Get expert advice from a broker on everything you need to know about applying for a mortgage when you are serving.
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Being in the army often means moving around a lot. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want to put down roots and buy your own home.
Here, we investigate if there are mortgages specifically for military personnel and what financial schemes are available that could help your application. We outline how to get the best product for you and identify the common eligibility criteria that you will likely have to meet.
Are there mortgages specifically for military personnel?
Not specifically, no. However, lenders try to take a more flexible approach to these applications.
They are aware that the nuances of military life can make it difficult to get a mortgage. Forces personnel may have a poor credit rating, for example, due to moving around so often. Or, they could receive a lot of their income through allowances, like a combat bonus, which may not typically be an earnings source that providers accept.
Another way many lenders can help is by extending standard residential mortgage rates, even though a property is a buy-to-let. Additionally, lenders don’t always accept applications from overseas citizens, but may do so for someone serving abroad.
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How long is the Forces Help To Buy Scheme available?
The scheme will close in December 2022. The majority of lenders accept it – like NatWest and Barclays, but there are many others who do too. Due to the wealth of options available, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a broker. They’ll help identify the most suitable provider for you.
How the scheme works
Forces Help To Buy allows you to borrow up to 50% of your gross pay, to a maximum of £25,000. The loan is for 10 years and is interest-free. You can use the funds to help bolster a deposit or to help pay for solicitors’ fees or stamp duty. You apply through your Joint Personnel Administration system (JPA) or you can complete a form called the EO35.
To be eligible for the scheme you must:
- Be in the Forces (Army, Navy or RAF)
- Be serving for at least another six months
- Have completed the required length of service relevant to your field
- Meet the right medical categories
- Be buying your first home or another property due to being posted over 50 miles from your current house
- Buy a home under £600,000
In addition to your eligibility, there are a couple of factors to consider before applying:
- If your loan exceeds £10,000 you may have to pay tax on it. A broker could help you weigh up whether the tax payment makes the loan worthwhile.
- If you are making a joint application with another serving person, you can only have one loan from the scheme.
Can you combine it with other schemes?
Yes, you can – though not all lenders will be happy to do so. A broker would be able to identify the providers who do.
Examples of other schemes that could be an option for serving personnel are:
- First homes scheme: This relatively new scheme discounts a collection of properties by 30% to 50%. The scheme is open to military personnel, other key workers and first-time buyers. Applicants need to be earning less than £80,000 or £90,000 in London. When it comes to selling the property, you have to sell at the same discount too. You will also need to invest a 5% deposit from your own resources.
- Shared ownership scheme. This scheme allows you to buy a share in a property in which you live, with the option to buy more in future. For example, in England, you can purchase as low as 10% of a property, though many users of the scheme buy an initial share between 25% and 75%. For the share you don’t own, you pay rent.
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How to get the best mortgage if you’re in the military
Your first step should be to find a specialist mortgage broker with experience arranging mortgages for military personnel as this will boost your chances of getting approved at the best terms available.
Using our free broker-matching service you can speak straight away to the right broker by simply making an enquiry online. They’ll be able to help with:
- Readying all the necessary paperwork
- Downloading your credit reports
- Finding the right lender and securing the best deal for you
Best military mortgage lenders
While there are no mortgages specifically for veterans, the best lenders will be the ones that take a common sense approach to any application from someone in the military. There is a wide range of mortgage providers who do, which is again a good reason to use a broker so you can ensure you apply to the most appropriate one for you.
Banks like HSBC, Barclays and Nationwide are all open to applications from serving personnel if they meet the rest of their eligibility criteria.
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As mortgage products for members of the military are not different to those offered to the majority of civilians, the eligibility criteria are mainly the same. However, lenders may not be as strict on some conditions when considering your application.
Lending requirements can be dependent on:
- Age. The youngest you can be for a mortgage is 18, though many lenders like you to be at least 21. The oldest is generally 70, though some may go higher.
- Income source. Not all lenders will accept all sources of income. Many are increasingly making exceptions for military personnel, however, and use their entire income as part of an application. So they’ll count the living overseas allowance (LOA) in affordability assessments, for example.
- Credit rating. Lenders usually extend the best rates to those with clean credit histories. If regular moves have negatively impacted your rating, they may be willing to make an exception.
- Deposit. The lowest deposit you have to have is 5%, though many lenders require at least 10%.
Typically, to then calculate how much they are willing to extend, a lender will use a multiple of 4-4.5 times your income. If you need to maximise your loan amount, a broker will pinpoint a provider that takes into account all your income – so your salary and your allowances, meaning you should be able to borrow more.
Lenders will also conduct an affordability assessment to determine if you can comfortably meet a repayment schedule. So, if your expenditure is high, then they may not lend even 4 times your salary.
How much you could borrow
Military mortgages are calculated the same way as mortgages to civilians, so you can use our mortgage affordability calculator below to get a rough idea of your maximum borrowing.
Keep in mind that you might need a flexible lender who treats military applicants more favourably to borrow based on the higher salary multiples.
Mortgage Affordability Calculator
Our affordability calculator can tell you how much you can potentially borrow from a mortgage lender. Simply enter your total household income below and our calculator will do the rest.
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.
Speak to an expert military mortgage broker
Getting a mortgage when you are serving has some added complications such as where you are based, how frequently you move and how your wages are paid. For that reason, using a broker is highly recommended for military personnel.
A specialist will be able to advise you as to the best lender for you, having appraised your financial situation. They’ll look at your income versus expenditure, suggest any mortgage schemes that could benefit you and determine which provider will accept your application. Plus, they’ll propose lenders that will extend you the best interest rates and best terms.
Our free, no-obligation broker matching service will connect you with the best military mortgage specialist. Call us on 0808 189 2301 or enquire with us today so we can put you in touch.
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