One of the most daunting processes for first-time buyers is getting a mortgage.
Getting accepted for a home buying loan is essentially the difference between getting on the property ladder or not.
So making sure you are in the best possible position to breeze through the mortgage application process is vital.
Here are seven things you can do to improve your chances of being accepted for a mortgage...
How to get a mortgage accepted
1.Set your budget and stick to itGoing into a property purchase with no clear idea on what you want to spend and what you can afford to spend is never a good idea.
Work out what you can potentially borrow, based on your income.
The best way to do this is by using an online mortgage calculator, although it's important to stress this is only to provide an estimate of your borrowing potential.
2. Take a close look at your financesOne thing mortgage lenders will do is run a fine tooth comb through your financial situation.
And one thing they dislike is a high level of debt.
So, if you are still paying off debts, this could greatly impact your borrowing potential.
Often the best course of action is to hold fire on your property purchase and focus fully on paying off your debts, before revisiting your mortgage application at a time when your finances are in better health.
Take advise from an independent financial advisor, who will be best placed to put a plan in place for you.
3. Assess your credit historyOne part of your lender's checks will involve them assessing your credit history.
After all, if they are lending you what is likely to be a six-figure sum, they'll want to know you have previously managed debt well and responsibly.
As above, get in before your lender and take a good look at your credit report.
If you have any credit accounts still open that you no longer use, shut them down.
And make sure you are registered on the electoral roll where you live.
If a credit scoring agency can't find you, this can have a big impact on the accuracy of your credit rating.
Getting a mortgage with bad credit is possible, but it's likely the mortgages available will be small in number, more expensive and will require a larger deposit.
4. Save a big deposit'But we're first-time buyers paying a fortune in rent...'
Yes, unfortunately this one is easier said than done.
But the fact is: The larger your deposit, the more choice you'll have when it comes to mortgages and the more likely you'll be to be accepted.
You'll also benefit from better interest rates if you can bring down your loan to value with a larger deposit.
Loan to value is off-setting your property's purchase price against the amount of mortgage needed to buy it.
So, if you are buying a flat for £200,000 and your deposit is £20,000 (10%) that is a loan to value of 90%.
Getting than loan to value down below 90% with a larger deposit will almost certainly see you qualify for better rates and provide more peace of mind for your lender that your mortgage is affordable.
So... save as much as you can!
5. Mortgage agreement in principleOnce you have all your finances in order and are confident you are in a good position to borrow, it's time to seek a mortgage agreement in principle (AIP).
While getting an AIP is not a required part of the process, it can help when you come to make an offer on a property.
Sellers are always keen to see evidence buyers can proceed quickly.
And while an AIP is not a cast-iron guarantee of a mortgage, it does show a seller than you are some way towards achieving your borrowing aims.
This can put you in a great position with a seller and help ensure you secure your dream home.
Speak to your lender about an AIP - some can even be done online in very quick time.
But remember: An AIP is not a guaranteed mortgage. You'll still need to go through the more detailed application process once you have secured an offer on a property.
6. Stay away from 'unusual' propertiesAs well as your own personal finances, lenders will be looking at the property you want to buy and assessing its value, future value and sell-on potential so they can be certain they'll get their money back.
So, try to stick to properties that will hold their value and don't contain any unusual intricacies that could affect sell-on potential.
That could mean staying clear of flats and apartments above commercial premises, old or unusual building designs or properties constructed from non-standard building materials.
7. Get your paperwork in orderOnce you have an offer secured on a property, you'll need to complete your mortgage application.
And given how much focus lenders place on your finances, that can mean requests for lots of paperwork.
One of the most common issues to hold up property transactions is buyers or sellers not being able to find paperwork when requested.