Is getting a mortgage difficult if you run your own business?
Applying for a mortgage has changed – dramatically, because you now need to meet strict conditions brought in since the banking crisis. And these new conditions can sometimes make life difficult for small business owners.
I have been arranging mortgages for 20 years and it’s not that long ago that you could “self-certify” your income without the need to show accounts or other forms of proof. As long as your credit profile matched the lenders criteria and you passed other checks, you would have your mortgage. Not now.
There are 3 main areas of change:
The mortgage must be affordable, now and in the future if interest rates rise
You must show proof to back up your claims for income and expenditure
Advice can now only be given by a qualified mortgage advisor
Whichever lender you now go to you must prove your income with some or all of the following: recent accounts/accountants certificate, HMRC forms, payslips/P60 and personal bank statements showing income received. A few recent payslips on their own won’t do.
But is it all bad news?
There is amazing choice right now, with interest rates lower than we could have previously imagined, with deals even available where people with a less than perfect credit history can be considered. But as I have written above, proof of income is required and as you are in business you may leave profits in the business and take your income in different forms in order to minimise your tax liability. All perfectly legitimate but how you manage your finances could scupper your chances of a mortgage from Lender A, but be perfectly acceptable to Lender B. To know who to go to and avoid the pitfalls, preparation is the key.
Different lenders use different methods of calculating your income, with drawings/net profit/dividends and any other source of income being used in different combinations. And then there is your credit record to take into account, and any ongoing loans or credit cards with balances will restrict the amount you can borrow. The devil is in the detail and it can be complex. But by seeking advice early and making some adjustments to your finances you can boost your chances. For more information about the mortgage application procedure, CLICK HERE
What can I do?
So, what should you do to boost your chances of navigating the new rules successfully?
1... Look carefully at your finances and accounts in good time, well before you apply for a mortgage. To borrow as much as possible it will pay to cut spending where possible, over several months before an application.
2... Speak to your accountant to make sure accounts are healthy. Showing a loss is a difficult bridge to cross.