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By Pete Mugleston | Mortgage Advisor

Pete has been a mortgage advisor for over 10 years, and is regularly cited in both trade and national press.

Updated: 22nd March 2021*

If you’re single and thinking of getting a mortgage, you’re not alone. Many first-time buyers take the first step on the housing ladder when they’re still single.

With more people looking for mortgages following separation and divorce too, there are plenty of opportunities to get a great deal, when you know the best lenders to go to.

This article will look at:

If you’re keen to find out how much you can borrow and discover the kind of deal you might be able to get on a mortgage as a single person, call 0808 189 2301 or make a quick online enquiry.

We’ll introduce you to the right mortgage broker who will be happy to answer your questions and find the best mortgage to suit you.

All the advisors we work with are whole-of-market brokers and can find mortgages and deals you won’t find on the high street. The right mortgage advice could save you up to £400 a month, which could make a massive difference to you in the short and the long term.

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Why you don’t need to worry about being rejected for a mortgage if you’re a single applicant

Getting a mortgage as a single person is treated no differently by lenders, and is actually more common than you might think.

Many first-time buyers decide to purchase their first property alone. In some cases this might just mean they have a lower deposit, or need to wait a little longer to buy than a couple with joint incomes who may be able to save a deposit quicker.

The first thing you need to know is if one lender has rejected your mortgage application, it doesn’t necessarily mean another lender will too. In fact, over 50% of the customers we’ve helped had been declined elsewhere before getting a mortgage through one of the brokers we work with.

Mortgages sizes available to single applicants

Affordability comes down to two things, income and outgoings, alongside the lender’s interpretation and criteria of what is considered acceptable.

Every lender has different lending criteria, so to get the best mortgage at the best possible rate, talk to a whole-of-market broker who will know which lender will be most suitable for your own mortgage requirements.

Call 0808 189 2301 or fill out a quick enquiry form to find out how much you could borrow today.

How mortgage lenders assess income

All lenders have wide ranging criteria on the income they do and don’t accept, and have different ideas about suitable affordability limits, so this makes it difficult to establish an exact borrowing figure on paper for all. Likewise, every lender will have differing mortgage allowance rules when arranging single person mortgages.

For instance, all lenders will consider 100% of a basic wage, but when it comes to bonuses, some lenders consider 100% of them, some are 50%, and others don’t consider them at all.

Some lenders consider overtime, while others won’t. Some want self-employed borrowers to have been set up in this capacity for 3 years, others 9 months. And so on…

The impact of this can be massive on the maximum loan figures. For example, a borrower with 25k basic and 5k bonus with lenders happy to offer 4.5x income but accepting different % of the bonus income:

  • 100% bonus income = 25+5k x 4.5 = Max loan of £135,000
  • 50% bonus income = 25+2.5k x 4.5 = Max loan of £123,750
  • 0% bonus income = 25+0k x 4.5 = Max loan of £112,500

The same borrower, with the same affordability from 3 lenders with different stance on income, means a range of over £22,500.

How lenders assess affordability

Anyone with financial commitments such as credit card debt or personal loans, will have these expenses deducted from their disposable income, which lenders use to assess affordability.

Outstanding debt commitments with someone else are likely to be considered by a lender when assessing you for a mortgage.

Lenders will want to know if you have any responsibility for meeting an existing outstanding debt, they’ll assess this additional monthly expenditure to ensure it won’t affect your ability to meet the repayment requirements for a mortgage.

How lenders calculate affordability on a single person mortgage

In general, most lenders will cap maximum lending at 4x joint income, others can go up to 5x, and a handful may, in the right circumstances, consider up to 6x income.

Historically, most lenders for a single person mortgage in the UK, would use a mortgage multiplier for a single person to establish the maximum loan that someone could borrow. For example, some lenders would offer a maximum mortgage of 4 x salary, so those earning £25,000 could borrow £100,000.

However, these days more lenders will run affordability models based on a true reflection of your personal income and fixed outgoings, to establish a disposable monthly income from which you’ll have to pay a mortgage.

These calculations are based on the rate as it is today, but also have an inbuilt stress-test to ensure affordability on rates if they were to increase in the future.

Single person mortgage calculators

So you want to know how much mortgage a single can person get?

A quick online search will easily find mortgage calculators, but you should be aware that this kind of online calculator can only give you a very rough idea of how much you may be able to borrow.

At best, online calculators use generic multiplier tools and so will never be as precise as talking to an experienced mortgage advisor. Even going through an official calculator with a lender will only give you that one lender’s figures.

If you’re considering a mortgage application as a single person, we recommend speaking to an expert who can establish the most accurate maximum loan figure from the whole market. This takes knowledge and a bit of leg work, but is the best way to know exactly where you stand, without resorting to basing your house hunting on inaccurate figures, which might lead to disappointment.

We’ll find the perfect mortgage expert for you - for free

Save time and money with the right mortgage advice, first time

  • Network of over 200 brokers all with whole of market coverage
  • Save up to £400 per year with a mortgage expert matched to you
  • We've helped over 120,000 people get the right advice
  • Our quick & easy form only takes a couple of minutes to complete

Can I apply for a mortgage on my own if I’m self-employed?

Yes, you can! The main considerations are:

  • Employment capacity – lenders will assess sole traders and Ltd directors differently. Mortgages for limited company directors will usually be assessed by the income they have drawn from the business.

However, some lenders will also consider the share of retained profit that could have been drawn, which, if you go to the right lender, could result in far higher lending figures.

  • Accounts – most lenders want 3 years of accounts, some 2, some less than 1. The longer you have been set up that way, and the more profit in the business you have, the more lenders will consider your application.

Don’t worry if you’ve only been working this way for a year or two, as there may be lenders who will consider your mortgage application. A specialist broker, like the ones we work with, will know which lenders would consider fewer than 3 years’ accounts.

  • Income figures – Turnover, Profit, and Drawings (salary + dividends). Most lenders will average your income over 3 years figures, so if you’ve had a large increase in income in the most recent year, lenders that take only this year into account will offer the largest loans.

Whatever your circumstances, we’ve successfully arranged mortgages for many self-employed people.

With a network of over 200 whole-of-market expert brokers, we work with brokers who specialise in getting mortgages for the self-employed. All the brokers we work with have access to mortgages and deals you won’t find on the high street.

Right to buy in sole name

In general, if you qualify for the right to buy your council house, then the mortgage and ownership of the property will need to be in the names of the people on the right to buy paperwork.

So, if you’re the only person who qualifies, with most lenders you’d need to apply for the right to buy mortgage alone. This means a mortgage lender will assess your credit history and income individually.

Getting a right to buy joint mortgage

There are instances where a single person is named on the right to buy paperwork but can’t get a mortgage on their own and want to add someone else to the mortgage for their right to buy purchase.

In these instances, there are a handful of lenders happy to accommodate, in a similar manner to a joint mortgage sole proprietor setup.

Call 0808 189 2301 and we’ll introduce you to one of the brokers we work with who specialises in Right to Buy mortgages.

Single person mortgages with low deposit

If you’re buying a property on your own as a first time buyer, you might be surprised to know that single 95% mortgages are available on both open market properties as a straightforward purchase, and on Help to Buy deals with new build property, using the Help to Buy scheme.

If you’re considering buying either a new build or existing property on your own, get in touch and we’ll match you to one the 200 mortgage experts we work with. They will be happy to answer all your questions and find you the right mortgage at the best possible price.

The right broker will save you time, money and hassle. The right mortgage could save you up to £400 a year.

When to consider a joint mortgage in sole name only

A joint borrower, sole proprietor mortgage (JBSP) allows a second party (usually a parent) to help their child buy a home by joining their mortgage without featuring on the title deeds.

Although this type of mortgage is a good option for first-time buyers, you might find this type of mortgage can provide useful tax benefits and, in some cases, can be used to protect your assets.

Mortgages with bad credit are better than you think!

We often hear from customers who are looking for a mortgage, but are less than confident about their prospects because one of them has bad credit.

If you’re considering a solo mortgage for a property that will be occupied by two people to avoid bad credit showing up on the application, there are lenders out there who cater for even the most recent and severe bad credit scenarios.

The specialist brokers we work with know the lenders willing to offer mortgages to people with adverse credit history, and can deal with anything from late payments, debt management and even bankruptcy.

Many people think you need 50% deposit before a lender will even consider your mortgage application if you have adverse credit, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, in certain circumstances, buying with just 5% deposit is possible, and at great rates too!

See our section on how to get a mortgage with bad credit for more information.

Or cut straight to the chase and let us match you with a broker with specialist knowledge of arranging mortgages for people with adverse credit.

Call 0808 189 2301 for free, no obligation advice from one of the 200 whole-of-market brokers we work with.

Being married and applying alone can be difficult

Most lenders want married applicants to apply for their mortgage in joint names. If you want a mortgage in a sole name when you’re married, for any reason, you’ll probably find yourself limiting the lenders available and end up excluding yourself from the very best deals as a result.

Can I ring-fence my deposit contribution on a joint mortgage?

When you purchase a property with a joint mortgage, it’s usual for one applicant to have a larger deposit contribution than the other.

If you have concerns about potentially losing your contribution in the event of selling the property due to a break-up or a dispute, you can ring-fence your share by applying for a joint mortgage as tenants in common.

However, if you’re buying in sole name, you can write up a contract with a solicitor to agree terms separately from the mortgage.

This is a legal agreement your mortgage lender won’t recognise and is an entirely separate arrangement you should make alongside the mortgage.

Remortgage into one name (take someone off a mortgage)

Remortgaging from a joint mortgage to a single mortgage is essentially the same as the remaining person re-applying for a new mortgage on their own, either with the same lender or a new one.

Going for a new lender is likely to give you the best rates, but remortgage fees should be factored in to the decision.

Remortgage into one name with the same lender

If you’re sticking with the same lender, and get approved, you can usually retain your current mortgage deal, which helps avoid repayment penalties.

As the remaining owner, you’ll need to evidence your ability to afford the mortgage alone and your credit profile would need to  show that there’s no more risk than before.

Remortgage into one name with a new lender

If you’re declined by your current lender for a sole remortgage, then there may be other options through new lenders who may be more flexible when it comes to whatever issue is causing the problem.

Often, it will be down to affordability – where some lenders will go up to 5-6x income, or perhaps credit history – where some lenders are willing to consider all manner of issues.

Legal process of remortgaging into one name

The legal process is slightly more complex than a normal remortgage, as it involves the transfer of equity from one party to the other, as well as the standard change of lender on the charge over the property. This can take some extra time, as well as usually costing more in legal fees (approximately £200-500).

Be sure not to overlook the potential for stamp duty on transfers of equity, where rules can be different if you’re divorcing or not-married.

Secured Loans as one single applicant

If you own a property alone and want to borrow more money

If you own a property in your own name and want to release some cash, you have the option of either borrowing on a main remortgage, or taking a second mortgage (secured loan).

The benefit of a remortgage can be that the whole debt is on one loan with the same lender, and at fantastic rates, whereas borrowing on a secured loan with a new lender can mean slightly higher rates and fees.

Remortgaging could mean paying fees if you’re locked into an introductory fixed rate period. Taking out a secured loan means you can avoid paying these fees but still borrow more to make up the difference in the increased amount you want to borrow without changing a mortgage you’re otherwise happy with.

Secured loan lenders tend to be more flexible when underwriting the loan and can accept more recent and severe adverse credit issues, as well as being more generous on their lending amounts, in some instances offering over 10x income where most main mortgage lenders cap this at 4x (some will do 5x and a few will do 6x max).

If you have a joint mortgage and want a single secured loan

In general, it’s not possible for one person to take out a secured loan on a jointly owned property.

Owning a property with someone else, even if you’ve decided on the % ownership using tenants in common, still means you both have to agree on the debts secured against it. The mortgage remains a joint and several debt that you’re both equally responsible for, and any new debt would be the same.

The only way of borrowing on your own when you’re in a joint mortgage, would be to take out an unsecured loan or, if you own another property in your own name, remortgaging or taking a secured loan against that property.

Can I apply for a mortgage in one person’s name even if there are two people buying the property?

Generally, no. In order to get a mortgage on the property, lenders will want all owners to be named.

However, it is possible to do the reverse, and get a mortgage in two names with only one owner named on the deeds.

This arrangement is known as joint mortgage sole proprietor and tends to be used to share liability for a mortgage with someone who has no legal right over the equity. A bit like a guarantor mortgage, but different.

There are lots of reasons why you might want to apply for a single person mortgage when there are two people buying the property. As mentioned above, a common reason is that a partner could have bad credit which with some lenders would lead to an instant rejection on a joint mortgage application, especially for first-time buyers.

Buy-to-Let mortgages in sole name

Getting a buy-to-let mortgage in a single name is much the same process as getting a residential mortgage as a single person, but some lenders’ minimum income thresholds can be pretty tight and this can be a reason why an application may be declined.

However, there are other lenders who offer buy-to-let mortgages with no minimum income requirements, speak to a specialist broker who knows which lenders have no minimum income requirements for buy-to-let mortgages.

We’ll find the perfect mortgage expert for you - for free

Save time and money with the right mortgage advice, first time

  • Network of over 200 brokers all with whole of market coverage
  • Save up to £400 per year with a mortgage expert matched to you
  • We've helped over 120,000 people get the right advice
  • Our quick & easy form only takes a couple of minutes to complete

Speak to a mortgage broker who specialises in arranging mortgages for single people

If you’re interested in getting a mortgage in a single name as a first-time buyer, or as part of a more complex arrangement, get in touch.

We’ll match you with a broker with the right specialist knowledge to answer your questions and help get you the mortgage you want.

All the brokers we work with have access to mortgage lenders across the UK, so they know the lenders who offer the best mortgage rates, saving you time, hassle and money – the right mortgage could save you £400 every year.

Call 0808 189 2301 or make a quick online enquiry. Our matching service is free and it costs nothing to speak to one of the brokers we work with. There’s absolutely no obligation and brokers only get paid when you get the mortgage you want.

Updated: 22nd March 2021
OnlineMortgageAdvisor 2021 ©

FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of 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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