What is a Decision in Principle?

A Decision in Principle is confirmation from your mortgage lender of how much they’re willing to lend you for your mortgage.

Sometimes a Decision in Principle is also called:

  • an Agreement in Principle
  • a Mortgage in Principle
  • a Mortgage Promise
  • a Lending Certificate

A Decision in Principle makes it easier when you start to look for properties and buy a home. You’ll have an idea of what your budget is, and you can show it to estate agents and new home builders to prove you’re a serious buyer.

When changing to a different lender or borrowing more, you’ll still need to get a Decision in Principle.

A Decision in Principle is not a mortgage offer, so you’ll still have to make a full application to see if you can get a mortgage.

Is a Decision in Principle the same as a mortgage offer?

A Decision in Principle and a mortgage offer are different things.

A Decision in Principle is only an indication of how much a lender is prepared to lend you based on limited information about your finances.

A mortgage offer is an agreement from the lender to lend you the money for the property you want to buy. It's based on much more detailed affordability checks and a valuation of your chosen property.

You can only get a mortgage offer by completing the lender's mortgage application process.

Because of the more detailed checks, having a Decision in Principle does not guarantee your mortgage application will be successful.

What do you need to get a Decision in Principle?

When applying for a Decision in Principle you’ll need details of your:

  • address history in the UK going back three years
  • income, such as salary, bonuses, benefits, pensions or investments
  • credit cards, finance and loans
  • outgoings, including travel costs, childcare and school fees.

Does a Decision in Principle affect your credit score?

We’ll do a soft credit check when you apply for a Decision in Principle. Soft credit checks do not affect your credit rating. They do not appear to lenders on your credit report and will not affect your ability to apply for borrowing in the future. If you go on to apply for a full mortgage application, we’ll run a formal credit check which will leave a foot print on your credit report.

How long does a Decision in Principle last?

A Nationwide Decision in Principle is valid for 90 days, and you can use it to apply for a mortgage straight away.

When you receive your Decision in Principle, you will get a confirmation email from us, with a website link that goes to your own mortgage application hub. Please keep this email.

What happens if a Decision in Principle expires?

If a Decision in Principle expires and you’ve not yet applied for a mortgage, you can renew it.

Renewing or applying for another Decision in Principle won’t affect your credit score.

Ways to renew a Decision in Principle

Call us

Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.
Saturday 8:30am to 4pm.
Closed Sundays and bank holidays.


What happens after you get a Decision in Principle?

When you’ve found a property you like and had your offer accepted, or you’re ready to change mortgage provider, or borrow more, you’ll need to do a full mortgage application.

If your application is successful, we’ll make you an official mortgage offer. The official mortgage offer is based on the amount you’ve asked for in your mortgage application.

Get a Decision in Principle online

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