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About Martin Alexander

Martin has been a mortgage advisor for over 15 years. Check to see if you qualify or call us on 0800 195 0490.

Last Updated on 10th October 2020

Getting a mortgage in principle is usually the first indication that you’re likely to get a mortgage. It’s a great idea to get an agreement in principle as it will tell you how much you’d be able to borrow. You can then begin your property search with confidence and a budget in mind.

Make an enquiry to get your mortgage in principle or read our guide for further information.

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What is a mortgage agreement in principle?

A mortgage agreement in principle (AIP) is simply an agreement to lend funds based on an initial assessment. Your initial assessment will be based largely on your income, expenditure, credit score and your employment status. This is not a formal mortgage offer but it is an agreement in principle based on the information you’ve provided.

An agreement in principle is also known as an AIP or a DIP (decision in principle). A DIP and an AIP are exactly the same and are just different by name.

You may be asked by estate agents if you have an AIP when you make an offer on a property. Your mortgage advisor can provide you with an agreement in principle once you’ve provided the necessary information your advisor has asked for.

If you’re aiming to purchase a property with a mortgage, having a decision in principle is very beneficial. For instance, an AIP can:

  • Give you an indication of how much you can borrow
  • Allow you to make accurate offers on properties
  • Make your offers more credible and gives estate agents confidence
  • Give you the ability to secure a deal, even in cases where time is of the essence
  • Place you in a stronger position than buyers who don’t yet have an AIP

An agreement in principle is usually valid for either 60 or 90 days. Lenders and brokers charge different rates and fees to produce an AIP document.

How do I get a decision in principle for a mortgage?

If you need a decision in principle as soon as possible, make an enquiry and an expert advisor will call you back to arrange this for you. Your advisor can explain the process in greater detail by understanding your current situation. You may need an AIP urgently to secure a property or you may have had a mortgage declined. Even if you simply wish to know how much you can borrow, our advisors can help.

You can approach a lender yourself, however, you will be limited to each lender’s own products only. Using a broker that is ‘whole of market’ enables you to access the best deals across the UK mortgage market. This is because whole of market brokers have access to every lender and aren’t limited to certain mortgage deals.

Will I need a credit check?

To get a mortgage DIP, you will need to undergo a credit check. It’s important to note that such credit checks can leave ‘footprints’ on your credit file. Not all credit search footprints are created equally. A footprint can either be ‘soft’ or ‘hard’.

A soft footprint can be seen on a credit report, however, it doesn’t indicate that you’ve applied for credit. On the other hand, a hard footprint indicates that an application for credit has been made. As a result, this can have a small negative impact on your credit score. That being said, numerous footprints can lower your credit score and in turn hamper your chances of mortgage approval.

Even if you have a great credit score, it doesn’t mean to say you’ll be guaranteed a decision in principle. This is because lenders all have their own criteria. Other criteria can include income details, type of employment, mortgage type and deposit amount in addition to numerous other variables. A credit check is only part of your mortgage assessment.

It’s highly advised to use a specialist broker from the start. This is to avoid making multiple applications with lenders which will eventually damage your credit score. Selecting the correct lender is vital in protecting your credit file and securing a great mortgage deal. Experienced advisors understand each lender’s criteria and can select the most suitable lender that is most likely to accept your application.

Read more about making an online mortgage application here.

Will I need to provide documents for an AIP?

You will need to provide personal documents before you can be given an agreement in principle. Lenders and advisors have a legal duty to verify your personal circumstances and identity. For this to happen, you will need to provide some or all of the below documents and information:

  • Photo ID (passport or drivers licence)
  • Proof of address (utility bill, bank statement)
  • Income details (3 months payslips minimum or accounts/SA302 documents)
  • Expenditure (3 months bank statements minimum)
  • Credit card statements (or statements of any outstanding debt)
  • Proof of deposit (bank statement or signed confirmation for gifted deposits)
  • Credit reports (if pending or adverse credit issues within the last six years)

If you’ve found a property already, then your advisor will also need the details of your purchase. Your advisor will also need to know what type of mortgage you’d be applying for, such as buy to let or residential.

The difference between a mortgage offer and an AIP

An agreement in principle doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get a mortgage. It’s simply the first step in outlining what you’re likely to be able to borrow and whether or not you’re likely to be approved.

A mortgage is only offered formally once a mortgage survey has been carried out and you’ve undergone a full mortgage application. This doesn’t in any way make a decision in principle a pointless exercise, as the majority of estate agents will ask to see proof of an AIP.  Getting an agreement in principle is usually considered to be the first step in getting your mortgage.

Can I still be declined if I have an AIP?

You can still be declined a mortgage, even if you’ve been provided with an agreement in principle. You may be declined a mortgage after an AIP in the following circumstances:

  • Being unable to provide requested documents, such as proof of ID or bank statements
  • If the initial details you’ve provided are incorrect
  • You have too much outstanding credit/debt
  • The property doesn’t meet the lender’s criteria
  • Credit issues after the AIP and between the mortgage application

If an advisor is managing your mortgage application, they can ensure that all your documents are in order before applying. In addition, an advisor can also ensure that your application is structured in the right way to maximise your chances of being accepted.

My agreement in principle has been rejected

If you’ve been declined a mortgage, your lender or advisor should tell you why your application wasn’t approved. There’s a multitude of reasons on why lenders may decline a mortgage application.

Our advisors are specialists and are used to dealing with ‘hard to place’ mortgages. If you’ve been declined, you can make an enquiry to check if there are any lenders suited to your criteria.

If your AIP has been referred, it means that an underwriter is taking a closer look at your application. A referred decision is not the same as being declined. If this does happen, then your mortgage broker should try to iron out anything that the underwriter isn’t clear about.

I need an AIP fast

Having an AIP to show estate agents that your offer is credible can sometimes be the difference in your offer being accepted or rejected. If you’ve seen a property and need to move fast, our advisors are on hand to help.

The majority of our cases are carried out online, using the latest technology to accelerate the online application process. This can save you a lot of time and furthermore, you’re able to apply for a mortgage irrespective of your location.

You can make an enquiry below and an advisor will call you back to get some further information before an AIP can be provided.


Get Your Free Mortgage Quote.

(No impact to your credit score)

Safe. Secure. Confidential.