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Single person mortgage

Last updated on 2nd September 2023 by Martin Alexander

Getting a mortgage as a single person is a common enquiry. The application process can also be quite simple compared to joint mortgage applications, as there’s only one applicant to assess.

Mortgages for single applicants are used under the following circumstances:

  • First-time buyer
  • Separated or divorced applicant
  • Purchasing a buy to let
  • Partner is either not working, doesn’t earn much or has bad credit
  • Remortgage to remove a person

If you’re considering getting a mortgage for one but worry that you won’t qualify, don’t panic! Our advisors have secured some great deals for single applicants over the years.

Most lenders aren’t too concerned with the number of applicants involved and pay more attention to whether the mortgage is affordable.

Can a single person get a mortgage?

As a single applicant, getting a mortgage shouldn’t be anything to worry about. In fact, many first-time buyers purchase their first home entirely by themselves. Single homeowners rarely need a large family residence, so getting your foot on the ladder by buying a cosy home is usually quite manageable.

There are advantages to getting a joint mortgage. For instance, you’ll double your borrowing power if both applicants work. Saving for a deposit is also easier with more than one income.

Whether you’re after a mortgage for one person or a joint mortgage, they both involve an element of risk. There’s certainly nothing wrong with getting a mortgage as a single applicant.

If you’ve rented by yourself, you’ll already understand the additional costs involved, such as council tax, utilities, and monthly rental payments. Monthly mortgage payments are sometimes cheaper than rental payments, so you’d be surprised that you may even be able to save more by getting a mortgage.

In comparison, you may want a mortgage for a buy-to-let. Many successful landlords are sole owners of property portfolios, so lenders rarely have any issues with applicants applying by themselves.

How to get a mortgage on your own

Getting a mortgage on your own may seem daunting, but with the right help and expertise, it can be a smooth process. For this reason, we recommend that you consult an expert mortgage advisor with experience with single mortgage applicants. Our advisors can then guide you through the following process based on your circumstances:

  • Keep your finances healthy – Lenders will check your recent bank statements. As a result, avoid activities such as gambling, payday loans and anything else that may make your application questionable.
  • Check your credit file – Downloading your credit history is highly recommended. This gives you a headstart on how lenders may view your credit file. You can then approach lenders accordingly, especially if you have credit issues.
  • Gather your personal documents – To get a mortgage, your advisor and lender must see personal documents, such as payslips, proof of a deposit, bank statements and personal ID such as a passport or driver’s licence. Gathering these beforehand can save you time, especially if you’ve already seen a property.
  • Establish your budget – It can be disheartening to find your dream home only to realise it’s above your budget. Speak to an expert who will advise you on a budget to work towards. Your budget will be based on your income and spending habits. Once you have a budget, you can search and make offers with confidence.

How much can I borrow if I get a mortgage on my own?

Advisors and lenders will check whether the mortgage you’re applying for is affordable. This is the main stress test regularly used to calculate whether a person is eligible for a mortgage. Other checks, such as credit checks and details of employment, can also affect how much you can borrow.

Lenders will decide what’s affordable by calculating your income and spending habits. Some lenders have slightly different methods of assessing applications, so it’s worth bearing in mind. For instance, one lender may include earnings from overtime and bonuses, whereas other lenders won’t. The way lenders calculate your outgoings will also vary.

Selecting the best-suited lender can significantly affect the amount you can borrow. Furthermore, the rates offered can vary quite considerably. Most lenders will lend between three to five times your income. Nonetheless, as they have different methods of calculating affordability, you could be offered much more by one lender than another.

The amount of outstanding debt you have will also play a part in your assessment. Any credit card debt and loan agreements, such as vehicle finance, can reduce your borrowing power. Don’t let that put you off from applying for a mortgage. Simply going to the right lender based on your circumstances can unlock some pretty competitive deals.

If your affordability falls short of mortgage approval, you could apply for a mortgage with a guarantor. You’d still be a sole homeowner, as using a guarantor wouldn’t switch your mortgage to a joint mortgage.

Read more: How much can I borrow for a mortgage?

What if I’m self-employed?

If you’re self-employed, lenders usually assess your income based on declared net profit. Most lenders typically request three years of account history. That said, some lenders may approve mortgages with accounts for one year.

If you haven’t yet filed your income with HMRC, you’ll have to wait until you do before applying for a mortgage.

Mortgages for the self-employed are a field of their own, as you could be a director, in a partnership or a sole trader. Nonetheless, there are mortgages available for single applicants regardless of employment type.

Read more: How to get a mortgage when self-employed

Will I need a large deposit if I’m applying on my own?

Individual borrowers often assume that they’ll need a larger-than-average deposit as they’re applying for a mortgage by themselves. This simply isn’t true. A single-person application can sometimes be stronger than a joint application.

Getting a ‘one-person mortgage’ with a 5% deposit is possible. Government mortgage schemes, such as The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme and Shared Ownership, can also make getting on the property ladder much easier.

It’s advised to save up as much as possible for a deposit. This is because the more you can save for a deposit, the more options you’ll have regarding lenders. Aiming for a 10% deposit will enable you to approach more lenders than having a 5% deposit. Having a 15-20% deposit will enable you to approach more lenders than having a 10% deposit, and so on.

Larger deposits can also unlock the best mortgage deals possible. Nonetheless, you can still get a good deal on a 95% mortgage if you approach the right lenders.

If you’re struggling to save, you can get a mortgage with a gifted deposit from a family member or relative. This is ideal when you need a slightly higher deposit to unlock a great mortgage deal. Our advisors can help you find lenders with the best deals possible. You can make an enquiry to get started.

Can I get a mortgage on my own if I have bad credit?

It’s possible to get a mortgage even if you have bad credit. Lenders will assess how recent and severe your credit issues are. The older the credit issues, the better.

If your credit issues are over six years old, they shouldn’t impact your mortgage assessment. Nonetheless, recent credit issues can be a problem, but with the right advisor, you should be able to overcome any hurdles. This is subject to meeting the rest of the lender’s criteria.

If you have bad credit, going to a high street lender isn’t advised. This is because most mainstream lenders typically decline applicants with bad credit. You’ll benefit from a specialist advisor with experience in adverse credit and access to specialist lenders.

Can I apply as a single applicant even if I’m married?

Married couples can get a mortgage in one person’s name, but it’s rarely advised. This is because there aren’t many lenders that will allow this, and those that do may charge higher rates in addition to high fees.

It’s also very difficult to apply as a solo applicant when there are two buyers. Lenders need everything to be clear-cut and won’t entertain ‘special’ arrangements. For instance, even if a partner has bad credit, it may be better to apply together.

Our advisors can check to see what lenders are available for your circumstances and the possible rates on offer.

Learn more: Getting a sole mortgage when married

Mortgage advice for single applicants

Whether you’re looking at buying a home or a buy-to-let property, getting a mortgage on your own can be effortless with the right advice.

Showcasing your income at its maximum level is very important to borrow the most you can. Furthermore, selecting the right lender is often based on luck when borrowers go directly to a lender.

Using an advisor has many benefits. First, we’ll prepare your application to reflect your earnings in the best possible light. This can certainly help in securing maximum mortgage amounts. Brokers will also assess the details of your application and then select the most suitable lenders based on the type of mortgage you need.

Getting the right deal can save you hundreds of pounds each month. Over the term of your mortgage, the savings can amount to thousands of pounds. Having the right mortgage can make or break your bank account.

You can make an enquiry with an advisor to check the deals you’ll be eligible for. You can also contact our specialists should you have a particular enquiry.

About the author

Martin Alexander
Senior Mortgage Advisor

Martin is a senior mortgage advisor who has held a CeMAP qualification for over 15 years while completing an MBA in Global Banking and Finance.