Single person mortgages

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Often seen as a daunting prospect, navigating the world of mortgages as a solo applicant might seem challenging, with concerns over affordability, approval, and finding a suitable property to fit one’s budget. However, understanding the ins and outs of single person mortgages can illuminate the path towards successful homeownership, making it a realistic and achievable goal for many.

This guide aims to address all the essential aspects of single person mortgages, helping you understand your options, the application process, and how to improve your chances of approval. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, looking to remortgage, or interested in buy-to-let options, we’ll cover the key points to help you make informed decisions.

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What is a single person mortgage?

A single person mortgage, sometimes referred to as a solo mortgage, is a home loan taken out by an individual rather than a couple or a group of people. The applicant is solely responsible for meeting the lender’s criteria and repaying the mortgage.

Mortgage providers will consider the individual’s income, credit history, employment status, age, and other factors to determine their eligibility. The maximum amount that can be borrowed will typically be based on a multiple of the applicant’s income, although other factors like existing debts and financial commitments will also be taken into account.

It’s important to note that while a single person mortgage means the individual is solely responsible for the mortgage payments, it doesn’t restrict who can live in the property. Therefore, a single person could get a mortgage and still have others (like family members or tenants) live with them.

Can a single person get a mortgage?

Yes. The applicant is solely responsible for meeting the lender’s criteria and repaying the mortgage.

Mortgage providers will consider the individual’s income, credit history, employment status, age, and other factors to determine their eligibility. The maximum amount that can be borrowed will typically be based on a multiple of the applicant’s income, although other factors like existing debts and financial commitments will also be taken into account.

It’s important to remember that single applicants can face challenges because their income may limit the size of the mortgage they can get. They may also have fewer options in terms of mortgage products, as some are designed specifically for couples or multiple applicants. However, many lenders in the UK are committed to fair lending practices and will work with single applicants to find suitable mortgage products.

How to get a mortgage as a single person

Getting a mortgage as a single person involves several steps. Here is a guide to the process in the UK:

Assess your financial situation: You need to understand how much you can afford to borrow. This will depend on your income, outgoings, and any existing debt. Use online mortgage calculators to get an estimate of how much you might be able to borrow.

Save for a deposit: The bigger your deposit, the less you’ll need to borrow. A larger deposit can also help you get access to better mortgage deals. Aim for at least 10% of the property’s value, although 20% is often better.

Check your credit score: A high credit score can improve your chances of getting approved for a mortgage. Check your score with the three main credit reference agencies in the UK (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) and take steps to improve it if necessary.

Get a ‘Decision in Principle’: This is also called an ‘Agreement in Principle’ or a ‘Mortgage in Principle’. It’s basically a statement from a lender saying they would, in principle, lend a certain amount to you based on your income and credit score. It’s not a guarantee, but it can give you a good idea of your borrowing power.

Find a Property: Once you have an idea of what you can afford, you can start looking for properties within your budget.

Apply for a mortgage: Once you’ve found a property, you can apply for a mortgage. You might want to use a mortgage broker to help you find the best deal. The lender will conduct an affordability assessment and a property valuation. If all checks out, they will offer you a mortgage.

Hire a Solicitor: A solicitor can help you with the legal aspects of buying a home, such as the conveyancing process.

Exchange contracts and complete the sale: Once your mortgage is approved, you can exchange contracts with the seller. At this point, the sale becomes legally binding. The mortgage funds will be sent to your solicitor, who will then transfer them to the seller’s solicitor to complete the purchase.

Remember, lenders want to see that you can responsibly manage your money and meet your financial obligations. Showing a consistent savings pattern, having a stable job, maintaining a good credit score, and managing any existing debts can all increase your chances of getting a mortgage as a single person.

How much can I borrow if I get a mortgage on my own?

The amount that you can borrow on a mortgage largely depends on your income, your outgoings, and the lender’s criteria.

In the UK, lenders typically offer between 4 to 4.5 times your annual income, although some might offer more in certain circumstances. So, if you earn £50,000 a year, you could potentially borrow between £200,000 and £225,000.

However, this is only a rough estimate. Lenders will also look at your credit score, your existing debts, and other financial commitments. They’ll want to be sure that you can afford the monthly mortgage payments, even if interest rates rise or your circumstances change.

During the application process, the lender will conduct an affordability assessment. This takes into account your income and outgoings to work out how much you could afford to repay each month. This includes things like your utility bills, grocery costs, transport costs, any loan repayments, and other regular expenses.

You should also be aware that the size of your deposit can impact the amount you can borrow. In general, the bigger your deposit, the less you’ll need to borrow and the more favourable the interest rate you might be offered. The minimum deposit is typically around 5% of the property value, but you might find that lenders offer better deals if you can put down a deposit of 20% or more.

Please note that the rules and calculations can change, and different lenders may have different policies. It’s always a good idea to get advice from a mortgage broker or financial advisor to understand exactly how much you could borrow based on your personal circumstances.

How can a single person increase their mortgage borrowing capacity?

There are several ways a single person can potentially increase their mortgage borrowing capacity:

Increase your income: The most direct way to increase your borrowing power is to increase your income. This could mean asking for a raise, changing jobs, or even taking on a second job or side business. Some lenders may also consider other forms of regular income, like rental income or certain types of benefits.

Lower your debt: Your existing debts factor into a lender’s assessment of your ability to afford a mortgage. Paying down debts like credit cards, student loans, or personal loans can improve your debt-to-income ratio and potentially increase the amount you can borrow.

Improve your credit score: Lenders use your credit score as a measure of your reliability as a borrower. By paying all your bills on time, keeping credit card balances low, and avoiding unnecessary borrowing, you can improve your credit score over time.

Save for a larger deposit: The more you can put down as a deposit, the less you’ll need to borrow. A larger deposit can also make you a less risky prospect to lenders, which could potentially give you access to better deals with higher borrowing limits.

Choose a longer mortgage term: Choosing a longer term for your mortgage can reduce your monthly repayments and might enable you to borrow more. However, keep in mind that you’ll be paying interest for a longer period, which could make your mortgage more expensive overall.

Consider a joint mortgage: If you’re open to it, getting a mortgage with another person (like a family member or a friend) can increase your combined income, which could potentially increase the amount you can borrow. However, keep in mind that both parties will be equally responsible for the mortgage payments.

Remember, while it’s natural to want to increase your borrowing power to afford a more expensive property, it’s essential to be realistic about what you can afford. Borrowing more money means higher monthly repayments and potentially more interest paid over the life of the loan. Always make sure you’re comfortable with the repayments and have a buffer in place for unexpected expenses or changes in your circumstances.

Will I need a large deposit if I’m applying on my own?

Whether you’re applying for a mortgage as a single person or with a partner, the principles around the deposit remain the same. The size of the deposit you’ll need depends largely on the mortgage deal you’re seeking and the property’s price.

As a rule of thumb, a minimum deposit in the UK is typically around 5% of the property’s value. However, it’s important to note that the lower the deposit, the higher the risk for the lender, which could result in higher interest rates and less favourable mortgage terms.

A deposit of 10% or more is generally more favourable and can offer access to better mortgage deals. The most competitive interest rates are usually available to those who can provide a deposit of 20% or more of the property’s value.

Keep in mind that having a larger deposit can also be beneficial for single applicants because it lowers the loan-to-value ratio, reducing the lender’s risk and potentially increasing your borrowing power.

It’s also worth noting that there are specific schemes available in the UK, such as the Help to Buy equity loan scheme, that can help individuals with smaller deposits to buy a home.

Can you afford a mortgage on your own?

Affording a mortgage on your own is certainly possible, but it largely depends on your individual circumstances, including your income, debt levels, credit score, and lifestyle expenses.

Here are some factors to consider:

Income: This is one of the key factors lenders consider when deciding how much they’re willing to lend. In general, they may be willing to lend up to 4 to 4.5 times your annual income, but the actual amount can vary significantly based on other factors.

Debts and financial commitments: The amount of debt you have can affect your ability to afford a mortgage. Lenders look at your debt-to-income ratio, which is the percentage of your income that goes towards debt repayments each month. If this ratio is too high, it could limit the amount you can borrow.

Credit score: A good credit score can improve your chances of being approved for a mortgage and getting a good interest rate.

Deposit: The size of your deposit can also affect your ability to afford a mortgage. Generally, the larger the deposit, the smaller the mortgage loan needs to be. It also generally leads to more favourable interest rates.

Mortgage term: The length of the mortgage term can significantly affect your monthly repayments. A longer-term means smaller monthly payments, but it also means you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan.

Interest rate: The interest rate on your mortgage will affect your monthly payments. Shop around for the best mortgage deal you can find.

Living expenses: Don’t forget to consider all your other expenses, including utility bills, food, transportation, and maintenance costs. You’ll need to ensure that you can cover all these costs as well as your mortgage payments.

Remember, while it’s certainly possible to afford a mortgage on your own, it’s important to be realistic about what you can afford and not overstretch yourself. Financial experts often recommend that you spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on housing expenses, including your mortgage, property taxes, and home insurance.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a single person mortgage?

There are various advantages and disadvantages associated with obtaining a mortgage as a single person. Understanding these can help you make an informed decision:

Advantages of a Single Person Mortgage:

Complete control: As the sole owner, you have total control over the property. You make all the decisions regarding the property without needing to consult with anyone else.

Financial independence: The mortgage is in your name only, meaning your financial situation won’t be directly affected by another person’s financial behaviour.

Possibility of rental income: If you have spare rooms, you may choose to rent them out to help cover the mortgage payments.

Flexibility: You have the flexibility to sell or refinance the property whenever you want without having to consult with a partner or co-owner.

Disadvantages of a Single Person Mortgage:

Financial responsibility: You alone are responsible for the mortgage repayments. If you lose your job or face unexpected expenses, you won’t have another person’s income to fall back on.

Potentially lower borrowing power: Lenders consider your income and financial situation to determine how much you can borrow. With only one income, you may be eligible for a smaller mortgage compared to what a couple or a pair of co-buyers might get.

Risk of negative equity: If property values fall, you’re at risk of negative equity, where the mortgage is more than the property’s value. This risk is shouldered alone, unlike with a joint mortgage.

Difficulty with large costs: Large expenses such as maintenance, renovations, or unexpected repairs fall solely on you.

Loss of second income: Unlike joint homeowners, single homeowners don’t have the luxury of relying on a second income to cope with financial hardships.

Can a single person get a joint mortgage with a friend or family member?

Yes, a single person can get a joint mortgage with a friend or family member in the UK. This is a common solution for individuals who might find it challenging to secure a mortgage on their own due to income limitations or other financial factors. It allows two (or sometimes more) people to pool their financial resources together to qualify for a larger loan than they might be able to on their own.

Here’s what you should know about this type of arrangement:

Shared responsibility: All parties involved are equally responsible for the mortgage payments. If one person fails to contribute, the others will have to cover the shortfall.

Joint tenancy vs. tenancy in common: In a joint tenancy, all owners have an equal interest in the property. If one owner dies, their interest automatically passes to the other owners. In a tenancy in common, each owner has a distinct share in the property, which can be left to anyone in a will.

Credit impact: The mortgage will appear on the credit reports of all parties involved. If payments are late or missed, it could negatively affect everyone’s credit scores.

Exiting the agreement: If one person wants to sell the property and the others don’t, it can become complicated. It’s essential to have an agreement in place from the outset about what will happen in these circumstances.

Potential for disputes: Disagreements might arise over things like how much each person contributes to the mortgage, who pays for maintenance and repairs, or what happens if one person wants to move out.

For these reasons, it’s important to think carefully before entering into a joint mortgage agreement and to seek legal advice. You may also want to consider drawing up a legal agreement, known as a deed of trust or a declaration of trust, which sets out how much each person contributes to the mortgage and what happens if one person wants to sell their share or if one party dies.

How is the affordability of a mortgage assessed for a single applicant?

The affordability of a mortgage for a single applicant is assessed in a similar way as it would be for joint applicants. The process generally involves a detailed examination of the applicant’s financial situation and considers the following factors:

Income: The lender will look at your gross annual income, including any regular bonuses or overtime, and potentially other sources of income such as from investments or rental properties. This will be a significant determinant in how much they’re willing to lend.

Credit history: The lender will conduct a credit check to assess your credit history and behaviour. This helps the lender determine your creditworthiness and reliability as a borrower.

Outstanding debts and financial obligations: Existing financial commitments like personal loans, student loans, car finance, credit card debt, child maintenance, and others will be taken into account. These commitments could reduce the amount of money you’re able to borrow.

Living expenses: Lenders will also factor in your regular outgoings, such as utilities, transportation costs, food, childcare, leisure activities, and other living expenses. The goal is to ensure you have enough disposable income to comfortably afford the mortgage repayments.

Interest rate Rises: Lenders stress test to see if you could cope with a hypothetical rise in interest rates. This is to ensure you’d still be able to afford the repayments if rates were to rise in the future.

Deposit size: The amount of money you have for a deposit can impact your borrowing power. Generally, the larger the deposit, the smaller the mortgage loan needs to be, and the more favourable the interest rates you might be offered.

Each lender uses their own criteria and methods to assess affordability, so it’s a good idea to speak to a mortgage broker or financial advisor who can help guide you through the process and recommend the most suitable products for your circumstances.

What support is available for single person?

For single persons aiming to get on the property ladder in the UK, there are several schemes and supports available:


Shared ownership: This scheme allows you to buy a share of a property (between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining share. You can buy additional shares when you can afford to (known as staircasing) until you own 100% of the property.

Lifetime ISA: A Lifetime ISA allows you to save up to £4,000 per year towards your first home (or retirement), with the government adding a 25% bonus to your savings.

Right to buy: If you’re a council or housing association tenant, you might be eligible for the Right to Buy scheme, allowing you to buy your home at a discount.

Affordable home programmes: Various initiatives have been introduced to help low-income households purchase a home. Check local and regional schemes in your area.

Stamp duty relief: First-time buyers in the UK can benefit from relief on stamp duty for properties up to £625,000 in value. For properties costing up to £625,000, you pay no stamp duty on the first £425,000 but will pay stamp duty (5%) on the remaining amount.

Guarantor mortgages: With these mortgages, a friend or family member guarantees the mortgage by agreeing to cover the repayments if you can’t.

It’s important to seek professional financial advice to fully understand your options and the implications of each scheme before deciding which is best for you. Availability and eligibility criteria may also change over time, so always check the most up-to-date information from reliable sources.

Is it more difficult for a single person to secure a mortgage compared to a couple?

Securing a mortgage as a single person can be more challenging compared to a couple, mainly because of income considerations.

When two people apply for a mortgage together, both of their incomes are considered in the mortgage application. This often allows for a larger loan amount to be approved because it’s assumed that both incomes will contribute to the mortgage payments. The lender may also feel more secure knowing that there is another person to cover the repayments if one person cannot.

As a single person, only your income is considered, which could limit the amount you are able to borrow. Additionally, the lender may perceive a higher risk as there is only one source of income to rely upon for the mortgage repayments.

Other challenges for single applicants can include:

Saving for a deposit: It can be more challenging to save for a deposit with only one income.

Covering other costs: Costs such as taxes, fees, and moving costs can add up, and as a single applicant, you’ll be responsible for all of these.

Maintenance and running costs: As the sole owner, you’ll also be solely responsible for the ongoing costs of maintaining the property.

Can a single self-employed person get a mortgage?

Yes, a single self-employed person can indeed get a mortgage. However, obtaining a mortgage when you’re self-employed can sometimes be more challenging compared to those who are in regular employment, largely because lenders may see self-employed income as less stable.

Here are some of the key considerations for self-employed people seeking a mortgage:

Proof of income: Most lenders will want to see at least two years’ worth of accounts or tax returns to prove your income. The more years of stable or increasing income you can show, the better.

Type of self-employment: There are different types of self-employment, and lenders might view them differently. For instance, being a sole trader, a partner in a business, or the director of a limited company, each presents unique circumstances that lenders will take into consideration.

Accounting method: If you use an accountant, it’s best to use one who is certified or chartered. Some lenders will only accept accounts from certified or chartered accountants.

Credit history: As with any mortgage, having a good credit history can improve your chances of being approved and getting a good interest rate.

Deposit: The bigger your deposit, the less risk the lender takes, which can increase your chances of being approved.

Fluctuating income: If your income fluctuates significantly from year to year, lenders might only consider the lowest year, an average, or a more complex calculation.

While the process might be more challenging, many self-employed people successfully secure mortgages. Consider speaking to a mortgage broker who has experience with self-employed clients, as they can help you find a lender with criteria that match your situation and guide you through the application process.

Can a single parent get a mortgage?

Yes, a single parent can get a mortgage. However, like any other prospective borrower, single parents must meet certain requirements related to income, credit history, and affordability to qualify. Here are some points to consider as a single parent applying for a mortgage:

  1. As with any mortgage application, your income will be a major factor in how much you can borrow. This includes not just your regular salary but also any other consistent income you may have, such as child support or maintenance payments, benefits, or rental income.
  2. A good credit score will significantly improve your chances of getting approved for a mortgage. Make sure you check your credit report for any errors and take steps to improve your score if necessary.
  3. Lenders will look at your outgoings as well as your income to assess whether you can afford the mortgage payments. This includes monthly bills, childcare costs, and any other regular expenses.
  4. The size of your deposit can also affect your mortgage application. The bigger your deposit, the less risk the lender takes, and you’re more likely to get approved for a mortgage.
  5. There are various government schemes that can assist single parents in buying a home. This includes Shared Ownership, where you buy a share of a property and pay rent on the remaining share, and the Help to Buy Equity Loan, where the government lends you up to 20% of the property’s value (40% in London).
  6. Consider seeking support from a financial advisor or mortgage broker. They can provide advice tailored to your circumstances and help you navigate the process.

Right to buy scheme as a single person

The Right to Buy scheme in the UK allows eligible council and housing association tenants to buy their homes at a discount. As a single person, you can apply for this scheme just as a couple or a family would.

Here are some important points about the Right to Buy scheme:

Eligibility: To be eligible for Right to Buy, you must have been a public sector tenant for at least three years. This doesn’t have to be three years in a row or in the same property.

Discount: The maximum discount varies depending on where you live (up to £84,200 across England and up to £112,300 in London boroughs as of 2021), how long you’ve been a tenant, and whether you live in a house or flat. The longer you’ve been a tenant, the bigger the discount you get.

Mortgage: You will need to get a mortgage to pay for the rest of the cost of the house after the discount unless you can afford to pay for it in cash.

Resale: If you decide to sell your home within the first five years after buying it through Right to Buy, you’ll usually have to repay some or all of the discount. The amount you have to repay depends on how long you’ve owned the home.

Also, if you plan to sell within ten years, you must first offer it to your old landlord or another social landlord in the area.

Financial Advice: Before applying for Right to Buy, you should seek financial advice. Buying a home is a big decision and comes with significant costs and responsibilities.

Application: To apply, you need to fill out a Right to Buy application form (RTB1 notice) and send it to your landlord.

Right to buy as a joint mortgage

The Right to Buy scheme can be used for a joint mortgage, provided that both parties are eligible. This means that both individuals should be listed on the tenancy agreement of the public sector property.

You can apply for Right to Buy as a joint tenant with:

  1. Someone who shares your tenancy.
  2. Your spouse or civil partner, as long as the property is also their main home.
  3. Up to three family members who have lived with you for the past 12 months, even if they do not share your tenancy. However, the property must also be their main home.

Using Right to Buy for a joint mortgage can have some advantages:

Increased borrowing power: By pooling your resources with another person, you may be able to borrow more money than you could alone.

Shared responsibility: Owning a property with another person means the responsibilities (and costs) of homeownership are shared.

Greater chance of approval: With two people on the mortgage application, there’s a greater chance that at least one will have a strong credit history, which could increase the likelihood of approval.

However, it’s important to remember that a joint mortgage means shared responsibility. If one person is unable to make their contributions towards the mortgage payments, the other person will be responsible for making up the shortfall.

Can I get a mortgage on my own if I have bad credit?

Yes, it is possible to get a mortgage as a single person, even if you have bad credit, though it can be more challenging. Your options may be more limited, and you may face higher interest rates, as lenders may perceive you as a higher-risk borrower. Here are some steps you can take:

Improve your credit score: Before applying for a mortgage, try to improve your credit score as much as possible. This could involve paying off outstanding debts, making sure all bills are paid on time, and correcting any errors on your credit report.

Save a larger deposit: A larger deposit could make you less risky to lenders and increase your chances of being approved for a mortgage. The minimum deposit for most mortgages is usually around 5-10% of the property’s value, but if you have bad credit, you might need to save more than this.

Consider specialist lenders: Some lenders specialise in providing mortgages to people with bad credit. These are sometimes called ‘subprime’ mortgages or ‘adverse credit’ mortgages. They often come with higher interest rates and fees to reflect the increased risk.

Use a mortgage broker: A mortgage broker who has experience with bad credit mortgages can help guide you through the process. They will know which lenders are more likely to accept applications from people with poor credit.

Check your credit report: Regularly review your credit report to understand your current credit situation and identify areas that need improvement.

Be honest and transparent: Be honest and transparent with potential lenders about your credit history. Lenders appreciate transparency and will likely uncover any discrepancies when they review your application.

Government schemes: Look into government schemes that might help you get on the property ladder, like Shared Ownership or Help to Buy.

Remember, every lender has different criteria, so if you’re rejected by one, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be rejected by all. However, multiple rejected applications can further harm your credit score, so it’s often best to only apply when you’re confident you meet the criteria. Always seek professional financial advice when making decisions about mortgages.

Can I apply as a single applicant even if I’m married?

Yes, it is technically possible to apply for a mortgage as a single applicant, even if you’re married. However, it’s important to consider a few factors:

Income consideration: When you apply for a mortgage on your own, only your income will be considered for the application, which might limit the amount you can borrow.

Legal implications: Depending on where you live, your spouse might still have legal rights to the property even if their name isn’t on the mortgage. You should seek legal advice to understand the implications.

Lender policies: Some lenders may require you to apply jointly if you’re married, or they may insist on the spouse at least being named on the deed, even if they are not on the mortgage.

Risk: Applying alone means you’ll be solely responsible for the mortgage. If, for any reason, you can’t make the repayments, there is no one else the lender can turn to.

Before making this decision, it would be wise to discuss it with a financial advisor who can provide guidance based on your specific situation. Always be transparent with your lender about your marital status and intentions; withholding this kind of information could be considered fraud.

Can I apply for a mortgage in one person’s name even if there are two people buying the property?

Yes, you can apply for a mortgage in just one person’s name, even if two people are buying the property. This scenario might happen when one person has a strong credit score and sufficient income to secure the mortgage, but the other person’s financial situation might hinder the mortgage application.

In this scenario, one person becomes the mortgagee (the borrower), and the other person can be included in the property’s title deeds, giving them legal ownership over the property. However, it’s crucial to understand that:

The person whose name is on the mortgage is solely responsible for making the mortgage payments.

  1. Depending on where you live, the non-borrowing individual might still be considered for mortgage eligibility. Some lenders may require information about the non-borrowing individual’s debts to ensure the borrowing individual can manage the mortgage payments.
  2. This arrangement may have legal implications in case of separation or the death of either party. You should seek legal advice to understand how the property would be divided in these situations.
  3. Some lenders may have policies against this kind of arrangement, so it’s crucial to discuss this with potential lenders before applying.

Always be honest and transparent about your intentions with your lender. Misrepresenting the property’s intended occupancy or who will be living in the home can be considered mortgage fraud. Consulting with a financial advisor or an attorney to understand all the implications of this decision is also a good idea.

Can you remortgage on your own?

Yes, it is possible to remortgage on your own. However, there are a few points to consider.

If you are currently in a joint mortgage and wish to remortgage solely in your own name, you will typically need to undergo a process known as a ‘transfer of equity’. This is a legal process that changes the ownership of the property. In this case, you would need to buy out the other person’s share of the property, and they would need to agree to remove their name from the title deeds.

Here are the steps involved:

Consent: The other person must agree to be removed from the mortgage. If they do not agree, you will not be able to proceed with the remortgage.

Affordability assessment: The lender will conduct an affordability assessment to determine whether you can afford the mortgage repayments on your own.

Transfer of equity: You will need a conveyancer or solicitor to complete the transfer of equity process. This process removes the other person’s name from the title deeds and transfers ownership to you. You might also have to pay stamp duty, depending on the circumstances.

Remortgage: If the transfer of equity is successful, you can then remortgage the property in your name alone.

Keep in mind that the exact process and requirements can vary between lenders and regions, and the situation can be complex if there is a divorce or separation involved.

Can I add someone to my solo mortgage?

Yes, you can add someone to your mortgage, but it is a process that involves several steps and requires approval from your lender. This process is commonly known as a “transfer of equity”, where you are adding a person to the property’s title deeds and the mortgage. Here are the steps you need to take:

Permission from your Lender: You will need to get approval from your current mortgage lender. They will likely reassess your mortgage, including re-evaluating the property and conducting affordability checks on the new applicant.

Credit checks: The lender will run credit checks on the person you’re adding to your mortgage, just like they did with you when you first applied. If the person has a poor credit history, the lender might refuse to add them to the mortgage.

Affordability checks: Your lender will also assess the new applicant’s income and outgoings to ensure they can afford the mortgage payments.

Legal process: You will need a solicitor or conveyancer to carry out the transfer of equity, i.e., legally add the new person’s name to the mortgage and property deeds. Depending on your circumstances, there may also be stamp duty land tax implications.

New mortgage agreement: If all checks are satisfactory and the lender agrees, they will issue a new mortgage agreement in the names of both you and the new party.

Costs: There may be costs associated with adding someone to your mortgage, such as lender’s administration fees, valuation fees, legal fees, and potentially stamp duty.

When to consider joint mortgages in a sole name

A joint mortgage in a sole name, also known as a sole proprietor mortgage, is when only one person holds the legal responsibility for the mortgage, but more than one person owns the property. This type of mortgage arrangement can be useful in a variety of situations:

Disparity in credit ratings: If one person has a poor credit rating, they could negatively impact the chances of mortgage approval or result in less favourable loan terms. By having the person with the stronger credit score apply for the mortgage, you may be more likely to secure a mortgage with better rates.

One person is not working or has a low income: If one person doesn’t have a stable income or doesn’t work, the person with a steady income can apply for the mortgage to increase the chances of approval.

Affordability checks: Mortgage lenders calculate how much they’re willing to lend based on the borrower’s income and expenditure. If one person has high debts or many outgoings, it may be beneficial for the other person to apply for the mortgage solely.

Income tax implications: In some cases, it might be tax-efficient for the person who pays tax at the lower rate to be the mortgage borrower.

Protecting benefits: If one person is receiving certain benefits that could be affected by property ownership, a sole proprietor mortgage would enable the other party to hold the mortgage.

Despite these benefits, there are potential downsides to consider. For instance, the person whose name is on the mortgage will be solely responsible for making the mortgage repayments. Also, in some cases, the person who is not on the mortgage may have fewer rights if the relationship ends.

How can you take someone off the mortgage?

Removing someone from a mortgage is a multi-step process that usually involves a legal procedure called a “transfer of equity”. Here’s a general outline of how you might do it:

  1. Agreement: First, both parties must agree to the change. If there is disagreement, you may need to seek legal advice or mediation.
  2. Contact your lender: Get in touch with your mortgage lender and let them know you wish to change the names on the mortgage. Some lenders may charge a fee for this.
  3. Application and assessment: The person who will remain on the mortgage must fill out an application and undergo an affordability assessment to ensure they can handle the mortgage repayments on their own.
  4. Transfer of equity: If your lender agrees to the change, you will then need a solicitor or conveyancer to complete a transfer of equity. This is a legal process that involves changing the names on the property’s title deeds. The person being removed from the mortgage will need to sign these over.
  5. Consider a remortgage: If the existing lender doesn’t agree to the change, or if you find better mortgage deals elsewhere, you might consider remortgaging. This involves paying off the current mortgage and taking out a new one, which could be in just one name.
  6. Potential costs: Be aware that there could be costs associated with this process, including valuation fees, conveyancing fees, and possibly early repayment charges if you decide to remortgage. There might also be stamp duty land tax to pay, depending on the circumstances.

Can I get a single person mortgage with a low deposit?

Yes, it’s possible to get a mortgage as a single person with a low deposit, but it does come with challenges and potential drawbacks.

Shared Ownership scheme allows you to buy a share of your home (between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining share. You’ll need to take out a mortgage to pay for your share of the home’s purchase price, but the deposit required is often significantly lower than it would be for buying the entire property.

Some lenders offer 95% mortgages, meaning you would only need a 5% deposit. However, the interest rates on these mortgages are often higher, which could increase your monthly payments.

However, be aware that while a low deposit can help you get onto the property ladder more quickly, it also increases your mortgage’s overall cost. This is because you’ll need to borrow more, leading to higher interest payments over the loan’s term.

Additionally, if the value of the property falls, you could potentially end up in negative equity (where the amount you owe on your mortgage is more than the value of your property). This could make it difficult to sell your property or switch to a new mortgage deal.

How can a single person save for a mortgage deposit?

Saving for a mortgage deposit as a single person can seem challenging, but it’s certainly possible with careful planning and a bit of discipline. Here are some strategies:

Budgeting: The first step to saving for a deposit is understanding your income and expenses. Make a detailed budget and look for areas where you can cut back. Any money saved can be put towards your deposit.

Set a savings goal: Determine how much you need for a deposit and set a timeline for when you want to reach that goal. This will help you determine how much you need to save each month.

Open a savings account: Consider opening a savings account specifically for your deposit. Some accounts offer bonuses or higher interest rates for regular deposits and limited withdrawals.

Lifetime ISA: These are savings accounts provided by the UK Government that add a 25% bonus to your savings, up to a certain limit, to help you buy your first home.

Reduce debt: High-interest debt, like credit cards, can significantly slow down your savings progress. Focus on paying down these debts as quickly as possible so you can save more.

Increase your income: Look for ways to boost your income, such as taking on extra work, selling unwanted items, or renting out a spare room.

Cut back on non-essential expenses: Consider cutting back on luxuries such as expensive trips, eating out, or unnecessary purchases.

Consider a lower-priced property: By aiming for a lower-priced property, your required deposit will also be lower, helping you get on the property ladder quicker.

Help from Family: If it’s an option, you might consider whether family members might be willing to gift or loan you some money towards a deposit.

Remember, while it can be a long journey to save for a mortgage deposit, the benefits can be significant. Not only does a larger deposit make it easier to secure a mortgage, but it can also result in better interest rates and lower monthly payments. Always consult with a financial advisor for the best strategies tailored to your specific circumstances.

What are the ‘best’ UK banks or mortgage lenders for single person mortgages?

The ‘best’ lender will depend on your individual circumstances, including your income, credit history, deposit size, and the property you wish to buy.

Some of the UK’s prominent mortgage lenders include:

  1. Nationwide Building Society: Known for offering a range of mortgages to suit different needs, Nationwide has products that could be suitable for single applicants, including those with small deposits.
  2. Santander: Santander offers competitive rates and a broad range of mortgage options that could be appropriate for single applicants.
  3. Halifax: As one of the UK’s largest mortgage lenders, Halifax has a variety of mortgage products that might suit single applicants.
  4. HSBC: HSBC offers competitive mortgage rates and flexible terms that could be beneficial to single borrowers.
  5. Barclays: Barclays also has a diverse range of mortgage products which could cater to different circumstances, including those of single applicants.
  6. NatWest/Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS): NatWest/RBS offer various mortgage products, and their affordability assessments can be flexible, which may be useful for single applicants.

Can a single person on Universal Credit apply for a mortgage?

Yes, it is technically possible for a single person on Universal Credit to apply for a mortgage, but it can be more difficult to secure approval.

Universal Credit is a type of benefit given to those in the UK who are on a low income or out of work. It replaces six older benefits, including income support and housing benefit.

Some lenders might be hesitant to offer a mortgage to applicants relying heavily on Universal Credit for their income. This is due to concerns about the stability and long-term availability of this income. They may worry that if government policy changes or your circumstances alter, you might not be able to keep up with the mortgage repayments.

However, some mortgage lenders do consider Universal Credit and other benefits as a form of income, which can help when assessing your affordability for a mortgage. This is more likely if you have other sources of income as well.

Remember, all lenders have their own criteria when it comes to assessing affordability and risk.

Here are some factors that they usually consider:

  • Your credit history
  • Your total income (including any benefits)
  • Your age
  • The size of your deposit
  • Your regular outgoings and existing financial commitments

If you’re on Universal Credit and considering applying for a mortgage, it’s recommended that you speak to a mortgage advisor. They can provide advice tailored to your personal circumstances, including recommending lenders that are more likely to consider your application. Also, a larger deposit and a good credit history can improve your chances of securing a mortgage.

Finally, keep in mind that owning your own home could affect your eligibility for certain benefits, including some elements of Universal Credit. So, it’s worth seeking advice from a benefits advisor as well, to fully understand the potential impact.

How can a single person improve their chances of mortgage approval?

Improving your chances of mortgage approval as a single person can be achieved by focusing on several key areas:

Improve Your Credit Score: Your credit score plays a critical role in your mortgage application. Pay your bills on time, keep your credit utilisation low, correct any errors on your credit report, and avoid taking on new debt.

Save a larger deposit: The larger your deposit, the smaller your Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio will be. This means you are borrowing less in relation to the property’s value, which makes you a less risky prospect to lenders.

Stable employment: Lenders like to see that you have stable employment. If you are self-employed, lenders will want to see a track record of steady income, usually at least two years’ worth of accounts or tax returns.

Reduce your debt: Lenders will consider your debt-to-income ratio, which is your total debt payments divided by your income. The lower this ratio, the better your chances of approval.

Don’t overstretch your budget: Be realistic about what you can afford. If you apply for a loan that is too big, lenders might question your ability to make the repayments, which could lead to your application being declined.

Get your documentation in order: Ensure you have all the necessary paperwork ready, such as payslips, bank statements, and ID. This will speed up the application process.

Speak to a mortgage advisor or broker: They can give you personalised advice and guide you to lenders who are more likely to approve your application based on your individual circumstances.

Consider government schemes: In the UK, there are several government schemes designed to help people get onto the property ladder, such as Help to Buy, Shared Ownership, and the Lifetime ISA.

Avoid multiple applications: Every time you apply for credit, it leaves a mark on your credit report. Multiple applications in a short space of time can make lenders think you’re reliant on credit, which could harm your chances of approval.

Check your eligibility: Before applying, use online tools or speak to a mortgage advisor to check your eligibility. This can give you an idea of whether your application will be successful before you apply.

Single-person mortgage brokers and advice

Opting to work with a mortgage broker when applying for a single-person mortgage comes with numerous benefits:

  1. Access to a variety of lenders: Mortgage brokers have access to a broad range of mortgage products and lenders, some of which may not be directly available to the public. This variety increases your chances of finding a mortgage that fits your specific needs.
  2. Tailored advice: Mortgage brokers can provide personalised advice based on your financial situation. This advice can be invaluable in helping you understand what you can afford and what type of mortgage is best for you.
  3. Time-saving: Looking for the right mortgage can be a time-consuming process. Mortgage brokers can save you time by handling much of the process, including hunting for the best rates, liaising with lenders, and managing paperwork.
  4. Expertise: Mortgage brokers understand the industry, the details of different mortgage products, and the application process. They can navigate this complex field and make the process simpler and more straightforward for you.
  5. Better negotiation: Mortgage brokers can potentially negotiate better interest rates or terms with lenders, as they have in-depth knowledge of the market and a strong relationship with various lenders.
  6. Assistance for less straightforward applications: If your situation is somewhat complicated (e.g., being self-employed, having a poor credit history), a mortgage broker can help you find lenders who are more likely to approve your application.
  7. Long-term support: A good mortgage broker won’t just disappear after you get your mortgage. They can provide ongoing support, answer questions you have over the life of your mortgage, and potentially help you negotiate better terms when it’s time to renew or refinance.


Can a single person with a part-time job get a mortgage?

Yes, a single person with a part-time job can potentially get a mortgage, but it may be more challenging. Lenders will look at your income, and having a part-time job could limit the amount you can borrow. They also consider job stability, so having a long-standing part-time job could be seen as more favourable than a brand-new job.

What is the maximum age for a single person to apply for a mortgage?

The maximum age to apply for a mortgage varies from lender to lender. Some lenders have a maximum age at the time of application (often around 70-75), while others have a maximum age at the end of the mortgage term (often around 75-85). However, some lenders may be flexible on this.

Can a single person get a mortgage for a buy-to-let property?

Yes, a single person can get a mortgage for a buy-to-let property. However, buy-to-let mortgages often have different criteria and may require a larger deposit.

Can a single person with a temporary contract get a mortgage?

Yes, it’s possible, but it can be more difficult. Lenders like to see evidence of stable, regular income. If you have a history of continuous employment with only short gaps between contracts, this could improve your chances.

How much can a single person over 50 borrows for a mortgage?

This depends on the lender’s criteria and your personal financial circumstances, including your income, outgoings, and any other financial commitments. Many lenders will want to see evidence that you’ll be able to afford the mortgage repayments in retirement.

Can a single person on a low income get a mortgage?

Yes, but it might be more challenging, as lenders will assess your affordability based on your income. Having a larger deposit or using government schemes like Help to Buy or Shared Ownership can improve your chances.

Are there special mortgages for single first-time home buyers?

There aren’t usually mortgages specifically for single first-time home buyers. However, there are various government schemes in the UK designed to help first-time buyers, regardless of whether they’re single or buying as a couple.

Can a single person get a mortgage on a retirement income?

Yes, some lenders will consider retirement income, including pensions and Social Security. However, the amount you can borrow may be lower, and you may face restrictions based on your age.

Can a single person get a mortgage if they have student loans?

Yes, having student loans doesn’t necessarily prevent you from getting a mortgage. However, lenders will consider your monthly student loan repayments when assessing your outgoings and overall affordability. High student loan debt could reduce the amount you’re able to borrow.

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