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What do you need to get a mortgage?

  • Being a sole trader, freelancer, limited company director or a contractor comes with a few challenges.
  • Getting a self-employed mortgage may also be a challenge, but it may be easier than you think.
  • Whether you are employed or self-employed in some form, we are here to secure your mortgage.
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Employment requirements for a mortgage

Income is one of the main mortgage criteria

When buying your home, the mortgage you can get will heavily depend on your income. Other factors will also play a part as per lending criteria, but the mortgage affordability assessment starts with your income.

There are different employment types and income elements, so we have grouped them into 4 sections: employed, self-employed (sole trader and freelancer), Ltd company director and contractor income. The lending criteria are different per income type, but also per lender, so click through for more information.


There are the vanilla cases (same basic salary every month, no deductions apart from tax and national insurance contribution) and there is everyone else. Which group do you belong to? 

We often hear that a self-employed person will have a hard time getting a mortgage, but people rarely realise that being employed is not necessarily straightforward either. Probationary period, maternity leave, commission/bonus payments and other factors are all judged differently by lenders based on their mortgage lending criteria. 

This guide contains more information about lending criteria for employed people and how best we can help you.

(sole trader and freelancer)

When self-cert mortgages stopped, many thought that this was the end for mortgages for self-employed people. After all, not everyone has 3 years trading history, 20-30% deposit and a huge income. The good news is, if you are self-employed with less than 2 years accounts, it is possible to get a mortgage and you don’t even need a big deposit.

A sole trader mortgage (or freelancer mortgage) uses your income before tax. Just like an employee’s income. The difference is that as a sole trader (freelancer), you have influence over how much income you report for tax purposes.

So how to get a mortgage when self-employed? Read on and we’ll help you secure your self-employed mortgage.


Contractors have an advantage: their income can be assessed in more ways than anyone else, which opens up more options for them. This means that getting a mortgage as a contract worker is becoming easier by the day as more lenders accept contractors.

There will likely be a mortgage deal for you, whether:

  • you are on an hourly or daily rate;
  • you work through an umbrella company or a limited company;
  • you have a short or long-term contract;
  • you have recently started contracting or been doing so for several years.

In response to the question “Can I get a mortgage on a fixed term contract?”, the simple answer is yes. However, for more lending criteria details and for a simple contractor mortgage calculator explanation, we have a guide here specifically for you.

Limited company director

A mortgage for a limited company director may be assessed in different ways dependent on lending criteria by different mortgage lenders. This unique position allows for greater flexibility when trying to secure a mortgage. Even if you only have 1-year accounts or recently switched from being a sole trader to a limited company director, you could potentially get a mortgage.

How about buying a buy to let property through a limited company? It may be possible using your already existing company or via a newly set up limited company. As more lenders offer this type of mortgage, you will also need tax advice to ensure that you have the most suitable buy to let solution.

To learn more about your options and how we can help you make the most of limited company lending criteria, read our detailed guide here.

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Did you know that income from pension, benefits and property rental may also be accepted by mortgage lenders? Our advisers will ensure they understand your income situation fully before recommending the best mortgage deal. 

What other income can be used to qualify for a mortgage?

Pension income

Pension income may come from state or private pension, or it may be army or widow pension. You may even have a number of different pension sources. If you are already in receipt of pension income, it could potentially be used. Alternatively, if you are looking to borrow beyond retirement age, lenders would likely assess your mortgage borrowing based on the anticipated pension income.

Benefits income

There are various benefits that may also be accepted by lenders. These could include child benefit, child tax credit, universal credit or disability living allowance amongst others.

Rental income

If you are in receipt of rental income, some lenders would use the gross rent as income and the mortgage payments as credit commitments when assessing your affordability. Others would use the rental income shown on your tax return and yet others would completely ignore the whole buy to let aspect as long as the rent sufficiently covers the mortgage on the rental properties.

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