What Stops You Getting a Mortgage?

by Kate Stratton

Last Updated 28th September 2023

6 Minute Read

Are you wondering what stops you getting a mortgage, why your mortgage application was declined, or feeling overwhelmed by the complex mortgage landscape? You’re not alone! Many potential buyers face various obstacles that prevent them from obtaining a mortgage.
What Stops You Getting a Mortgage?

In this article

This post will guide you through the most common hurdles, such as affordability concerns, credit history issues, and employment stability, while offering actionable strategies to enhance your eligibility and navigate the mortgage process with confidence. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Navigating the mortgage application process can be daunting, but understanding affordability concerns, credit history hurdles and property-related issues is the key to success.
  • Improving your credit score, reducing debt load and having all necessary documents ready will increase your chances of getting approved for a mortgage.
  • Working with a professional mortgage broker or assessing feedback from lenders after a rejection can help you find the best deal tailored to your needs.

Obstacles to Mortgage Approval

When it comes to getting a mortgage, several factors can stand in your way. These obstacles include:

  • Affordability concerns
  • Credit history hurdles
  • Employment stability
  • Property-related issues

Understanding these challenges is the first step towards overcoming them and securing the mortgage you need for your dream home.

Affordability Concerns

Mortgage lenders assess your income, debt, and living expenses to determine your ability to manage mortgage repayments. Most lenders usually offer up to 4.5x your income, with some going as high as 5 or 6 times depending on the situation. They’ll also consider your existing debt and general cost of living when calculating the total borrowing amount to ensure you can still live comfortably after the mortgage is in place.

A low combined income can be a concern when applying for a mortgage. For instance, to qualify for a £250,000 mortgage, you’ll need a minimum combined income of £42,000. It’s important to address affordability concerns to heighten your chances of mortgage approval, given lenders need assurance of your capacity for timely repayments.

Credit Report and Credit History Hurdles

A poor or nonexistent credit history can significantly limit your mortgage options. Lenders evaluate your credit history by analysing factors such as the age, severity, and cause of your credit problems, using computerised credit scoring systems and algorithms. To offset the risk of bad credit, consider putting down a larger deposit, repairing your credit, and thoroughly shopping around or using a whole-of-market mortgage broker. Being on the electoral roll can also boost your credit score, potentially unlocking a mortgage approval.

Establishing a strong credit rating is key for mortgage eligibility. Responsible borrowing and timely debt repayments can contribute to a strong credit score. Remember that multiple rejected credit applications can harm your credit history, so addressing credit issues prior to applying for a mortgage is priority!

Employment Stability

Employment stability plays a vital role in mortgage approval, as lenders prefer applicants with a steady income and job security. Changing jobs frequently or recently switching roles can negatively affect your mortgage approval chances. Self-employed individuals often face challenges when applying for a mortgage, as they need to provide proof of income and demonstrate financial stability.

Specialist lenders and dedicated self-employed mortgage advisers can assist newly self-employed applicants in navigating the mortgage process. Generally, lenders request two to three years’ worth of accounts to demonstrate stability, but don’t panic, options are available for those with a shorter employment history.

Property-Related Issues

Property-related issues, such as low valuation, structural problems, or high-risk locations, can lead to mortgage rejections. Non-standard construction properties, which deviate from traditional bricks and mortar, may be deemed un-mortgageable by some lenders.

To increase your chances of securing a mortgage for properties with issues or non-standard construction, consider working with mortgage providers who specialise in these types of properties and have a deep understanding of the implications of unusual builds. By doing so, you can navigate the complex landscape of property-related issues and find a mortgage that suits your unique needs. Win-win!

Deposit Size

The size of your deposit plays a critical role in mortgage eligibility. Smaller deposits (between 5-15% of the property value) can be trickier, but their are lenders who can accommodate this, especially if you’re a first time buyer or looking at a new build property. The recommended minimum deposit size is around 20%, though as above it can vary depending on the mortgage type and lender.

A larger deposit can improve your chances of a mortgage approval by demonstrating your financial commitment and reducing the lender’s risk. As you plan your mortgage application, prioritising saving for a larger deposit can be an effective strategy to increase your eligibility and secure better terms, such as lower interest rates.

For those of you who are renting it’s worth noting that in addition to the traditional deposit-based mortgages, there is an option available specifically for first-time buyers currently in rented accommodation: the 100% mortgage. This allows first-time buyers to purchase a home without the need for a deposit. Meaning they can transition from renting to owning a home without saving for a deposit. This is a huge boost for those struggling to accumulate savings while paying rent! It is however crucial to understand the terms and conditions of these mortgages, as they may carry different risks or requirements compared to standard mortgage products.

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions can limit mortgage options for both young first-time buyers and older applicants nearing retirement. Younger buyers may face minimum age requirements, such as being at least 18 or 21 to apply for a mortgage. On the other hand, older applicants close to retirement may encounter maximum age limits, restricting their mortgage options.

Comprehending and overcoming age restrictions is important for securing a mortgage that fits your specific needs and circumstances. By researching mortgage providers with flexible age requirements and considering alternative financing options, you can overcome age-related challenges and achieve your homeownership goals.

Enhancing Your Mortgage Eligibility

Boosting your mortgage eligibility involves addressing the obstacles discussed earlier. By building a strong credit score, reducing your debt load, and gathering necessary documentation, you can increase your chances of mortgage approval and pave the way to homeownership.

Building a Strong Credit Score

Responsible borrowing and timely debt repayments are essential components of a strong credit score. Start by checking your credit report for any inaccuracies, and contact credit bureaus to correct any errors. Using credit responsibly, such as taking out a small credit card and paying off monthly purchases promptly, can help build a positive credit rating.

A good credit score not only improves your mortgage eligibility but also allows you to access better mortgage deals with lower interest rates. By focusing on credit-building strategies, you can set yourself up for mortgage success and long-term financial stability.

Reducing Debt Load

Lessening your debt load is vital for enhancing your mortgage eligibility. Paying off outstanding credit card balances and loans before applying for a mortgage can help lower your debt-to-income ratio and demonstrate your ability to manage mortgage repayments responsibly.

Keep in mind that lenders assess your existing debt and living expenses when determining your mortgage amount. By tackling your debt and minimizing your financial obligations, you can increase your borrowing power and strengthen your mortgage application.

Gathering Necessary Documentation

Providing up-to-date and accurate financial information is key to a successful mortgage application. Some important documents to include are:

  • Proof of income
  • Employment history
  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns
  • Proof of assets
  • Proof of liabilities

By providing these documents, lenders can assess your eligibility with confidence.

Review your financial documents, such as bank statements and pay slips, to ensure they accurately reflect your current financial standing. By gathering the necessary documentation and verifying its accuracy, you can present a strong case for mortgage approval and avoid potential roadblocks in the application process.

Navigating the Mortgage Application Process

The mortgage application process can be complex and overwhelming, especially when dealing with multiple mortgage applications. Choosing the right mortgage lender and working with a mortgage broker can make this journey smoother and increase your chances of securing the best mortgage deal for your needs.

Choosing the Right Lender

Selecting the right mortgage provider requires thorough research and an understanding of each lender’s specific criteria for approval. When evaluating mortgage providers, consider factors such as:

  • Interest rates
  • Loan terms
  • Customer service
  • Reputation
  • Eligibility requirements

The goal of choosing the right lender is to find one that offers terms and conditions that align with your financial needs and objectives. By comparing various mortgage providers and understanding their approval criteria, you can make an informed decision and increase your chances of mortgage success.

Working with a Mortgage Broker

An experienced mortgage broker can help you:

  • Navigate the complex mortgage landscape
  • Find the best mortgage deal tailored to your needs
  • Access specialist lenders who cater to unique circumstances, such as self-employed individuals or applicants with non-standard income.

Mortgage brokers can guide you through the complicated eligibility criteria and offer expert advice to help you secure the most suitable mortgage offer. By working with a mortgage broker, you can save time, avoid potential pitfalls, and increase your chances of mortgage approval.

Understanding Mortgage Rejections

Mortgage rejections can be disheartening, but they also provide an opportunity to learn and improve your application. Assessing feedback from lenders, reevaluating your application, and seeking expert advice can help you identify areas for improvement and increase your chances of future mortgage approval. Let’s dive deeper…!

Assessing Feedback

Assessing feedback from lenders is key to comprehend the reasons for a mortgage rejection and to recognise areas for improvement. Constructive, specific, and supportive feedback can provide valuable insights into your application’s strengths and weaknesses.

By carefully assessing lender feedback, you can pinpoint the issues that led to your mortgage rejection and develop a plan to address them. This proactive approach can significantly improve your chances of securing a mortgage in the future.

Filling out a mortgage application

Reevaluating Your Application

Reevaluating your mortgage application involves the following steps:

  1. Review your credit report for inaccuracies and contact credit bureaus to fix any errors.
  2. Update your financial information by providing recent bank statements, pay slips, and other documents that showcase your current financial situation.
  3. Consider alternative mortgage options that may better suit your needs.

If your mortgage rejection resulted from circumstances beyond your control, such as property-related issues or age restrictions, consider exploring alternative mortgage options tailored to your unique needs. By reevaluating your application and addressing the identified issues, you can increase your chances of mortgage approval and avoid having your mortgage declined, moving closer to homeownership.


Understanding and overcoming mortgage obstacles is crucial for securing the home of your dreams. By addressing affordability concerns, building a strong credit history, ensuring employment stability, and navigating property-related issues, you can increase your mortgage eligibility. Partnering with a mortgage broker and choosing the right lender can further enhance your chances of success. Remember, mortgage rejections are not the end of the road; they provide valuable feedback and learning opportunities for future mortgage applications. Keep pushing forward, and you’ll be well on your way to homeownership!

Frequently Asked Questions

What things will stop you getting a mortgage?

Getting a mortgage can be difficult if you have poor credit, too much debt, too many credit applications, aren’t registered to vote, or don’t earn enough.

On the flip side, having a small deposit or lack of equity, an affordability issue, an incorrect credit score, property problems, age, errors, or complicated circumstances can also prevent you from getting a mortgage.

Is it common to be refused a mortgage?

It is a very common situation to be refused a mortgage – one in six homeowners have experienced this before. The criteria and process of applying can also be difficult to navigate for those without much knowledge on the subject. That’s where we can help.

What about what mortgage lenders don’t like?

Mortgage lenders don’t like insufficient credit or a high debt-to-income ratio, which can often lead to the denial of home purchase loans.

What is the minimum deposit size required for a mortgage?

For a mortgage, you’ll need to make a minimum deposit of 10-15% of the property value.

How can I improve my credit score before applying for a mortgage?

Pay off any existing debt responsibly, make sure to pay all of your bills on time, and take steps to ensure your credit report is accurate – this will help you improve your credit score before applying for a mortgage.

Mortgage Advisor Peterborough

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