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Getting a mortgage when self-employed

Working for yourself shouldn’t be an obstacle to buying a home, and many people get a mortgage when self-employed.

Here, we answer some common questions about the process.

What do lenders count as self-employed?

If you own more than 20% to 25% of a business, from which you earn your main income, generally lenders will view you as being self-employed.

You might be a:

  • Sole trader
  • Partner
  • Company director
  • Contractor who has set up a limited company

To apply for a mortgage, most lenders ask for at least 2 years’ worth of accounts. This provides evidence of your income to show you can afford the repayments.

If you’ve recently become self-employed, you may need time to gather this information before you apply.

Can you get a joint mortgage when one of you is self-employed?

Yes, you can still apply for a joint mortgage through the standard mortgage application process.

What matters is whether you can jointly afford the mortgage repayments for the length of the mortgage term. As with all joint loans, both parties are responsible for the repayments.

Employed applicants typically need to provide 1 months’ worth of payslips and bank statements as proof of income. However, if one of you is self-employed, you’ll be asked to provide additional documents as evidence.

What documents do the self-employed need for a mortgage?

If you’re self-employed, your lender will ask you to provide documents to support your application. These can vary depending on your circumstances and how you trade.

For HSBC mortgages, you can find what self-employed documents you'll need here.

For a sole trader or partnership, these typically include:

  • Your last 2 years’ worth of tax year overviews dated within the last 18 months
  • Your last 2 years’ worth of tax calculations (from HMRC) or SA302 forms dated within the last 18 months

For a limited company, these typically include:

  • Your last 2 years finalised financial accounts dated within the last 18 months

As well as providing evidence of your income, additional mortgage application documents include proof of name and address and evidence of a home deposit. These apply to all applicants.

How to increase your chances of getting the mortgage you want

There are several things you can do to help you get a mortgage, such as:

Remember to only apply for a mortgage you can afford, even if your circumstances were to change. 

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