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Celebrity Mortgages

Is it more difficult for celebrities to get a mortgage? Find out here.

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: June 22, 2022

Whether you’re a top-flight athlete, well-known television actor or social media influencer, famous people still need mortgages to buy property. The type of contract you’re on and consistency of work will be key to securing the home loan you require.

By following this guide you’ll have a clear understanding of how to get a mortgage if you’re a celebrity, what lenders will be looking for, and where to look for the right advice throughout the process.

Why would you need a mortgage if you’re a celebrity?

Not everyone who is in the public eye has the necessary means to cover a property purchase using their cash reserves. A lot of celebrity careers are short-term with no guarantees of their longevity. So, in most cases, getting a mortgage will be the best option available.

High-profile work can be very lucrative and with that can come a natural desire for a more lavish lifestyle, including the home you choose to live in. As the size of your income tends to dictate the properties you search for – the more you earn, the higher the value – the need for a mortgage is the same regardless of what you do for a living.

If you are well established and cash rich, getting a mortgage can be a strong alternative to tying up large amounts of your liquidity in bricks and mortar. This can leave money available for other investment opportunities or as a fallback during fallow periods in your career.

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Are there exclusive mortgage opportunities for celebrities?

Yes, there are, depending on the complexity of your requirements. If your annual earnings exceed £300,000 per annum and/or you have total assets in excess of £3 million, you would be classed as a high-net worth individual by financial institutions.

In effect, this classification allows mortgage lenders to be much more creative and bespoke when deciding how much you can borrow, assessments of your earnings – both previous and projected – and the types of loans they can offer.

Mainstream lenders tend to have quite rigid criteria they work to, which can cause difficulties when assessing how a lot of celebrities are remunerated for their work.

For example, songwriters are paid in royalties, which can be difficult to predict how much they’ll receive and when. Professional footballers can receive signing-on fees when they agree to join a new club. But this amount can only be negotiated once a transfer has been agreed.

This is why specialist private banks, who usually operate away from the high street, are better served dealing with the needs of celebrities and people who are classed as high-net-worth.

The best, and swiftest way, to access these services is by first contacting a mortgage broker who has existing relationships with these banks.

Benefits of using a specialist lender

High street banks are geared towards dealing with large volumes of mortgage applications, hence why they need such rigid eligibility requirements. Private banks deal with smaller numbers and higher-value loans, allowing them time to offer a more personalised service.

The key benefits of using such a service would be:

  • Discretion. Media scrutiny goes hand-in-hand with a celebrity’s way of life, but that shouldn’t have to extend to your personal finances, including buying property. Lots of celebrities and high-profile figures arrange bare trusts, under a pseudonym, to keep large purchases away from the public gaze. A specialist private bank would be best placed to arrange this for you.
  • Celebrity earnings. The career of a celebrity can best be described as ‘unpredictable’ and with this your earnings history. There may be long gap periods where you weren’t employed or your most recent work was abroad and you’ve been paid in a foreign currency. Alternatively, your remuneration on a current project could be based on future sales rather than an upfront fee. Private banks would have a better understanding of this complexity and how to apply it for the benefit of your mortgage application.
  • Complex careers. There’s lots of different avenues allowing you to be (or remain) in the public eye these days, the most popular of which, for example, is as a social media influencer. Some of the top earnings in this category can run well into seven figures. A specialist lender would have a firmer grasp of the short-term nature of such a role versus the potential income it could produce.
  • Asset-rich. If you have total assets in excess of £3 million pounds (or less in some cases), they can be used for specific asset-based mortgages, which can be arranged by a private bank. This would negate the reliance on your income as a means to prove your affordability.

How to get a mortgage if you’re a celebrity

Being famous won’t give you an automatic green light to any mortgage you need. In lots of cases the opposite may be nearer the truth and a lot will hinge on:

  • The industry you work in
  • The type of contract you’re currently on
  • How you’re paid (and how much)
  • Your long-term employment prospects

For example, a well-known actor in a current television series may only be on a short-term contract of, say, six months to fulfil that particular role. When looking at an application on paper, this wouldn’t be enough evidence alone for a lender to approve a mortgage loan over the next 25 years.

This is why there’s a number of simple steps you should follow to give your mortgage application the best chance of success. The first step applies in all cases, but subsequent steps will depend on what exactly it is you do for a living.

Step 1. Speak to an experienced mortgage broker

Rather than approaching lenders directly, and before you do anything else, the smart move is to seek the advice of a broker with experience of arranging mortgages for celebrities and high-net-worth individuals.

They will already understand the sporadic nature of a celebrity’s income across an array of different fields; whether you’re a singer/songwriter, sports star or appearing in the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

The brokers we work with can identify the right lenders to cater for these specific needs and also help prepare your application, making sure to include all the supporting evidence you might need.

If you get in touch we can arrange for a specialist in this area to contact you directly.

Actors

For actors, the key information a mortgage lender will want to consider from an affordability perspective will mainly centre on what the last few years have been like, in terms of earnings, and what the immediate future holds.

In this respect, the type of details you’ll need to prepare for your application includes:

  • Last 2-3 years SA302 tax statements
  • Current contracts – including the remuneration and length
  • Any other fixed-term contracts you’ve had in the last 2-3 years
  • Your overall history in the industry to date
  • Future projects and contracts already pre-agreed
  • Letter from your agent / TV producer confirming previous and future contracts
  • Any other investments/assets you own

Entertainers

If you’re in the entertainment industry, it’s highly likely you’ll be working largely on a self-employed basis. If you don’t qualify as a high-net-worth individual, most retail banks will still consider your application and base their decision on:

  • Your last 2-3 years certified accounts
  • Time in the industry
  • Any future work you have agreed

If you’re a singer/songwriter or a professional comedian, for example, your accountant may have advised setting up more than one limited company to cater for separate earnings – one for royalties and one for events/shows/concerts etc.

In these circumstances, you’d be better served speaking to your broker with a view to approaching a specialist lender who would be prepared to take both these earnings into account – including any projected income from events or projects (new album or tour, for example) that are already in the pipeline.

Professional sportspeople

The biggest hurdle for most professional sportspeople is overcoming the concerns a mortgage lender would have regarding how long their career is going to last, particularly at the top level.

For example, a premier league footballer should have no issue, based on the current average salary (over £60,000 per week) of securing a mortgage. For lower league footballers (average salary of £4,000 per week), however, it’s a different story.

The key factors a mortgage lender would look for would be:

  • How long is left on your current contract (most are usually between 1-4 years)?
  • How much are you being paid?
  • How old are you?
  • What other investments/assets do you have?
  • What are your plans when you retire from competitive sport?

In most sports – particularly contact sports such as football, rugby etc. – mortgage lenders would not want to offer a mortgage term to someone much beyond the age of 35, as this would be towards the end of their high-earnings capability.

There are a number of lenders who will consider terms beyond this if you can prove your intention is to remain working in the industry (or one closely related) beyond your years as a player/competitor.

Your broker will be able to help you prepare your application and make a compelling case about your future earnings potential, which could include:

  • Plans to move into coaching or media punditry
  • Evidence of any coaching courses/badges undertaken to date and in the future
  • Evidence of any media training undertaken to date
  • Future earnings potential

Social media influencers

Most mainstream mortgage lenders would likely struggle to be able to properly assess this type of celebrity career against their standard eligibility criteria. This would definitely be a case where a specialist lender would be required.

The type of evidence you should be looking to prepare on your application should include:

  • The size of your following, broken down across all the various platforms
  • Details of your income from both social media posts and sponsorship
  • Who your existing contracts are with and what the terms are
  • How long this is likely to continue for

In addition, as this is such a new category of employment, your broker can help you prepare a business plan outlining all of your future plans to provide a lender with confidence that your social media accounts will be able to stand out from the crowd.

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Which lenders offer mortgages for celebrities?

Most large private banks have their own dedicated departments set up specifically to offer lending assistance to high-profile and high-net-worth individuals. Coutts, for example, has a specific Sports, Media and Entertainment division. Both Barclays Wealth and HSBC Private Bank also have similar operations.

There are also specialist private lenders who don’t deal with members of the public directly and cannot be found through an internet search.

These types of financial institutions prefer to work through intermediaries, and therefore, the best way to approach them is to first contact a mortgage broker who will be able to advise on which lender may be better able to cater for your specific needs.

Typical rates

For high value loans, the interest rate you should expect to pay, as at the time of writing, would be between 2-4%. This will further depend on the type of mortgage you choose, size of your deposit and overall credit record.

For asset-based mortgages, the interest rate can be much lower – typically 1% + base rate, as lenders will have the security of your assets to fall back on throughout the term of the loan.

Can you get a celebrity mortgage with bad credit?

Yes, it’s possible. A celebrity’s lifestyle can be quite erratic, with lots of highs and lows and with this, there may also be periods of financial uncertainty which has had an effect on your credit history. But this shouldn’t prevent you from applying for a mortgage.

This could make it difficult for you to qualify for the best interest rate offers but there are a number of specialist lenders who will look more favourably on your application than others, if your credit rating is low.

Also, if you’re asset-rich, your lender can be more creative with the type of mortgages they can offer you. As a result your credit score would not need to be such a decisive factor as they can use your assets as security for your loan.

Get matched with a mortgage broker who specialises in celebrities

If you’re a celebrity and interested in getting a mortgage, the good news is there’s a host of specialist lenders who can provide the discretion and personalised service you’re looking for. To find the right one, you need to first speak with a mortgage broker.

Our broker-matching service is specifically designed to select a broker with the right experience and capabilities to cater for your requirements. If you give us a call on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry we’ll arrange for a broker with experience arranging mortgages for celebrities to contact you directly.

FAQs

Can I get a buy-to-let mortgage if I’m a celebrity?

Yes, of course you can. Whether this is your first venture into the rental market or you’re looking to add to an existing portfolio, getting a mortgage to complete the purchase can be a wise move as long as the repayments can be offset by the rental premiums.

Take a look at our buy-to-let mortgage guide for more information on how they work.

Can I get a mortgage with no deposit if I’m a celebrity?

It’s possible, however 100% mortgages are quite rare and this would depend on finding the right lender to cater for this particular need and the strength of your application, in terms of your earnings history and the future projects you have lined up.

This may be more of a possibility if you qualify for high net worth exemption and can use some of your other investment assets as security for a mortgage.

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We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in all different mortgage subjects.


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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 OMA of course!

Read more about Pete

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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