Video: how to get accepted for a mortgage
The mortgage application process can be difficult to navigate, even for those who are buying a home for the second or third time. A range of factors will influence the outcome, from the type of property you're buying to your employment situation. To confuse things further, each lender also has different criteria for assessing mortgage applications.
In this two-minute video, the experts at Which? Mortgage Advisers explain the steps you can take to boost your chances of having a mortgage application accepted.
Five steps you can take to improve your mortgage chances
Our video below gives you an overview of the five things you can do to improve your chances of getting the mortgage you want. We explain each point in more detail further down the page.
1. Have a regular income and stable job
Mortgage lenders are more likely to approve your application if you're in stable, long-term employment. You will typically need to have been employed for a minimum of 3-6 months in your current job before applying.
If you're looking to move jobs, it might be better to wait until after you've secured a mortgage. Similarly, if you've just started a new role, you may wish to first establish a track record at your new employer.
If you're self-employed, lenders will expect to see detailed evidence of your income - see self-employed mortgages for more on this.
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2. Maximise your credit history
The better your credit history, the more favourably a lender will view your application.
There are three main credit agencies: Experian, Equifax and Callcredit. You can get your statutory credit report from all three for £2 each. Alternatively, websites such as Noddle and Clearscore offer this information for free.
Check the information in your credit report carefully. Occasionally, the records include mistakes - incorrect information could pull down your score and damage your ability to get credit. If there are any mistakes, contact the credit agency to have them corrected.
If your credit history is not very strong, it may take some time to build it up. Any past incidents where you missed bill payments or had problems with debt could be a significant black mark on your record.
To ensure you never miss a payment, you could consider setting up direct debits for regular bills. Also look at your overall credit use - it's often better to close down credit cards or accounts you no longer need.
If you have never taken out credit, you may not have a credit history at all. Many lenders may be reluctant to offer you a mortgage in this case and you may need to spend time building up a positive record.
One option is to take out a credit card and spend small amounts on it, repaying it in full every month.
Find out more: credit reports explained – all you need to know about your credit file and how to improve it
3. Get on the electoral register
This may seem odd, but lenders will always look up your electoral enrolment. This record is one of the main ways that lenders will check your identity and address, and is a vital step in improving your application.
You can ask to be added to the electoral register at any time by contacting your local council.
If you're concerned about privacy, make sure you're only added to the electoral register that is not publicly viewable. If you are on the 'open' register, your details will be available to the public.
4. Increase the size of your deposit
Having a larger mortgage deposit will boost the odds of your application being successful – and often open the door to better mortgage deals with lower interest rates.
The minimum deposit you need to save up in the current market is usually 5% of the property's purchase price.
However, if your family is in a position to be act as guarantors, there are a few products coming onto the market that will let you take out a 100% mortgage.
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Which? Mortgage Advisers can explain how they work and help you apply.
Find out more: guarantor mortgages
5. Prepare well before applying for a mortgage
Make sure you have all of the relevant paperwork to hand before you submit your application to the lender.
It may also sound simple, but take care when filling in the application forms - small mistakes can cause big delays. In some cases, the whole application may have to be re-submitted and checked again.
Don't apply for multiple mortgages at the same time, as this will bring down your credit score. Only apply for mortgages you really want and think you're likely to get - a mortgage adviser will be able to help you with this. If you get turned down for a loan, leave some time before applying again.
Find out more: applying for a mortgage
Want some advice?
If you'd like personalised advice on what you need to do to boost your mortgage chances, and expert insight into the lenders most likely to accept your application, call Which? Mortgage Advisers for a free chat on 0800 197 8461 - or fill out the form below and they'll call you.
Correct as of date of publication.