Can you be too old to get a mortgage?

Once you're over 50 your mortgage options begin to change.

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Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
Getting a mortgage can be more difficult when you get closer to retirement, thanks to the introduction of strict age caps imposed by lenders.

But it’s certainly possible for an older borrower to obtain a mortgage. Find out the types of loans available to you below and how you can increase your chances of securing one.

Can I get a mainstream mortgage?

While some lenders are willing to lend to people in their later years, others may label you “too old” for a traditional mortgage product and offer a short-term loan instead.

This option may seem like the perfect answer, but as they cost more per month, short-term loans can be much harder to keep up with because of the income required to service them.

Is the length of the repayment term affected by age?

If your traditional mortgage is accepted, the chances are the lender will say that the mortgage must be paid back by a certain age, which will restrict the borrowing term and increase costs significantly.

For example, if you applied for a home loan aged 55 and were told it had to be repaid by the time you were 70, you would only have a term of 15 years to repay the loan, rather than the standard 25. This could make the mortgage very expensive, maybe even unaffordable.

Before anything else, we recommend speaking to a mortgage broker who specialises in helping older borrowers. They will be able to identify a range of lenders willing to lend to those in their later years.

What mortgage options are available to me?

While you may struggle to get a traditional mortgage from some lenders, others may be flexible and offer a bespoke service once they know more about your circumstances.

You could also think about a retirement interest-only mortgage. This is a lifetime mortgage, meaning that the amount lent to you does not have to be repaid until you die or move permanently into long-term care.

What if I can’t get a mortgage?

If you’re finding it difficult to get approved for a mortgage, you may have to look into other options:

Joint mortgages

While it’s more common for a parent to help a child get on the property ladder by taking out a joint mortgage, it could also work the other way around.

Taking a joint mortgage where one of the borrowers is retired can be difficult as the age cap will be applied to the oldest person on the application.

One way around this is to ensure the younger applicant is able to prove they can cover the mortgage themselves.

Guarantor mortgages

Similarly, a guarantor mortgage may be an option for older borrowers. It’s important to note that guarantor mortgages can only be used in certain circumstances and that they come with a number of risks to both the mortgagor and the guarantor, so these should be approached with caution.

Equity release schemes

Equity release mortgage products act as a way of unlocking some of the value from your home after you’ve paid off your mortgage and own your property outright.

One type of equity release product is a lifetime mortgage, like the retirement interest-only mortgage, which is a loan taken out against your property that doesn’t require repayments.

How do I get mortgage-ready?

  • Save for the biggest deposit you can as this reduces the lender’s risk and should make them more willing to lend to you.
  • Provide the lender with bank statements showing you are managing your finances well.
  • Get all your paperwork in order.
  • Check your credit report with one of the UK’s credit reference agencies.
  • Improve your credit score if possible. Simple ways to do this include getting registered on the electoral roll, clearing unpaid debts and closing credit card accounts you no longer use.
  • If you are not already retired, ask for a pension projection from your provider to find out how much income you are likely to receive when you retire.
  • If you’re already retired, get a pension statement showing the income you have to fund the mortgage.
  • Have details of investments or income from other pots of cash to hand, such as savings.
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