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When you are self-employed getting a mortgage is not impossible. But it can be a little bit trickier than for someone who is in full-time employment, so you may need to do a bit of planning.
Managing your finances is essential to getting a self-employed mortgage. Not just to improve your eligibility. But it will also help you to get the most favourable mortgage deals out there.
Here’s some information on:
- what you’ll need to provide;
- what to do if you’re missing information
- how you can maximise your chances of getting a self-employed mortgage.
What is a Self-Employed Mortgage
I’ll start with the first myth-busting fact – there is no such thing as a self-employed mortgage.
When it comes to taking out a mortgage, you’ll be able to apply for the same ones as anyone who is employed.
It’s just that you’ll need to provide different information to demonstrate you earn enough money to make the monthly repayments.
It’s all a question of risk
Lenders need to feel confident that the person borrowing the money will reliably be able to make the monthly mortgage payments.
Rightly or wrongly, the perception by lenders is that when you are self-employed earnings can fluctuate. This affects a persons ability to repay the mortgage.
This means there is a lot of hoops to jump through as part of the mortgage process.
But there are some things you can do to make it easier for yourself.
What You’ll Need For Your Self-Employed Mortgage Application
Generally speaking, you will need to supply the below as part of your mortgage application, but it may vary lender to lender:
- Two or Three Years Accounts
- 3 months bank statements
- SA302 Tax Calculation & Tax Overview
- Details of your personal expenditure
8 Ways to Maximise Your Chances of Getting a Mortgage if You’re Self-Employed
1. Pull Your Credit Report
Forewarned is forearmed.
There are many websites where for a small fee or even free you can pull your own credit report.
Check my file has a free 30 day trial. So sign up, pull your report and then deactivate the account.
Your credit report holds information about your credit history and how you have handled credit in the past.
Mortgage lenders will use this to assess the level of risk associated with lending you money.
Get your credit report and read it through. If there is anything that you feel may negatively affect your application then discuss it with a mortgage advisor who can advise you on the best course of action.
It will also give you a chance to make any changes to increase your credit score.
For example, if you are not registered on the electoral roll, then this will show on your credit report negatively affecting your credit score.
By simply getting on the electoral role you can increase your credit score helping your chances of getting a self-employed mortgage.
2. Maximise Your Earnings
The amount of mortgage you can borrow is based on affordability.
This basically means your ability to repay your mortgage from your earnings.
As you are self-employed you can offset your business expenses against your income.
The more expenses declared, the lower your earnings will be, the less tax you pay.
But this also means you’ll have lower earnings to borrow against.
So think carefully before you claim expenses and make sure you include ALL your income on your tax return.
Mortgage lenders will be asking for 2 or even 3 years self assessment tax returns as part of the application process.
3. Find an Accountant
Have your self-assessment tax returns completed and filed off by a qualified accountant.
Even if your taxes are pretty simple, consider paying an accountant to prepare your tax return anyway.
It will give lenders comfort that your returns have been checked by someone independent and that the figures are accurate.
4. Use a Mortgage Broker
A mortgage broker is an expert who will guide you through the application process.
They will advise you on the best mortgages available to you and which ones are most suitable for your personal situation.
That way when you do apply, you’ll know you are applying for the most suitable mortgage for your needs, maximising your chances of successfully getting a self-employed mortgage.
5. Pay Your Tax
Amongst all the many checks a mortgage lender will carry out, you may find that some lenders will want to confirm that you have paid your tax bill.
Lenders will check this by requesting a download of your Tax Overview from your online HMRC account.
Having unpaid taxes will affect your chances of getting a mortgage.
So make sure you have paid your tax in full before applying.
6. Deposit Size
Put simply the larger your deposit, the less you need to borrow.
This reduces the perceived risk the lender is taking so improves your chances of successfully getting a self-employed mortgage.
Typically lenders want you to put down 10% of the property value. However, there are 5% deposit self-employed mortgage options coming onto the market.
Again, a mortgage advisor can help you find the right mortgage depending on your deposit.
7. Have Two Years Accounts Ready, At Least
Depending on the lender, you will typically need to produce at least 2 years worth of accounts although there are some accepting just one year.
However the more years you can produce, the better chance you have of successfully applying for a mortgage.
By showing a number of years of consistent earning, the lender will consider you more able to repay your mortgage.
8. Get Your Personal Finances In Order
Aside from getting your taxes in order, getting your personal finances in order will also help maximise your chances of getting a self-employed mortgage.
If you have things like loans, overdrafts or credit card balances these will affect your borrowing power. Or even ruin any chances of success when applying for your mortgage.
So consider paying these off before you apply for your mortgage.
Standing orders and direct debits can affect the amount you can borrow.
So take a look at what you are paying for and consider cancelling your commitments, even temporarily, while you are going through the mortgage process.
For example, car finance represents a financial commitment that needs to be paid in addition to your mortgage. So it can affect your ability to repay your lender. If you are in the market for a new car then consider waiting until after you have completed your mortgage application process.
Updated 19 April 2019
Anita is a Chartered Accountant with over a decade of experience taking self-employed business owners from financially confused to business savvy.
She is the creator of the ‘Go Self Employed’ website, which is her corner on the internet where she makes self-employment less terrifying.