Mortgage after bankruptcy

Getting a mortgage after bankruptcy can prove to be difficult, with many lenders declining those with any mention of it on their credit file. Although you can’t get a mortgage whilst currently bankrupt, you can apply once your bankruptcy has been discharged.

How soon can I get a mortgage after bankruptcy?

Some lenders will consider your mortgage application immediately after you’re discharged. Others might require you to have been discharged for at least 12 months if not for several years. The main issue facing borrowers is their deposit amount. The longer since you were discharged, the likelier a lender will be to accept you for a higher Loan to Value (LTV) product.

If you’ve been discharged bankrupt for a year or less, a lender may need you to supply a deposit of at least 50%. After 2 or 3 years, provided you can evidence good money management this figure could drop to 25%. Only when you have been discharged for over 6 years that you may become eligible for 95% mortgages.

How to get a mortgage after bankruptcy

Whilst it can seem a daunting task, getting a mortgage after being made bankrupt is certainly possible, and there are a few things you can do to give yourself the best chance.

Know what deposit is realistic

The biggest factor in getting a mortgage after being discharged from bankruptcy is the deposit you can supply. If you know early on what is realistic, it informs you on the property values that are achievable. It could be that now isn’t the right time to buy a property. Understanding your deposit lets you plan for your short, medium and long-term future.

Improve your credit rating

Some lenders may consider you soon after being discharged from bankruptcy, but others will need to see a period of responsible money management. This could take months, but more likely years for lenders to consider you for a mortgage and that too could be dependent on your deposit amount.

There are things you can do to give yourself the best chance of being approved for a mortgage after bankruptcy:

Check your credit report

The first step to improving your credit rating is understanding it. Credit reference agencies such as Experian or Equifax, store information on your borrowing and subsequent repayment history. They give a credit score that shows how likely you are to make your repayments. Your credit report shows your credit history over the past 6 years. It shows mortgages, credit cards, loans, phone bills, as well as some utilities. Whilst you’re obviously aware of your bankruptcy, it could be it’s not displayed as discharged on your report. Alternatively, the dates may not match up correctly. You should check your credit report to ensure that all the information is correct and up to date.

Make sure you’re on the electoral roll

This makes it easier for lenders to confirm your identity, as they want to check that you live where you say you do. It only takes around 5 minutes to make your electoral roll application and you can do so here.

Close your unused accounts

You should close any credit accounts you no longer use. Not only is this good housekeeping, lenders may not only look at what you currently owe but also the credit limits available to you. It may be better to try and display fewer, better-managed credit accounts than a large number of active, if unused ones.

Don’t miss your payments

It may sound obvious, but keeping up your payments helps your credit score. You may think that having missed payments in the past the damage has been done. However, missed payments have less impact as time goes on, so provided you keep on top of your current ones it should help your score.

Don’t make too many credit applications at once

Making different applications in quick succession, even for different products, could harm your credit score. Numerous applications make it appear you’re overly reliant on credit. It could be you’re considering making a number of applications to find the best deal. In these instances, it’s best to make an application through a mortgage broker. A broker will look through your application before submitting to a lender on their panel. This means you’re placed with the lender who is most likely to approve you or give you the best option based on your circumstances.

Use a mortgage broker

High street lenders are unlikely to be able to offer you a mortgage if you have a history of bad credit. A mortgage broker has access to specialist lenders who can offer mortgages to those with a less than perfect credit rating. They can also help if you’re looking to apply for a mortgage with an IVA, CCJs or have any defaults.

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Why Clever Mortgages?

At Clever Mortgages we can offer you the support and advice required to ensure you get the right mortgage for your first home.  We provide access to a comprehensive range of mortgages from across the market. We are also authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and adhere to the Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) guidelines, so you can be confident that we will treat you with integrity and only recommend products that meet your needs.

Mortgage types

A fixed rate mortgage is where your interest rate stays the same for a set time period (usually between 2-10 years). As a result your repayments are exactly the same each month, regardless of what happens to other mortgage rates. These types of mortgages are popular with first time buyers and people looking to budget each month, especially those who have suffered from a poor credit history.

The main downside to a fixed rate mortgage is that if mortgage rates go down you can be paying a higher amount than you would on a variable rate mortgage. However, this can also go in your favour and if interest rates increase you can be paying less than you would on a variable rate.

Every lender will have their own standard variable rate (SVR), which is considered their basic mortgage. This interest rate goes up and down, usually in line with the Bank of England’s interest rates but the lender is free to raise this at any time.

This means that your monthly payments can go up or down depending on what the interest rate is at a given time. Some months you could be paying more whilst other months you could be paying much less.

A discount mortgage is when a reduction is applied to the lenders Standard Variable Rate (SVR) for a certain length of time (typically 2-3 years). Discount mortgages are attractive as they can allow you to pay slightly less than the bank's standard rate. However as the SVR can still fluctuate they are not ideal for people who are looking to stick to a strict long term budget.

A tracker mortgage is basically a type of variable rate mortgage.  What makes them different from other variable rate mortgages is that they follow – track – movements of another rate, the most common rate that is tracked is the Bank of England Base Rate.

A capped mortgage is the same as a variable rate mortgage; however the interest rate can never rise above a set “cap”. These mortgages can work well for people who can budget for different mortgage repayments each month but want the reassurance that their payments will never go above a certain amount.

Offset mortgages are linked to a savings account as well as your current account. Your savings will be 'offset' against the value of your mortgage, and you'll only pay interest on your mortgage balance minus your savings balance. These types of mortgages work well for higher earners or people who have a good amount in savings that they want to use towards paying their mortgage.

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