Jun 24

How easy is it to get a mortgage if you’re one of the 5 million self-employed people in the UK?

Reading Time: 4 mins

Currently, there are 4.85 million self-employed people in the UK.[1] It’s estimated this number will rise to 5.5 million by 2022.[2]

The mortgage industry hasn’t kept pace with this growing group, and many self-employed workers find themselves overlooked by lenders. According to research from online mortgage broker, Trussle, almost three quarters (71%) of self-employed borrowers believe it’s harder to get a mortgage due to their employment status.[3]

Last month, Trussle published its third annual Mortgage Saver Review, highlighting issues in the mortgage industry, and proposing new solutions to make mortgages fairer for everyone. Using insight from lenders and 2,002 self-employed mortgage applicants and borrowers, this year’s report looks at the mortgage challenges faced by one of the largest communities in the UK: the self-employed.[4]


So, how are the self-employed under-served in the mortgage market?

Self-employed people typically have to jump through extra hoops to get onto the property ladder to prove they’re not at risk to mortgage lenders:

  • Those in permanent employment usually have their income assessed on their latest three months’ payslips. For the self-employed, it’s typically two or more years’ accounts and income, bank statements, proof of address and identification, and sometimes additional costs from sourcing these documents and paying for advice. Because of this, mortgage approval rates are lower for the self-employed than any other group.


  • The way lenders define self-employed borrowers by their employment status varies, making applying for a mortgage confusing and increasing the chance of mistakes. For example, while contractors and freelancers may be viewed by HMRC as self-employed for tax purposes, most lenders don’t assess them in the same way when they apply for a mortgage.


  • For the permanently employed, affordability is determined on their income – as well as financial commitments and outgoings. However, the way self-employed borrowers are assessed varies between lenders, making the process even more convoluted.


And shockingly, two-in-five (37%) self-employed borrowers make worrying lifestyle changes and professional sacrifices just to get onto the property ladder, such as delaying having children or abandoning their self-employed status altogether.[5] More than half (55%) of self-employed borrowers who felt overlooked or penalised due to be being pregnant, believe they were treated different during their mortgage application process.[6]


I’m self-employed, how can I get a mortgage?

Dilpreet Bhagrath, Mortgage Expert at Trussle, recommends the following tips for self-employed people looking to get a mortgage.


Be prepared with at least 2 years of documentation

Most lenders require at least two years of certified accounts and SA302s, latest three months bank statements, proof of deposit or last mortgage statement, proof of address and identification. To avoid any issues that could delay or prevent you from getting your loan approved, make sure your details and accounts are kept up-to-date and in order.


Keep your personal and professional accounts separate

Keeping separate business and personal bank accounts will help you to keep track of your spending, expenses and income, but it will also help to realign your accounts during the application process.


Speak to both an accountant and mortgage adviser

Many people seek advice from an accountant when considering self-employment, but it’s also worth speaking to a mortgage broker about your current mortgage or future home ownership plans. This will ensure you’re aware how to structure your accounts for both tax and mortgage purposes.


Register for the electoral roll

Registering on the electoral roll can help increase your chances of getting a mortgage. Mortgage lenders use this to not only to confirm your identity, but also to check your credit history. If you’re not listed, some lenders might reject your application.


Don’t be put off trying to get a mortgage, you’re not limited in choice

Finding and securing a mortgage can seem like a daunting task but there’s lots of free advice out there to make the process easier for you. Many assume you need to specifically look for a self-employed mortgage, but you’re actually eligible for the same type of mortgage products that permanently employed applicants are. Using an online mortgage broker like Trussle can be invaluable in helping to find the right deal for you. They will assess mortgage deals based on their true cost, taking into account any obligatory fees, charges or incentives so you know the overall cost of your mortgage. Remember that it’s always important to consider any personal and future circumstances when securing a mortgage, and to seek advice to ensure you’re aware of your options.


Are you self-employed and need some more clarity on what you might need to get a mortgage or remortgage? Check out Trussle’s quick and easy self-employed mortgage guide.




[1] Source: ONS UK labour market, January 2019 [Section 4]

[2] Source: The Mortgage Lender, Self-employed Mortgage Market Report, September 2018

[3] Source: Atomik survey of 2,002 self-employed homeowners and those looking to buy, March 2019, Q5: To what extent, if at all,

do you consider it to be more difficult to secure a mortgage as a self-employed person? Calculation: 31% responded ‘Much more difficult’ and 41% responded ‘A little bit more difficult’ = 71%

[4] Trussle interviewed 2,002 nationally representative UK self-employed homeowners and those looking to buy in March 2019 using the research agency, Atomik. Please get in touch with any data enquiries.

[5] Source: Atomik survey of 2,002 self-employed homeowners and those looking to buy, March 2019, Q8:

Thinking of a current/future/past mortgage application, which, if any, of the following statements are true? 37% responded to one or more of the following options:

“I have put off plans to have a family or extend my family” (4%) ,“I have taken on extra work to prove my income on paper” (8%) , “I have reconsidered my self-employment status altogether” (9%), “I have put off re-mortgaging” (9%),

“I have put off moving home, despite my current home no longer being adequate to my changing lifestyle/needs” (7%) = 37%

[6] Source: Atomik survey of 2,002 self-employed homeowners and those looking to buy, March 2019, Q14:

In the previous question, you said you felt overlooked or penalised because of a pregnancy. How did this impact your application? 55% responded

‘I felt like I was/we were being treated differently because of the pregnancy’

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