Buying your first home is one of the best investments you can make, and it’s also a hugely exciting first step. If you’re thinking about getting on the property ladder, the whole mortgage process can be overwhelming. We’ve created this step-by-step guide to help you settle into your first home with ease.
How to get a mortgage
- Know your spending limits
By the time you’re at the mortgage application process stage, you should already have an idea of how much you have saved, and the general prices of houses in your area and what sort of budget you're thinking of spending. If you don't already know how much you need, speak to the experts as soon as you can. Talk to a mortgage adviser to get an idea of affordability and your local estate agent for an idea of the deposit on the price-range of properties you're looking at.
Bear in mind that the initial cost of getting on the property ladder will be more than just the deposit itself – there will also be fees such as surveys and stamp duty to cover. Check out our hidden costs of moving house for more things that could come up.
- Get a mortgage in principle
This is a crucial step that should be taken before you’ve started viewing houses. The last thing you want is to find your dream home, only to be refused by a mortgage lender. This is totally free of charge and will allow advisers to carry out basic affordability checks.
Set up a meeting with a mortgage adviser, who will give you an idea of what you can borrow based on your gross household income. This meeting will also cover any of your current financial commitments and how they affect your borrowing, plus the range of mortgages for which you can apply.
- Support your application
Once you know how much you can borrow, you should be ready to prove that you can commit to a monthly repayment. In 2014, the Mortgage Market Review was introduced to ensure that lenders did not pay out more than the applicants could afford. This meant that mortgage application credit checks became more stringent, checking the applicant’s expenses as well as income.
Be prepared to provide significant evidence of your income, address and any current credit commitments. A mortgage in principle is a strong start and will look very appealing to a vendor and the estate agent, but your chosen lender will want you to be able to demonstrate a solid financial background.
- Improve your credit history
You may have all your financial history ready to present, but it’s worth tidying this up if there’s anything that could affect your application. There are two scenarios that could negatively impact your chances – no credit, or bad credit. If you’ve never had a mortgage, and have no record of a loan or credit card, you may have a harder time convincing lenders. Contrary to popular belief, having credit is not bad – it demonstrates that you can commit to regular payments. Thankfully, this is easier to fix than bad credit. You may need additional time to pay off old debts, or bring overdrawn accounts back to zero.
- Choose the right mortgage for you
Your mortgage adviser will give you a detailed run-through of the most suitable options for your budgets. They’ll consider the most suitable mortgage product; from fixed rates to variable rates, and the various repayment types on offer. Choosing the right term for you can also make your payments more manageable and help you avoid years of unnecessary interest payments.
- Make the offer – but be patient
With your mortgage in principle, you’ll be ready to start viewings and making serious offers with sellers. There’s no set amount of time that a mortgage application can take, so be prepared to wait. Your application could be delayed by a number of factors. You may have to raise extra funds for a larger deposit. The recommended deposit can be as low as 5% but 15% can open doors to other mortgages available – a Help to Buy: ISA or Lifetime ISA can help you with this as they both give 25% Government bonuses. Check out our Help to Buy: ISA and Lifetime ISA comparison page to see which account could be right for you. Equally, you may need to spend time building up your credit history. Be patient and listen to your mortgage adviser. In the end, it will all be worth it.
How to make the mortgage application process simpler
To help you secure the right mortgage possible, we recommend the following top tips:
- Do your research
Look at the current houses available and ask your mortgage adviser about legal fees such as surveys. This will give you a better idea of how much capital you need to raise.
- Create a file to support your application
This will be a comprehensive overview of your income and outgoings. Your file should include the last three months’ payslips and proof of any bonuses, plus three months’ bank statements. It should include details of tax credits if you receive these, or if you’re self-employed, you should bring your two most recent sets of accounts and your SA302 statements. Finally, add credit card statements or any other direct debits you may have.
- Clean up your credit
If you need to build your credit, a simple credit card application can make you more appealing to lenders. Give yourself a few months to build this up, and check your credit score regularly on a site such as Experian. You must pay the minimum repayments each month to build up your score. Equally, clean up debts where you can – even a disused overdrawn bank account can affect your application.
- Boost your deposit
If you’re selling your current home, the equity in this property could go towards your deposit. The larger the deposit, the more mortgage deals available, so don’t be afraid to ask for help, such as a gift from your parents. Nottingham Mortgage Services advisers could potentially source deals for as little as a 5% deposit, and also search through 60 lenders, some of whom allow family members to act as guarantors.
- Be honest with your adviser
Your mortgage adviser is not here to judge, so if there’s an outstanding debt, he or she needs to know. It is in your adviser’s best interests to get you the deal that's most suited to your situation, and they can look for a lender to suit your situation. Be patient and be prepared to take the extra steps to impress your mortgage lender.
Why should you use a mortgage adviser?
Your mortgage adviser’s job is to listen to your needs and find the most suitable lenders for your situation. As there is no charge for a mortgage in principle, there is no motivation to hurry things along. Your adviser will simply give you an honest opinion on the right option for you, and will advise if you need extra time.
Nottingham Mortgage Services advisers don’t just offer mortgages from The Nottingham. They also conduct searches into 60 lenders and provide comprehensive advice on all of the available options.
To speak to an adviser without obligation, contact the Nottingham Mortgage Services team today.
Remember, your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
Whole of market mortgage advice is provided by Nottingham Mortgage Services Ltd (NMS); an appointed representative of Quilter Mortgage Planning Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority; registered No. 440718. NMS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nottingham Building Society and registered in England and Wales, No. 03089887; Nottingham House, 3 Fulforth Street, Nottingham NG1 3DL.
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