9 ways to boost your chance of getting a mortgage

In fact, having scraped together enough funds for the deposit is only the beginning.

Today affordability and credit checks are really important for lenders when they decide whether they'll give you a mortgage or not.

Each lender has its own criteria, but they also have things in common when they assess mortgage applicants.

Below we've made a round-up of the best tips, based on Moneysavingexpert's guide for first-time buyers.

Boost your credit score

If you have a bad credit score, a majority of lenders will reject you, so boosting your credit score is the most obvious tip.

But keep in mind that some of the tips below require you to start months before applying, so make sure you start in good time or you risk being rejected.

Build or rebuild your credit score

It you have a poor credit score, it takes time to build or rebuild it.

But an easy way to improve it is by getting a credit card and spend on it each month, as it shows lenders you're capable of paying back what you borrow.

Just make sure you repay the debt in full each month, or you'll be charged hefty interest rates.

Credit builder cards are especially aimed at people with no credit or bad credit – but keep in mind their interest rates can be even higher.

Find the most suitable card card for you by comparing them on websites such as Money.co.uk, Go Compare as well as uSwitch.

Get on the electoral roll

It's also easier to get a mortgage if you're on the electoral roll – you can register on the government's website here.

For anyone who isn't eligible for this – mainly foreign nationals – you can add a note to your credit file saying you have other proofs of address.

Double-check your credit file and that everything's correct

Don't let inaccurate information on your credit file scupper your chances of getting a mortgage.

You can get free copies of your credit file from credit reference agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – check out the box below to find out how.

Once you've got it, double-check all the information for errors.

You can add a notice of correction to your file explaining why it’s unfair or how the circumstances arose.

If the credit reference agency won’t help you, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

You should also double-check the address for all active accounts, even if you no longer use them – anything unusual causes lenders to worry.

How do I check my credit report?

All three CRAs offer you the chance to view your score, report and more for a monthly fee BUT you can get hold of your score for free without paying for a subscription.

Experian – Sign-up to its CreditMatcher service which will give you access to your score and help you shop around for deals you are likely to be accepted for. If you want access to your full report you'll pay £14.99 a month after a 30-day trial period ends.

Equifax – You can get your Equifax report AND score through a website called Clearscore. If you go to Equifax directly you'll pay £14.95 a month after its 30-day free trial.

Call credit – You can get your report and score for free via its Noddle website, which advertises loans and cards you are likely to be accepted for.

You also have a legal right to access your report from each CRA for just £2 – but this won't include your score.

Avoid withdrawing cash on a credit card

Withdrawing cash on a credit card is frowned upon as its incredibly expensive and not a good sign – and it's also specifically noted on your credit file.

It looks like you’re desperate for cash and can’t live within your budget.

Break with past relationships

If you've ever had a joint account or any other financial "association" with an ex, their financial history can also impact your own file.

To stop this, simply contact the credit referencing agencies and they will make sure the link between the two of you is broken.

Don't miss payments or pay late

Set up a direct debit to make at least the minimum repayment on credit cards so you’re never late and never miss a month.

It’s always better to repay more, so make manual repayments on top when you can.

Avoid payday loans

Apart from boosting your credit score, first-time buyers should also try to avoid getting a pay day loan.

Not only are the interest rates sky-high, but some mortgage underwriters (the people who decide if you'll get a mortgage) simply reject anyone who's got such a loan is it indicates you're not the greatest at managing your finances.

Close unused credit cards

If you have lots of unused credit available, this can be seen as a negative, as you could borrow large amounts on a whim without passing a further credit check.

Even if you’ve paid an old card off and stopped using it, it’ll still show up as active unless you write to the card company and shut it down.

But keep in mind there can also be circumstances (such as shutting a long-standing account with a perfect history) where closing cards could be seen as negative.

Stay out of your overdraft

Last but not least, you should try to avoid using your overdraft, as it could be seen as you're living close to the edge of your finances.

In fact, some lenders won't even tolerate you being in your overdraft at all in the last three months.

What help is out there for first-time buyers?

GETTING on the property ladder can feel like a grim task but there are schemes out there to help first-time buyers own their own home.

Help to Buy ISA – It's a tax-free savings account where for every £200 you save, the government will add an extra £50. But there's a maximum limit of £3,000 which is paid to your solicitor when you move.

Help to Buy equity loan – The government will lend you up to 20 per cent of the home's value – or 40 per cent in London – after you've put down a five per cent deposit. The loan is on top of a normal mortgage but it can only be used to buy a new build property.

Lifetime ISA – Another government scheme that gives anyone aged 18 to 39 the chance to save tax-free and get a bonus of up to £32,000 towards your first home. You can save up to £4,000 a year and the government will add 25 per cent on top.

Shared ownership – Co-owning with a housing association means you can buy a part of the property and pay rent on the remaining amount. You can buy anything from 25 to 75 per cent of the property but you're restricted to specific ones.

"First dibs" in London – London Mayor Sadiq Khan is working on a scheme that will restrict sales of all new-build homes in the capital up to £350,000 to UK buyers for three months before any overseas marketing can take place.

Starter Home Initiative – A government scheme that will see 200,000 new-build homes in England to be sold to first-time buyers with a 20 per cent discount by 2020. To receive updates on the progress of these homes you can register your interest here.

Once you've improved your chances of getting a mortgage and you're ready to apply, follow these nine steps to finally get on the property ladder.

As you'd expect, there are once again a number of things you need to keep in mind, including mortgage broker fees and other hidden costs.

Last month, The Sun wrote about a new loan that gets cheaper as you pay it off and your credit score improves.

And earlier this summer, the simple "30 per cent rule" that could help your credit score was revealed.

Meanwhile, one in six families who applied for a mortgage in the last 10 years say they have been offered a smaller loan or were even rejected because of their childcare costs.


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