Updated: January 17, 2022

What to do if You Can’t Get a Mortgage

Can't get a mortgage? You've still got options! Find out exactly what to do if you can't get a mortgage in our in-depth guide.

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No impact on your credit score

Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: January 17, 2022

A lot of people worry about getting a mortgage because they’re self-employed, had bad credit issues in the past or only have a small deposit but this doesn’t have to be the case. Just because you might not tick all the boxes, doesn’t mean there isn’t a mortgage out there for you.

This guide takes a closer look at some of the common issues that people think will mean they can’t get a mortgage, and offers some simple tips to give you the best chance of success, whatever your personal circumstances.

Why you might think you can’t get a mortgage

Securing a mortgage isn’t always black and white but there’s plenty of mortgage providers who are prepared to lend to people who don’t fit the traditional mould.

There’s a number of common myths around why someone might think their mortgage application will get turned down, such as:

You’re self-employed

If you’re self-employed and don’t have at least 2-3 years’ certified accounts you can’t get a mortgage – this isn’t true! It is possible to be your own boss and still own your own home, it might just take a specialist mortgage broker to help identify the best lenders to approach.

You’ve had credit issues in the past

Many people assume that a bad credit history will make it impossible to get a mortgage, but you may be surprised to know that even if you have a County Court Judgment (CCJ) on your file, you may still be able to get finance through a specialist mortgage lender.

You’re a first-time buyer

If you’re not yet on the property ladder, a first mortgage can feel like a huge step and you may be worried that you’ll be looked upon less favourably by lenders. Fear not, being a first-time buyer definitely doesn’t exclude you, even if you haven’t managed to save a huge deposit.

You have a small deposit or low income

Affordability is key for mortgage lenders – they want to know you can keep up with repayments. A low income or small deposit doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get a mortgage, as other factors such as your total outgoings and credit rating will be considered too.

Speaking to an experienced mortgage broker can help dispel a lot of these myths. They would know which lenders to approach, depending on your circumstances, increasing your chances of success.

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How to boost your chances of getting a mortgage

If you’re worried about getting a mortgage, there’s a few simple steps you can take right at the outset to prepare your application.

Have the right documents ready

The first step to getting a mortgage is to fill your application with as much information as possible. This includes payslips or self-assessment tax return forms if you’re self-employed, and bank statements to show proof of expenses. If you have other sources of income such as a private pension, tax credits or other benefits, you’ll need proof of these too in the form of recent HMRC correspondence, pension payslips or letters from the DWP. You’ll also need proof of ID, such as a passport or driving license.

Our guide to mortgage applications will help here.

Look at your credit reports

If you’re serious about getting a mortgage then now’s the time to take a deep breath and get a full, clear picture of your credit score. Even if it’s not the prettiest picture, at least you’ll have a clear idea of the issues. There may even be simple things you can do to improve your credit score once you know what’s what, such as having any outdated information removed and

Speak to an experienced broker

There’s so much choice when it comes to mortgages that this is when you really need to speak to a mortgage broker. They will be able to look at your credit history and all the financial information you’ve gathered, help you fill any gaps, and identify the most appropriate lenders for you.

Our broker-matching service is designed to match you with the right broker to take care of your specific needs. If you get in touch we can arrange for an advisor we work with to contact you directly.

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Eligibility requirements

When it comes to eligibility, this will depend very much on your individual circumstances. Here, again, a lot of people will worry unnecessarily and assume they won’t get past a lender’s criteria, but that’s not the case.

Each lender has their own set of eligibility requirements. Mainstream lenders will all want to see a healthy deposit, solid evidence of earnings and a strong credit rating. But what one lender may deem unacceptable, doesn’t mean all others will too.

Here’s a few common questions that might make someone think they’re unable to get a mortgage…

Do you need to have certified accounts if you’re self-employed?

No, you don’t need to have formalised accounts from an accountant. If you’re a sole trader doing your own self-assessment tax returns you can use your SA302 calculations. This is a statement from HMRC declaring what income has been recorded on your submitted tax returns and can be downloaded via your online account.

How much deposit do you need?

While many lenders ask for a minimum 10% deposit, there are plenty of options for those that have deposits as low as 5%. In fact in April this year the government announced a new 95% mortgage scheme, available on houses up to the value of £600,000. The scheme is available from high street lenders including Lloyds, Santander, Barclays, HSBC and NatWest and unlike the previous Help to Buy scheme it’s available to current homeowners as well as first-time buyers.

Can you get a mortgage if you’ve been bankrupt in the past?

Yes, it’s possible. The key thing a lender will look at with all credit issues is the severity and time since it occurred. Bankruptcy is pretty severe so there’s lots of lenders who won’t consider an application of this nature but there are specialist lenders who will. The challenge is knowing where to find them.

Get matched with an experienced mortgage broker

If you’re worried you won’t be able to get a mortgage then speaking to a broker who has experience in finding lenders appropriate to your personal circumstances really is key. They’ll help maximise your chances of success and keep repayments as low as possible.

Remember that going directly to any lender limits you to their specific range of products and so can mean you end up paying over the odds for your mortgage.

The brokers we work with have access to the whole of the market, so they can identify the very best deals on your behalf. Our broker matching service is completely free, so give us a call on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry to start the process.

Ask a quick question

We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in all different mortgage subjects. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Pete Mugleston

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Expert

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

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FCA Disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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