With over 45% of First Time Buyers having their first mortgage application rejected, how can you boost your chances of approval?
The mortgage application process can be difficult to navigate, even for those who aren't buying a home for the first time.
A range of factors will influence the chance of mortgage approval, from the type of property you're buying to your employment situation. To confuse things further, each lender also has different criteria for assessing mortgage applications.
But don't fret. I'll explain the important steps you can take to boost your chances of having your next mortgage application accepted.
Have a permanent full-time job and stable income
Mortgage lenders are more likely to approve your application if you're in stable, long-term employment. According to Which, you will typically need to have been employed for a minimum of three months in your current job before applying.
If you're looking to move jobs, it might be better to wait until after you've secured a mortgage. Similarly, if you've just started a new role, you may be best off waiting a while.
Get on the Electoral Register
Lenders will always check whether you're registered to vote at your current address.
Why? It's one of the main ways that they check your identity and where you live, and is a vital step in improving your application.
You can ask to be added to the electoral register at any time by contacting your local council.
Look after your credit history
Having a good credit file is so important when it comes to boosting your chance of mortgage approval. The better your credit history, the better a lender will view your application.
There are three main credit agencies: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. You can get your statutory credit report for free from any of them, or you can try CheckMyFile which is free for the first 30 days, and pulls in your credit data from all the main agencies.
Check your credit report carefully. Occasionally, the records include mistakes that could negatively affect your score and damage your ability to get credit, including a mortgage. If there are any errors, contact the credit agency to get them corrected.
If your credit history is not very strong, it may take some time to build it up. Going for a mortgage with a very poor credit history will only affect it further. Any past incidents where you missed bill payments or had problems with debt could be a significant black mark on your record. To ensure you never miss a payment, consider setting up direct debits for regular bills.
Also, you could look at your overall credit use - it's often better to close down credit cards or accounts you no longer need.
Equally, if you have never taken out credit, you may not have a credit history at all. Lenders may be reluctant to offer you a mortgage in this case and you may need to spend time building up a positive record. One option could be to take out a credit card and spend small amounts on it, repaying it in full every month.
Increase the size of your deposit
Having a larger mortgage deposit could boost the odds of your application being successful – and often open the door to better mortgage deals with lower interest rates.
The minimum deposit you need to save up in the current market is usually 5% of the property's purchase price, but expect a higher interest rate on these mortgages.
However, if your family is in a position to act as guarantors, you could potentially qualify for a 100% mortgage. You can find out more about this in our blog: What is a Mortgage Guarantor?
Make sure you have all of the relevant paperwork to hand
Having all your paperwork to hand before you speak to a mortgage broker or before you submit your application to the lender will help smooth out your process. Our blog 10 Document you need to get a mortgage explains what you should gather up.
It may sound simple, but take care when filling in the application forms - small mistakes can cause big delays. In some cases, the whole application may have to be re-submitted and checked again.
Don't apply for multiple mortgages at the same time, as this will bring down your credit score. Only apply for the mortgage you really want and think you're likely to get - a mortgage broker will be able to help you with this.