How to get the best mortgage deal Mortgage application: what you need

All lenders will conduct affordability checks and check your credit history

Applying for a mortgage is a complicated process, and you'll need to be armed with lots of information about your income and the property you want to buy. Here, we explain what you'll need.

The mortgage application process will vary depending on your lender and your circumstances, but all lenders will want broadly the same information and will do the same kinds of checks.

The Which? Group also offers an independent mortgage advice service, Which? Mortgage Advisers, that can help you through the entire mortgage application process. You can call them on 0808 252 7987.

Applying for a mortgage: the information you'll need

Our downloadable checklist explains all the documents and information you'll need to hand when applying for a mortgage. Click the image below to download it. You can also read more below.    

Download our checklist

Details of your income

This will include not just what but how you earn. If your wages fluctuate, lenders may take an average amount over what they think is a reasonable amount of time. If you're self-employed you may need to provide evidence of your income from up to three years ago.

Lenders may also take income from other sources into consideration, for example benefits, income from investments, rent from tenants or pension payments.

Go further: self-employed mortgages - find out more about mortgages for the self-employed

Other information you'll need

  • Details of the property you intend to buy – location, the year it was built, construction type e.g. stone/brick
  • Employment details – what you do for a living, whether you’re employed/self-employed or work full-time or part time
  • When you plan to retire – this is to judge whether your mortgage will last into your retirement
  • Typical monthly expenditure – how much you normally spend each month on things like food, utility bills and transport
  • Existing financial commitments – whether you have any credit cards, overdrafts, loans, hire purchase agreements or other regular outgoings

Your lender will expect to see documentation, such as payslips or bank statements, to check what you've put in your application.

Mortgage application – the checks lenders carry out

Affordability checks

All mortgages lenders will conduct affordability checks to see how much they think you can afford to borrow and repay. Different lenders calculate this in different ways, and some will be stricter than others, but they will typically lend you between three and five times your income. 

Lenders will 'stress test' their calculations against potential interest rate increases, increases in your expenditure and drops in your income to see if you would still be able to afford your mortgage if circumstances changed.

Credit history

Mortgage lenders will look at your credit history to see how much credit you have applied for in the past and whether you have kept up with your repayments. 

In the current mortgage market lenders will normally only lend to people who have a good track record of meeting their financial obligations.

Go further: your credit report - get to grips with managing and improving your credit file

Valuation of the property

Before giving you a firm mortgage offer lenders will conduct a valuation of the property to ensure that it's worth what you are planning to pay for it. Although you will normally be charged for this it is for the lender’s benefit - you should conduct your own house survey to make sure you’re happy with the property's condition.

Go further: house surveys explained - find out which type of survey you'll need

Mortgage offer

If you pass a lender's affordability checks and they're happy with the valuation of the property you want to buy, they'll send you  a formal mortgage offer. This will be done in writing and will confirm exactly how much they will be lending to you, over what period of time and the interest rates they will charge you.

If a lender declines your application, they should explain why. But they may not go into detail about their reasons so you may not find out exactly why they declined you.

Using a mortgage adviser or broker can reduce the chances of your application being turned down as they will only recommend lenders they think will accept you. They will also be able to identify any issues early on such as a poor credit history which may affect your mortgage chances.

Go further: mortgage deals - check out some of the best deals on the market using the tables from Which? Mortgage Advisers

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Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Which? Limited (registered in England and Wales number 00677665) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited (registered in England and Wales number 07239342). Which? Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited. Registered office: 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF.