Buying your first home is exciting and nerve-wracking, but it’s also a huge financial commitment. On top of that, applying for a mortgage is quite a complex process. You have to pay attention to the fees, negotiate with the lender and study a lot of paperwork and fine print.

We all know that the number of requirements can be endless. This is why it is very important, before jumping into any paperwork, to find out if you are the ideal candidate to be granted a mortgage.

You must keep in mind that lenders want you to have the solvency to pay back the money they have lent you, plus interest. The more stability and security you offer them, the better!

If you don’t meet all the requirements, don’t worry! That doesn’t mean your mortgage won’t be approved, but the more you meet, the more chances you have of getting it. It all adds up!

#1 Save money

One of the things banks look for in potential homebuyers is their ability to pay, and the best proof of this is a good amount of cash available for a down payment and closing costs.

Smart buyers start saving a very small percentage of their income in an account as soon as they start working, and this can add up to a sizable down payment when it comes time to buy. This will allow you to get a lower, more affordable mortgage, lower interest rates and a simpler mortgage application process.

#2 Work it out

Sit down and calculate your budget before you apply for a mortgage. You will need to make sure that you can borrow enough to cover the purchase of the property and that you will have enough left over to cover all the associated costs and fees. Keep in mind that the average property cost in the UK is around £300,000, however property costs can differ depending on location and property size. Properties in the north east of England are averaged at around £155,000, whereas a property in London could cost upwards of £525,000.

A first-time buyer usually needs a deposit of between 5% and 25% of the house price. Cheaper mortgage rates are obtained with higher deposits. The higher the deposit, the lower the monthly interest payments. To qualify for the cheapest mortgage deals you will need a deposit of 25% or more.

The average monthly mortgage payment for first-time buyers is determined by:

  • The amount of the loan
  • The length of the loan term
  • The interest rate you are charged

Obviously, the more you borrow, the more you will have to pay, but your actual monthly payments will be lower if you have a longer mortgage term. However, bear in mind that having a mortgage for longer means paying interest on the debt for longer, so although the monthly repayments may be more manageable, the total amount you pay is likely to be higher.

You can use our mortgage cost calculator to make this process easier.

#3 Check your credit report before applying

You need to convince lenders that you have the financial discipline to repay the mortgage. One of the ways to investigate this is to look at your credit report(s) to find out if you have a good payment history. You can obtain a copy of your credit report, which is held by credit reference agencies such as Experian or Equifax. This will allow you to find out what lenders see when they review your application.

Your credit report lists details of all the accounts you’ve had open in the last six years, including

  • Credit cards
  • Loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Mortgages
  • Some utilities

If your credit rating is not so good, there are many simple things you can do to improve your score. For example, check that you are on the electoral roll and close any credit card accounts you no longer use. Taking out a loan can also lower your credit score, so make sure you avoid taking out any other loans before taking out a mortgage, as it less likely to be approved if you are taking out multiple loans.

#4 Job stability

We all need to make career changes, and sometimes even take the leap into full-time self-employment, but timing is everything. You know when the worst time to make a big job change is? Right before a mortgage application! Lenders are looking for financial stability and stable employment, two things that tell them if you’ll be able to repay the loan. Therefore, a new job or business is sure to make banks nervous.

However, if you are in stable employment and have been there for a while, you are much more likely to be approved for a loan. Ideally, you should aim to work in the same company for at least six months before you apply.

#5 Work on your debt

Just like your income levels, your debt levels are an important factor in deciding the risk of lending you money – owing less means you have a lot more room to take on a new responsibility.

Make a realistic plan to reduce spending and redirect that money to pay off those debts as quickly as possible and then calculate the time it will take until you pay them off. That end point will be a much better time to apply for a mortgage.

#6 Have your paperwork ready

Mortgage lenders will want to see proof of how much you earn, so you will probably need a P60 form given to you each year by your employer that shows a summary of your salary and how much tax has been deducted.

They are also likely to ask for three months’ bank statements and payslips so that the lender can see both income and expenses.

For self-employed individuals, the bank will ask for the SA302 form for the last three years from HMRC or your full accounts for the last three years. If you do not have these available, it is unlikely that your mortgage will be accepted.

In addition, the lender may ask you for some other documentation such as:

  • Proof of identity such as a driving license and passport
  • Recent utility bills
  • Proof of identity
  • Savings statements

#7 Use a mortgage broker

If you’re struggling to find the right mortgage deal, or you don’t know what you’re eligible for or how much you can borrow, it may be a good idea to enlist the help of a mortgage broker. They can research the market for you and help you through the application process, so you don’t have to go it alone.

Brokers also have access to loans that are not widely available elsewhere and will receive notifications of flash sales of mortgage deals available to people with low deposits. Why not give us a call on 0808 175 0 275 and speak to our in-house mortgage advice team, who can help you get the right deal.


By following these tips, the chances of getting your mortgage accepted by the bank are undoubtedly very high. However, it is important that you are realistic in your search for the home of your dreams and that you are aware of all the considerations before you commit to it. Remember that this will surely be one of the biggest investments of your life, so comparing and finding the best offer according to your financial interests is crucially important.