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How to make a successful mortgage application

How long will getting a mortgage take and how can I prepare myself? Whether you're applying for your first mortgage or remortgaging, here's what you need to know...

New build home mortgage application

Expect to be asked detailed budget questions

Since the Mortgage Market Review lenders need to do thorough checks to ensure that a mortgage will be affordable, not only now but in the future when rates may be higher.

That means that borrowers should expect questions about not only their income but also their outgoings when applying for a mortgage. That goes beyond other credit commitments like personal loans and credit card balances into a more detailed budget planner.

Top tip It pays to sit down and break down your monthly spending patterns so you have a clear picture of where your money goes.

 The main lenders will ask about central items of committed expenditure. That will mean breaking down spending on items like utilities, food, council tax, travel costs and insurances. Other points that can have a significant bearing on how much you can borrow are the number of dependants, childcare costs and, in some cases, pension contributions.

Rather than getting into minutiae, a lot of lenders will use statistical data to cut down on the level of detail they need. They will make assumptions about what expenditure they expect a borrower with your profile to have.

Lenders will also be checking your credit rating. See our tips for improving your credit score

What documents do I need for my mortgage application

Other lenders will go through bank statements in more detail and may ask for explanations of any, especially large or regular outgoings. In addition to requesting bank statements, lenders will also want to see evidence of income to back up the application.

There is a range of information the lender will have to check, so make sure you have the following to hand:

  • 3 months of pay slips, bank statements, last P60 and/or self-assessment returns (if self-employed) to verify your earnings
  • Details of your outgoings, including childcare costs, so the broker can assess your financial commitments
  • Proof of ID and current address. Being on the electoral role helps
  • Proof of deposit (a gift from parents needs to be backed up with their bank statement and letter confirming it is a gift)
  • Details of your solicitor who’ll carry out the transaction
  • Details of the estate agent you are buying through

How long will my mortgage application take?

Borrowers should expect it to take 4 weeks to get their mortgage offer but it can take longer depending on general market factors. Note that mortgage approvals have been taking longer because of the impact of Coronavirus. See our guide on how long does it take to get a mortgage

It’s important to remember that lenders still take different approaches to how they view individual borrowers. So, get the detail correct, and your adviser will be able to tailor the recommendation to the right lender for your needs.

Get mortgage advice

Homeowners in the know understand the value of shopping around and taking advantage of professional expertise. That’s why we recommend using a mortgage broker.

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