Can you get a mortgage without a full-time job?

Getting approved for a mortgage without a full-time job can be challenging, but it is possible.

The most important aspect when applying for a mortgage is being able to show a lender that you will be able to meet their monthly payments.

This is certainly possible to do if you are self-employed, working part-time or as a freelancer, but banks will require that you take extra steps to prove that your income and financial status are stable.

Think carefully before securing debts against your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

What do lenders look for?

Before approving you for a mortgage loan, lenders want to make sure that you can afford your monthly mortgage payments.

This means they’ll take a close look at your gross monthly income and your total monthly debts.

Earning the right debt-to-income ratio without a full-time job might be a struggle. But if your total monthly income is high enough even without such a job, you should be able to qualify for a mortgage.

While income and other debts are major factors that lenders take into account, they also look at the size of deposit you have.

Having a deposit of at least 10% of the value of the property you want to buy will improve your chances of getting the size of mortgage you need.

Why is it harder for freelancers to get a mortgage?

The difficulty lies in proving your self-employed income to a lender, which is often more complicated than simply declaring your payslips if you’re in regular employment. As a freelancer, your earnings are likely to fluctuate from month-to-month, meaning you will have varying levels of income throughout the year.

A freelancer also has less job security than a full-time worker. All of these factors can make lenders nervous, but that doesn’t mean that freelancers can’t access the same mortgage rates as those in regular full-time employment.

Tips to get approved

Prove your income

Many lenders are happy to give mortgages to self-employed, part-time workers or freelancers if they’ve been trading or working for more than three years, and have two years of tax returns and business accounts to prove their income.

So, if you’re thinking of getting a self-employed mortgage soon, but haven’t been trading or working for long enough, it’s better to wait until you can provide the lender with the evidence they require before putting in an application.

Save for a larger deposit

Some lenders will impose stricter rules on the amount of deposit you’ll need to get a freelance mortgage, so you may need to dig a little deeper to come up with the extra funds before they’ll accept you for a mortgage.

This isn’t always the case though, as some lenders may prefer to see future profit projections to ensure that you can afford the repayments now and in the years to come.

Shop around to find reputable lenders who are well-known for offering self-employed mortgages and approach them first to see what kind of deposit or projections they’ll expect to see.

Once you’ve decided which one you feel offers the best fit for your circumstances, you can apply for your mortgage.

Keep your files in order

To further increase your chances of being accepted for a freelancer or part-time mortgage, you’ll need to make sure that all of your accounts and tax returns are up-to-date and in good order, as the lender will need to see this evidence before considering you for a mortgage.

This, along with a solid credit rating, a healthy deposit and watertight accounts, will work in your favour.

Documentation required

Lenders will need to assess your income to work out how much you can afford to repay. The approach they use will depend on whether you’re running a business, are in a partnership, or are a contractor.

But generally speaking, lenders will want to see the income you’ve reported to HMRC and the tax paid. SA302 forms show this information, as does a “tax year overview” – HMRC can provide both.

Most lenders will expect to see the last three years of calculations, though some may accept two.

Use an accountant

It’s vital to have a certified or chartered accountant prepare your books. Many lenders won’t accept accounts that haven’t been signed off by an accountant.

Long-term contracts

If you can show evidence of long-term contracts from clients, regular sales or repeat business, this may go some way to allaying lenders’ concerns.

It’s worth providing as much evidence as possible that your business or work is robust and regular, above and beyond the documents the lender specifically requests.

Bottom line

You’ll need an income of some kind in order to get your mortgage application signed-off. For those in regular employment it’s perhaps easier, but for others there are a few extra hoops to jump through to prove that you’re a viable borrower.

Finder survey: Do you currently pay rent for your accommodation?

Source: Finder survey by Censuswide of 1032 Brits, December 2023
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