Purchasing a home is a major financial milestone for many individuals, but securing a mortgage can be challenging if you have a poor credit history. If you’re in the UK and asking, “Can I still get a mortgage if I have bad credit?” The answer is yes, but it may require additional effort and research. This article will explore the various options available to those with poor credit in the UK and provide tips to help improve your chances of securing a mortgage.
Understanding bad credit
In the UK, your credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness. A lower score typically indicates a higher risk of defaulting on loan payments. Lenders use this score to determine whether or not to approve a loan application and, in some cases, the interest rate and terms of the loan. Bad credit is generally defined as a credit score below 560.
Options for Obtaining a Mortgage with Bad Credit in the UK
There are lenders in the UK that specialise in providing mortgages to borrowers with poor credit. These lenders may have more flexible criteria and be willing to consider your individual circumstances. However, keep in mind that the interest rates and fees may be higher than those offered by mainstream lenders.
A guarantor mortgage is an option for borrowers with bad credit. A guarantor, usually a close family member or friend, agrees to take on the financial responsibility if you fail to meet your mortgage repayments. This can increase your chances of being approved, but it also places a significant burden on the guarantor.
Help to Buy Scheme
The UK government’s Help to Buy Scheme is designed to assist first-time homebuyers by providing an equity loan of up to 20% (40% in London) of the property’s value. While the scheme doesn’t specifically target borrowers with bad credit, it can help reduce the amount you need to borrow, increasing your chances of mortgage approval.
Shared ownership is another government-backed scheme that allows you to buy a share of a property (usually between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining portion. This can make it easier to qualify for a mortgage, as you only need to secure a loan for the portion of the property you’re purchasing.
Improving your chances of securing a mortgage
Check your credit report
Before applying for a mortgage, request a copy of your credit report from the three main credit reference agencies in the UK: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Review your report for any errors or inaccuracies and dispute them if necessary.
Reduce your debt
Lenders will consider your debt-to-income ratio when evaluating your mortgage application. Reducing your outstanding debts can improve your chances of getting approval.
Save for a larger deposit
A larger deposit can help offset the risk associated with lending to someone with bad credit. Saving for a deposit of 15% or more may increase your chances of being approved for a mortgage.
Consider a joint application
Applying for a mortgage with a partner or family member who has a stronger credit history can increase your chances of approval. Keep in mind that both applicants will be responsible for repaying the mortgage.
Seek professional advice
A mortgage broker can help you navigate the mortgage market and find suitable lenders that cater to borrowers with bad credit. They can also provide advice on how to improve your credit score and increase your chances of securing a mortgage.
While having bad credit can make obtaining a mortgage in the UK more challenging, it’s not impossible. By exploring alternative mortgage options, working to improve your credit score, and seeking professional advice, you can increase your chances of securing a mortgage and achieving your homeownership goals. Remember, persistence and determination are key when navigating the mortgage market with bad credit. With the right strategy and mindset, you’ll be well on your way to owning your dream home.