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How do I apply for a mortgage?

Want to apply for a mortgage but not sure where to start? We talk you through the difference between lenders and brokers — and even some of that annoying jargon — in our handy guide.

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Looking to apply for a mortgage? It can definitely be intimidating when you decide to try for a mortgage — especially the first time. And not everyone knows where to start. That’s OK — though the process may seem overwhelming, it’s actually relatively straightforward. Getting your paperwork together helps (more on that here), but if you just want to get a feel for the process then you’re in the right place. 

Or, if you want to delve even deeper, Money Saving Expert has a great downloadable guide for first time buyers and mortgages that goes into every detail of the process, from how to increase your chances of getting approved to what to expect from mortgage insurance. 

It’s a good resource if you really want to delve in — but we’ll cover the basics of how to get a mortgage if you’re just getting started. 

How do I apply for a mortgage?

There are a few different places you can apply for a mortgage, but no matter where you go you’ll have to provide the same things — mainly proof of deposit and income. You’ll normally have to show bank statements, payslips, and proof that you have a deposit. (Things can be a little trickier if you’re self-employed or don’t have great credit, you can read more about it in our complete mortgage guide.)

So making sure you have enough savings, good credit, and proof of your income is a good place to start. If you want all of the details on the paperwork involved, we’ve broken that down for you here

Who gives me a mortgage?

Good question. You may know that mortgages are essentially a loan — a big loan — but where do you go to get one? You can get a mortgage in a few different ways. You may go right to a lender — like a bank or a building society — or you may apply through a mortgage broker, who can argue your case and try to get you the best possible rate and maximise your borrowing potential (more on that in a minute). 

Different banks and lenders have different criteria for their loans, so if you get rejected from one lender then you might still have luck with another. If you’re working with a mortgage broker, they should be doing the back and forth for you. 

What is being pre-approved for a mortgage? 

The first step will just be to have a chat and then to go over your documents to find out what loans you may be eligible for — after you’re ready to go, they’ll start the application process and you’ll get an get an agreement in principle, which you might hear referred to as an “AIP”. This lets you know how much you can borrow. When someone says they're "pre-approved", this is probably what they're talking about it. It also lets you make offers on homes with more confidence.

Does a mortgage have to come from my bank?

Nope. A lot of people get their mortgages directly from their bank — and that can be a good option. But you can also apply to other banks or building societies or through a broker, who will look at a range of options.

Do I need a mortgage broker? 

You don’t need a mortgage broker — many people apply directly to a lender. But a mortgage broker can be helpful if you’re looking to borrow as much as possible, if you’ve had any credit issues in the past, or if your employment situation isn’t straightforward (like if you’re self-employed). They can see a wide range of deals out there, so if you’re worried about not being able to borrow, they can help.

Many brokers charge a fee, so it’s important to look out for that — and other mortgage fees — when you’re making a decision.

Strike Financial Services always gives free mortgage advice and we won’t charge you at all for our services, but not all brokers work the same way — so it’s always good to check. 

We know — there’s a lot of jargon when it comes to mortgages. We don’t know why — and we always try to break it down to our customers in language people actually use."

What about all this jargon? 

We know — there’s a lot of jargon when it comes to mortgages. We don’t know why — and we always try to break it down to our customers in language we actually use. But there's some good news. You’ll find that some of the jargon is surprisingly straightforward: 

  • Repayment mortgages: This is just a mortgage where you’re repaying the entire loan, both the interest and the capital. It’s the most common mortgage option. 

  • Interest-only mortgages: This is when you only pay the interest (see what they did there?). But at the end of the term, you haven’t actually paid off your property — so this is usually used more for investment than personal homes. 

  • Fixed rate mortgages: When the interest rate is fixed for a certain amount of time, so it won’t vary with the Bank of England base rate.  

  • Variable rate mortgages: Here, the rates will vary (usually with what’s called an SVR — or the standard variable rate of the bank). 

This certainly isn’t the only jargon you’ll find when it comes to mortgages — but, as you can see, it’s not as scary as it seems. And if you have any questions, we’re always here to help.  If you want to delve even deeper into mortgages, check out our complete mortgage guide. Or if you’re looking to learn more about getting on the property market for the first time, we’ve broken down everything you need to know as a first time buyer in this handy guide.

It’s an exciting process, but it’s completely natural to need a little guidance — that’s what we’re here for. 

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Need mortgage advice to make that next dream home a reality? We can help.

We offer completely unbiased mortgage advice when you need it most — for free. No pushy selling. No complicated fees. Just straightforward advice at no cost to you.