Updated: Sep 27
As a first-time buyer, you may be excited to finally move out and own your own home, but It’s important to be prepared before you apply for a mortgage and take some time to get the details right.
Check your credit report
First of all, you should check your credit report, as lenders will look at this to see if you are reliable and if you’ll be able to pay your mortgage back in time.
You can check your report here - Free Check My File Credit Report
Learn how to boost your credit score here - https://www.mortgagemonster.co.uk/post/how-to-boost-your-credit-score
Register to vote
This one is so easy and could have a big impact on your application should you not do it. Lenders will use the electoral roll to check your identity so it’s important to get it done! You can see whether or not you have registered to vote on your credit file or you can ask your local council.
If you haven’t registered to vote yet, you can do it here - https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
If you have a link with someone financially such as an ex-partner, you must remove yourself as their credit score will affect you. You should write to the credit agencies and request for a notice of ‘disassociation.
It’s not just ex-partners, you could be linked with old flatmates and friends. It’s important to delink yourself now before their credit score potentially hurts yours.
Close old accounts
If you have an old account, you’re no longer using then it’s probably worth closing it. The account will likely contain outdated information and could leave you at risk of fraud.
However, it is a good thing to have good credit relationships before applying for a mortgage, so if you have just opened a new credit card and still have the old one, it may be worth holding on to the old one until after the application.
Hold off taking more credit before your mortgage application
Taking cash from credit cards or taking payday loans is a big NO in terms of mortgage lending. Some lenders won't entertain a mortgage application if you’ve had a payday loan in the last 1 – 3 years! In a lender's eyes, you appear desperate for money, which will negatively affect you. Likewise making any new credit applications before your mortgage application could reduce your ability to take a higher mortgage.
Make sure you have the correct paperwork
We’ve written an in-depth guide to what paperwork you’ll need as a first-time buyer, and you can find that here - What paperwork do I need to apply for a mortgage?
Here’s a quick breakdown of everything you’ll need:
Proof of ID
Proof of Income
Proof of Expenses
Find your best option
There is lots of help for first-time buyers out there, so it’s important to look around and find your best option. Here are the programs provided by the government to help first-time homeowners get on the property ladder - https://www.gov.uk/affordable-home-ownership-schemes
Pay everything on time
This should be a given. If you are applying for a mortgage then you want the lender to know you are reliable and will pay them back on time with no issues at all, so pay your direct debits on time! They are more likely to lend you thousands if you’ve demonstrated an ability to handle lower amounts!
Spending and Bank Statements!
It’s good to show that you are responsible with your money, so spending everything you earn might not look too good when trying to show the ability to pay a mortgage payment. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate that it looks like you’ll be able to handle your new payments and bills.
Likewise, lenders can look negatively on Gambling and other unscrupulous outgoings! A big one at present is the social media influencing portal Only Fans which has been in the press quite a lot recently about pornographic content.
Sending comical references when transferring money to friends and family can seem like a great idea at the time but can cause issues so please just be aware of how these may appear on bank statements as you’ll have to supply these to a lender and explain your statements which could leave you very embarrassed!!!
Get an agreement in principle
Getting an agreement in principle is testing the waters, it doesn’t mean your application will necessarily be accepted but it will give you a good idea. It can be good to relieve some stress and anxiety for you and your estate agent or seller if anyone is worried about the deal going through.
It can be a very stressful experience applying for your first mortgage, but if you follow these 10 simple tips you will be more prepared and ready to take on anything that will come your way. We are always here to help, and we aim to make the whole experience as easy for you as possible!