When you’re looking to buy your first home, getting a mortgage will be your top priority. You will want to do what you can to get the best chance of being approved. Here we look at the top ways you can increase your chances of getting a mortgage.
1. Check your credit score
Checking your credit report is the first thing you should do before applying for a mortgage. Lenders favour applicants with a good credit score, but there are still lenders who will consider your application if you’re suffering from a poor credit history or no credit history. Either way, it’s good to know what situation you’re in so you can work to improve your credit score if you need to. This means you can avoid any nasty shocks when applying for a mortgage as you will have a better idea of what you can expect. You will also be able to see if there are any errors on your credit file that need correcting before applying for your mortgage.
2. Work out your affordability
Before applying for a mortgage you should work out for yourself what you can afford to pay each month. Adding up how much you spend on monthly outgoings will allow you to see what you have left to use towards your mortgage. It will also allow you to see which areas you can cut back on or where you can make any lifestyle changes if you need to in order to be able to afford your mortgage payments.
Our online calculator can help you to work out how much you can borrow.
3. Save as much as you can!
No matter how good your credit score is, or how low your monthly outgoings are; if you don’t have a sizeable deposit then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get a mortgage at all. For more information about deposits take a look at our beginner’s guide to mortgages article.
You will also need to ensure that you have enough savings for other costs that will arise when buying a house. This includes any legal fees as well as stamp duty if the property is worth more than £125,000.
If you haven’t got one already, a savings account is essential when saving for a house. You should set up a direct debit from your current account to your savings account each month. If you think you might be tempted to access these savings before this point then you might want to consider a fixed rate bond.
4. Carefully manage your bank accounts
Nothing looks worse to a mortgage lender than a badly managed bank account. Manage your money responsibly to ensure your bank accounts are in the best shape before applying for your mortgage. Don’t go overdrawn and make sure you pay off any credit card payments on time.
If you have any outstanding debts from previous loans then it’s a good idea to try and pay these off before applying for a mortgage. Lenders will want to see that you have as few debts as possible when applying for a mortgage. This will help with your affordability and also help to improve your credit rating. If you do have any large loan repayments to make then you should consider repaying these before making your mortgage application.
5. Timing is everything
You should apply for your mortgage when your credit score and bank accounts are in good shape. If you’ve recently had more money coming out of your account than usual then it might be a good idea to wait a few more months so these transactions don’t show on your most recent payslips.
You should also try to avoid getting a mortgage if you’re between jobs. If you’re in your probationary period you are likely to be considered as higher risk by lenders. Some will only consider your application if you have been in your role for over a year. If you’ve started a new job in the last few months then it’s a good idea to wait until you’ve passed your probationary period until you apply for a mortgage. If you’re looking to change jobs then you should wait until your mortgage has been accepted before you apply for a mortgage.
You should also wait for the best time in your own life to get a mortgage. This is a huge financial commitment that you should make sure you’re ready for so make sure it’s right for you.