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Self-employed? 5 Top Tips for Getting a Mortgage!

Self-employed people have traditionally struggled when it comes to convincing lenders to grant them mortgage loans. It’s often part-and-parcel of the nature of self-employment that remuneration can be sporadic and unpredictable, causing lenders to be concerned about whether future repayments on a loan will be correctly made.

Additionally, lenders require detailed income checks and examine historical declared earnings for a self-employed applicant and this can add weeks to the mortgage application process. Regarding eventual buying success, this extra delay has often caused potential sellers to pull out. However, traditional mortgages are not the only way to finance the purchase of a home. In the field of real estate, options like seller carry-back mortgages can be an affordable alternative where the sellers finance their home and homebuyers can pay them back in installments instead of dealing with an outside lender (read more on or similar webpages). Still, for those who want to take the traditional route, there are ways to do so.

So how can you as a self-employed mortgage applicant give yourself the best chance of finding a mortgage lender and mortgage suited to your needs so you can get your conveyancing for your new home under way? Here’s 5 basic steps which should help this aim.

1 Get a year under your belt

It’s fairly certain that no lender is likely to consider granting you a mortgage if you’ve been trading for less than a year.

Once a year has elapsed, you might find some lenders willing to refer your application to their underwriters for risk assessment. Once you’ve stayed afloat for 3 years, all other things being equal, lenders will generally view your income as stable. You should also consider taking a look at the different options available to you. For example, if you are a veteran, you may be eligible for a loan with better rates.

2 Check your credit score

Once you’ve bought a home and have a record as a mortgagor, assuming you’ve successfully made your monthly repayments without defaulting, you can reasonably assume you’ll have a good credit score and have more chance of getting a mortgage again.

On the other hand, if you’re a first time buyer with a relatively small deposit, it may be that your credit score is too low to satisfy a lender.

Either way, it’s worth checking your credit score and report with the 3 main credit reference agencies, given that this is always of huge importance to prospective lenders.

3 Consider an offset mortgage

If you’re successful in getting a mortgage while self-employed, having a bank account with your mortgage lender is a way you can potentially reduce your monthly interest repayments.

Frequently, self-employed workers put cash aside every month towards paying off their yearly tax demand – this practice works very well if you have an offset mortgage and additionally is a hedge against an unpredictable income stream.

On the flip side, these kind of mortgages often carry a higher interest rate than many other products – you need to compare rates and consequent repayment amounts carefully.

4 Instruct a mortgage broker

Independent mortgage brokers (i.e. those who are not tied to a particular lender) have access to the whole of the market of mortgage products, of which there are more than 3,000.

They are much more likely to be able to find you a self-employed mortgage product which suits your own particular needs and additionally will have an informed opinion on whether you will be successful in your mortgage application. This is due to the fact that a Certified Mortgage Broker frequently has access to better or exclusive deals and may be able to assist you in preparing a strong mortgage application. They may also be able to locate a lender and mortgage product that could be most suitable for you. However, you probably should be aware that their services are not free, and you should be cognizant of the role of a mortgage broker before proceeding.

5 Gather together your previous years’ accounts

You can expect it to be harder work getting a mortgage if you are self-employed compared to if you are employed. You can best help yourself at the start by getting your previous 3 years of financial accounts (if you’re a company) or tax returns together. These records are always key information for your lender to scrutinise.

With increasing numbers of people in the UK now classed as self-employed, it follows that mortgage lenders are getting more used to applications from this sector. And even if more work is involved for these applicants, persistence and an organised approach can help them win the day.

Marcus Simpson


SAM Conveyancing