It’s easy enough to apply for a mortgage. But it is also easy for the application to take much longer than it needs to.
We look at some simple ways to ensure you can speed up the process.
Why things can take longer than they need
With large sums of money involved, lenders are wary about fraud. They need to be certain that applicants are who they claim to be. This means they have a long list of boxes to tick before they release funds. A trivial detail can delay the process, because it sets off a need to make extra checks.
Here are some common mistakes that can derail your application.
Not being on the voter’s roll
Lenders want to track where you’ve been living and will check the electoral roll to see if it matches the information you provide. It’s easy to forget to update, particularly if you have moved into a partner’s rented flat, or gone back to the parental home to save for a deposit.
Updating your electoral roll details is doubly important, because it can help you build your credit score. Make it a priority whenever you move.
Not updating your driving licence
You are required to have a current address on your driving licence. Obliging the DVLA may not be a priority for most of us, but the licence is a handy way to prove your address. If it still shows an address you lived in years ago, you may need to search round for much more documentation to prove you live where you claim to.
Not updating your name
Changing a name after marriage or divorce is still common for many women. Evidence of the change might be essential to allow the lender to verify your identity. A marriage certificate should be sufficient if you have taken your husband (or wife’s) name. An absolute decree or Change of Name Deed can be used after a divorce.
When changing your name on financial accounts, be thorough. An out of date credit card with your previous name could throw up red flags.
Forgetting to disclose credit
When you apply you need to disclose any credit you have taken out, including loans and credit cards. Your main credit card balance may be easy enough to remember, but you are probably using other forms of credit.
Have a smartphone contract? What about a car loan? They will show up when a lender runs a credit check and if you haven’t disclosed them, the lender will be wondering whether there is anything else that you haven’t mentioned.
Keeping unused credit cards open even if you no longer need them can be a problem too. Even if it shows no balance a card will count against your overall credit limit.
Showing problems with payments
Paying a bill a few days after its due does not seem like a big deal. Waiting for a final demand is routine for many people – but it can worry lenders. Being a few days late with the gas bill may be overlooked. Being consistently late or missing a mortgage payment won’t be.
Mistakes on your credit report
You could have a perfect credit history, and still face problems if your credit report has errors. Before you apply for a mortgage, order a copy of your credit report and check that it’s accurate. If errors have been made, because someone with a similar name has defaulted or a previous tenant at your address failed to pay a bill, you need to get it corrected.
Your home may be at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loan secured on it.