See how we can help

Get started online

How to get approved for a mortgage

Written By:
Myles Robinson - Expert Finance Advisor

Posted: Feb 15, 2023

How to get approved for a mortgage

Approval for a mortgage is a crucial step in the home-buying or remortgage process. Many borrowers find the mortgage application process stressful.

Contact a mortgage advisor today. You can find the best mortgage broker to guide you through the application process and have the best mortgage deal on the market to suit you.

Talking to an expert mortgage adviser during the application process can help you save time, hassle, and money.

The experts are all whole-of-market mortgage brokers and have access to other lenders from the entire market. They can help you find the right mortgage at a fair price.

We’ll match you up with a broker who has helped customers in similar situations by enquiring today. They’ll be happy to answer any questions and help you find the best mortgage for your needs.

We offer a free service without obligations and affecting your credit rating.

Use our online mortgage calculator as a guide for your monthly repayments now

We are expert mortgage brokers

We have access to over 200 lenders in the UK to get you the best rates

Get your Quote

What are the requirements for UK mortgage approval?

Many people find that getting approved for mortgages is easy and not as daunting as they fear. However, some factors can complicate the process.

Approval is generally based on several key areas.

  • Accessibility – How much are you able to borrow? Is your income acceptable?
  • Deposit — Do you have enough? Is the source acceptable
  • Credit report – Have there been any credit problems in the past? If so, you may need more deposit

Most mortgage providers will approve you if the mortgage is affordable, you can afford the monthly mortgage repayments, your income is simple, and you have a sufficient deposit.

If you are not centred, finding the right lender to approve your mortgage application may be difficult.

It may be more difficult to find a lender if you have a bad credit report, are self-employed, or are purchasing a property that is not standard construction. No matter what your situation, the specialist mortgage brokers that we work with can help you find the right lender.

You can see that finding the right lender can have a big impact on the amount of money you can borrow. Specialist brokers can access more lenders than traditional high-street brokers and have more deals.

How much will mortgage lenders approve for me?

The amount that you can borrow will vary depending on many factors.

  • Type and amount of your income
  • Current financial obligations
  • Credit history
  • Credit score

Talk to one of our experts for a precise mortgage calculation. They can take into consideration all factors that could affect the offer of a lender.

You don’t have to talk to an advisor yet, but there are some general guidelines you can use to get a better idea of what kind of figure you might want (pre-application).


Get started online

How to get your mortgage approved

Some people may need to do more to get their mortgage approved. The five-step process listed below should be followed when applying for a mortgage in the UK.

  1. Based on your income, determine the maximum amount of borrowing you can afford.
  2. Check the source of your deposit, such as where it came from. Savings, equity, or a gift
  3. Your credit files can help you check your credit history
  4. Based on property types/sizes, establish rough maximum property and loan value estimates
  5. If you meet their criteria, apply to the right lender

Finding the right mortgage lender

With tighter lending criteria and increased regulation since the 2008 credit crunch and 2014’s Mortgage Review (MMR), getting a mortgage approved has become more difficult.

The mortgage providers are more focused on their core customers, and many people who shop on the high street may struggle unless they have a normal or straightforward situation.

These gaps have created a market in which creditworthy customers cannot find the mortgages they need. Since the market recovered, both old and new specialist mortgage firms have flourished. This has led to some relaxation in criteria.

This has made it a difficult landscape to navigate. You’d be forgiven if you don’t know where to look. Many brokers have trouble!

So many lenders offer mortgages only to very specific customers, it is becoming more common for people to look beyond the high street to find specialist lenders.

Our brokers are experts in whole-of-market brokerage and have experience helping customers find the right mortgage. We also work with lenders open to considering borrowers with unusual circumstances.


Get started online

A broker who is knowledgeable about the market will also know your market.

This means that although most mortgage brokers claim they are ‘whole market’, many of them only deal with customers whom many would consider simple borrowers. They arrange many mortgages and get customers the best rates. Many of them are extremely skilled at this.

Brokers will not be able to help customers with bad credit or unusual income if they walk in the door.

The broker will usually extensively research banks and building societies to find the right one. This can be a time-consuming process, and brokers may not fully understand the situation or determine which mortgage lenders might consider applicants.

A more complex scenario may require a different process for approval of a mortgage. It is important that each application is properly presented so that the underwriters can understand your reasons for lending.

Specialist brokers who deal with these types of applications on a daily basis know how to approve mortgages before customers even walk through the doors.

What is the average time it takes to get a mortgage approval?

You could be approved for a mortgage in as little as one to two weeks if your application is simple. If your situation is more complex, however, you might have to wait longer. Most mortgages are approved within 18 to 40 days of receipt of your application.

The lender and your situation will determine how long it takes to approve your mortgage.

Most providers will split an application in two:

  1. Principle Agreement
  2. Mortgage offer after full underwriting

An agreement to principle (AIP) is a preapproval of the mortgage based on the customer’s credit score and information submitted. However, the lender may need to examine additional documents to verify the accuracy. AIP can often indicate that the mortgage application will be approved. This can often be accomplished hours or minutes after finding the right provider.


Get started online

What is the average time it takes to finish after a mortgage approval?

Most mortgages take between 3 and 4 weeks from approval to completion.

A full underwritten approval means that the lender has checked the application manually or automatically and approved the mortgage application subject to satisfactory valuation.

After the property has been accepted, the mortgage will be officially confirmed as “offered”. This means that the mortgage is ready for when all parties and the solicitors are ready to close the transaction.

You may find that completion can take a little longer if you have your mortgage approval quickly. Your solicitor may not have begun any legal tasks before completion.

Complex applications, such as those with adverse credit, self-employed, low deposit, and high LTV, can take longer for various reasons.

  • Research time increased
  • You will need to submit more information to make the decision.
  • You will receive a more thorough underwriting process. Mortgage lenders that accept non-standard applicants will often underwrite them manually. They may not be able to give an accurate pre-approval. A complete package application must be submitted with all required documentation to be considered for an agreement.

Pre-approval for mortgage

Pre-approved mortgages are agreements to lend customers money before the property is located and full applications are submitted.

This certificate can be used to confirm that the lender approves the mortgage based on the information provided. It may also indicate the maximum loan amount available to the borrower.

What is the UK mortgage approval process?

The UK’s pre-approved mortgage process is quite different from years ago. For many borrowers and market professionals, the meaning and purpose of the approval have also changed.

Pre-approval for a mortgage is now a sign that the provider may end. It’s not a guarantee of obtaining a mortgage.

To make it easier to decide whether to lend, credit scoring models were created. In recent years, lenders have put more emphasis on the verification of documents and the assessment of the entire case at the full application stage. After evaluating all documentation, lenders will make a firm decision.

This could be due to a variety of reasons, including:

  • Self-certified mortgages are to be abolished
  • Increased stringency in document inspections
  • MMR and stricter affordability requirements
  • An increase in the number of unique work contracts (such as agency, casual, zero-hours, and umbrella companies).
  • Increases in self-employed applicants

MMR has placed greater responsibility on mortgage lenders to assess affordability, which has led to increased questions and hurdles.


Get started online

Approval of mortgages in principle

To move to the full application, borrowers will need to pass an initial Agreement in Principle (AIP). Once you have received an offer on a property, and have received a valuation, the full application can be submitted.

Potential buyers are often disappointed when they submit an offer on a home they love based on an AIP, only to find out that a lender won’t give them the mortgage they need.

It can be very disappointing to be declined at this stage, and it can cause a lot more stress. It can also be costly as providers won’t be able to assess your application until upfront fees have been paid and valuations have been completed. These are non-refundable.

This is only one reason to use a specialist broker like those we work with. An experienced mortgage broker knows which lenders will accept borrowers on full applications, so you can get an AIP and know that you are likely to complete without any delays.

Brokers should consider putting the valuation on hold while the underwriters approve the mortgage. This is an uncommon practice, but it can be extremely valuable.

Your advisor can help you if your application is complicated and the valuation booking is not necessary immediately. This could save you time, money, and heartache.

Is it necessary to have pre-approval before I can get a mortgage?

You will need to prove that you have passed the credit checks with the lender to which you are applying, the AIP will also give you a clear indication of how much you can borrow.

The AIP reduces the time for both vendors and estate agents. They want to ensure that everyone who makes an offer on a property can pay it. This prevents any long-drawn sales to buyers that might not be financially able to buy the property.

How to get mortgage preapproval

AIPs are typically valid for three months after approval.

It is always recommended to have your AIP in place before purchasing. This will ensure you have enough money and an idea of how much you can borrow.

An AIP might not be necessary if you want to purchase within six months. However, it is worth speaking to an expert to ensure you understand what your options are. You might end up spending six months searching for properties that you don’t have the money to buy.

Many borrowers come to us asking for an immediate mortgage pre-approval. For those situations that require speed, we offer a red carpet service via the brokers we partner with. For more information, visit our quick loans.


Get started online

Pre-approval for a mortgage

You can visit your bank, or you can go to a few. Or you could let a professional broker find you the best deal. We have already explained that if your situation is not straightforward, we recommend that you find a professional broker who understands the market.

Online mortgage approvals are possible

The brokers we work with can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage online. However, they will need to verify your income and identity. Following FCA guidelines, original documents will need to be submitted using the following methods: hand delivery, collection or posting.

What is the cost of this?

Although it is often free to get a mortgage approval, some brokers charge commitment fees to ensure that applicants use their services. This is common because there is a lot to do to get the AIP, and very few people want to work for nothing.

What documents are you looking for?

You will likely be asked several questions to get your mortgage approval. The documents required for your mortgage application generally include:

  • ID (Passport/drivers license)
  • Documentation proving residence (utility bills/council taxes statements)
  • Income proof (payslips, self-employed accounts or tax returns).
  • Outgoings (bank / credit card / mortgage statements etc.)

Every mortgage lender will have different requirements regarding documentation that they accept to support your mortgage application. Your advisor should request this information before you begin to search for the right lender.

Each mortgage lender has different criteria and deems income acceptable. An advisor would not be able to give you an accurate pre-approval if they don’t have proof of your income.


Get started online

Bad credit is not a problem for mortgage approval

It’s possible to get bad credit mortgage approval still even if you have low credit scores or poor credit.

Mortgage pre-approval is sometimes slightly different for borrowers with poor credit than for those with good credit. Mortgage lenders must fully evaluate all applicants when underwriting such applications.

Once a property is agreed upon, and all supporting documents have been submitted for review, underwriting takes place. People with good credit can make accurate, instant decisions because credit scoring systems can be automated. Specialist providers who offer adverse credit mortgages have more manual processes.

Pre-approvals for bad credit mortgages indicate that the loan will be approved. However, they tend to have less weight. Lenders usually credit score/search you and then issue you a pre-approved principle agreement. This is often enough to satisfy your estate agent.

Before issuing a full mortgage offer, lenders will manually review the application and all documentation. We recommend you ask your advisor to hold off on valuing the property until a full agreement has been reached. Any fees you pay if the mortgage lender declines to value the property will not be refunded.

We’ll match you up with an expert broker if you have low credit scores or bad credit history. They are happy to answer your questions and can connect you with the right lender for you.

What is the minimum credit score required to be approved for a mortgage?

A good credit score is not necessary for mortgage approval. However, it can help. You can usually disregard any numerical figure provided by your credit reports if you have copies.

These scores are different from the scores that lenders will give you. Each mortgage lender has its own ‘pass’ score. A provider may score a pass or fail on the same application, depending on how they interpret your risk and whether they are willing to lend.

You can get your credit reports here if you have not yet. You should get all three reports. Credit reports are often very different and some issues may not be visible on the other.


Get started online

If you are self-employed, mortgage approval

You can still apply for a mortgage if you are self-employed.

Every lender will view your application differently, so it is important to be clear about the nature of your income.

These are the key factors that determine which providers you can use.

  • The time you’ve been trading
    You won’t be considered if you have only been in business for a very short time (say, less than three years). Even if you have only been self-employed for twelve months, it is possible to get a mortgage that is up to 5x your income.
  • Profit history and accounting history
    Lenders base their calculations on the average of the past three years’ income. Some lenders use the average of the two most recent years. Specialist lenders may also use the most recent year’s numbers. You should be able to access most lenders if your income has not changed in the past three years. However, if you have a higher income recently than the previous year, there may not be enough lenders who will accept the higher figure. If your income has dropped, mortgage providers will likely use the less recent figure.
  • Figures used
    • Your net profit = sole traders
    • Partnering = Your share of the net profit
    • LTD company directors = Salary + Dividends
      Some specialist lenders will take a share of the net profit for directors of Ltd companies, allowing you to borrow money based on retained earnings.

Although it can be more difficult to calculate the maximum borrowing for self-employed mortgage approvals, borrowing can generally be up to 5x your income with specialist lenders.

Additional requirements

Many mortgage lenders will want to know how much you have earned from your business in the past 3 years. These incomes will need to be supported by business accounts, tax returns (SA302 forms), and bank statements.

You may be asked to provide a reference by your accountant in certain cases to confirm any questions the lender might have. In other instances, they will require proof that your accountant holds the required qualifications.

The standard documentation, such as proof of address and ID, will also be required.


Get started online

Certificates of Mortgage Approval

Before they take your offer seriously, most estate agents will require proof that you have the financial resources to buy the property.

This would typically be a pre-approval letter for a mortgage or an agreement in principle certificate. Each will include your name and details of the lender. They will also confirm that they are willing to lend you money, provided your property valuation is correct, and your pre-approval form has been completed correctly.

Some providers will also indicate the maximum amount they will lend you or the amount for which you have applied.

Talk to an expert broker today about mortgage approval

To speak with an expert broker, or if you have questions about mortgage approval, please enquire today.

We will match you with an expert who has experience in helping customers in similar situations. Our experts are all whole-of-market brokers with access to lenders throughout the UK. They can help you find the right mortgage for you.

Our service is completely free, and there’s no obligation. We won’t affect your credit rating. Let us connect you with the best mortgage lender for you.


Get started online

Getting approved for a mortgage FAQ’s

Can I get guaranteed mortgage approval in the UK

As the lender must perform thorough checks to ensure you meet all eligibility and affordability requirements, nothing can be guaranteed. Submitting an enquiry to us could increase your chances of getting a mortgage. We will introduce you to a broker from the whole market who can match you with the most likely provider to approve.

Is it possible to get a guaranteed mortgage approval even if you have bad credit?

No lender will guarantee a mortgage to someone with bad credit without first conducting eligibility and affordability checks. However, you can increase your chances of getting approved by contacting us.

Does credit card debt affect mortgage approval?

It will depend on how many credit card debts you have and how much you repay each month. Also, which lenders do you approach? If you have a lot of debt, some lenders might decline to lend you money. Others may limit your borrowing ability if you spend a lot on monthly credit card repayments

Contact us today to help your mortgage application process as stress-free as possible.


Get started online

What criteria are used to approve a mortgage in Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland is part of the UK, so it’s not much different from England and Wales. Read more about mortgages in Northern Ireland in our detailed guide.

What happens if my mortgage approval is withdrawn and I change jobs?

Experts advise against changing jobs in a mortgage application. However, if your loan has been approved, lenders may still honor the agreement so long as you cannot pay the additional cost.

Some lenders may pull out of an agreement. However, this could depend on whether you are changing careers and earning more. The lender may reconsider their offer if your new job requires you to take a pay cut.

Providers will also lend to customers who have worked for the company for a specific time. You should be able to find a specialist lender if you are looking to get a mortgage with your new job.

What are the requirements for mortgage approval?

Most mortgage lenders require at least three months worth of bank statements.

Contact us today to speak with a mortgage advisor to discuss borrowing money for a home loan.


Get started online