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How to get a mortgage: buy to let guide

How the process works if you're buying to let

Whether you're expanding your property portfolio or just starting out as a landlord, a buy-to-let investment can be a big commitment. Once you've decided to go ahead the mortgage process is relatively straightforward, though we'll ask you for some extra information to help us evaluate your application.

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Table of contents

1. Deciding to buy

If you're going to invest in a buy-to-let property your decision must make commercial sense.

You'll need to research demand for rental property and, as you'll be responsible for paying the mortgage, know how you'd manage if you couldn't find tenants or the rental market changed.

As a landlord, you will have to be prepared for the risks and responsibilities that are involved. These include one-off fees and ongoing costs, some of which you can offset against the tax payable on your potential rental income. You may be liable for a number of other taxes. (HSBC cannot provide tax advice; we recommend that you talk to a tax expert.)

There's more information on this in our buy-to-let factsheet.

2. Finding out how much you could borrow

Once you've decided to go ahead, your first step is to apply for a Decision in Principle. This shows how much you may be able to borrow from us. It's based on what you tell us, our security checks and a soft credit check; this won't appear on your credit file.

You can apply for a Decision in Principle online, over the phone or at a branch. You'll get a certificate to show estate agents that you're serious about your property search.

Buy-to-let mortgages work a little differently from standard residential ones. When we think about how affordable a buy-to-let mortgage is, we consider the expected monthly income you'll get from renting out the property, not your current salary. You'll need to have a deposit of at least 25% and we have a maximum lending limit.

If you've decided to buy or remortgage a buy-to-let property with HSBC, you'll also need to meet our eligibility criteria.

3. Looking for a property

When you're house hunting for a property to rent out, you need to think like a landlord. Look for a great location and take a property wish list to your viewings.

Once you've found your property and had an offer accepted, it's time for your mortgage application.

4. Applying for a mortgage

You can apply for your mortgage over the phone, at a branch or online.

We'll ask you to provide some supporting documents so that we can evaluate your mortgage application. We'll also want to know about the rental income you're expecting and potential running costs for the property, as well as details of any other buy-to-let properties you own.  Have all this ready as it will help the process go as smoothly as possible. 


Applying in a branch or over the phone

  • Arrange an appointment with one of our mortgage advisers. We are not able to provide any advice on buy to let mortgages but we can take you through your application
  • Before your mortgage appointment, provide us with your supporting documents


Applying online

  • You can complete your mortgage application online. Please note we are not able to provide any advice on buy to let mortgages
  • Use our Mortgage Document Uploader service to provide your supporting documents. We'll email you the link for this after you've completed your mortgage application

Once we've got all the information we need, we'll review your application and let you know the decision as soon as possible by phone, email or text.

5. Appointing a solicitor or licensed conveyancer

A solicitor or licensed conveyancer will look after all the legal aspects of your purchase. It's your responsibility to appoint one so try asking friends for recommendations or research local firms.

Once you've chosen your solicitor or licensed conveyancer, we'll check to see if they meet our criteria. If they do, then your chosen firm can act for you and HSBC.

6. Valuing your property

We'll value your property to check that it's suitable security for the amount you want to borrow.   

We won't charge you for this Standard Valuation report. You can arrange for a Homebuyer Report or a full Building Survey if you want to understand the condition of your property.

If a survey is being arranged through the tenant or letting agent, we recommend you tell them to expect a call from one of our third-party suppliers. This will avoid any unnecessary delays where the valuer can't get in touch with the tenant or letting agent.

If a survey can't be arranged, the surveyor will contact you directly and let you know what to do next.

7. Reviewing your mortgage offer

If we've approved your mortgage application, we'll send you the offer documents to review, usually by email. You don't need to contact us unless there's anything you don't understand or if something looks incorrect.

8. Finalising the legal work

Your solicitor or licensed conveyancer will carry out all the relevant enquiries and searches for your property. They'll also get your seller to complete a questionnaire about the property and ask you for your deposit.

9. Exchanging and completing

Once the legal work is done, you're ready to agree your completion date with your solicitor or licensed conveyancer and exchange contracts. The completion date is when we'll release the funds for your mortgage – and the property is yours.

How to apply

New Application

Applying for a mortgage involves two stages, firstly getting a Decision in Principle; secondly making a mortgage application. 

Already started an application?

If you started a mortgage application over the phone or online, you can log on to complete it or track its progress.

Think carefully before securing other debts against your home.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

† Lines open Monday – Saturday 08:00 – 20:00, Sunday 09:00 – 18:00. Calls may be monitored and recorded. Opening hours within the mortgage departments may vary.

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