Can you get a mortgage as a freelancer?

It has been historically difficult for freelancers to be approved for a mortgage, but a number of lenders have taken steps to make it easier for them.

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Mortgage lenders have traditionally been wary of freelance workers because their income is less stable than an employed applicant. In the eyes of a lender, this makes them more likely to fall behind on their mortgage payments. In the past, the majority of lenders deemed them as too much of a risk to even consider.

However, as the amount of freelancers working in the UK continues to grow, a number of lenders have taken steps to cater for this market. Nevertheless, applicants will typically have to provide more proof of income than employees.

Can you get a mortgage as a freelancer?

The simple answer is yes, although you’ll need to pass the lender’s affordability checks. Some lenders will make it more difficult than others for freelancers to pass these checks, while there are still a few that will not consider freelance workers at all.

How to get a mortgage as a freelancer

It’s not easy for freelancers to find the best mortgage available to them. There are no comparison tables for freelancer mortgages and generic comparison websites are likely to prove unhelpful, as there’s typically no information explaining a lender’s attitude towards freelance applicants.

It’s therefore best for freelancers to work with a mortgage broker to find the best deal for them.

Mortgage brokers have specialist knowledge of lenders’ eligibility criteria and will be able to recommend you the best deals that you’re likely to be approved for. Ideally, you’ll find a mortgage broker who boasts experience helping freelancers onto the property ladder.

How many years freelancing do you need before being approved for a mortgage?

Mortgage lenders will ask to see proof of your annual earnings as a freelancer, so they can measure the consistency of your income. If you can show accounts for multiple years, the lender will be more comfortable about the reliability of your income and your ability to consistently meet your mortgage repayments. This will make it easier to be approved for a mortgage.

Most lenders will want to see at least one year’s worth of accounts to even consider your mortgage application. Others will ask for two or three years’ worth of accounts.

Lenders will often calculate your average earnings over this amount of years and allow you to borrow a multiple of this amount.

The eligibility criteria may differ for freelancers working on a fixed-term contract. If a contract worker can show evidence of future employment, that will often work in their favour.

Of course, it’s not just the amount of years you’ve been working as a freelancer that will determine your eligibility. Other factors including your overall income, credit score, deposit size and the amount you’re applying to borrow will also be considered.

Can a freelancer get a buy-to-let mortgage?

It may actually prove easier for a freelancer to get a buy-to-let mortgage, compared to buying their first home.

Many buy-to-let mortgage lenders place no minimum income requirements on their applicants, as they will be able to make the mortgage payments using the rental income from their tenants.

Freelancers should be able to be approved for a buy-to-let mortgage, if:

  • They’re a homeowner
  • They can show a history of having paid off buy-to-let mortgages
  • They can show that the property is likely to attract profits worth 125% of your mortgage interest

If you can’t meet this criteria, the lender may pay more attention to the income earned from your freelance work.

Can a freelancer get a mortgage with bad credit?

As with any type of mortgage application, a lender will use a freelancer’s credit score as an indicator of their ability to reliably pay off their mortgage. Freelancers will be credit checked during their mortgage application and this data will be used as part of the lender’s affordability assessment.

If you know you have a poor credit score, discuss this with your mortgage broker. They will be able to recommend the mortgage lenders most likely to approve a freelance worker with bad credit.

Still, in order to access the best deals, you may want to wait and build your credit score before applying for a mortgage.

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