’s based on the business’s operating performance.

The good news is lenders assess each commercial loan application on an individual basis, which means that there’s slightly more flexibility than you might find with other mortgage types.

Deposit requirements

As with most business mortgages, deposit requirements tend to be slightly higher than on a residential mortgage – typically between 30% and 45%.

If you have more experience in hospitality and a proven track record of successfully running a pub or another relevant type of business, there’s a chance a lender might accept a lower deposit.

Typical interest rates and repayments

In general, rates on a commercial mortgage are between 3.5% and 6%. Your placement in that bracket will depend on how risky a lender believes you to be so anything you can do – perhaps putting up a bigger deposit and improving your credit – will help to get you a lower rate and keep the cost of your mortgage down.

You can use the below calculator to insert the amount you want to borrow and then alter the interest rate to see how much the monthly mortgage repayments could be.

Calculator Icon

Pub Mortgage Calculator

This calculator can tell you how much your commercial mortgage will cost you each month and overall. Enter the amount you’re borrowing, the term length and interest rate, and our calculator will do the rest.

Enter the amount you're borrowing
Between 3% and 8% is average for a pub mortgage but the rate you get may vary
Enter the mortgage term, 25 years is the average but lenders can offer shorter and longer terms

Monthly Repayments:

Total amount paid at end of term:

Get started with an expert broker to find out how much they could help you save on your mortgage repayments.

Other finance options to consider

A commercial mortgage isn’t the only form of financing you can use to buy a pub. Some other options include:

  • Releasing equity from other properties: If you already own a home, another pub or another business altogether, you could consider talking to your current lender about releasing some of the capital within those properties to help in buying this new pub.
  • Taking out a bridging loan: This is a form of short-term financing that comes with a higher interest rate but is a good solution if you need to make the purchase quickly and have a longer-term financing solution coming through.
  • Development finance: Rather than buying a pub that’s already established, this would be a good option should you be planning to buy a site and then build a pub or renovate an existing one. The loan is delivered in instalments and would likely cover 70%-75% of the upfront costs and 100% of the building fees. You’d likely need to have experience in taking on such a project to qualify for this type of loan.

Speak to a pub mortgage specialist

If you think a commercial mortgage for a pub is the right route for you, don’t pursue it alone. The specialist brokers we work with have experience in purchasing pubs for a multitude of different people up and down the country and would be able to use that experience to get you a deal that’s ideal for your circumstances and likely better than you might find alone.

Give us a quick call today on 0808 189 2301 or fill out our online form and we’ll get you set up with a free consultation with a broker best suited to your needs.

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Yes, you certainly can but you’ll need to apply for what’s called a semi-commercial mortgage. This caters to properties that will act as both a business and a home.

This is possible but you’d need to put up another form of security. Another property you have equity in could be an option. A broker would be able to share which lenders might be open to this arrangement.

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About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for Online Mortgage Advisor of course!

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Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

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