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Updated: 11 Jul 2019

Athletes given the mortgage red card by TSB

High-street lender will no longer accept applications from professional sportspeople

Professional sportspeopleare facing a home defeat, with a major lender announcing it will no longer let them apply for mortgages.

TSB has become the first high street lender to stop offering mortgages to professional athletes.

While this won't be a problem for Usain Bolt or Neymar, it could cause a headache for sportspeople with lower earnings, especially if other lenders follow suit.

Here, you can find out about why TSB has decided to stop lending to this group of people and and learn how you can get a mortgage if you are self-employed and have an inconsistent income.

Athletes face extra hurdles whenbuying a home

Many athletes retire from their sport by their mid-thirties - orsignificantly earlier if they suffer a serious injury.

TSB stated that professional sportspeople are too much of a risk due to the insecurity of their incomes and their early retirement age.

While the bank's decision doesn't apply to coaches or personal trainers, it will affect all professional sportspeople, whether they are employed by a company or self-employed.

A TSB spokesperson told Which?: 'Providing residential mortgages to professional sport players forms a very small part of TSB's mortgage business and, based on our experience to date, these are not typically customers that TSB can support.'

Specialist mortgages for sportspeople

In 2015, Market Harborough Building Society announced a 'professional athlete mortgage'.

The deal required a deposit of 30% and allowing fee-free overpayments of up to 20% each year, to provide athletes with the opportunity to repay their loan faster when they were in their earnings peak.

Two years on, however, the deal is no longer available- and there are no other specialist mortgages for sportspeople on the market.

How to get a mortgage if you're a sportsperson

It's important to remember that TSB is the only high street lender to stop sportspeople applying for mortgages so far, and there are still options out there.

David Blake of Which? Mortgage Advisers says: 'Sports professionals potentially present a risk to lenders as it can be difficult to make a judgement on the sustainability of their income moving forward.'

'That said, with scientific advances, many professionals are able to compete over a longer period of time, and there are lots of lenders who are receptive to sports professionals applying for mortgages.'

'If you're on a fixed contract, it's important to seek insurance advice and ensure your income is protected in the event of injury or illness, as you might not have the same benefits as people on permanent employment contracts.'

Self-employed mortgages: top tips

If you're self-employed and are thinking of applying for a mortgage, you'll have plenty to think about - but these five tips can help you prepare.

  1. You'll be assessed differently depending on whether you're a sole trader, part of a partnership or are a director of a limited company. Our full guide onself-employed mortgagesexplains all.
  2. If you have an inconsistent income, you might needto save a bigger deposit to get a good mortgage deal.
  3. Give your finances a spring clean and boost your credit rating before taking the plunge.
  4. Employ an accountant to prepare and sign-off your accounts - some lenders won't consider an application without this.
  5. Before applying, take professional advice on finding the right mortgage from an impartial broker such as Which? Mortgage Advisers