When it comes to buying a home, self-employed individuals often face unique challenges, especially when applying for a mortgage. But it’s far from impossible.
In many ways, a self-employed mortgage is no different than getting a mortgage if you were in full-time employment. However, there is a lot of misunderstanding around applying for a self-employed mortgage.
We tend to use the terminology ‘self-employed mortgage’, but there’s no specific mortgage type. Lenders tailor a mortgage to the needs of the customer.
Providing information and proof of your income is the biggest and most important difference in getting a mortgage as a freelancer or self-employed individual. It can also be the biggest concern when looking to get a mortgage.
If you’re looking to make an application for a self-employed mortgage, we’ve pulled our knowledge and put together our top five tips:
1. Organize Your Finances
It’s crucial to prepare your financial documents ahead of any application. This includes having a clear overview of your income sources.
Lenders need to see concrete evidence of your income and financial stability, they can make a significant difference in proving your creditworthiness.
Lenders will want to see evidence of your income and financial stability, so ensure you have:
- SA302 forms
- Tax returns – Lenders often require two to three years’ worth of tax returns to establish a consistent income pattern.
- Bank statements
- Up-to-date business accounts
Consistency and accuracy in your financial records are key to proving your creditworthiness.
2. Build a Strong Credit Score
Your credit score plays a pivotal role in the mortgage application process no matter what type of mortgage you’re applying for. Lenders will assess this along with your debt-to-income ratio to determine your ability to manage mortgage payments.
The higher your credit score to less risk for lenders.
As a self-employed applicant, it’s vital to maintain a healthy credit score. If your credit score needs improvement, work on it well in advance of your mortgage application.
Additionally, aim to increase your savings, as a larger deposit can often improve your mortgage terms.
A healthy deposit also shows commitment and financial responsibility to lenders.
3. Consult with a Mortgage Broker
Navigating the complexities of self-employed mortgages can be challenging and you may need to look further than the high street banks.
This is where mortgage brokers can prove invaluable. A broker who specializes in self-employed mortgages, has experience working with whole of market lenders and can help you find the right one for your unique financial situation.
They’ll guide you through the application process, ensuring you meet all necessary criteria, which will give you the best chance of approval.
Know your Business Type
‘Self-employed’ is a broad term covering:
- Sole traders
- Limited companies
Make sure you know which of these describes your self-employment as it can affect which lender is right for you and the criteria you will need to meet.
Managing Irregular Income as a Self-Employed Borrower
Self-employment often comes with fluctuating income, which can be a challenge when applying for a mortgage.
Unlike those on a fixed salary, self-employed borrowers often experience fluctuations in their earnings, which can make it challenging to prove financial stability to lenders. However, with careful planning and financial management, it is possible to navigate this hurdle successfully.
Furthermore, work on demonstrating a history of consistent income, if possible. Lenders often look for stability, so a few years of steady or growing income can enhance your mortgage application.
Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Self-Employed Mortgage
It’s essential to avoid common pitfalls that could jeopardize your chances of approval. Some critical mistakes to steer clear of if you’re applying for a self-employed mortgage:
- Inaccurate or Incomplete Documentation: Failing to provide accurate and complete financial documentation. Any discrepancies or missing information can result in a rejected application.
- Mixing Personal and Business Finances: Co-mingling personal and business finances can make it difficult for lenders to assess your financial stability. Maintain separate bank accounts and financial records to provide a clear picture of your income and expenses.
- Overstretching Your Finances: Applying for a mortgage that strains your financial capacity is risky. Overstretching can lead to financial stress and could impact your ability to meet mortgage payments. Always consider a mortgage within your means.
- Skipping Professional Advice: A critical error is bypassing the guidance of professionals, such as mortgage brokers. These experts understand the intricacies of self-employed mortgages and can help you navigate the process more smoothly.
When it comes down to it, to secure a self-employed mortgage you’ll need to demonstrate financial stability, creditworthiness, and having a well-structured business.
Lenders want to ensure that you’re a responsible borrower and would be able to comfortably manage the monthly mortgage payments.
What sets these mortgages apart from traditional ones is their flexibility to accommodate the unique financial situations of self-employed borrowers.
Remember that patience and persistence are key, and with the right approach, homeownership as a self-employed individual is entirely attainable.
For your mortgage needs, and to explore your options, contact us at the Online Mortgage Guru on 0345 3669799 or email us via email@example.com.