Mortgages for Social Workers
Published 18th February 2020
Due to the nature of social work, individual employment contracts and incomes can be vastly different. Times have changed from the days when everyone had permanent long term employment and nowadays we are seeing far more short term posts, temporary contracts, zero hour contracts, agency workers, and even those that are set up as self-employed sole traders or limited companies.
Though we cannot provide accounting advice we can guide you through the mortgage maze to help you establish if you'll be eligible for a mortgage or not and, if not, what to do to get one!
Remember that lender criteria can change on a daily basis, so we'd always recommend making an enquiry and letting an expert do the research for you. To find out immediately what you're eligible for make an enquiry, or read on for more...
Typically, anyone on a full time permanent contract should have no problem finding finance so long as the salary is paid as any other normal job.
If the applicant has been in the position less than 12 months then some lenders will not approve the mortgage, however there are lenders that specialise in ️mortgages for people that have just started a new job (even if they are in a probationary period), and one or two lenders that consider applicants yet to start their new job - so long as they have a written signed contract that is due to start within 3 months of the application.
Social workers on short term posts (anything less than 3 years) may find getting a mortgage approved difficult. Typically most short term contracts will be for 3, 6, or 12 months and as such the lenders can deem the income as unsustainable and not adequate to maintain ongoing mortgage payments.
So how do you get a mortgage? Thankfully there are lenders who consider these arrangements under certain conditions:
- The contract must have 6 months remaining, with minimum 10% deposit and a clean credit history
- OR it must have a minimum of 12 months left on a new contract, minimum 5% deposit and a clean credit history
- OR it must be in a 12 month contract having had it previously renewed at least once, minimum 5% deposit and ideally a clean credit history (20% deposit with adverse).
Ideally short term contract workers need to have relatively clean recent credit history (avoid any late/missed payments in the last 2 years), but the longer the time in position and the more deposit you have, the better your chances of approval with adverse credit.
This is probably the most common enquiry we receive for social worker mortgages, partly because more and more people in the sector are taking temporary posts and partly because most lenders decline agency workers!
Currently there is great demand and thus considerably increased pay, which can be an attractive prospect for social workers who want to earn more money and don't mind the lack of security a temporary position brings. This does impact mortgage applications however, as lenders like security. They like a solid stable salary and a regular sustainable and provable income on which to base their lending decisions and affordability calculations. It makes sense that if the applicant in a temporary role could find themselves out of work at any point, the probability of them missing mortgage payments is greater.
So how do you get a mortgage? Thankfully there are some specialist agency-friendly mortgage lenders out there, but they do have certain criteria you'll need to meet in order to gain approval:
- Must have been in the current position with the same agency for minimum of 12 months
- Ideally have relatively clean recent credit history (avoid any late/missed payments in the last 2 years)
- Must have minimum of 5% deposit if clean credit or 20% if adverse credit
- Must be borrowing within 5x income if clean credit or 4x income if adverse credit
Much like agency workers, those working through an umbrella company will have difficulty finding a lender. Generally lenders see the umbrella company as the ones holding the employment contract with the authority / placement, and then the social worker holds a contract with the umbrella company. This is therefore less secure than a permanent contract and most lenders steer clear unless there is a long working history of the applicant in that position.
Most of the time the umbrella company pay all the tax and national insurance on behalf of the worker, yet some lenders still consider the applicant self-employed and require 3 years history. There are lenders who are more flexible, and criteria is much the same as agency workers, requiring a minimum of 12 months history in the same position with the same umbrella company.
Sole trader & limited companies
There are occasions where social workers can trade as self-employed, whether it be via an agency or umbrella company or some other setup. In these instances borrowers are treated as any other self-employed applicant under standard criteria. Visit our self employed mortgages page for more information.
This means that most lenders will require a trading history of 3 years, and lend based on the company's declared net profit (if sole trader) or salary + dividends (if ltd). There are some lenders that are more flexible than this however, and in many ways being registered self-employed makes finding a lender easier as they consider more the trading history of the business than the current contract or employment status. More flexible lenders will:
- Lend based on just 12 months trading history
- Lend with just 5% deposit
- Lend based on share of profits for ltd company directors rather than limiting to just salary + dividends
- Lend to someone with adverse credit
Low deposits & government schemes
Keyworker mortgages are now a thing of the past, once designed to help key workers onto the property ladder in more affluent areas, now being superseded by the universal help to buy schemes. These allow borrowers to either buy a new build property (with 75% mortgage, 20% government loan, and 5% deposit), or an existing property on the open market (with 95% mortgage and 5% deposit). There are currently no schemes available specific to social workers, however there are many lenders who offer more flexible underwriting for those who work in secure public sector positions.
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Bad credit mortgages for social workers
Adverse credit history is one of the main stumbling blocks for applicants trying to remortgage or buy a new home. Typically if you aren't on a permanent contract then you'll find it more difficult, as the number of lenders who consider adverse credit AND short term or temporary incomes is limited. There are lenders who are happy to consider borrowers with bad credit, but it generally depends on your income, how much deposit you have, and how severe and recent the credit issues were.
For more info visit our bad credit ️mortgages page.
To ask an expert a question about mortgages if you've been repossessed in the past, or have had any other adverse credit issue, fill out the quick enquiry form below...