Updated: January 17, 2022

A Helpful Guide to Single Parent Mortgages

Buying a house as a single parent and worried if you’ll be accepted? There are lots of options! Our single parent mortgage guide will tell you exactly what to do.

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: January 17, 2022

No one has ever said that being a single parent is easy. Getting a single parent mortgage, on the other hand, can be fairly straightforward, if you’re aware of all the help that’s available and you take advantage of it.

In this guide, we explain how to overcome the challenges of getting a mortgage as a single parent, discuss government schemes that could help you out, and outline how the right mortgage broker can help you get the best deal.

Overcoming the challenges of getting a single parent mortgage

While it’s certainly possible to get a mortgage for a single mother or father, it’s best to know upfront about the additional challenges you might face, so you’re prepared to overcome them.


Quite simply, two incomes are better than one when you’re applying for a mortgage. Most lenders will only allow you to borrow up to four and a half times your annual income. That might be enough for a small property if you lived alone but, in most cases, it won’t always stretch to a family home.

A few lenders are prepared to offer five times your income (and even fewer, six times your income). That could vastly increase the range of properties in your price range. Of course, you would need to pass the lender’s other affordability checks to qualify for a mortgage of this value.

Bear in mind that your income doesn’t just include your salary. Many lenders will consider your child benefits, tax credits, and child support as part of your income, which could increase the amount you can borrow. They might only allow this for children that are under 13, if they are concerned about how you’ll repay the mortgage when you are no longer receiving child benefits.


Another factor that lenders look at before approving your application is your monthly spending. They’ll want to see that you can easily afford your mortgage repayments alongside your other typical outgoings.

As a single parent, your spending on essentials might be a lot higher than a single mortgage applicant without children. Before applying for a mortgage, see if you can cut back on any non-essential spending for at least a few months, to present the best possible picture of your financial situation.


Raising a family can involve unexpected expenses, so it’s not unusual for single parents to have debts. Mortgage lenders don’t expect you to be debt-free, but they will consider your debt-to-income ratio.

A debt-to-income ratio is the percentage of your annual income that is spent on loan repayments for credit cards, personal loans, car finance, etc, compared to the amount you earn. A debt-to-income ratio of 50% or more (i.e. more than 50% of your monthly income is spent on repayments) would worry a lot of lenders – but not all.

If you have serious credit issues, such as bankruptcy or unsatisfied county court judgments, you’ll need to be very selective about the lender you apply to, as many will not consider your application. A specialist bad credit mortgage broker is often called for in these situations.


An often-overlooked challenge for single parents is finding the time to complete mortgage applications amidst the demands of family life. Obviously, it’s best if you can get approval the first time you apply, but you may not know which lenders are likely to approve you, which can lead to wasting time on multiple applications.


As a single parent, it can seem like an uphill battle to save the 10% deposit that most lenders require to give you a mortgage. Don’t be discouraged if this goal seems impossible, as we’re about to explain a variety of options that could help you.

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Getting help from your family

If you have family members who would like to help you get a mortgage, here are a couple of products designed for your situation. Before applying, you should be sure that you can afford the repayments or that your family and friends can help with mortgage repayments if needed.

Family mortgages

With a family mortgage, sometimes called a springboard mortgage, you could borrow up to £500,000 without a deposit. Instead, you’ll need a family member to pay 10% of the property value into a savings account that’s linked to your mortgage.

They won’t need to give you the money as a gift – but they won’t be able to access it either. It will remain in the savings account for five years, and if you’ve made all your mortgage repayments in that time, they’ll get it back with savings interest. If you fail to repay your mortgage, your family member could lose their money.

Guarantor mortgages

With a guarantor mortgage, you’ll need a family member or loved one to act as your guarantor, meaning that they agree to make your mortgage repayments if you fail to do so.

Your guarantor’s home would be the security for the loan, so you could both lose your homes if you fail to make repayments, although an alternative option would be for your guarantor to place savings into an account held by the lender and secure the mortgage against them.

Getting help from the government

Getting help from family and friends isn’t an option for everyone. If you need an alternative, here are three government schemes designed to help you buy a home without saving a huge deposit.

Mortgage guarantee scheme

Through the government’s mortgage guarantee scheme, you can buy a home with a deposit of between 5% and 9%. Though lenders are usually unwilling to lend more than 90% of the property value, the government guarantees the portion of the loan that’s above this. This gives lenders additional security in the event of borrowers defaulting, so as a result, the number of low deposit mortgages on the market has increased since the start of the Covid pandemic.

Help to Buy equity loan

If you have at least a 5% deposit for a home and you’re a first-time buyer, you can apply for an equity loan from the government to reduce the amount you need to borrow from a mortgage lender. Buyers in London can get a 40% equity loan, other buyers can get a 20% equity loan.

The advantage of an equity loan over a larger mortgage is that the equity loan is interest-free for five years and you won’t need to make any immediate repayments. It will also help you to get a better rate on your mortgage, as you are borrowing a smaller percentage of the property value.

Shared Ownership

Another option is Shared Ownership. If you’re eligible, this allows you to buy a share of a home (usually between 25% and 75%) and rent the remaining share from a housing association.

Usually, if you were buying a home worth £200,000, you’d need a deposit of at least £20,000. But, if you are only buying a 25% share of that home (at £50,000), you’d only need a deposit of £5,000. You will, of course, have to consider whether you can afford both your mortgage repayments and your rent on the remaining portion, now and in the future.

Getting help from a broker

Finally, you should be aware of all the ways a broker can help you to find a mortgage as a single parent.

Specialist knowledge:

An experienced mortgage broker knows which lenders will go above the usual limit of four times your income when deciding how much you can borrow. They know which lenders offer family mortgages and guarantor mortgages, or who will consider your child benefit income as well as employment income.

Lower repayments:

A broker can help you to get the best possible mortgage rate for someone in your circumstances, helping to keep your monthly repayments as low as possible, and freeing up more of your money to spend on family expenses.


By working with a broker, you won’t need to spend time researching different mortgages and lenders. You’ll have an expert by your side to guide you through the necessary paperwork and boost your chances of first-time approval.

Finding a broker experienced in single parent mortgages

If you’re looking for a broker, it’s best to find one with experience working with single parents or low-income applicants. They can introduce you to the right lender, saving you time and, potentially, some money in the process.

A quick and easy way to find one is by using our broker-matching service, we’ll take your information and introduce you to a broker who we think has the right expertise to help.

Call us on 0808 189 0463 or get in touch through our website and we’ll match you with a broker experienced in single parent mortgages for a free, no obligation chat.

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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