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Ways to help you get a mortgage

Getting onto the housing ladder has plenty of challenges, not least getting approved for a mortgage.

But there are things you can do to bring you closer to owning your own home.  

Here are 6 steps that could help boost your prospects of getting a mortgage.

1. Save up for a larger deposit

Some lenders offer 95% mortgages, which means you only have to pay a 5% deposit. For example, if the property price is £200,000, you need a £10,000 deposit to borrow £190,000. If you’re able to save up for a larger deposit, it could improve your prospects of getting a mortgage. 

A bigger deposit could mean:

  • A lower loan-to-value (LTV) ratio – the amount you borrow as a proportion of the overall purchase price – as you’ll need to borrow less
  • Access to lower interest rates and, therefore, lower monthly repayments

You also need to set aside some money to cover the costs of buying a property, such as conveyancing fees and Stamp Duty (if payable). 

Explore: How to save for a housing deposit

2. Check if you can apply for government support

You may be able to get financial support from the government to help you buy a home with an affordable home ownership scheme. 

A shared ownership scheme, for example, could enable you to buy a proportion of your home, usually through a housing association. You then pay rent on the rest.

Explore: What are the government’s home ownership schemes?

3. Check and improve your credit score

Lenders look at your credit score to help decide whether to accept your mortgage application. It can show them how you manage debt and credit commitments. A good credit score can improve your prospects of getting a mortgage. 

Before applying, it’s recommended that you check your credit report to correct any mistakes. 

There are also ways to improve your credit score. For example, you can join the electoral register – known as the electoral roll. This lists everyone who is registered to vote in the UK. Banks and building societies use this information to check that you are who you say you are. If your details are incorrect or you fail to register, this can affect your ability to get lending.   

4. Pay your bills on time

It’s important to get on top of your finances before you apply for a mortgage. If you’re struggling financially or potentially over-extending yourself, your application may not be approved. 

Missed and late payments can negatively affect your credit score. You can also face late payment fees. Set up a Direct Debit on all your accounts to make sure every bill is paid on time and help you manage your money. These can include:

  • Credit card and loan repayments
  • Utility bills
  • Mobile phone bills
  • Gym memberships

Explore: How to manage bills 

5. Reduce existing debts

Lenders want to be confident you can afford the repayments on your mortgage. If you have existing debt that also needs to be paid, they’ll take this into account when reviewing your application.

Before you borrow more money, try to reduce your existing debt as much as possible. Creating a budget can help you understand where you could cut back to free up money each month. 

You can then make a plan to pay off debt. For example, you could start by:

  • Paying off the most expensive debt first to reduce the amount of interest you pay, or
  • Paying off the smallest debt first to reduce the number of debts you have

Remember, you still have to meet the minimum repayments on all debts. 

Explore: How to get out of debt

6. Prepare for your mortgage application

Being accurate and organised can help speed up the mortgage application process, increase your chances of getting accepted, and avoid any surprises. 

Before you apply for a mortgage, you may want to: 

  • Check that your details are correct and up-to-date, especially on your credit report
  • Remove yourself from joint accounts that you share with flatmates or an ex-partner, for example, as their credit history can impact yours
  • Collect what documents you may need depending on your situation
  • Make sure the information on your application matches the documents you provide

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

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