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Getting Started With a Mortgage Broker

See how an expert broker can help secure a mortgage approval and find the best deals right for you

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: December 9, 2021

A mortgage broker can help you save time, money and potential disappointment when it comes to applying for a home loan, but it also pays to be prepared ahead of your appointment with one.

In this guide, you’ll learn what questions a mortgage broker is likely to ask you, what documents you need to take to your consultation and more.

What questions will a mortgage advisor ask me?

To gain a full understanding of how best they can help you, a mortgage broker may ask any of the following questions…

  • Have you had a mortgage in the past?
  • What is your budget?
  • How long have you been at your current job?
  • What is your income?
  • How much deposit do you have saved?
  • Where has your deposit come from? (Example, is it from savings or a gifted deposit from family?)
  • What type of property do you want to buy?
  • Where is the property located?
  • What debts do you have? (Getting a mortgage with debt is possible but can be trickier as it may affect your affordability)
  • Do you have any dependents?

After speaking with your mortgage advisor, you should feel more equipped with a better understanding of how you can get a mortgage as well as the maximum mortgage amount that would be affordable for you.

How long does the interview last?

Some brokers prefer a longer interview, where they ask multiple questions to understand more about you and your circumstances.

In comparison, some brokers find shorter but more frequent conversations of more benefit. If your broker is local, you may visit their office to discuss mortgages although often customers prefer a phone call.

The advisors we work with appreciate that modern work life and schedules can get in the way of finding a mortgage and are happy to accommodate this. In fact, you can contact us via phone, email or online chat and we’ll connect you to them right away.

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What do I need to take to a mortgage advisor appointment?

When seeing a mortgage advisor, there will be a few things that you need to take to help them find you the best possible mortgage deal.

These include:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of address (this could come from a recent utility bill)
  • Bank statements

Do mortgage brokers look at bank statements?

Yes, three months’ worth of bank statements is usually the requirement although some brokers may ask for 6 months for further insight, mortgage lenders may also request 3 months bank statements for the mortgage application.

If you have online banking or use a banking app, you can usually print your statements at home. However, if you don’t have a printer or if you are unable to do this, go into your bank and request this information.

It’s a regulatory requirement to clearly establish where your deposit is coming from because gifted deposits can be unacceptable in some situations, especially if there isn’t a signed agreement between the gifter and giftee.

Why do mortgage advisors need to check bank statements?

Your finances are private and personal to you so the thought of sharing them can be uncomfortable. With that in mind, why do mortgage brokers need to see bank statements?

Your bank statement will be able to show your broker a true representation of your spending habits, income and outgoings.

This information can help your broker understand how much you could realistically afford to borrow. A broker has a responsibility to ensure that the mortgage deals they recommend are affordable for you and best suit your circumstances.

Your income and outgoings will also be thoroughly examined as this can help your broker determine which mortgage lenders are more likely to accept your application based on their appetite to lend to someone with your budget.

Additionally, good conduct on the bank statements is something that lenders look for when making their decisions. Good management of your bills and evidence that you can manage a monthly commitment i.e. rent goes a very long way to convincing underwriters that you are safe to lend to. This often is what makes the difference between an accept or a decline from a lender.

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What else does a mortgage advisor check?

  • Payslips
  • P60s
  • Tax calculators

Why do mortgage advisors need payslips?

Your mortgage broker will know that affordability and income will be heavily focussed on by all lenders, so to build a clearer picture of your financial situation, they will need to see your payslips.

Having this information presented accurately for a lender can be a good idea so see this stage as preparation. Delays can cost time which could lead to you missing out on a current rate or deal, so always have proof of your income ready in advance.

Why do mortgage advisors need p60s?

More and more people in this day and age are in receipt of variable pay elements on top of their basic salaries. For example, overtime, commission, night/weekend shifts, on call allowance etc. Depending on how much of your income is made up of these elements, underwriters often request P60’s to evidence that the income you receive from them is sustainable before deciding whether or not to use it in affordability.

Why do mortgage brokers need tax returns?

Self-employed or freelance mortgages are more common than ever and the good news is that there are lenders who specialise in mortgages for borrowers with less predictable income.

With that being said, some lenders can be cautious with this type of lending, so to make the process as smooth as possible, prepare your tax returns so that they are easily readable and accessible. The form that the lenders will accept is the SA302 Tax Calculation/Computation which can be prepared by an accountant.

A mortgage broker will want to look over your tax calculations to establish how much your income fluctuates throughout the year.

This is because some lenders will calculate your average monthly income to determine the maximum loan they are prepared to give you.

If you have a less stable income, read our guides below for tips and advice about how you could get a good mortgage deal:

Alternatively, speak to an advisor about your next step.

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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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Will a mortgage advisor do a credit check?

Your mortgage advisor may run a mortgage credit check to determine whether you can afford the mortgage you want to apply for but they will absolutely never do this without your permission.

These checks often include questions regarding your:

  • Level of income
  • Source of income
  • Debt
  • Number of dependants
  • Age

A broker knows that another key factor that lenders will look at is your credit history. There are multiple credit reference agencies (CRAs) that lenders may use to establish your score and frustratingly, they can all give varying scores.

If your credit report shows a history of mismanaging money and accumulating debt, this can seriously impact your choice of lenders and your ability to obtain a mortgage.

Running a credit check before applying for a mortgage can flag up any issues and help you and your broker prepare. It may be the case that you can make improvements before applying to increase the likelihood of mortgage approval.

For further information, on how to get a mortgage with bad credit, see our bad credit mortgage page.

Get a free credit check

You can access a free credit check via checkmyfile.

What other information do I need to provide for a mortgage advisor?

In addition to the documents listed above, you will also need to provide a list of your essential expenses as well as their monthly cost.

This should include…

  • Food
  • Gas and electricity
  • Water bills
  • Telephone costs (landline and mobile)
  • Travel costs (such as travel to work or school runs)
  • Council tax
  • Any insurance

You should also inform them about non-essential expenses, such as…

  • Toiletries
  • TV licence / TV package
  • Leisure costs including sports clubs or the gym
  • Clothes
  • Furniture costs
  • Childcare costs

It’s also important to declare any debts or arrears you might have, including…

  • Rent or mortgage
  • Credit cards or catalogs
  • Loans or hire purchase agreements
  • Child maintenance and maintenance payments
  • Car payments
  • Council tax
  • Arrears, defaults and CCJs
  • Mobile contracts
  • Student loans

What does a mortgage broker look for?

In order to get you the best possible mortgage, a broker will want to ensure that your paperwork is completed and organised efficiently.

Clarity is key when providing documents and evidence of your personal or financial circumstances to a lender, so it’s always helpful when a borrower understands this in advance.

However, the advisors we work with understand that not every borrower has the time to organise their paperwork perfectly ahead of their appointment.

The mortgage advisors we work with look for people they can help, so the most important thing is that you show up with an open mind and be willing to listen to their advice.

Talk to a mortgage broker

Looking for the right mortgage advice? Feel free to ask one of the advisors we work with for help.

They are on hand to answer any of your questions and make you aware of what to expect when visiting a mortgage broker.

Call Online Mortgage Advisor today on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry online.

Ask us a question

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

Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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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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