How to apply for a mortgage

What are the stages of applying for a mortgage?

There are many stages of applying for a mortgage. If you’re thinking about getting on the property ladder, or you’re already on it, either way, the mortgage process can be overwhelming. We’ve created this step-by-step guide to help you apply for your mortgage.

Knowing how much you can borrow 

The first stage is to know how much you will be able to spend on monthly repayments on your mortgage and how big your deposit is. Both of these things will dictate the size of mortgage and therefore the price of property you will be able to buy. By the time you’re at the mortgage application process stage, you should already have an idea of how much you have saved or how much equity you have in your current house. Plus you should know 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 an expert as soon as you can. Talk to a mortgage adviser to get an idea of affordability and a local estate agent for an idea of the deposit on the price range of properties you're looking at. 

Support your application

Applying for a mortgage in principle (MIP) is the first step on your mortgage application process. An MIP will also help you appear more committed to a vendor and the estate agent. 

Once you know how much you can borrow, you should be ready to prove that you can commit to a monthly repayment amount. Be prepared to provide significant evidence of your income, your ID and any current credit commitments. Your chosen lender may want you to be able to demonstrate a solid financial background.

Choose the right mortgage for you 

Your mortgage adviser will give you a detailed run-through of the most suitable options for your budget and circumstance. 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.

Each lender has different requirement but in general your mortgage application 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. Add details of all unsecured and secured lending such as car finance, personal loans, credit and store cards, hire purchase agreements and any existing mortgages and secured loans. 

With your mortgage in principle, you’ll be ready to start viewings and making serious offers with vendors. There’s no set amount of time that an official mortgage application can take, so be prepared to wait a number of weeks. Your application could be delayed by a number of external factors as many lenders have seen delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic so make sure you have provided everything you need to in order to prevent any additional delays.
A loan could potentially affect your mortgage application but this would be taken into account when you apply for a mortgage in principle. It is a good idea to avoid any new credit agreements between getting your mortgage in principle and applying for your mortgage. 

There are two scenarios that could negatively impact your chances of getting a mortgage – no credit at all 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 that you are a reliable borrower. Contrary to popular belief, having credit is not bad – it demonstrates that you can commit to regular payments.

Be honest with your mortgage adviser. They're 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.

After your mortgage application is submitted you will wait to hear whether it has been approved or not whilst going through the conveyancing and the legal process of buying the property. You will need to instruct a solicitor around the same time as submitting your application. Sometimes estate agents can help you with the process and advise when to do each part of the process.
Your mortgage adviser will let you know whether you have been approved or rejected for your mortgage and can also let you know why if it is the latter. If you are rejected the adviser may be able to look at other products for you. If they work solely for one lender this may be difficult as it is usually the lender that does not want to lend to you, not a specific product feature issue. Using a broker such as Mortgage Advice Bureau could help you secure a mortgage as they can search over 90 lenders to find the right one for you from many options. 

Your mortgage broker or adviser will inform you that you have been approved and the house buying process will progress. You will then move on with the other parts of buying a house such as conveyancing and surveys on the property whilst still being in contact with your mortgage adviser throughout the whole process.

Mortgage Advice Bureau will search thousands of mortgages so you don't have to. Answer some mortgage related questions and an adviser will give you a call to discuss your options. Or pop into your nearest building society branch.

advice-button find-nearest-branch

Last updated on:

Mortgage calculator

Our handy calculator helps you quickly work out how much your monthly mortgage payments could be.

Is your mortgage deal coming to an end?

Talk to Mortgage Advice Bureau and their expert advisers will compare thousands of mortgages from over 90 different lenders to find the right deal for you. They won’t just look at the headline rates, they’ll weigh up your financial circumstances and look at all the mortgage features and hidden costs to find the ideal mortgage for your needs..

Sign up to our newsletter

We regularly send out newsletters with product information, advice on improving your finances and top tips. If you would like to receive this please sign up to our newsletter, which you can unsubscribe from at any point.

Join us on Facebook

Get updated on our latest competitions and share your news with us.

Switch mortgage deals

If you're thinking about switching mortgage deals you could benefit from talking to a mortgage adviser. Mortgage Advice Bureau make switching mortgage deals as stress free as possible.

How long does remortgaging take?

When you remortgage with Mortgage Advice Bureau, their advisers strive to make it a quick, simple and straightforward process. Find out here how long it can take.

More essential guides

Our handy guides provide information for all types of situations - from explaining what remortgaging is, to getting a mortgage when you're over 50, to finding out how much deposit you actually need, plus much more.