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Mortgages: Where do I start?

Ah yes, the vicious circle that is buying a house. Unless you’re very wealthy, you won’t be able to buy a house without a mortgage, but if that’s the case, you can’t apply for a mortgage until you’re in a position to buy. So, where’s your in? We’re going to explain!

The property market is a tough nut to crack. And while you have all your hopes and aspirations placed on settling down in the house of your dreams, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way… but enough with the negative talk. We know you don’t want to lose out on your dream home and we don’t want you to miss out on it either. So, read on! We’re going to show you how you can sort your mortgage as efficiently as possible.

What is a mortgage?

Ok, before we solve all of your problems let’s go over what a mortgage is.  Mortgages are basically a large sum of money which is lent to the borrower from either a bank or a building society to pay for the property. The borrowers will then have to pay this debt back with interest. Sounds simple right? Let’s move on.

When should I start looking at getting a mortgage?

Right now! We’re joking... Realistically, you need to be starting the process of applying for mortgages before you begin your house hunting. This is for three main reasons:

  • Budgeting:

First of all, you’re going to need to work out how much you can afford. This won’t come as a shock to many of you, but this is extremely important. And it’ll be even more important to you if you’re in a position of financial uncertainty. This might be because you’re a freelancer, you’re about to move jobs or you’re without a stable income. Our main warning here is to be careful. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Borrow an amount that you know you can pay back.

  • Get to grips with the process:

Another pitfall for buyers is not knowing the formalities for buying a property. This is normally the case if they’re buying a property for the first time. While most are aware of the need for a deposit, many buyers don’t tend to factor in things like property valuations, legal fees & stamp duty

If these all sound like things that you aren’t familiar with don’t be alarmed! Our role at Mortgages Online is to guide you through the process and make sure that all of these things are given to you in digestible chunks.

  • Who are you buying with?

While I’m sure this is a given for most people, make sure you know who you’re buying with and get it sorted out early! While you might think it doesn’t have a big impact on what property you go for, it can have a huge impact on the amount that you borrow and as a result, your budget.

Understand the basics:

Getting to grips with the mortgage ABCs is going to be seriously important. Make sure you do your research and if you have any problems, don’t be afraid to ask for help! We can also guide you with different types of mortgages and which lender can provide the best rate for you.

If you’re a first-time buyer, it’s going to be critical that your credit rating is as good as it can possibly be. Why? Mortgage lenders are going to be conducting an affordability assessment to see whether you can afford to pay back the amount that you’re going to borrow from them. So, aside from checking your income and outgoings, this’ll mean checking your credit score is of a decent standard. Different mortgage lenders have different ways of assessing but generally speaking, outgoings, income and credit score are a pretty staple part of checks for all lenders.

The mortgage application: 

So, you’ve had the offer for the house you want to be accepted. Great news. Now you’ll have the pleasure of completing a full mortgage application. If you’ve passed your affordability checks a lot of this will already be covered. This will include many things like giving evidence of your income & expenditure, your current address and providing a valid ID.

As well as a credit check you’ll also need a valuation of the property that you want to buy. Most mortgage lenders recommend that their surveyors carry out these checks. But be warned, the standard mortgage valuation is for the lenders benefit only. If you want to be sure of the structural integrity of your new home then you'll have to pay for your own full valuation, which is likely to cost circa £1000. Sounds a lot but is invaluable if it uncovers potential issues that could cost many thousands to put right.

Any other services?

We also advise you to recruit the help of a property solicitor. This can be useful for understanding any complicated legal jargon and making sure that you’re getting everything that you think you’re signing up to when signing on the dotted line for your new home.

For all your mortgage advice, use MO. We’re not only an online mortgage comparison site, but we’ve got loads of specialist mortgage advisers and mortgage brokers to find a great deal for you. The best part? We’re completely free! Which means, credit cards away, you can find your ideal mortgage hassle and fee free. Whether you’re self-employed or first-time buyers, Mortgages Online can find a great deal that works for you.


Laura Waller

Laura Waller has been working in the mortgages industry since 2013, joining an independent brokerage in Essex. Laura has CeMAP 2 & 3 – Certificates in Mortgages Advice and Practice. Since then Laura oversees marketing for Mortgages Online, using her experience and expertise to write articles and blogs about mortgages and related topics.

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