Getting Approved for a Mortgage

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Home Mortgage Application Getting Approved For A Mortgage
Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: March 11, 2024

In this article, we explain everything you need to know about getting your mortgage application approved, including lenders’ standard eligibility criteria, how they calculate affordability and why using a broker can boost your chances of success. 

How to get approved for a mortgage

Your first step should be to speak to a mortgage broker as they can provide all the guidance you need throughout the process from start to finish. Make an enquiry with us and we will match you with one who has the right experience to help with your specific circumstances.

The following are also very important steps to prepare before you submit your mortgage application: 

Save as much deposit as possible

The bigger your deposit, the better your chances of getting approved and the faster the process should take. You’ll also have a wider choice of products and deals to choose from. You’ll need to be able to prove where your deposit has come from. Lenders have strict anti-money laundering rules in place to make sure money used for mortgage deposits is legitimate. There are various ways to prove where your funds have come from, including bank or savings account statements, evidence of a sale of a property or proof of an inheritance.

Download your credit reports

Before you make an application, check your credit reports. You should make sure all the details are accurate and that you’ve been delinked from anyone you previously had joint accounts with. If there are any errors on your report, you have the right to challenge them, or at the very least add a note explaining any late or missed payments.

You can click on this link to – download your credit files straight away.

Get your paperwork together

Mortgage lenders will want to see documentary evidence to support the information on your application – particularly relating to your earnings as this will prove you can afford the mortgage repayments. If you’re employed you’ll typically be asked to provide your last three payslips and if you’re self-employed then you can include the last 2-3 years certified accounts.

Other documents you’ll need would be a copy of either your passport or driving licence and your last 3 months’ bank statements. 

Find the right mortgage lenders

This is definitely an area where a mortgage broker can make all the difference, saving you a lot of time and, potentially, a lot of money too. They will be able to identify the best lenders, offering the most competitive interest rates, based on your own personal requirements. 

It may be that you require a traditional repayment mortgage for a house move – a situation where lots of mortgage lenders are available, but your broker can help you select the most appropriate. Alternatively, you might need a more specialist lender – one who can help someone with bad credit or for a specific type of property purchase.

What criteria do you need to meet?

Every lender has its own set of criteria when it comes to assessing mortgage applications, but, in general, they’ll consider the following:

Your age

The vast majority of lenders require residential mortgage applicants to be at least 18 years old. They also tend to have a maximum age limit too. This can either be the age you are when you take out the mortgage (typically the maximum is 75 or 80) or the age you’ll be when your mortgage term ends (this tends to range from 75 to 95).

Your employment status

Lenders will take a keen interest in your employment type. This will help them determine how much and how regularly you’re paid.

If you’ve been employed for a number of years, receive a regular salary and meet all other lending criteria, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting approved. If, however, you’re in what’s deemed ‘non-standard’ employment – for example you’re self-employed, you work part-time or you’re a contractor – it could be a bit trickier, but not impossible, to get your application approved.

The type of property you’re buying

If you’re buying a non-standard property – such as a house with a thatched roof, a flat above a shop, or a barn conversion – this could be a red flag for lenders because of concerns over resale potential if they have to repossess your home in the future.

That’s not to say you can’t get a mortgage if you’re purchasing a non-standard property. You may just have a more limited choice of lender.

Your credit rating

All lenders will look at your credit reports to establish how good you’ve been at paying back loans in the past.

Credit reports contain detailed information about your loan history, including past credit cards, overdrafts, mortgages and mobile phone agreements. They record how much credit you were given and how efficient you were at making the repayments.

You can still get a mortgage if you have black marks on your credit reports. It may, however, impact the range of deals available to you. If you have particularly bad credit, it’s worth seeking advice from a bad credit broker who specialises in securing loans for people in this situation.

The size of your deposit

Lenders will always take into consideration the size of your deposit. Generally, the larger your deposit, the greater the chance you’ll have of getting your mortgage approved and the more deals you’ll have available to you. That’s because the more money you have invested in the property, the less risky you’ll be deemed.

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How much you need to earn

Some lenders impose a minimum earnings requirement of say £20,000 – £25,000 on mortgage applicants, but this certainly isn’t standard across the industry.

In fact, these days most lenders don’t solely focus on annual earnings to determine if you’ll be able to afford your mortgage. They look at the bigger picture and consider other forms of income – including bonuses, commission, pensions and even benefits – as well as your outgoings, credit history and other credit commitments.

Each lender uses its own unique criteria to assess affordability, but in general, most lenders will offer 4.5 times your income. However, some will stretch to 5 times and a handful as much as 6 times your income.

To get a rough estimate of how much you’d be able to borrow with your income, try our mortgage affordability calculator here:

Mortgage Affordability Calculator

Use this calculator to determine how much you could potentially borrow for a mortgage, based on the typical salary multiples used by most UK lenders.

Input full salaries for all applicants

Your Results:

You could borrow up to 

Most lenders would consider letting you borrow

This is based on 4.5 times your household income, the standard calculation used by the majority of mortgage providers. To borrow more than this, you will need to use a mortgage broker to access specialist lenders.

Some lenders would consider letting you borrow

This is based on 5 times your household income, a salary multiple you might struggle to qualify for without the help of a broker. This income multiple is not widely available to customers who are applying directly with a lender.

A minority of lenders would consider letting you borrow

This is based on 6 times your household income, a salary multiple you will struggle to get without a broker. Six-times salary mortgages are usually only available under very specific circumstances.

Get Started with an expert broker to find out exactly how much you could borrow.

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For a more accurate figure, speak to a qualified broker who’ll be able to assess your individual circumstances.

Need help finding a broker? Get in touch and we’ll match you with one from our extensive network. 

Can you be pre-approved for a mortgage?

Yes. If you want to discover your chances of being approved before you start house hunting, you can apply for a mortgage pre-approval or agreement in principle. This is a statement from a lender outlining how much they’re prepared to lend you before you formally apply for a mortgage. While it’s not a guarantee, it gives you a pretty good idea of how much you’ll be able to borrow.

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Is the criteria any different if you have bad credit?

Again, every lender will have its own criteria when it comes to assessing applicants with bad credit.

However, in general, they’ll typically look at the following:

  • The severity of the issue – some infringements will be considered relatively minor and are unlikely to affect your chances of getting a mortgage.
  • The reason for the bad credit – lenders will look more favourably on you as a borrower if your adverse credit history was a result of an unexpected event rather than ongoing financial mismanagement.
  • How long ago the bad credit was registered – when an infringement took place will make a difference. For example, you’ll struggle to get approved if you’ve received a county court judgement (CCJ) in the last twelve months. If your CCJ was more than three years ago, however, it shouldn’t impact your chances of getting a mortgage.

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What about if you’re self-employed?

Being self-employed won’t prevent you from getting a mortgage. However, you may have to jump through a few more hoops to get approved.

The majority of lenders will base their lending decisions on your income over the last three years. Some will only require two years of accounts, while a handful of specialist lenders will accept just one year.

Get matched with a broker to guide you through a successful application

Getting a mortgage approved is exciting, but the build-up can be a stressful experience. That’s why you should strongly consider seeking advice from an experienced broker who’ll be able to research and identify the best deal for your circumstances, walk you through the application process and improve your chances of getting accepted.

Our broker matching service can connect you with an expert who can help you today.

Give us a call on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry and get matched with a broker for a free initial conversation.

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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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