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The mortgage application process

From finding the most suitable mortgage lender to sealing the deal, you’ll find information on each stage of the mortgage application process here.

1. Find a mortgage broker

There’s plenty to consider when buying a home, and trying to find the right mortgage can be easier said than done when there are thousands of deals to choose from at any given time.

It’s important to find the most competitive deal that matches your requirements, and to do that it definitely helps to seek expert advice.

You have several options to choose between:

  • Comparison website - Although comparison websites tend to list a wide selection of mortgage options, you won’t necessarily know what deals you’re eligible for and you won’t be provided with advice.
  • Mortgage lender - An individual mortgage lender will only search their own deals - in other words, your options will be limited and you could miss out on more competitive deals elsewhere.
  • Traditional mortgage broker - Traditional brokers will search a wider range of deals from different lenders. Many will charge a fee of around £500, and you’ll need to take time out of your day to meet in person to fill out paperwork or speak to someone on the phone.
  • Online mortgage broker - Most online brokers, including Trussle, are fee-free and faff-free; they’ll search thousands of mortgages from a wide range of lenders, and with everything done online, there’s no paperwork and their service is accessible 24/7.

Trussle

Our online mortgage broker service enables you to find a suitable mortgage quickly and without hassle. We’ll ask you for details about your financial situation and the property you’re interested in, then our experienced advisers will search the market and match you with an appropriate mortgage for your current needs and circumstances, completely free of charge.

2. Choose the right deal for you

If you choose to use a mortgage broker, they’ll provide you with a ‘mortgage recommendation’. Essentially, this is the most suitable deal they found for you based on your circumstances and requirements. You can either accept their recommendation or reject it, in which case they’ll offer to find you another option. Once you’ve accepted, you’ll be asked to provide the necessary documents and information required to submit your application to the chosen lender.

The lender will check your credit score, income, and expenditure to determine if you can afford the mortgage repayments.

3. Documents you need to apply for a mortgage

It’s a good idea to start preparing the documentation you‘ll need for the mortgage application in advance to save time and avoid the frustration of searching for missing documents at the last minute.

Mortgage lenders will need physical records of your income, including your basic salary and any additional money you receive from bonuses, benefits, freelancing, etc. To check affordability, lenders will take all your regular household bills and outgoings into account, along with any debts to ensure you have enough to cover the repayments.

  • Utility bills e.g. your electric, gas, and water bills
  • P60 from your employer
  • Payslips from the last three months
  • Identification e.g. passport or driving license
  • Current account bank statements from the last three months
  • Statements of two to three years’ accounts from an accountant if self-employed
  • Tax return form (SA302) if you have earnings from more than one source or are a self-employed home buyer
  • Proof of any benefits received

Each lenders has their own unique set of criteria you’ll need to meet to secure a mortgage from them, and some may require more paperwork than others.

4. Get a Decision in Principle (DIP)

Obtaining a Decision in Principle (also called an Agreement in Principle) is the first stage of the mortgage application process, and it’s usually quite quick and easy to do.

The lender will require some financial and identification documentation at this stage. A DIP is a document from your lender to say that they would be happy - in principle - to lend you an agreed amount to a help you buy a home.

5. Completing the mortgage application

When it comes to processing the mortgage application, lenders will want to ‘stress test’ it first. In short, this means they’ll take a close look at your income, spending habits, and potential monthly mortgage repayments to see if you could still meet them if something happened, i.e. interest rates rise or you lose your job.

The full mortgage application is submitted by your mortgage broker or adviser after completing a credit check. If the lender’s happy with everything they’ll most likely begin to process your application and proceed to the underwriting stage; at this point the lender will verify the documentation against the application. Next, a valuation is arranged by the lender.

6. Arranging a valuation

You and your mortgage lender will want to check that the property is worth what you’ve agreed to pay for it, and that’s where a valuation comes in. Not only will the valuation confirm the accuracy of the property’s price, it’ll flag any features or defects that could affect the value too. All lenders require a basic valuation, but it’s a good idea to get a separate full survey done too.

A valuation will usually take place within the first two weeks and will be conducted by a surveyor associated with the lender. The valuation report is a brief document that is mainly for the lender’s benefit, which is why it’s recommended that you arrange a second, more in-depth survey with your solicitor.

7. The offer

All being well, your mortgage application will be accepted. Once it’s approved, the mortgage lender will notify you with a Mortgage Offer letter confirming the loan amount, monthly repayments, and further details including fees and other important terms.

Tip: Checking that everything is present and correct in the offer is really important. Once the mortgage starts you’re bound to the terms and conditions outlined in it!

The offer is based on the information you provided about your income and expenditure together with the valuation. If your circumstances have changed (for example, you’ve lost your job or got a new one) you should inform the lender. Likewise, if there’s anything in the offer you want to change in light of the full property survey, you need to discuss it with the lender at this point.

If you’ve checked the offer thoroughly and are happy with it, your solicitor or conveyancer will complete and return a ‘report on title’ to the lender confirming that everything is in place to secure the mortgage.

8. Completion

Your solicitor or conveyancer will have agreed a completion date with the seller and their solicitor.

It’s important to organise buildings and contents insurance to start on the completion day as you’ll be fully responsible for the property from that point onwards.

On completion day, the money is exchanged between legal teams and your deposit is paid to the seller. You can pick up your keys from the estate agent and move in!

Now read, our checklist for moving house.