Mortgages for single parents

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Mortgages for single parents

The homeownership journey can be exciting and daunting, especially when traversing it alone. For many, the path is fraught with questions and uncertainties, but perhaps none more so than for those searching for ‘mortgages for single parents’. These individuals not only grapple with the usual complexities of interest rates and deposits but also balance them against the unique challenges of raising a family on a single income. This guide delves deep into the intricacies of the mortgage landscape, offering tailored insights and strategies to help single parents navigate the process and make informed decisions.

How to get a mortgage as a single parent

Getting a mortgage as a single parent can be challenging due to the single income and the potential responsibilities that come with raising children. However, with proper planning and consideration of various factors, securing a mortgage is feasible. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help single parents navigate the mortgage process in the UK:

Assess Your Financial Position: Check your credit score: A healthy credit score can lead to better mortgage deals.

Evaluate your budget: Consider all your monthly expenses, including childcare, to understand how much you can afford to borrow.

Understand your income: Mortgage lenders look at reliable income sources. This includes salary, bonuses, child maintenance (if it’s formalised), and some benefits. If you’re on a zero-hour contract or part-time job, some lenders might be cautious. Ensure you have consistent records of your earnings.

Decide on a mortgage type: Do you want a fixed rate where the interest stays the same for a set number of years? Or a variable rate, which might be lower to start but could rise?

Save for a deposit: The larger the deposit you can save, the better the mortgage rate you might be offered. Consider opening a Lifetime ISA, which provides bonuses to those saving for their first home.

Speak to a mortgage broker: An advisor or broker can provide guidance tailored to your circumstances. Some brokers specialise in cases like single parents or those with complex incomes. They can also access deals that might not be available to the general public.

Get an agreement in principle: Before house hunting, many estate agents will want to see that you have an Agreement in Principle from a lender, showing you can theoretically borrow the amount you need.

Start house hunting: Keep in mind other costs like stamp duty, valuation fees, and solicitor fees.

Formal mortgage application: Once you’ve found a property, you’ll move forward with the formal mortgage application. Ensure you have all your paperwork in order: payslips, bank statements, proof of deposit, and any other necessary documentation.

Consider mortgage protection: As a single parent, it’s wise to consider getting mortgage payment protection or life insurance, ensuring your children are covered should anything happen to you.

Completion: Once your mortgage is approved and all checks are done, you’ll proceed to the completion, where funds are transferred, and you get the keys to your new home.

Stay informed: Financial situations and mortgage deals change. Keep an eye on your circumstances and the market to know if you should consider remortgaging in the future.

Lastly, remember that while being a single parent might add some complexities to the mortgage process, it doesn’t make it impossible. With persistence, informed decisions, and potentially the help of a financial advisor, many single parents successfully navigate the UK mortgage landscape.

Is it possible to get a mortgage as a single parent?

Yes, it’s entirely possible for single parents to obtain a mortgage. While the challenges associated with a single income and the responsibilities of raising children might make the process seem daunting, many single parents successfully navigate the mortgage landscape.

The first step for single parents is to thoroughly assess their financial position. It’s important to have a clear understanding of one’s credit score, as a healthy score can lead to better mortgage deals. At the same time, evaluating monthly expenses, including childcare and other essential costs, will provide a clearer picture of how much one can afford to borrow.

The source of income is another crucial factor. Mortgage lenders consider reliable income sources such as salary, bonuses, formalised child maintenance, and certain benefits. For those on a zero-hour contract or part-time job, it’s essential to maintain consistent records of earnings, as some lenders may be more cautious in these situations.

Mortgage lenders for single parents

While many UK mortgage lenders are open to serving single parents, the specific terms, considerations, and flexibility can vary among them. Here is a list of some UK mortgage lenders that single parents might consider:


    1. Barclays

    1. Santander

    1. Nationwide Building Society

    1. Halifax

    1. Lloyds Bank

    1. HSBC

    1. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

    1. NatWest

    1. TSB

    1. Metro Bank

    1. Virgin Money

    1. Clydesdale Bank

    1. Yorkshire Building Society

    1. Coventry Building Society

    1. Kensington Mortgages (a specialist lender that might be more accommodating of varied circumstances)

    1. Precise Mortgages (another specialist lender)

    1. The Nottingham Building Society

    1. Aldermore (known for its more flexible lending criteria)

    1. Skipton Building Society

    1. Platform (a trading name of The Co-operative Bank)

If you’re a single parent exploring mortgage options, it can be beneficial to consult a mortgage broker or adviser who’s familiar with lenders’ varying criteria and can recommend the best fit for your situation.

What’s the average deposit required for single parents applying for mortgages?

The average deposit required for single parents applying for mortgages in the UK is not significantly different from other applicants. Typically, the deposit amounts are driven by lenders’ requirements and government schemes rather than the marital or parental status of the applicant.

For most standard mortgages, lenders generally ask for a deposit of around 5% to 20% of the property’s value. However, those aiming for more competitive mortgage rates might strive to save a larger deposit, around 25% or more. For single parents, the exact amount will depend on their individual financial circumstances, the mortgage product, and the lender’s criteria.

How much can I borrow as a single parent?

The amount a single parent can borrow for a mortgage in the UK is based on various factors, largely mirroring those that apply to other borrowers rather than solely the applicant’s parental status.

Lenders primarily evaluate the affordability of a mortgage by examining the applicant’s income and outgoings. Income includes regular earnings from employment, self-employment, certain benefits, and sometimes child maintenance, especially if it’s consistent and formalised.

Traditionally, lenders offered mortgages based on a multiple of the borrower’s income, often around 4 to 4.5 times the annual income. So, for example, if a single parent earned £30,000 a year, they might be offered a mortgage of around £120,000 to £135,000. However, in recent times, the exact multiples can vary significantly between lenders and are always subject to a detailed affordability assessment.

What counts towards my income?

When applying for a mortgage in the UK, various sources of income can be considered by lenders to assess your affordability:


    1. Salary: This is the most straightforward income source, and lenders will look at your regular monthly or annual wage before tax.

    1. Overtime and bonuses: If you regularly earn overtime or receive bonuses, lenders might factor these in, although they might not consider the entire amount.

    1. Self-employed income: For the self-employed, lenders typically consider the average of the last two to three years’ profits, though this can vary by lender.

    1. Rental income: If you own other properties and earn rent, this can be counted towards your income.

    1. Pension: Regular pension payments can also be taken into account.

    1. Benefits: Certain state benefits, such as Child Benefit, Universal Credit, or others, might be included, especially if they are long-term and consistent.

    1. Child maintenance: Payments received for child maintenance can be factored in, particularly if they’re formalised through a legal arrangement and are consistent.

    1. Investment income: Returns or dividends from investments can be included if they are consistent.

    1. Freelance or contractual work: If you earn income from freelance or contractual work, lenders will assess the consistency and longevity of these earnings.

    1. Other sources: Some lenders might consider other income sources, such as royalties or income from trusts.

It’s essential to provide evidence of all income sources during the mortgage application process. The specific documents required can vary but often include payslips, tax returns, bank statements, or official payment confirmations.

Can a single parent with part-time employment secure a mortgage?

Securing a mortgage as a single parent with part-time employment is certainly possible, though it can present challenges. Lenders will primarily focus on the stability and predictability of your income, as well as your ability to meet monthly mortgage repayments.

While full-time employment might make the process more straightforward due to the perception of a more stable income, many lenders are becoming increasingly understanding of varied employment arrangements, including part-time work. The key is to demonstrate that, despite working part-time, you have a consistent and reliable income.
Lenders will take into account all forms of income, not just wages from part-time employment.

The debt-to-income ratio is another factor lenders will scrutinise. This ratio looks at your total monthly debts and financial commitments in relation to your income. A lower ratio can increase your chances of approval, even with part-time earnings.

Your credit history will also play a role. A good credit score and a history of timely repayments can bolster a lender’s confidence in your ability to handle a mortgage.

Finally, a larger deposit can improve the likelihood of securing a mortgage. The more you can put down upfront, the less risk the lender takes on, which can counterbalance concerns about part-time income.

It’s often beneficial for those with part-time employment, especially single parents, to consult a mortgage advisor. Such professionals can guide you to lenders who are more amenable to non-traditional employment arrangements and help present your financial situation in the best light.

Can I get a mortgage as a self-employed single parent?

Yes, you can get a mortgage as a self-employed single parent, but the process may be more complex than for someone in traditional full-time employment. Lenders will be keen to ensure that, as a self-employed individual, your income is stable and sufficient to cover mortgage repayments.

Mortgage providers typically want to see at least two years’ worth of accounts or tax returns (SA302 forms) to verify your income. This helps them gauge the sustainability and consistency of your earnings. Some lenders might accept one year’s accounts, but having more will broaden your options.

As with any mortgage application, the larger the deposit you can provide, the better your chances of approval. It reduces the lender’s risk and demonstrates your financial responsibility.

What are the best mortgage deals for single parents?

The “best” mortgage deals for single parents in the UK vary based on market conditions, the parent’s financial situation, and the specific needs of the individual. However, what is consistent is the set of factors that will help determine which deal is most suitable.

Interest rate types: Fixed Rate: Offers certainty on monthly repayments for a specified period, often 2, 3, 5, or even 10 years. Ideal for those who want to know exactly what they’ll pay each month.

Variable rate: Rates can fluctuate based on the lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) or other benchmarks. There’s potential for lower rates, but they can rise.

Tracker mortgages: These track the Bank of England base rate. If the base rate goes up, so does your mortgage rate and vice versa.

Loan-to-value (LTV): Mortgages with a lower LTV (meaning you provide a larger deposit) often come with better interest rates. For example, a 75% LTV mortgage will generally have a better rate than a 95% LTV mortgage.

Fees: Some of the lowest interest rates can come with high upfront fees. It’s essential to calculate the total cost over the deal period (e.g., a 2-year fixed rate) and not just focus on the interest rate.

Flexibility: Look for mortgages that allow overpayments without penalties, should you find yourself with extra money. Similarly, some mortgages offer “payment holidays” where you can skip a few payments if necessary.

Term length: A shorter mortgage term will mean higher monthly payments but less interest paid over the life of the loan. Conversely, a longer term will reduce monthly payments but may result in paying more interest overall.

Reputation and service: Sometimes, the service quality, ease of contact, and other customer service aspects can make a difference, especially for first-time buyers unfamiliar with the process.

Incentives: Some lenders offer cashback, free legal work, or fee-free valuation as part of their mortgage deals.

To find the best mortgage deal, it’s wise for single parents to consult with a mortgage broker or advisor. They can provide insight into the current market, evaluate individual circumstances, and recommend suitable products. The “best” deal isn’t just about the lowest interest rate but about the overall package that meets the parent’s needs and financial situation.

Previously poor credit – single parent mortgages with bad credit

Securing a mortgage as a single parent with a history of poor credit can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here’s what you should be aware of and what steps to take if you’re in this situation:

Understand your credit report: Before starting the mortgage application process, obtain a copy of your credit report. This will give you a clear picture of your credit history, any defaults, missed payments, or other financial issues that might be of concern to lenders.

Larger deposits: Lenders might be more willing to consider your application if you can provide a larger deposit. This reduces their risk. So, while many mortgages might require a 5-10% deposit, offering 15% or more can make you a more appealing applicant.

Consider specialist lenders: Some lenders specialise in offering products to individuals with adverse credit. They might charge higher interest rates to reflect the increased risk, but they are more understanding of past financial difficulties.

Show proof of improved financial management: If you can demonstrate that you’ve taken steps to manage your finances better, like consistent bill payments or clearing debts, this can be in your favour.

Stable income: Ensure you can provide evidence of a stable income. As a single parent, this could be from employment, self-employment, child maintenance payments, or state benefits. Lenders want to be confident that you can make your mortgage payments.

Seek professional advice: Consulting a mortgage broker, especially one who specialises in bad credit mortgages, can be very beneficial. They’ll have knowledge of lenders more amenable to individuals with poor credit and can help guide you through the application process.

Consider a guarantor: If you have a family member or close friend willing to act as a guarantor, this can sometimes help to secure a mortgage. The guarantor agrees to cover the mortgage payments if you’re unable to.

Be honest: It’s essential to be upfront with lenders about your credit history. They will find out through the application process, and honesty can help frame the conversation in a more positive light.

In summary, while bad credit can present obstacles, with careful planning, evidence of financial stability, and possibly the help of a specialist broker, single parents with a history of poor credit can still secure a mortgage.

What factors affect your eligibility for a mortgage as a single parent?

Several factors can affect your eligibility for a mortgage as a single parent, many of which are common to all mortgage applicants, but some might be more pertinent to single parents. Here’s an overview:

Income stability: Lenders will assess the stability of your income. This includes earnings from employment or self-employment, but for single parents, it can also encompass child maintenance payments, benefits, or other income sources. Lenders want assurance that your income is both sufficient and consistent.

Credit history: A good credit score and a positive credit history make you a more attractive borrower. Late payments, defaults, or other negative marks on your credit report can be hurdles, though they’re not insurmountable.

Deposit size: The larger the deposit you can provide, the better. A significant deposit reduces the risk for the lender and can offset some other potential negatives on your application.

Debt-to-income ratio: Lenders evaluate how much of your monthly income goes towards debt repayments. A lower ratio indicates that you have a good balance between income and existing commitments.

Outgoings and expenditures: Single parents often face unique expenditures, such as childcare costs. Lenders will want an overview of your monthly outgoings to gauge how they might affect your ability to repay the mortgage.

Employment type: Full-time, permanent employment is often seen as more stable. However, part-time employment, contract work, or being self-employed doesn’t disqualify you, though it might require more documentation and proof of income stability.

Property type: The type of property you’re looking to buy can affect eligibility. Some lenders might be hesitant about non-standard property types.

Length of mortgage term: The length of the mortgage term can influence monthly repayments. A shorter term means higher monthly payments but a lower overall cost, while a longer-term reduces monthly payments but may cost more in the long run.

Age: Some lenders have upper age limits for the end of the mortgage term, which can be a factor for older applicants.

Support schemes: Single parents might benefit from specific government schemes, like Help to Buy or Shared Ownership, which can influence eligibility and the type of mortgage you can obtain.

Guarantors: Having a guarantor might expand eligibility, especially if there are concerns about income stability or credit history.

It’s essential for single parents to get a clear picture of their financial health and to understand how lenders will view their applications. Consulting with a mortgage advisor can be beneficial in navigating the process and finding a mortgage product that fits individual circumstances.

What happens to my joint mortgage if I’m a newly single parent?

If you’re a newly single parent and you have a joint mortgage, several aspects come into play, often influenced by the nature of your relationship change and the agreements you had in place.

Here’s what you might encounter and need to consider:

Communication with your co-borrower: It’s crucial to discuss the mortgage situation with your former partner or co-borrower. Both of you are legally responsible for the mortgage payments, regardless of who lives in the property. Any missed payments can negatively affect both parties’ credit scores.

Mortgage payments: Even if one party moves out, the responsibility to pay the mortgage remains joint until any formal changes are made. Determine who will make the payments and how much each will contribute.

Selling the property: One option is to sell the home, pay off the mortgage, and then divide any remaining proceeds in a manner agreed upon or dictated by any pre-existing legal arrangements.

Refinancing: If one party wishes to keep the home, they might need to refinance the mortgage in their name alone. This would require them to qualify for the mortgage based on their individual income and credit. Once refinanced, the other party is no longer financially responsible for the mortgage.

Legal agreements: If you’re divorcing, the division of assets, including how the home and mortgage are handled, will likely be part of the settlement. It’s essential to have legal counsel to guide you through this.

Transfer of equity: This is where one party transfers their interest in the property to the other, making it either solely owned or changing the ownership percentages. This might require lender approval and can be used in conjunction with refinancing.

Child considerations: As a newly single parent, the well-being and stability of your children can influence decisions about the home. This might involve considerations about school districts, proximity to supportive family or friends, and maintaining a stable environment for the children.

Protecting your credit: Ensure that mortgage payments continue to be made on time throughout any transition. If there’s uncertainty about who should be making payments, it’s better to communicate and ensure it gets paid rather than risk a missed payment.

Seek advice: It’s beneficial to consult both financial and legal professionals during this period. A financial advisor or mortgage broker can advise on refinancing or other mortgage-related concerns, while a solicitor or legal professional can guide property ownership and rights, especially during a divorce.

It’s a complex and often emotional period when becoming a single parent and dealing with joint financial responsibilities. Ensuring open communication, understanding your rights and responsibilities, and seeking professional advice can make the process more manageable.

Mortgage affordability as a single parent

When you’re the sole or primary earner for your household, lenders will closely scrutinise your income and outgoings to ensure that you can comfortably meet mortgage repayments.

For single parents, mortgage affordability largely depends on the stability and size of their income. This not only includes earnings from a job or self-employment but might also encompass regular child maintenance payments, state benefits, or other consistent income sources.

Lenders typically employ a multiple of your annual income to determine how much they’re willing to lend. However, they’ll also carry out detailed affordability checks, taking into account all of your monthly outgoings – from household bills and debts to childcare costs and living expenses. They will assess how these commitments might affect your ability to keep up with mortgage repayments.

Can you include child maintenance as income?

Many UK mortgage lenders will consider child maintenance payments as a form of income when assessing mortgage applications. However, the way they treat this income can vary from one lender to another. Some might accept 100% of the child maintenance payments, while others may accept a lesser percentage. Additionally, some lenders may require specific evidence or documentation to verify these payments.

Common forms of evidence that lenders might request include:


    1. Bank statements: Lenders often ask to see several months’ worth of bank statements to verify regular child maintenance payments.

    1. Court order: A court order can provide assurance to the lender that the child maintenance payments are legally mandated and thus likely to be received consistently.

    1. Child maintenance service (CMS) documentation: If your arrangement is through the CMS, they can provide documentation to verify the amount and regularity of the payments.

Which lenders will accept child maintenance on an application?

Here are some of the UK mortgage lenders known to consider child maintenance as income:


    1. Halifax

    1. Santander

    1. Barclays

    1. NatWest

    1. Lloyds Bank

    1. Nationwide Building Society

    1. Virgin Money

    1. TSB

    1. Yorkshire Building Society

    1. Metro Bank

This list is not exhaustive, and other lenders may also consider child maintenance. It’s also crucial to note that the specific criteria and what percentage of the child maintenance income is considered can vary even among the lenders listed above.

Do benefits count towards income for a mortgage?

In the UK, some mortgage lenders will consider certain state benefits as part of your income when assessing your mortgage application, but it varies widely among lenders and the types of benefits you receive.

Here are some of the benefits that might be considered:

Child benefit: While not all lenders will take this into account due to its temporary nature (it’s typically only paid until the child reaches 16 or 20 if they’re in approved education or training), some will include it, especially if it forms a significant portion of the applicant’s income.

Child tax credits and working tax credits: Some lenders might consider these in their affordability assessments, particularly if there’s evidence that they will be received for a significant period.

Universal credit: This is a more complex area because Universal Credit consolidates various older benefits into one payment. The amount of Universal Credit an individual receives can fluctuate based on circumstances, making some lenders cautious. However, some might include it as income, especially if other positive factors enhance the mortgage application’s overall strength.

Disability and sickness benefits: This includes benefits like Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Some lenders will consider these benefits, especially if they are long-term or permanent.

Pension income: State pensions and private pensions are generally viewed favourably by mortgage lenders, as they’re seen as stable, long-term sources of income.

Maintenance payments: While not a state benefit, child maintenance payments are sometimes treated similarly by lenders. Some will consider them as part of your income, especially if they are regular and can be verified.

If benefits form a significant part of your income and you’re considering applying for a mortgage, it’s crucial to:

Gather documentation: Ensure you have up-to-date records and official documentation to verify the amounts and durations of any benefits you receive.

Seek specialist advice: Consider consulting with a mortgage broker, especially one experienced in working with applicants who have non-traditional sources of income. They can advise on which lenders are most likely to consider benefits in their assessments.

Speak directly to lenders: If you have a specific lender in mind, directly asking them about their policies regarding benefits can provide clarity.

Remember, while benefits can form part of your income assessment for a mortgage, lenders will also consider other factors like your credit history, other sources of income, outgoings, and the size of your deposit when making their decision.

Are there any mortgage schemes available for single parents?

Yes, while not specifically designed only for single parents, several mortgage schemes in the UK can be especially beneficial for single parents looking to buy a home, given the financial challenges they might face. Here are some government-backed and other schemes that can help:

Shared ownership: If buying an entire property is financially challenging, the Shared Ownership scheme allows you to buy a portion (between 25% and 75%) of a property and pay rent on the remaining share. Over time, you can increase your ownership share in the property.

Lifetime ISA: This is a savings account designed to help first-time buyers save for a mortgage deposit. For every £4 saved, the government will add £1, up to a maximum bonus of £1,000 per year.

Right to buy: Council or housing association tenants might be eligible to buy their homes at a discounted rate through the Right to Buy scheme.

First homes: This is an initiative to help first-time buyers, including single parents, buy a home in their local area at a minimum of 30% discount from the market price. The discount is then passed on to future buyers to ensure homes remain affordable.

Mortgage guarantee scheme: Encouraging lenders to provide 95% mortgages, this scheme means buyers may only need a 5% deposit. It’s open to both first-time buyers and existing homeowners for homes valued up to a certain threshold.

Your credit history

Your credit history is a detailed record of your borrowing and repayment activities over time. It’s used by lenders, creditors, and other financial institutions to assess your creditworthiness when you apply for loans, mortgages, credit cards, or other forms of credit. Here’s what you need to know about it:

Credit report: Your credit history is compiled into a document known as a credit report. This report contains personal details, a list of open and closed credit accounts, the length of your credit history, and records of any missed or late payments.

Credit score: Based on the information in your credit report, you’ll be assigned a credit score. This is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness. A higher score generally indicates better credit health.

Factors affecting credit history:

Payment history: This is the record of your payments on loans, credit cards, and other credit accounts. On-time payments have a positive effect, while late or missed payments can harm your credit.

Credit utilisation: This refers to how much of your available credit you’re using. A lower utilisation rate is usually seen more favourably.

Length of credit history: Longer credit histories, particularly with a good payment record, can be beneficial.

Types of credit: It can be beneficial to have a mix of different credit types, like mortgages, credit cards, and instalment loans.

New credit: Opening many new accounts in a short time can be seen as risky behaviour.

Checking your credit: You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year from each of the major credit reference agencies in the UK – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. It’s a good idea to check your report periodically to ensure all the information is accurate and to monitor for signs of identity theft or fraud.

Importance: A good credit history can help you get approved for loans and credit at more favourable interest rates. On the other hand, a poor credit history can lead to higher interest rates or even denial of credit.

Improving Credit History: If your credit history is not optimal, you can take steps to improve it:


    • Ensure timely payment of bills and dues.

    • Reduce outstanding debts.

    • Avoid applying for unnecessary credit.

    • Regularly check and correct any inaccuracies in your credit report.

Remember, while past financial mistakes can impact your credit history, they don’t last forever. Negative items, such as late payments or bankruptcies, will eventually fall off your report after a set period, typically six years in the UK. With responsible financial behaviour, you can work towards rebuilding and maintaining a strong credit history over time.

Income, outgoings and affordability – the keys to a new home

Income, outgoings, and affordability are three fundamental elements that potential homeowners must consider when on the journey to purchasing a new home. Their interplay determines whether one can comfortably meet mortgage repayments and sustain a certain standard of living, all while avoiding financial stress.

Income is the money you earn regularly, often through employment, but also possibly from other sources like investments, rentals, or side businesses. A consistent and higher income can potentially open doors to better mortgage offers and a wider range of property choices. However, it’s not just about how much you earn; stability of income, especially for those who might be self-employed or on variable contracts, is vital. Lenders will scrutinise sources of income, its regularity, and its future prospects.

Outgoings refer to all your regular expenditures. This includes not just obvious costs like utilities, groceries, and transport but also debts like credit card payments, loans, childcare, and any other recurring commitments. Minimising unnecessary outgoings can maximise the amount you can potentially allocate towards mortgage repayments. Moreover, lenders will assess outgoings to determine if you can afford to take on and maintain the new debt of a mortgage.

Affordability is the balance between income and outgoings. It’s the metric that lenders use to determine how much they are willing to lend you. Simply put, it’s an assessment of whether, after all your outgoings, you’ll have enough left over to comfortably pay back the mortgage. Many lenders use detailed affordability assessments, which take into account not only your current circumstances but also potential future changes, like interest rate hikes or a change in employment status.

In essence, securing a new home hinges on this financial triad. Demonstrating a reliable income, managing outgoings, and proving affordability are crucial steps on the path to homeownership. A deep understanding of these elements not only impresses lenders but also ensures that you are taking a responsible and sustainable step towards a major life milestone.

Finding a deposit

Finding a deposit for a home can be one of the most challenging aspects of the home-buying process. The deposit is an upfront payment made when purchasing a property, and the size of the deposit can significantly influence the mortgage rate you’re offered, as well as your monthly mortgage payments. Here’s a guide on how to approach finding a deposit:

Determine how much you need: As a starting point, you’ll need to determine how much of a deposit you’ll require. While many mortgage lenders typically ask for a deposit of at least 5% to 10% of the property’s value, a larger deposit can often secure a better mortgage rate.

Start saving early: The sooner you begin saving, the easier it will be to accumulate the necessary funds. Open a dedicated savings account or a Lifetime ISA (which offers a government bonus for first-time buyers) to keep your deposit money separate and safe.

Budget and cut unnecessary expenses: Review your monthly spending and identify areas where you can cut back. Allocating these savings to your deposit fund can accelerate your progress.

Explore financial gifts: Some first-time buyers receive help from family in the form of a financial gift towards the deposit. If this is an option for you, ensure all parties understand the terms, whether it’s a gift, loan, or investment.

Sell unwanted items: Decluttering and selling items you no longer need can give your savings a boost. Platforms like eBay, Gumtree, or local car boot sales can be useful.

Take on extra work or side hustles: If feasible, consider taking on additional work or side projects to generate extra income dedicated to your deposit savings.

Review debts: If you have high-interest debts, it might be beneficial to focus on paying these off first. Once cleared, you can redirect these funds to saving for your deposit.

Seek professional advice: Financial advisors or mortgage brokers can provide tailored advice based on your personal circumstances, guiding you on the best strategies to save for a deposit and secure a mortgage.

Stay updated on the property market: Property prices can fluctuate. Regularly monitoring the market can give you insights into how much of a deposit you’ll need, based on the areas and property types you’re interested in.

Remember, while finding a deposit can be daunting, it’s a critical step in the home-buying journey. With careful planning, diligence, and patience, many prospective homeowners find success in securing the necessary funds to make their property dreams a reality.

What challenges may face a single parent applying for a mortgage?

Single parents often face distinct challenges when applying for a mortgage due to their unique circumstances. Here are some of the potential hurdles they might encounter:

Single income source: Mortgage lenders typically assess affordability based on household income. Single parents, often being the sole earner in the household, may find it more challenging to qualify for the amount they need compared to dual-income households.

Childcare costs: Childcare can be a significant monthly expense for single parents, which can reduce the amount of disposable income available and, in turn, impact the mortgage amount a lender is willing to offer.

Unpredictable income: If a single parent has an irregular income source, such as freelance or contract work, they may face challenges proving consistent income over time.

Credit history: Any past financial difficulties, which can sometimes arise from the challenges of single parenthood, might affect the applicant’s credit score. A lower credit score can limit mortgage options or result in higher interest rates.

Child maintenance: While child maintenance can be a source of income, not all lenders will consider it in their affordability assessments. Even those that do might only consider a percentage of it.

Debt-to-income ratio: Single parents may have a higher debt-to-income ratio, especially if they have taken on debts following a separation or divorce.

Property size and price: Single parents often need larger properties to accommodate their children, which can be more expensive and might stretch their borrowing limits.

Lack of a sizable deposit: Saving for a substantial deposit can be challenging on a single income, especially with the added expenses that come with raising children alone.

Potential bias: There’s a possibility of facing unconscious bias from lenders who might perceive single parents as riskier borrowers, even though such discrimination is unlawful.

Future changes: Lenders might consider potential future changes in circumstances, such as children growing older and no longer receiving child benefits, which could impact the parent’s income.

Joint mortgages and legal complexities: If a single parent previously owned property with a partner, there could be challenges in transferring or refinancing the mortgage. Additionally, the legal complexities of divorce or separation might impact the mortgage application process.

While these challenges can seem daunting, it’s essential for single parents to remember that many successfully navigate the mortgage process. It can be beneficial to work with a mortgage broker familiar with the challenges single parents face, as they can provide guidance and introduce lenders more sympathetic to their circumstances.

How can single parents increase their chances of mortgage approval?

Single parents can take several steps to enhance their likelihood of mortgage approval. Here are some strategies tailored to their specific circumstances:

Strengthen credit history: Regularly check your credit report for errors or inaccuracies. Pay bills on time, reduce outstanding debts, and avoid making multiple credit applications in a short time frame. A strong credit score can improve your standing with lenders.

Save a larger deposit: While it can be challenging, saving a larger deposit can significantly enhance your mortgage prospects. A larger deposit means borrowing less, reducing the lender’s risk.

Seek professional advice: Engaging a mortgage broker, especially one familiar with the challenges single parents face, can be invaluable. They can advise on the best mortgage products and lenders suited to your situation.

Document all income sources: Apart from your regular job, ensure you account for all other income sources, like child maintenance, benefits, or side gigs. Some lenders might consider these when assessing your application.

Reduce debt: Before applying for a mortgage, try to pay down or consolidate any outstanding debts. A lower debt-to-income ratio is favourable in the eyes of lenders.

Budget and maintain financial stability: Lenders appreciate stability. Consistent employment, steady income, and a clear record of managing debts responsibly can enhance your application.

Consider shared ownership: If securing a standard mortgage proves challenging, consider shared ownership schemes where you buy a portion of a property and rent the rest. It can be a stepping stone to full ownership.

Explore government schemes: Programs like Help to Buy or other local initiatives can provide financial support, reducing the lender’s risk and making approval more likely.

Choose an affordable property: While you might desire a larger home, starting with a more affordable property can ease the mortgage process. As your financial situation improves, you can consider moving or upgrading.

Secure a guarantor: If possible, having a guarantor can enhance your mortgage prospects. A guarantor agrees to cover the mortgage repayments if you’re unable to, reducing the lender’s risk.

Stay informed: Keep yourself updated on the housing market, interest rates, and available mortgage products. Knowledge can empower you to make informed decisions and negotiate better deals.

Shop around: Different lenders have different criteria. While one might be hesitant, another might be more accommodating of single parents. Don’t be disheartened by initial rejections; keep exploring options.

Provide a clear financial breakdown: Offer a clear and transparent breakdown of your monthly expenses. This can demonstrate financial responsibility and give lenders confidence in your ability to manage repayments.

In essence, single parents can enhance their chances of mortgage approval by showcasing financial responsibility, leveraging available resources, and seeking professional advice.

How can single parents safeguard their home and mortgages for their children’s future?

Single parents often worry about ensuring that their home remains a stable environment for their children, especially in unforeseen circumstances. Safeguarding their home and mortgage for their children’s future involves a combination of financial planning, legal provisions, and insurance measures.

One of the first steps a single parent can take is to ensure they have life insurance. This kind of insurance is designed to provide a lump sum or regular payments to dependents upon the policyholder’s death. The payout from a life insurance policy can be used to cover outstanding mortgage payments, ensuring that the children can remain in the home. It’s crucial to ensure the policy’s coverage is adequate to cover the remaining mortgage balance and any other associated costs.

Another consideration is writing a will. A will can clearly detail how assets, including the family home, should be distributed upon the parent’s death. By having a legally binding document, a single parent can specify that the home should pass to their children. It’s also essential to think about who would care for the children in the parent’s absence, and provisions for guardianship can also be outlined in a will.

For those with an interest-only mortgage, it’s vital to have a clear repayment strategy. This might include investments, savings, or other assets that can be used to pay off the mortgage at the end of its term. By ensuring there’s a strategy in place, single parents can minimise the risk of the property having to be sold to cover the mortgage balance.

Critical illness cover is another insurance worth considering. This provides a payout if the policyholder is diagnosed with one of the specific medical conditions or disabilities listed in the policy. The money can be used to repay the mortgage or modify the home if necessary.

Lastly, it’s always wise to keep an emergency fund. Life is unpredictable, and having savings can provide a financial buffer in times of unexpected hardship, job loss, or other unforeseen expenses. This fund can be used to cover mortgage repayments, keeping the family home secure.

In conclusion, while the challenges single parents face can be daunting, with careful planning and foresight, they can put measures in place to ensure their home remains a sanctuary for their children, regardless of what the future holds.

Mortgage tips for single parent families

Seeking a mortgage as a single parent can come with unique challenges, but the right advice can pave the way to homeownership. Here’s some experienced mortgage advice tailored to single parent families:

Prioritise your credit score: Before applying for a mortgage, regularly check your credit report. Any discrepancies or old debts that can be cleared should be addressed to boost your credit rating. A solid credit score can increase your chances of approval and may get you better interest rates.

Document vvery source of income: Beyond your main job, document all forms of income, such as child maintenance, government benefits, and side jobs. Different lenders have varied policies on what they count as income, but having a comprehensive record can only help.

Consult a mortgage broker: A broker, especially one experienced with single parent applications, can guide you to lenders with favourable terms and those more willing to consider non-traditional income sources.

Save for a bigger deposit: It might be tough, but if you can save a larger deposit, it can significantly impact your borrowing power and mortgage terms. It not only reduces the loan amount but also the risk for the lender, possibly resulting in more favorable terms.

Research government schemes: The UK government offers schemes like Help to Buy, Shared Ownership, and others that can be beneficial to single parents. These can reduce the upfront costs of buying a home.

Consider life Insurance and critical illness cover: These can provide peace of mind by ensuring that if anything happens to you, your mortgage will either be covered or paid off, safeguarding your children’s home.

Be realistic about what you can afford: It might be tempting to push for a bigger home, but think long-term. Ensure monthly repayments are sustainable, especially considering potential interest rate hikes in the future.

Shared ownership might be a good start: If you’re finding it challenging to get onto the property ladder, consider shared ownership schemes where you own a portion of the property and rent the rest.

Understand the market: Research areas you’re interested in. Understanding local property prices and market conditions can guide your search and provide negotiation leverage.

Ensure stability: Lenders appreciate stability in income and employment. If you’re considering a job change or foresee changes in your income, understand how this might impact your mortgage application.

Plan for unexpected costs: Owning a home comes with unexpected costs. Budget for repairs, maintenance, and other unexpected expenses to ensure you remain on solid financial footing.

Guardianship and legal matters: It’s essential to have a plan in place for your children’s guardianship if something happens to you. This plan can be tied to your home, ensuring they continue to live there.

Stay patient and persistent: The mortgage process can be lengthy and sometimes frustrating. Don’t get disheartened by initial rejections. Keep refining your application, seeking advice, and exploring all options available to you.

With careful planning, research, and guidance, single parent families can successfully navigate the mortgage landscape and secure a stable home for their children.

Mortgage help for single parents

Getting a mortgage as a single parent can be overwhelming, that’s why it’s a good idea to work with a specialist mortgage broker.

Mortgage brokers live and breathe the mortgage market. They’ll have expert knowledge of how to handle your unique situation and will be there every step of the way. A broker will guide you to the right lender and will make your application look good.

When you have the right broker and the right mortgage lender on your side, your chances of mortgage success are much higher. Our Mortgage Experts have great relationships with specialist lenders. Lenders who use human underwriters that look beyond credit scores, minimum incomes and automated box ticking. They treat customers as individuals and look for reasons to help, rather than refuse it.


How do interest rates differ for single parents applying for mortgages?

Interest rates for mortgages are primarily determined by factors such as the Bank of England base rate, individual lender policies, and the broader economic landscape rather than one’s status as a single parent. However, single parents might face challenges such as a single source of income, potentially lower total income, or varying incomes (e.g., if child maintenance is a significant portion of their income). This can impact the range of mortgage products available to them or the terms on which lenders offer those products. As a result, some single parents may find themselves facing higher interest rates if lenders perceive them as higher risk due to their financial circumstances.

Can I get a mortgage as a self-employed single parent?

Yes, you can get a mortgage as a self-employed single parent. However, the process may be more challenging compared to someone in traditional employment. Lenders generally require self-employed individuals to provide more substantial proof of consistent income, often in the form of two to three years’ worth of accounts or tax returns. Being a single parent might further complicate the application, as lenders will evaluate the reliability and stability of your income against your responsibilities. But with the right documentation, a good track record of earnings, and a sound credit history, securing a mortgage as a self-employed single parent is achievable.

What types of mortgages are most suited for single parent families?

The best type of mortgage for a single parent family largely depends on the individual’s financial situation. Here are a few options that might be suitable:

Fixed-rate mortgages: These offer a fixed interest rate for a set period (e.g., 2, 3, 5 years or more), ensuring predictable monthly payments. This stability can be especially valuable for single parents budgeting on one income.

Shared ownership: This scheme allows you to buy a share of a property (usually between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining share. This can be a suitable option for those who cannot afford a standard mortgage.

Government schemes: Initiatives like the Help to Buy equity loan can help single parents with a smaller deposit get onto the property ladder by offering an equity loan on a new-build home.

Flexible mortgages: Some mortgages allow overpayments, underpayments, and payment holidays, offering flexibility which might be beneficial for single parents with fluctuating incomes.

It’s always wise for single parents to consult with a mortgage broker or advisor who can provide tailored advice based on their unique financial situation and needs.

Are joint mortgages an option for single parents with close family or friends?

Absolutely. Joint mortgages aren’t just for couples; they can be a practical solution for single parents who have a family member or close friend willing to share the mortgage responsibility. This can increase borrowing potential as lenders will consider both incomes. However, it’s essential to have a legal agreement in place, like a deed of trust, to clarify equity shares, responsibilities, and what happens if one party wants to sell or if relationships sour.

How can single parents save for a mortgage while covering household expenses?

Saving for a mortgage while managing household expenses can be challenging for single parents, but with careful budgeting and planning, it’s achievable.

Some strategies include:

Budgeting: Track all expenses and create a budget, identifying areas to cut back.

Prioritising savings: Automate a set amount to transfer to a savings account monthly.

Government schemes: Look into schemes like Help to Buy ISAs or Lifetime ISAs that offer bonuses towards house purchases.

Cut unnecessary expenses: For instance, unused subscriptions or memberships.

Shop smart: Use discount vouchers, shop sales, and consider buying second-hand when possible.

For single parents, stability and affordability are crucial:

Fixed-rate mortgages: These can ensure predictable monthly payments for a set duration.

Overpayments: If allowed by the lender, making occasional overpayments can reduce the mortgage term and overall interest paid.

Life insurance and critical illness cover: These can safeguard the home for children in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Emergency fund: Building a fund for unexpected expenses ensures mortgage payments continue even during financial hiccups.

What's the process for remortgaging as a single parent?

The process is similar to regular remortgaging but may involve additional considerations for single parents:

Equity review: Start by checking how much equity you have in your home.

Affordability check: Lenders will assess your income, outgoings, and any changes to your circumstances since the initial mortgage.

Research rates: Look for better interest rates or more suitable mortgage products.

Seek advice: Consult a mortgage broker who can provide advice tailored to your situation as a single parent.

Application: Apply either with your current lender or a new one. Ensure you have all necessary documents, including proof of income.

Legal process: Once approved, there’s usually a legal process to transfer the mortgage, similar to the initial mortgage process.

Explore mortgages for single parents. Turn your dream of homeownership into a reality with this useful guide to single-parent mortgages.

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