Updated: February 16, 2022

Remortgaging When Unemployed or With Lower Income

Has your income dropped or have you been made unemployed and need to remortgage? Don't worry - it can be done! Find out what to do next in our guide

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: February 16, 2022

Remortgaging can be a useful way to access the equity in your home or reduce monthly repayments by getting a better deal on interest rates, but if you’re on a lower income or unemployed it can be a little more complex.

In this article we’ll identify the potential barriers and explore solutions that make remortgaging on a low income much more achievable. We’ll also show you how a specialist broker can smooth the process and increase your chances of success.

Can you remortgage on a lower income?

Yes, it’s possible. Even if your income is lower now than when you first bought your house, there are still plenty of options for remortgaging. As with any remortgage, you’ll need to meet the lender’s eligibility requirements, but a drop in income won’t necessarily make it impossible.

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How different workers might be affected

A lower income might not simply mean that you’ve switched to a lower paid job, it could mean a different way of working completely. A couple of the most common scenarios are:

  • Newly self-employed: if you’ve recently started your own business and are in the process of establishing regular work and clients, it can be harder to prove your income. While many lenders want to see three years of accounts, some are happy with just two years, or even less if you have a strong track record within your industry and otherwise good credit scores.
  • Zero-hours contracts: don’t assume that a zero-hours contract means your remortgage is a lost cause. Although many lenders will see you as a riskier applicant, many appreciate the nuances of this type of work arrangement and are prepared to look on a case by case basis. It will boost your application if you can show at least 12 month’s experience/payslips within a zero-hours contract and a corresponding P60.

Can you remortgage if you’re unemployed?

It’s unlikely that you will meet a lender’s eligibility requirements if you’re not working at all, but there may still be ways to show that you have income coming in, even if it’s not earned. This could be in the form of things like benefits, investments or rental income. You also have the option to use a guarantor if your income isn’t high enough.

How a broker can help

Remortgaging on a lower income can be complex, so it’s definitely in your best interests to get some expert advice. Here’s two key areas where a broker with experience helping people in such circumstances can help:

Help you prove your income

One of the most frustrating aspects of remortgaging on a lower income is proving to potential lenders exactly what your income is or is likely to be in the near future. A broker can help you find all the right documentation, whether you’re employed, on a zero-hours contract or self-employed.

Requirements can vary from lender to lender, so having an expert on hand who can help you with things like accounts, SA302 tax returns, payslips and P60s can be a huge weight off your mind.

Identify the right lenders

The advisors we work with have extensive experience with lenders who are willing to lend to people on lower incomes, and often have existing contacts that they can go to directly. They can eliminate those hours of your time visiting lenders on the high street or searching online and guide you straight to the right lenders for your circumstances.

Our free broker matching service can put you in touch with an expert who specialises in finding remortgage deals for people on low incomes. If you make an enquiry we can arrange for a specialist in this area to contact you directly.

Minimum income requirements

A lot of lenders don’t have fixed minimum income requirements as it’s more a question of overall affordability. Most lenders will be more concerned about the level of your income relative to the size of the loan you’re looking for, and so minimum income levels can often feel arbitrary.

That said, there are some lenders who do set limits, commonly around £20,000 a year but lower in some instances. A specialist broker can steer you towards the lenders who will be prepared to look at applications on a case by case basis.

Can benefits count towards income?

If you’re struggling to meet the minimum income requirements to remortgage, there are lenders who are happy to count some benefits within their income calculations. If you’re in receipt of any of the following, they could help you to secure the finance you need:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Bereavement Support Payment (BSP)
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

Another way to supplement your income for the purposes of remortgaging is to ask your lender to consider any eligible assets you may have as extra security. This could include stocks, shares and pension funds, investment properties and even cash. A mortgage advisor can make sure you’re exploiting all potential sources of supplementary income to get the best deal possible.

Using a guarantor to remortgage on a lower income

If your income really is too low, even with benefits, to allow you to remortgage, then switching to a guarantor mortgage could be an option. With a guarantor mortgage you’re asking a friend or family member to guarantee your repayments by signing a legally binding agreement to say they will be responsible for your debt should you default. Sometimes lenders ask guarantors to hold a large amount of untouchable savings with them as a form of deposit until an agreed amount of the loan has been paid off.

Using a guarantor is only really advisable when you feel confident you will be able to make your mortgage repayments yourself but just can’t meet the lender’s minimum income requirements – you don’t want to actually saddle your loved ones with your debts. It’s a big ask, so get some expert advice from a broker before you commit.

Can you remortgage during redundancy?

If the threat of potential redundancy is on the horizon, it’s best to be open with your lender on this. Remortgaging could be a sensible move as when it’s done right it can reduce your monthly payments and thus help you economise while you’re living off your redundancy pay.

If you know for sure that you’re going to be made redundant then the situation is slightly different, as you then have a duty to inform potential lenders and they may be less keen to lend, especially if you don’t have any other assets or income.

If you’re finding it hard to remortgage during a redundancy and are worried about making your repayments every month then there might be other options such as temporarily switching to an interest only mortgage or even government help via the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme (SMI).

Get matched with a broker specialising in remortgaging with a lower income

You can give yourself the best possible chance of success by getting advice from a broker who specialises in finding lenders for people who are unemployed or on lower incomes. They will know exactly which lenders are likely to be most sympathetic to your circumstances and can save you a lot of time, worry and potentially expense by finding you the best deal for your situation.

Our free broker-matching service works on a case by case basis, assessing your unique circumstances to match you with a mortgage advisor who has specific experience in helping secure remortgages for people on lower incomes.

Call 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry and we’ll set up a free, no-obligation chat between you and a specialist low income mortgage broker today.

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We can help! We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in Remortgages 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!

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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