How to get your finances mortgage ready
Getting your finances in order before applying for a mortgage is the best thing to do. It shows us that you’re responsible with your money and can afford the regular mortgage payments.
What's on this page
Things you can do to improve your chances of getting a mortgage
- Your deposit amount could impact your chances of getting a mortgage. The bigger your deposit amount, the more likely mortgage providers can lend to you. This is because your loan amount will be lower, and there’s less risk of lending to you.
- Look at your credit rating and work towards improving it if you need to. Our tips on how to improve your credit rating can help.
How much do you need for a deposit as a first time buyer?
The size of your deposit affects how much of a mortgage loan you’ll need.
The bigger the deposit, the better access you’ll have to lower rates, and lower monthly payments.
Having enough for a large deposit can be difficult. We can offer 95% mortgages for first time buyers with a 5% deposit.
How much could you borrow?
How much we’ll be willing to lend you depends on how much we think you can afford to repay.
When you're looking for a mortgage, you'll need to consider:
- the type and value of the property you’re interested in buying.
- the amount of deposit you have.
- how much you think you can afford to repay each month.
- how much time you’d like to pay the mortgage back.
Our mortgage calculator
Use our mortgage calculator to get a rough idea of what you could borrow.
Check what the monthly mortgage payment might look like and factor this into your budget to get an idea.
What can you afford? Look at your income, bills and spend
To see if you can afford monthly mortgage payments, look at:
- Your income/what you get paid, compared to your outgoings, like bills and other debts to work out how much money you have left each month.
- If you’re paying rent each month, think about if your mortgage payment may be higher.
- Ask yourself if you could still afford mortgage payments if your income falls, or interest rates go up. It’s best to not stretch yourself too far and risk any financial difficulties.
The extra costs
When you’re calculating how much you can afford to borrow, you’ll need to think about other costs involved in buying a home. These include mortgage product fees, legal fees, stamp duty, property surveys and moving expenses, like home moving companies. These costs won’t be covered by a mortgage loan, and can affect how much you have left for a deposit.
What we’ll ask about your finances when you apply for a mortgage
You need to show us that you can make monthly mortgage payments. When you apply for a full mortgage application with us, we’ll ask you about:
Your regular income from work, self-employment or pensions and investments
Proof of any extra payments like bonuses, overtime and commission
Other income like state benefits, rental income, trust funds and maintenance payments
Your debts, and regular spending, including -
- Cards and overdrafts
- Credit agreements and loans
- Property commitments
- Family commitments, including maintenance
You’ll also be asked if your financial position today may change in the future. This could be things like:
- Your planned retirement age
- Supporting others in your household, like children or relatives you need to care for
- How you’d cope financially if you became seriously ill, had an accident, lost your income or separated from a partner
What’s a credit rating, credit score, credit report?
Your credit rating, and credit score tells lenders how likely they are to offer you a loan or mortgage based on your past financial behaviour.
Your rating is worked out by Credit Reference Agencies. They look at how well you have managed borrowing money, for example credit cards, store cards or personal loans over the last 6 years. All this information is gathered into a credit report, or credit file.
There’s no industry standard for credit scores, so each agency may hold slightly different information about you.
The higher your credit score, the better your chances of getting the mortgage you need.
Most credit rating agencies have five categories for credit scores: excellent, good, fair, poor and very poor.
How can you improve your credit rating?
The best way to improve your rating is to stay on top of your finances. Try to:
- always make credit payments on time
- stick to your credit limit, and don’t go over it
- use a credit card responsibly
- get on the Electoral Register
- settle any outstanding County Court Judgments (CCJs) or credit agreement payments that you have not paid
- do a ‘disassociation request’ with a credit reference agency if you’re no longer in a joint account or financial agreement.
Things that affect your credit rating
Try not to do any of the below to keep your credit score as high as you can:
- missing or making late payments
- making too many credit applications, for example loans or credit cards, in a short space of time
- keep applying for credit if you're already in bad credit
- having joint accounts with someone with a bad credit record
- frequently withdrawing cash from your credit card
- moving house too often
- keeping unused credit cards. It's a fraud risk. Cancel them and throw away.
If you are struggling with your finances and need support, visit our cost of living help hub.
How to check your credit rating and see your report
You can check your rating and score yourself by going to a credit reference agency. You’ll need to register with them to access your report and see your credit history. They’ll ask for your personal details. It takes a few minutes, but it’s worth doing.
There are lots of agencies online, the 3 main ones in the UK are:
Will a credit agency charge for a credit report?
Most offer a free 30-day trial, after that you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription. So, make sure you remember to cancel before the 30-day trial ends.
Things you can check with a credit reference agency
Make sure that your personal details are correct, for example, address history or date of birth. Even small errors can affect your rating. You can ask them to correct it.
Make sure you’re not still part of any joint accounts or financial commitments from past relationships, like a partner or flatmate. For example, utility bills or store cards. If you’ve not got anything outstanding, you can ask the agency for a ‘disassociation request’.
- Decision in Principle
- Mortgage calculator
- 95% mortgages
- First time buyer guide
- Helping Hand mortgage
- Affordable housing schemes
- Mortgage applications proofs guide
Mortgages are subject to underwriting and criteria. Minimum age 18, UK residents only.