Mortgage approval


About Martin Alexander

Martin has been a mortgage advisor for over 15 years. Check to see if you qualify by filling out our quick form or give us a call on 0800 195 0490. mortgage reviews

Getting a mortgage approved is perhaps the first major step in purchasing a property. Without mortgage approval, buying a property is impossible, unless you’re buying outright with cash of course.

Waiting on a decision from a lender or broker can leave many of us worried. It can be even more stressful when you’ve found the perfect home and really don’t want to miss out. We’ve prepared this guide to ease any tensions and clear up any confusion surrounding mortgage approval.

Getting a mortgage approved will entail the following:

  • Finding a suitable lender (via a broker or direct)
  • Providing your personal documents (ID, proof of income, bank statements, etc)
  • Applying for a mortgage in principle
  • Having an offer accepted on a property
  • Mortgage survey of the property
  • Formal mortgage offer

Whether you’re looking for guidance or simply want to know how the mortgage process works, we’ve got it covered. Our specialists are also ready to answer any of your mortgage questions.

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How to get a mortgage approved

There are typically 4 steps you’ll need to take before a mortgage can formally be approved, which are:

  1. Getting a mortgage in principle
  2. Applying for a mortgage once a deal has been agreed
  3. Lender carrying out a mortgage survey of the property
  4. Mortgage approved and offered

I say that there are usually 4 steps, as not everyone will require a decision in principle. This is especially true if you’ve already found a property and want to apply for a mortgage immediately. An agreement in principle isn’t the same as mortgage approval. Mortgage approval is clear intent from the lender that they’re offering you the mortgage. A decision in principle is only ‘in principle’ and is usually the first step towards your mortgage.

This doesn’t mean to say that an agreement in principle is pointless. Getting an agreement in principle before you start your property search has many benefits. For instance, a mortgage in principle will indicate how much you’re likely to be offered. You can then structure your property search accordingly. It can be quite disheartening to find a property, only to apply and then be told that you can’t borrow the amount you had hoped for.

Learn more: What is a mortgage in principle?

Using a broker or going directly to a lender

Whether you go direct to a lender or use a mortgage broker, both can be used to get a mortgage. That said, there are differences.

A lender will only ever show you their own products. You wouldn’t find a Natwest brochure in a Halifax bank, which is completely understandable. Irrespective of the mortgage market, other companies just don’t promote their competitors.

Mortgage brokers are different for this very reason. If a mortgage broker is ‘whole of market’, then they will have access to every UK lender. Brokers can then search suitable lenders for you with the aim of finding the best mortgage possible. There are thousands of mortgages available all at different rates and fees, some with added perks. The odds of you going to a lender yourself and getting the best possible mortgage in the UK are very slim.

If you apply directly with a lender and they decline your mortgage application, it’s likely your credit score will take a hit. Mortgage brokers will also check to see if you’re eligible before applying. This simple method can keep your credit file intact. Our advisors certainly don’t apply for mortgages until they’re absolutely certain they’ll be approved.

Our advisors are whole of market and have access to all UK lenders. We also have access to specialist lenders for when a mortgage application isn’t straightforward. This may be due to adverse credit or a limited company using retained profits for example. You can make an enquiry at any time to check if you’re eligible for a mortgage.

How difficult is it to get approved for a mortgage?

As a mortgage advisor, I’m constantly asked whether getting a mortgage is easy or not. As you can imagine, there isn’t one answer for everyone. Whilst it may be easy for one person to get a mortgage, it may be difficult for somebody else. This is because lenders assess each case individually, as each borrower’s circumstances are never the same. It also may be easy for a borrower to get a mortgage with one lender, but be declined by a different lender.

Lenders will make assessments on your circumstances which will indicate whether they’ll approve your application or decline it. The circumstances which lenders will mainly focus on are:

  • Your credit history
  • Affordability (based on income and outstanding loans/debt)
  • Loan to value (deposit amount and how much you need to borrow)

The property you’re aiming to purchase will also undergo a property survey. This is so lenders can establish whether or not the property meets their criteria. For instance, most lenders will only lend on traditional brick-built properties and properties that don’t need too much work (habitable).

Even if you have adverse credit issues, our advisors can still help. Don’t let this put you off applying for a mortgage. Many clients have been declined by high street lenders, to have a mortgage approved shortly after with us. Even if the property isn’t made from traditional materials, there other alternatives such as refurbishment finance, which can be used for homes that can’t be bought using a mortgage.

You can check with an expert advisor to see if you’re eligible for a mortgage. If you do qualify for a mortgage, the entire process can be done online.

Ask a mortgage broker

What documents will I need?

As a rule of thumb, you will usually need to provide the following before a mortgage can be approved:

  • Proof of identity (passport or driving licence)
  • Evidence of income (payslips, accounts/SA302 if self-employed)
  • Proof of address (utility bill)
  • Evidence of outgoings/outstanding loans (bank statements)
  • Proof of deposit (bank statement or gifted deposit letter)

Depending on your circumstances, you may have to provide further information. For instance, if you’re a buy to let landlord, you may have to present tenancy agreements to satisfy any concerns from underwriters. If you’re a contractor and want to use evidence of future work you’ve secured, you’ll have to provide evidence of this and so on.

Our advisors offer the facility for borrowers to make online mortgage applications. By utilising the latest financial technology, borrowers can obtain mortgages without leaving their homes. Documents can be sent online and your advisor can explain everything to you via phone and email. Even if you want a face to face meeting, our brokers are nationwide and can come directly to you.

Read more about online mortgage applications here.

How long does it take to get a mortgage?

A mortgage will on average take around 2 weeks to complete. Sometimes mortgages can be completed quicker or they can take longer than 2 weeks depending on whether or not your case is straightforward. Nonetheless, a mortgage shouldn’t take longer than 1 month to complete.

Important: A completed mortgage is not the same as getting an agreement in principle. A mortgage in principle can usually be provided in a matter of hours, if not minutes, depending on how urgently you require the document. The turnaround time also depends on how fast you can compile your documents ready for a broker or lender.

There are certain variables that can either speed a mortgage up or slow the process down. You should also advise your broker on how urgently you need a mortgage if the timing is critical to secure a purchase.

Read more: How to get a fast mortgage

How to speed up mortgage approval

Factors that can affect the speed of your mortgage approval are:

  • The speed at which you can gather the requested documents (ID, bank statements, etc)
  • How long your mortgage broker takes to submit the mortgage application
  • The time it takes the underwriter to assess your application
  • The speed at which the surveyor can complete the mortgage survey

Borrowers with simple circumstances may find that their mortgage is approved faster when compared to borrowers with specialist circumstances. For example, applications that involve adverse credit issues or applicants that are self-employed can take longer to process. This is because underwriters may request additional information, which can delay the mortgage from being completed.

A broker may also need more time to gather information and research your personal circumstances to ensure that the right lender is approached. Mortgage cases are never the same and the time it takes to complete your mortgage will largely depend on your circumstances.

Remember, you can ask our advisors your mortgage questions at any time. If you’re still unsure or want to apply for a mortgage, our specialists are ready to help.