home keys

When to apply for a mortgage

Before you start viewing properties, it is a good idea to get a mortgage agreement in principle from a lender or a couple of lenders. This will give you an idea of how much you can borrow, and it will prove to estate agents you are serious about buying.

Some lenders will carry out a hard credit check for this - which then appears on your credit file – so keep this in mind when applying for an agreement in principle. And if the mortgage provider does carry out a hard check, it is best not to get more than one or two agreements.

Some lenders will run a soft search – and this will not affect your credit score – so it is a good idea to check with each lender you contact before applying.

Your offer should last between 30 and 90 days. Keep in mind that this is only an estimate and is not a guaranteed mortgage offer.

The purchase price of your new home

Having an idea of how much you can borrow will help you work out how much you can afford to pay for your new home and should give you a better idea of your price range when it comes to viewing houses.

The actual mortgage loan you take out will then depend on how much you pay for the property, and whether you want to use any of your mortgage loan for making home improvements.

You should always make sure you would be able to afford the monthly repayments before deciding whether to make an offer.

Joint mortgage

If your deposit and mortgage amount is not enough to get you onto the property ladder, you might be able to buy a home with other people – either a partner, friend, or family member. They could help add to your deposit, and with their income plus yours, you might be able to take out a larger mortgage loan and get a property together.

A joint mortgage could mean that you and the other tenants own equal parts of the property – joint tenants – or you might own a share of the home – tenants in common – which might not be the same amount as the others.

It is a good idea to seek independent legal advice before taking out a joint mortgage so you all agree on what happens to the property should one of you decide you want to sell or leave.