Do Self Employed need a Specialist Mortgage lender?

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It is a commonly held thought that Self Employed applicants will struggle to get a Mortgage and that the self employed need a Mortgage broker. The actual answer is a little more complicated than that and your options will vary depending on your circumstances.

If you have been self employed for a while and have 2-3 years accounts (or Self Assessments) then your options will likely be better than someone who has been self employed for 12-18 months – but not always.

One years accounts or Latest years income

This is where your options are a little restricted.

If you have been self employed for a number of years but have seen a large upturn in business, most lenders will work off an average of the last 2 years which may not be enough for what you are looking for.

There are plenty of lenders who will work off your latest years income. However the majority of those lenders will charge higher rates than the high street unless you have a minimum 25% deposit. Typically you would be looking at around 3.5% with a 15% deposit which in the current market is about 1% above what an employed person would be paying, so not ideal.

If there is a valid reason for the increase and it is expected that this is the new norm for your business, there is the potential that we can discuss this with the lender upfront and look to get you a Mortgage at normal rates even with a much smaller deposit 5-10% for example – we have examples of where we have been able to do this here and here.

2 years accounts

At 2 years accounts your are starting to open up the market significantly and there is a good chance that you are looking at normal rates.

There are some things that can catch you out here however. I

If there has been a large increase or a decrease in income, the way lenders assess it may vary. Some will work off an average, others the highest if increasing. If decreasing, some lenders may still work off the average where as most will work off lowest.

If the difference in your yearly figures are significant then this will likely have a big impact on how much you can lend with the various banks and building societies.

3 years accounts

This is quite similar to 2 years accounts in that some lenders will work off the average of the last 3 years, some the latest years figures if increasing or the lowest if decreasing.

Some lenders can be a little more flexible if there was a dip in the middle years figures and there is a reason for it – as an example, you may find a company bought a van for cash and so that affected those figures. But as it was a one of expense, some lenders may be prepared to ignore it.


I think it is important to explain that getting a mortgage as a self employed application can be as easy as getting a mortgage for an employed applicant.

The complicated bit is if you have variable accounts or if you have had an increase and want to use the latest figures or on the flip side, if your income is decreasing and want to use an average.

This is where a good experienced broker can sit down and understand your circumstances before going off to do the research and trying to obtain the amount you need.

So, to answer the question at the start, in do the self employed need a mortgage broker, the answer is that with a straight forward story and no change over your last 3 years, you can likely access the High Street.

However, if there are any fluctuations that can impact your affordability calculation or the maximum loan to value, or if you have an bad credit in the last 6 years then yes, in those circumstances some Self Employed need a Specialist Mortgage lender and as such will need a whole of market, independent specialist mortgage broker such as Mortgage Success as we can source the right lender for your circumstances.