Mortgage declined by an underwriter? Here’s what to do

11th October 2019

Man looking at his phone holding his head

When you apply for a mortgage there’s a chance that the lender’s underwriter will turn you down.

The underwriter is the person who decides whether you qualify for the mortgage.

They do this by checking that you fit the lender’s requirements - in particular, whether you can afford to repay the loan if interest rates go up.

Why an underwriter could turn you down

There are lots of reasons why an underwriter could turn you down for a mortgage.

They include:

  • your credit rating not being good enough

  • your income being too low for the size of the loan

  • not having sufficient proof of your income (if you’ve recently become self-employed, for example)

  • having an issue with the property itself (some lenders don’t give mortgages for flats above a certain number of floors, for example)

You could still get a mortgage

If one underwriter has turned down your application, it doesn't necessarily mean that another lender’s will as they could have different criteria.

But if you put in lots of mortgage applications it could lower your credit score, which would make it even harder for you to get a mortgage.

How a specialist lender could help

If an underwriter at a major lender turns down your application, it may be worth applying to a specialist lender next time.

A lot of the smaller lenders in the UK use bespoke underwriting as a selling point.

Darlington Building Society, for example, underwrites doctors, solicitors, and barristers based on the income they’ll earn once they qualify, rather than what they earn now. (1)

Some lenders, such as Kensington and Halifax, can be more amenable when it comes to the self-employed. (2)

Others, like Aldermore and Bluestone, could look more favourably on you if your credit score is less than perfect. (3)

Bear in mind that you may have to pay a higher interest rate if you use a specialist lender.

Do your homework before applying again

“If your application gets turned down by an underwriter you need to find out the exact reasons why,” said Prakash Patel, a Mortgage Adviser at Trussle.

“Either ask your mortgage broker or the lender if you’ve taken out the mortgage directly. After that, you may be able to make adjustments to your application or find a lender more suited to your circumstances.”


(1) Darlington Building Society

(2) Kensington, Halifax

(3) Aldermore, Bluestone

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