Mortgages for Firefighters

Understand your mortgage options as a Firefighter and how a broker can help you secure the best rate

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Home Mortgages For Professionals Mortgages For Firefighters
Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: March 18, 2024

Getting a mortgage as a firefighter should not be difficult, but you might face challenges from some lenders when it comes to calculating overtime or income from a second job.

In this article we’ll explain all you need to know about firefighter mortgages, income calculations and why speaking to a whole of market broker is your best route to the right deal for you and your family.

Are there specific mortgages for firefighters?

Yes. There are lenders who provide mortgages specifically tailored to firefighters and lenders who offer exclusive deals for all key workers.

But don’t fall into the trap of thinking they necessarily offer the best deals. Access to these products should be viewed as a way of widening your potential pool of lenders if you or your partner are a firefighter.

So you should still check the whole of the market to make sure you get the very best deal available according to your personal and family situation. The shrewdest way to do this is by enlisting the help of an experienced mortgage broker.

Options for people who work in fire and rescue

Aside from special deals with some lenders, there are also government schemes available to help key workers, first-time buyers and others who are struggling to get a mortgage.

These include:

  • Shared Ownership – Allows you to buy part of the property and rent the rest from a housing association.  Eligibility varies but in most cases is open to firefighters.
  • First Homes – New homes sold at a discount of between 30% – 50% to first-time buyers and key workers in England.
  • Right to Buy – Exclusive to existing council or housing association tenants and allows you to purchase your home at a discounted price.

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Eligibility factors

While some eligibility factors are unique to your position as an emergency services worker, you will also need to meet the lenders standard eligibility criteria such as:

  • Affordability (If you’re a part-time firefighter you may find it difficult to evidence sufficient income to borrow the amount you need. Read our guide to affordability to find out how this works and what steps you can take to still secure the mortgage you need)
  • Deposit amount
  • Loan to value
  • Credit files
  • Type of property
  • Length of employment (If you’ve been with the fire service for over three years this shouldn’t pose a problem with the majority of lenders)
  • Your age

Lenders have varying criteria so, for example, having bad credit or being close to retirement doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get a mortgage but will limit your borrowing options.

How a broker can help firefighters get a better deal

One of the challenges of getting a mortgage as a firefighter is that your working hours don’t often suit those of lenders or brokers. We work with brokers who specialise in arranging mortgages for firefighters and understand the nature of the beast.

They’ll know about exclusive deals available to you and how they compare to products on the wider market.

Not only will they find you the best deal according to your situation, but they will also take on a lot of the leg work on your behalf to prevent your mortgage application becoming a burden.

To speak to a broker and find out what deals are available to you, get in touch and we’ll introduce you to an advisor we work with who has experience helping people in your profession.

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How much can firefighters borrow?

Most lenders use income multiples to calculate maximum borrowing capacity. Typically, this is 4.5 times the combined income of all borrowers. However, for firefighters, some providers will lend at five times or (in rare cases) six times salary.

The average firefighter salary is around £32,000 pa.

This equates to borrowing capacity of:

  • £32k x 4.5 = £144,000
  • £32k x 5    = £160,000
  • £32k x 5.5 = £176,000

Remember though, that if you have a partner who is working or you receive benefits such as Universal Credit, this can increase the maximum amount you can borrow. Mortgages for six times income are usually reserved for those on above average pay.

To see how this may work out for you, try our affordability calculator below:

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
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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.

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Second jobs and overtime

It’s not uncommon for firefighters to have variable pay due to overtime or a second job. When it comes to calculating affordability based on these factors, each lender has their own method.

Some take an average of any overtime over the past three months, while others employ a more flexible approach and are willing to discuss the true figure with you. There are even those that will not consider any income from a second job, and these should be avoided in this situation.

Usually, if you have a second job, you’ll need to provide payslips for the past three months if you’re on PAYE or at least two years’ accounts if self-employed.

If you don’t yet have two years of accounts, don’t worry. Once again, specialist lenders are available who will consider a self-employed mortgage with one years’ accounts, or less, in some circumstances.

Typical interest rates

Interest rates can change at any time and the rate you’re offered is largely dependent on your individual circumstances.

The table below provides an indication of the best rates currently available.

Lender Product Details
Frosted Rates Image

Looking for more rates and deals?

We can match you with a mortgage broker who can provide you with up-to-date bespoke rates and deals from across the entire market.

Last updated May 2024

The rates quoted above were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change at any time at the lender’s discretion. Speaking to a mortgage broker is the best way to keep track of the rates available at any given time.

Get matched with an advisor who specialises in firefighter mortgages

It’s easy for firefighters to have their heads turned by special mortgage deals for key workers. But it’s important to remember that any headline mortgage deal is not specific to your circumstances.

For example, if you have a large deposit, you may find your best deal is with a high street lender. Or, if your partner is a professional, you may be able to combine the benefits offered to key workers with those that come with mortgages for professionals.

Ultimately, the only way to know you’re on the best possible deal is to scour the whole of the UK mortgage market for the one that matches your circumstances. We work with brokers who have full access to the market and understand the complexities and nuances of working in fire and rescue.

And our unique broker matching service will find the advisor most suited to your needs. To get matched with your ideal broker call today on 0808 189 2301 or enquire online.

Maximise your chance of approval with a dedicated specialist broker

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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.

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FAQs

Yes. The government’s First Homes Scheme is designed to offer discount housing to firefighters and other key workers.

Yes. Similar deals to those available to firefighters are also offered to police officers and NHS staff looking for a mortgage.

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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!

Read more about Pete

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

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