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Getting a mortgage

Improving your mortgage chances

By Marie Kemplay

Article 2 of 12

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Improving your mortgage chances

If you're dreaming of becoming a home owner, getting approved for a mortgage is the first step towards making that dream a reality. Find out how to maximise your chances of making a successful mortgage application.

The mortgage application process can be difficult to navigate, even for those who are on their second or third purchase. A range of factors will influence the outcome, from the type the property you're looking to buy to the security of your employment. 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. 

Below are our top tips for maximising the chances of mortgage success. 

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.

Looking for advice on applying for a mortgage? You can have a free consultation with Which? Mortgage Advisers by calling 0808 252 7987.

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.

Go further: Your credit report explained – all you need to know about your credit file and how to improve it

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.

But be careful - if you're worried about privacy, make sure you are only added to the electoral register that is not publicly viewable. Otherwise, if you are on the 'open' register, your details will be available to the public. 

Increase the size of your deposit

Having a larger mortgage deposit will boost the odds of your application being successful – and often improve the interest rate you're offered. 

The minimum deposit you need to save up in the current market is 5% of the property's purchase price.  

If your family is in a position to help you increase the size of your deposit, there are a number of options available. Some mortgage products allow family members to act as guarantors or to secure their savings against your loan. Our guide to guarantor mortgages explains how your family can offer a helping hand. 

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 – this will bring down your credit score. Only apply for mortgages you really want and think you're likely to get. If you get turned down for a loan, leave some time before applying again.

Go further: Mortgage application – all the information you need to apply for a mortgage

Need mortgage advice?

The Which? Group offers an independent mortgage advice service, Which? Mortgage Advisers, that looks at a range of mortgages from lenders large and small. You can call for a free initial consultation on 0808 252 7987.

Correct as of date of publication.


  • Last updated: May 2017
  • Updated by: Marie Kemplay

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.