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Borrowing Guide & Calculator

How much can I borrow?

Let us guide you

Calculate the maximum mortgage loan amount you could borrow using our easy to use illustrative borrowing calculator.

For the purpose of this illustration we calculate based on a simple income multiple, but, in reality, it’s much more complex as this is computer-generated and relies on certain assumptions.

When you apply for a mortgage, lenders calculate how much they’ll lend based on both your income and your outgoings – so the more you’re committed to spend each month, the less you can borrow.

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1. Lenders check how much you can afford

Just like our illustrative calculator above, lenders used to just multiply your income by up to five times to work out your maximum mortgage size. Now it’s a lot more complicated. Lenders now check the affordability of the mortgage – but in layman terms, this just means whether you can afford the repayments or not as far as they are concerned. But, again, it’s still not quite that simple. Mortgage rules dictate to lenders that they must obey strict guidelines to check whether a borrower can afford their mortgage repayments, not just at current interest rates, but also if interest rates shot up to 6-7%… Ignore the scaremongering though. It’s not ‘they’ll tell you to stop eating steak’ or ‘cancel your gym membership’. They’re judging affordability. If you can comfortably afford it, it’s relatively painless. Even so, it’s best to make it as easy for your lender as you can. Most look at your spending in the three months before you apply for a mortgage, so if you know you’re about to apply, try to live sensibly, and well within your means for several months in advance. Put up as much as you can for the deposit if it’s your first mortgage, as borrowing less means less risk for the lender, and hopefully less close scrutiny for your finances. 5% is considered the minimum but to achieve the best interest rates, deposit expectations can climb to around 40%.

2. Can I get an accurate maximum loan figure?

Our calculator will give you a sensible estimate about how much mortgage lenders might offer you. This is a rough estimate based only on your income, so any significant outgoings, such as child maintenance, debt repayments or school fees, could reduce the amount a lender is prepared to offer you. You will only really get a definitive figure when you apply for a mortgage, but if you speak to a lender or mortgage broker, they should be able to give you an estimate. If you don’t know anyone, we are happy to refer you. Once you’ve spoken to them, you can then get an agreement in principle (AIP). This is a mini-application to the lender where it asks for some personal details and carries out a credit check to see if it would be willing to lend to you, subject to further checks. It’ll also tell you how much it’ll lend you. Approval at this point sees you getting half way there, but don’t confuse the approval of an AIP as legally binding, as it’s not. When it comes to the time to turn an AIP into a full application, the checks a lender undertakes become more detailed involving proof of income a full credit check instead of a cursory glance as before.

3. Should I take the maximum I can borrow?

If you’re buying, it would be very prudent for you to find out how much you can borrow before you start house hunting, but be clear on how much you can afford. If you’re remortgaging, work out how much you will need before finding out what a lender might be prepared to offer. It’s easy to get tempted to up the loan size when the lender is willing, but don’t make the mistake of exceeding what you think is affordable. We have a Budget Calculator which will help you to work out what you can afford to repay. If it shows you can’t afford a property, don’t ignore it. Only look at properties within your budget and avoid those even a fraction over. If not, you’ll either break your resolve or be disappointed.

4. I'm self-employed. Can I still get a mortgage?

Yes, but we’d be lying if we were to say it was a walk in the park. If you’re self-employed or would struggle to prove your long-term income – perhaps you’ve worked abroad or you are on a temporary contract – then getting a mortgage is tough. You’ll need cast-iron proof of your income, which isn’t easy. You would need to show: Business accounts. Preferably three years of accounts – though two can be sufficient depending on the lender. Tax returns. If you can’t show business accounts then two or three years’ tax returns are the next best option. You’ll be assessed on net profits, not turnover, sanity over vanity as they say. If this is likely to be complex, using a mortgage broker could really help as they’ll very likely know which lenders require what evidence. Note that self-cert mortgages you, where you declare your own income and the lender didn’t require proof which were common in the mid-noughties – these are no longer available.

Provide us with your availability and a few details and one of our local property experts can help get your properties valuation moving.

Our local property experts don’t just work in the area but live here too. Our local knowledge goes far beyond the basic levels of understanding where the local schools are and how public transport is accessed. 

We then back this up with a real social purpose by donating the majority of our profits to your favourite selected local charity.

Check out our handy guides to selling or letting your property so you know what to expect. Or get one of our local property experts to come to your home, provide a free valuation and answer all of your questions.