What is a mortgage interview?

If you’re planning on buying a home and are applying for a mortgage, there are a number of things that you need to prepare for in advance. These range from viewing and choosing your dream home, to attending a mortgage interview.

What’s a mortgage interview for?

Lenders are under pressure to ensure that you don’t borrow more than you can afford, so you may have to go to a mortgage interview to answer some questions. This typically happens before you submit your application. This is so that the lender can try to identify how much money you’ll have left over after your regular expenditure – this is what you have available to spend on mortgage repayments. The interview may take one meeting or be split up into a few separate sessions.

What do you need to prepare in advance?

You’ll need to prove your identity with documents like your passport or driving licence. You should also be asked to bring a proof of address, like a recent utility bill, current bank statement or council tax statement.

The lender is also likely to want proof of your income, so you may want to have with you your latest three payslips, your P60, and bank statements from the past three months. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need recent signed accounts or tax returns, as well as your Self Assessment tax returns.

What sort of questions might you be asked?

Lenders are trying to assess if you can afford mortgage repayments, so they’ll ask you about your income (the money you have coming in) and expenses (the money you’re likely to spend). They’re likely to ask about outstanding and ongoing payments, including:

  • credit card and loan balances
  • essential costs (like for groceries and toiletries)
  • personal wellbeing and grooming costs (for example, gym memberships and haircuts)
  • costs for leisure activities (for example, eating out, socialising, TV licences or holidays)
  • utilities
  • travel (like petrol or public transportation costs)
  • ground rent or service charges
  • insurance policy payments
  • pension contributions

The questions will usually also cover future plans that you may have that involve spending money. These can include:

  • having children
  • car loans
  • property renovation or redecorating
  • repairs

Stress tests

You may also have to undergo a stress test. This is to see if you can still meet your monthly mortgage repayments if interest rates rise.

Your credit history

In addition to other information about you, lenders will also review your credit history to gauge your borrowing history and how reliably you’ve been at repaying any debt. Your Equifax Credit Report & Score – which is free for the first 30 days then £14.95 monthly – gives you access to your credit history as well as a score that indicates how creditworthy you may be to lenders. You may want to view this a few months before your mortgage interview, in order to correct any inaccuracies or to try to improve a poor score before applying for a home loan.

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