Before you start looking in earnest for a property, it helps to have a basic understanding of the different types of mortgage available, as well as the process of applying for a mortgage.
It’s a good idea to apply for an agreement in principle (AIP). This may also be called a deal in principle (DIP), and is a written statement from a lender that says they may be prepared to lend you up to a specific amount of money. To determine the amount, lenders will ask you to provide some basic financial information and also carry out a credit check.
One thing to watch out for here is the impact getting an AIP might have on your credit rating, as all ‘hard’ searches leave a trace. It’s possible for lenders in these circumstances to do a ‘soft’ search which doesn’t impact your credit score, so be sure to ask in advance.
An AIP isn’t a guarantee of a mortgage, but it gives you an idea of how much you’ll have to spend and it’s useful to show to sellers and estate agents.
Taking advice from a mortgage advisor can be useful. They can help explain things and also help with the mortgage application process. In addition, they have access to a wider scope of lenders than just those on your local high street.
The alternative is to approach a lender directly, but remember they only have their own deals to promote, whereas an independent advisor has access to mortgage products from multiple lenders.
How do I apply for a mortgage?
Once you’ve found somewhere you want to buy and had your offer accepted, you will begin the formal mortgage application procedure. The mortgage application process is more or less the same no matter which lender you approach. There will be forms to fill in and information to be supplied.
You will need to commission a survey on the property to check the condition of the building. The lender will also require a valuation of the property to make sure it matches the amount you are paying for it (sufficiently greater than the amount they are lending you).
If you are taking out the mortgage without the help of an advisor, you may have to sign a disclaimer to confirm you understand and take full responsibility for choosing the particular mortgage product in question.
What do I need to apply for a mortgage?
The documents required for a mortgage application are pretty standard. You need to prove identity, address and income, so expect to be asked for a passport or driving licence, plus a recent utility bill and at least three payslips. The lender will also want to look at your income and outgoings, proof of your deposit, and where it has come from, whether that’s savings or a gift from your parents.
Start pulling your documents together early, both to be prepared and to make sure you’ve got everything. You might have to request hard copies of bank statements, for example, so you need to get organised.
How long does a mortgage application take?
There’s no set time, but between three and six weeks is common. If more information is needed, you don’t have all the right documents to hand, or the survey finds something problematic, then things are likely to be delayed. You’ll have to wait longer still for completion before finally getting your hands on those keys.
Buying property is the biggest financial investment most of us make. Taking a logical step-by-step approach, and knowing a bit about the process, can pay off in the long run.
At Mortgagemove, we can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you, while ensuring you have a mortgage deal that best suits your financial circumstances. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.