Cookies at Which? We use cookies to help improve our sites. If you continue, we'll assume that you're happy to accept our cookies. Find out more about cookies

Getting a mortgage

Applying for a mortgage

By Marie Kemplay

Article 5 of 9

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Applying for a mortgage

Want to know how to get a mortgage? Find out the steps you need to take before applying and how to work out how much you can afford.


Please enable JavaScript to access this content.

Video transcript

Mortgagees can seem confusing, but they don't have to be. Here we talk you though the steps you'll need to take to get one. First work out how much money you have for a deposit, you'll need to think about all the other expenses involved in buying a house, such as stamp duty, legal fees and moving costs.

Once you've considered these the amount you have left could be a lot smaller, bare in even if you have a lower deposit, you'll probably have to pay a high interest rate. Next think about how much a mortgage lender would be willing to lend you, this is normally between three and five times your annual income.

Add on your deposits and that will give you a rough idea of how much you can afford. Most importantly think about how much you can afford to pay back each month, by working our budget of incomings and outgoing costs. Not only will this help your plan but your lender will expect to see these details to prove that you can afford to pay back what you want to borrow, before you apply for your chosen mortgage is worth checking your credit history with credit reference agencies such as Call Credit, Equifax and Experian then correcting any errors or working to improve any bad credit history such as missed payments on your credit card, finally when it's time to apply get all the documents ready that you need to prove you're mortgage worthy, such as payslips and bank statements as the lender will want to see these.

Everyone is different so speak to a Which? mortgage adviser to hear expert, impartial and independent advice to fit your circumstances, they can even manage your mortgage application for you too.

This step-by-step guide, compiled by Which? Mortgage Advisers, explains what you'll need to do to increase the likelihood of having your mortgage application accepted. 

For personal, expert advice based on your individual financial situation, call Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0808 252 7987.

How to apply for a mortgage: step-by-step guide

1Know your budget

First, you need to understand what you can afford. Look at your overall savings and calculate how much you will need to finance your move. Factor in everything from the deposit to stamp duty.

You can have a free initial consultation with Which? Mortgage Advisers by calling 0808 252 7987. They will ask you questions about your circumstances to help give you an idea of how much you might be able to borrow.

Find out more: How to plan an effective budget - figure out how much money you will have free to spend on repayments each month

2Evaluate your income

A mortgage lender will usually only lend you between three and five times your annual income. If you're buying a property with a partner or friend, work out the total income of everyone who will be named on the mortgage. It's rarely worth applying to borrow any more than five times this amount. 

Find out more: How to save for a mortgage deposit – our guide to building up healthy savings 

3Check your credit history

A good credit history is crucial to being accepted for a mortgage. If you have a poor credit history, or no history of using credit at all, it's worth spending a few months showing that you're a responsible borrower before applying for a mortgage.

Find out more: How to improve your credit rating – how to make yourself look more appealing to lenders

4Get an idea of the type of property you want 

The type of property you want to buy will affect the type of mortgage you can get, so form a rough idea of the kind of property you want to buy. Lenders are less willing to agree to mortgages on leasehold flats with short leases, for example.

A mortgage adviser will be able to steer you towards the best type of mortgage for your specific circumstances. 

Find out more: learn about new-build homes and the differences between leasehold and freehold

5Get your documents together

Where relevant, make sure you have paperwork to prove everything you say in your mortgage application.  

A mortgage lender will want to see proof of identity, details of your employment and up to six months' worth of bank statements. 

Checklist: mortgage application

Our easy-to-use, printable checklist will guide you through the paperwork you'll need to get together.

  • Last updated: September 2016
  • Updated by: Marie Kemplay

You may also be interested in

You may also be interested in

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.