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Is it Becoming Harder to Get a Mortgage?

James Adams

21 September 2020

James Adams

21 September 2020
man on desk searching hard to get a mortgage

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    Is it getting harder to get a mortgage?

    Honestly – yes. The pandemic has changed a lot about our world and in the same way, we are, lenders are also coming to terms with how things look now. Our work has become harder, but your chances of getting a mortgage approved are as good as they ever have been.


    How much can you borrow for your next dream home

    Why is it hard to get a mortgage?

    Great question. Ok – here are the top reasons we see for people to find it hard to get a mortgage:

    You have recent bad credit.

    Sometimes life doesn’t always go to plan. And that’s ok – we’ve all just survived a pandemic which we don’t think was Plan A. The good news is that there are lenders out there who will still lend you the money you need to buy a house. We may have to jump through some extra hoops, and in the initial years the rate you pay may be higher. But ultimately, there are lenders out there who want to help.

    Your deposit is too small.

    At the moment, you need at least a 5% deposit. That means you need to borrow 95% of the value of the property. If you can’t get at least this much saved, you may struggle. But, as always, we have some clever ideas to help there – such as using the government’s HELP TO BUY scheme. Friends and family can also help you by gifting you some money towards the purchase. And in some cases, you may even be able to take a small personal loan to make up the difference. Be sure to speak to an adviser before making any other financial commitments though.

    Pay Day Loans.

    Let’s be honest at the start. These are a big no-no when it comes to mortgages. Taking pay-day loans suggests to the lenders that you struggle to effectively budget each month, and that you haven’t been able to put aside a little cash for emergencies. Typically they will also be on your credit file for up to 6 years so the bad taste can linger. We do have some lenders who will work with you though, and as long as there’s a good explanation as to why you took the loans, our job is to find a sympathetic lender who will look to help you buy your house.

    Being self-employed.

    Yes – you’ll hear the scare stories from friends and Facebook telling you that if you’re self-employed you can’t get a mortgage. Well, don’t listen. We’ve helped hundreds of self-employed people get the perfect mortgage. It just takes the skill of a good adviser to make sure you’re well positioned to do this. We work with you, your accountant and the lenders to ensure a great outcome.

    Is it harder for certain groups of people to get a mortgage?

    All lenders in the UK (thankfully) treat everyone the same. There’s no set reason why any one group of people can’t get a mortgage. It all comes down to the individual, however typically the older you are, and the closer you are to retirement, the less time you’ll have left to repay the mortgage, meaning getting the amount you want to borrow could be a bit tougher. But – we have options for that too. Speak to us about “later life lending.”

    How can I increase my chances of being approved?

    We recommend speaking to a qualified adviser as early on in your house hunting process as possible. Understanding your own financial situation and how it will affect your mortgage application is really helpful. Also, knowing what you can and can’t borrow can really help avoid disappointment.

    There are some basic things you can do though, to make sure when the time is right, you’re in the best possible place to be approved

    1. Save as much as you can for a deposit.

      The bigger the deposit, the lower the risk to the lender, and the more likely you are to get approved and get a better deal.

    2. Make sure your current credit commitments are up to date.

      Being late or missing payments on a loan or credit commitment may not seem like such a big deal, but mortgage lenders focus less on credit score and more on how you’ve conducted yourself with other lenders. If you have a mortgage already, make sure to keep up on those repayments especially.

    3. Make sure you’re registered to vote where you live.

      Being on the electoral roll can improve your credit score and make you more visible to lenders during the underwriting process.

    4. Have the documentation you need to hand in and reply quickly.

      If the underwriter needs to see additional payslips or bank statements, getting that information back to them quickly really helps move your application along. Taking too long could suggest you’re trying to hide something. Your adviser will help you get together all the information you need before we submit an application.

    5. Finally, monitor your credit file.

      There are some great services you can sign up to that will keep you up to date on your current credit situation. Do all you can to keep your file in good order.

    How much can I expect to get on a mortgage?

    Typically a mortgage lender will lend around 4.5 to 4.75 times your annual income (either joint or single). In some cases, we can get this as high as 5.5 times depending on your income, credit score, and size of your deposit.

    How can I know if I will be approved?

    A good mortgage adviser will be able to help you understand your chances of being approved well before an application is submitted. Speak to any of our experts and they’ll have an honest, free conversation about your circumstances. The more information they know about you, the more accurate their assessment will be. Once we have all that information, your adviser will be able to recommend the most suitable lender, at which point they will also discuss your case with them before ever subjecting you to credit checks and the application process.

    My Simple Mortgage aims to never have a client declined a mortgage. The more we know upfront, the more success we have.


    Latest statistics on mortgage lending

    • The residential mortgage loan value outstanding was £1,561.8 billion by the end of the first quarter of 2021, this is 3.6 % higher than the previous year.
    • The value of mortgage lending in the first quarter of 2021 was £83.3 billion, This is 26.5% higher than the first quarter of 2020. This was found to be the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2007. (Gross)
    • The value of new mortgage commitments in 2021 was found to be 15% higher than the previous year, at £77.5 billion. 

    For the latest statistical data on mortgage lending follow this link:- https://www.fca.org.uk/data/mortgage-lending-statistics

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • Is it hard to get a mortgage with bad credit?

      It can We need to understand the situation behind your bad credit. Life can be hard and complicated but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a mortgage. It will likely just take a little longer and the rate you pay maybe a little higher.

    • Is it hard to get a mortgage with Santander?

      Santander is a great mainstream lender. As long as your situation meets their criteria, getting a mortgage with Santander is very straightforward. Your adviser will discuss your situation to see if Santander are a good fit for you.

    • Is it hard to get a mortgage with Nationwide?

      Nationwide is a mainstream lender. As long as your situation meets their approval criteria, getting a mortgage is straightforward. Speak with an adviser to discuss your situation to see if Nationwide is a good fit for you.

    • Is it hard to get a mortgage during a recession?

      A recession can affect everyone differently. Lenders and advisers are trained to understand how the financial landscape changes and will accommodate your needs accordingly. You should be just fine.

    • Is it hard to get a mortgage if I’m self-employed?

      No. You’ll need to be able to prove your income, but a good adviser will help you do this, along with some help from your accountant as well. More and more people are choosing to be self-employed, and lenders welcome all kinds of borrowers with unique incomes.

    • Is it hard to get a mortgage on your own?

      Lenders will calculate how much you can borrow based upon your income and expenditure either as a sole applicant or with another person. The process isn’t more difficult, however, it’s common that combining two incomes, you’ll be able to borrow more money.

    • Why would a mortgage be declined?

      There can be many reasons a mortgage may be declined. Common reasons we see are either credit issues or commitments in the background that a customer hasn’t made us aware of or a problem with the house itself. Your adviser will let you know early on in the process if a mortgage won’t be possible.

    • How long does a mortgage approval take?

      Normally getting a mortgage approved will take about 10 days. This depends largely on how quickly a surveyor can arrange to value the house. As long as you supply all the information your adviser asks for, then that will always be passed on to the lender within 24 hours to avoid any unnecessary delays.

    James Adams

    James Adams


    Founder & Co-Director, My Simple Mortgage. Has helped thousands of people purchase their first home. Dreaming up ways to change the norm and challenge the status quo.

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