Self Employed Mortgages

Last updated: May 17th, 2022
  • ‘Common Sense’ Underwriting
  • 95% Mortgages Available
  • Only 1 Year Accounts
  • Required 5 * service

Self Employed Mortgages

Last updated: May 17th, 2022
  • ‘Common Sense’ Underwriting
  • 95% Mortgages Available
  • Only 1 Year Accounts
  • Required 5 * service

Self-employed mortgage advice

It’s great being your own boss but being self-employed still comes with challenges when it comes to getting a mortgage. At Just Mortgage Brokers we specialise in helping the self-employed. We know how different lenders, from the big high-street banks and building societies to more specialist lenders, make their assessments.

Finding the right lender can cost you time and money. Let us take you through every step of the application process, negotiating with a range of lenders to get you a bespoke deal that’s right for you.

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An introduction to Self-employed Mortgages

Self-employed mortgages

Being self-employed comes in many guises. The term is most commonly used to refer to a freelancer, contractor or sole trader, but in wider reference it can also encompass company directors, individual partners and anyone else who is not in a salaried employee position and paying themselves from the proceeds of their own business.

Assessing a self-employed person’s ability to finance a mortgage is of key importance to lenders across the board, and the way their business is set up can influence a lender’s decision. Different companies have varying strategies on managing balance sheets, cash flow and the distribution of profits and dividends, according to what their accountants have advised, and many mainstream lenders might not be sympathetic to prospective self-employed borrowers whose income deviates from the conventional salaried employee. However, we as specialist brokers understand things like dividends and retained profits, and can recommend specialist lenders who will take a wider view on your income streams.


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Whatever your situation, our specialist mortgage advisers will assess each individual Self-Employed mortgage on its own merit, making sure lenders take into account the maximum available income from the company accounts on top of any basic salary you might be paying yourself. We are very familiar with which lenders will be willing to offer a mortgage to a self-employed applicant who can prove their income through a clear examination of their accounts and projections, and are confident we’ll be able to find the right mortgage to meet your needs.


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Although this term is used widely in the industry, it really refers to the type of applicants rather than an actual line of products specifically designed to cater to the self-employed sector. You may be surprised to learn that technically there is no such thing as a ‘self-employed mortgage’, and that, in theory, everyone with a good credit history who applies for a mortgage – whether employed or self-employed – should have access to exactly the same rates and mortgage options.

So, what makes a ‘self-employed mortgage’ different to a conventional mortgage? Ultimately, it is the way lenders view income and assess your ability to afford the mortgage. The more easily a lender can see that you will be able to keep up the necessary repayments (as well as supply the required, or greater, deposit), the more likely they are to extend a favourable deal to get your custom.

Typically, for those employed on a conventional PAYE basis, a lender will be happy to check payslips that show a regular source of income and confirm an applicant’s annual salary. However, for mortgage applicants who are self-employed, or a limited company director, the requirements can vary enormously between lenders, with some only willing to recognise the money you might receive as a basic salary from your own company (considering any other income as not guaranteed), while others may be more flexible and understand about contracts, dividends, projected profits and other ways your assets might be growing.

Changes in the mortgage market and in mortgage regulation in recent years have resulted in lenders becoming more stringent in their approach to mortgage underwriting, and taking a much more cautious and risk-averse attitude when assessing affordability. Many mainstream lenders on the high street will only consider applicants that fall within their quite narrow criteria, and many people with irregular incomes, unconventional ways of paying themselves or blemishes on their credit record have found themselves declined.

For self-employed people – including sole traders, partnerships and limited company directors – the process used by some lenders to assess mortgage applications can be extremely frustrating. Lenders usually base their calculations for mortgage decision on historical data rather than current or projected income. Most will demand to see accounts from the last two or three years of trading as shown by your SA302 Self Assessment tax calculation documents, or your full verified accounts.

You should note though, that there are lending companies who are more willing to consider applications from those who are self-employed. We have found that it is perfectly possible for a self-employed person in many different kinds of circumstances to obtain a mortgage based on less onerous criteria, such as using only one year’s accounts, basing figures on retained profit, working with accountant’s certificates, allowing for income via umbrella companies, and other rules for contractors where no accounts are required.

Fortunately, at Just Mortgage Brokers we specialise in acting as mortgage brokers for self-employed applicants, and have the experience and knowledge of how different lenders – from the big high street banks and building societies to smaller, more specialist lending companies – make these assessments. As a self-employed mortgage broker, our expertise can help you to find the right self-employed mortgage on the market to meet your specific needs and circumstances.

Lenders will always require proof of income when a mortgage application is submitted to them. One of the key things that lenders need to assess is a potential applicant’s affordability. This has to be verified and documented. So unfortunately income will always have to be proven. The mortgage market is however moving towards verifying income directly with HMRC and even though this is a work in progress, there are some lenders that will not ask for proof of income for some self-employed or employed mortgage applications. As Mortgage Brokers we are still responsible for verifying and documenting proof of income prior to submitting an application to a lender. The lenders’ move towards verifying income directly with HMRC is more to save them time in their application process than actually offering mortgages that truly ask for no proof of income.

In essence, self cert mortgages were designed for self-employed people with complex incomes to be able to access mortgages by self certifying their income. After a while the schemes were also rolled out to employed people with complex income scenarios. Self cert mortgages were taken out by far more people than anticipated, and after being successfully available for a number of years, it was decided by the regulator that the risk of these mortgages defaulting, far outweighed the benefits of giving access to those that had complex income scenarios. Thus self cert mortgages are no longer available in the UK.

An SA302 form is your Self Assessment tax calculation, provided by HM Revenue & Customs. While many mortgage lenders will ask for full accounts (usually between one and three years’ worth) to verify the income of self-employed mortgage applicants, it is increasingly common for lenders to accept SA302 forms instead.

Over 50 lenders accept SA302s printed at home or by an accountant, accompanied by the corresponding tax year overview, while others may ask for originals provided by HMRC. For mortgage lenders, the SA302 provides documentary evidence of your declared income for that tax year, in compliance with affordability rules set down by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

An SA302 summarises the information you submitted to HMRC in your annual tax return, and shows the calculation of your income tax and National Insurance contributions due for the tax year. It breaks down your declared income from all sources including salary, income from self-employment or partnerships, limited company dividends and interest. The calculation also breaks down the total income tax due and the applicable tax rates.

HMRC can provide up to four years’ SA302s and tax year overviews. There are various ways you can obtain these, depending on how you submit your tax returns. If you submit your return using the HMRC online Self Assessment service, you can sign into the website and print the necessary documents directly. If you – or your accountant – use commercial software to submit your annual tax returns, the SA302 can be printed via the software.

If you do not have access to a printer, or if you are applying to a lender who will only accept an original SA302, then you need to request it from HMRC. This also applies if you submit your tax returns by post, rather than online or via software.

To request an original SA302, you can call the Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310, quoting your National Insurance number and Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). You can also write to: Self Assessment, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AS. Once HMRC has received your request, you should allow up to two weeks for the requested documentation to arrive.

Lenders can vary considerably in how they calculate an income figure for self-employed mortgage applicants. Some may base the figure on your most recent year’s declared income, others on an average of the past two or three years’ figures. Lenders may apply different criteria to how they consider direct income, salary and dividends drawn from a limited company structure, and retained profits.

In short, there is no single hard-and-fast rule as to how a lender will calculate your income figure. However, once that figure has been established, the amount you can borrow should be subject to the same lending criteria as anyone else applying for a mortgage with the same lender.

Mortgage lenders will not differentiate between employed or self-employed people when offering their best mortgage rates. To try and truly understand what mortgage deal that is available to you, our Mortgage Advisers will analyse the products that are available based on the initial and follow on rates, fees charged by the lender and other hidden costs or benefits associated with the mortgage deal. This usually helps them establish the true cost of a product and will in turn help you get the right mortgage deal for your specific circumstances.

Being declined a mortgage by your bank is not an indication that you cannot get a mortgage. Each and every bank, building society and lending institution has its own criteria on which they lend on. They even assess a potential mortgage applicants’ credit score on their own internal scoring system. If you have been declined a mortgage by your bank, then it is important that you try and speak to a Mortgage Broker.

A Mortgage Broker will assess your situation based on your individual circumstance and then source the most appropriate lender for you. This will not only save you time, but it will also give you the peace of mind that a wide range of lenders are being looked at meaning you are in a good position to obtain a mortgage

If you are a business owner who hasn’t withdrawn all of the profits from your business, but have instead retained these profits within the business and are looking for a mortgage it may be difficult. Some lenders do not look at retained profits with income. Most lenders will look at a business owner’s dividend income on top of their salary to calculate their affordability. However, if you have retained profits within the business this could work out at significantly more than your dividend income plus salary, which could mean you could afford to borrow much more. There are a number of specialist lenders who will take retained profit into account and these may be added to your salary drawings to produce a figure for mortgage calculations.

If you speak to one of our experts or complete the enquiry form we will discuss your requirements in more detail to establish the best way forward.

Many lenders accept dividends as income. However, some do not and will look at the net profit of a company instead of the salary and dividends. Generally speaking, if you take a regular salary from your own company plus dividends, these will be added together for mortgage calculation purposes. There may be complications if the combined drawing is greater than the net profit of the business. You should speak with one of our team to make sure the correct figures are used and can be matched to a suitable lender.

Each lender will adopt a varied approach to how they use your income from self-employment in a mortgage affordability calculator. Traditionally it was considered necessary to have at least 3 years trading accounts and an average of net profit would be used. However, there are many situations where an individual’s accounts have produced a better result in the last year, be it from market expansion, growth after an initial start-up, acquisitions/mergers or successful tendering etc. If it can be confirmed that the current level of profit is sustainable and not just a “one off”, there are a number of lenders who will consider an application based on this income rather than an average.

When assessing the criteria of getting a self-employed mortgage, lenders will look at the overall profile of the business accounts. Up until recent years, most lenders had insisted on seeing a track record of 2 to 3 years accounts. This has fortunately changed and there are a number of lenders who have self-employed mortgages available for those that only have 1 years accounts.

Some lenders may now consider an application if you have 2 years trading accounts and the associated tax calculations.  Typically an average of the 2 years net profit will be used for mortgage calculation purposes. Where there is a greater deposit or equity value, lenders are likely to be more accommodating.

Our specialist advisers will be able to review your circumstances and requirements in order to recommend the best way forward.

You could be forgiven for thinking that being self-employed would disadvantage you when it comes to getting help applying for a mortgage using the government’s Help to Buy scheme, but you’ll be pleased to know that being self-employed will not disqualify you at all. As long as you are looking to buy a new-build home up to a value of £600,000, and can show you meet the criteria for income and affordability, then you are quite entitled to apply for a Help to Buy loan that can cover as much as 20% (or 40% in London) of the property’s value.

Talking your situation over with one of our specialist mortgage brokers will be the first stage in unlocking the process to owning a home using Help to Buy. Their first task will be to source the lenders that offer Help to Buy mortgages, and who would be willing to lend to self-employed applicants that can present the proof of income needed to sustain the mortgage repayments. With a Help to Buy loan effectively helping you to supply a larger than normal deposit, the pressure is much reduced.

The mortgage broker will then assess your self-employed position (the nature and size of your income and assets via your various channels, as well as the figures shown on your SA302 Self Assessment tax calculation, or your verified accounts) to establish the most suitable lender for you who will offer you a mortgage on a Help to Buy application. From there, it’s a case of framing your application to show your income in its most favourable light, something that our team of advisors will be able to help you with too.

Trying to get a mortgage with bad credit can be a difficult task. Our expert Mortgage Advisers specialise in this very niche area of the market and can help you acquire a self-employed mortgage with bad credit.  They have access to not only exclusive products but in some instances also have access to specialist criteria not readily available to every Mortgage Broker.

The short answer to this is no. A mortgage application from a self-employed person is the same as one from someone on a salary, and both types of applicant should have access to the same products, terms and interest rates.

The main concern of any mortgage lender, whether a mainstream bank or specialist lending company, is the applicant’s ability to repay the loan so that the lender gets their money back (plus a return through interest charged). So, the main focus of attention is on the applicant’s verifiable income. In the case of a salaried employee, this is very simple to check using monthly payslips and possibly their annual P60 form.

With a self-employed person, this is of course a little more tricky, as many sole traders and businesses (large and small) go through periods of boom and bust, making their income less predictable. Even if a limited company director is paying himself a basic salary, the level of annual dividends can fluctuate up and down. Bearing all this in mind, many lenders may well view a self-employed person as a higher lending risk, and so will apply a higher interest rate accordingly.

Therefore, you should take all the measures you can to make sure you will still be offered a mortgage at a competitive interest rate. Here are a few basic tips:


Make a strong case for your business – provide copies of signed contracts or letters of intent (if you are a contractor), verified business accounts showing an upward trajectory and retained profits, and all evidence of advance orders and bookings.


Save for a larger deposit – money talks, and if you can show that you are making a substantial investment, this will lower the lender’s exposure in case anything goes wrong and it gives them more confidence in you as a borrower.


Show a clean credit history – it’s worth checking your own credit records to make sure there are no incorrect entries or old charges against your name. Or, if you don’t have a very active credit history (which can also negatively impact your credit rating), take out a credit card to use for all day-to-day expenses and make sure you pay it off at the end of the month.


If you keep your house in order, and provide all information about your income in the strongest, most effective way, then you should not have to suffer a higher interest rate on your mortgage. Talk to one of our advisers to find out how you can make your application as strong as possible.

There is a wide range of lenders providing mortgages around the UK, both the familiar names on the high street and those who do not advertise widely, handling loans on a more specialist basis. While some lenders may be more amenable to working with self-employed people than others, none of them are purely ‘self-employed mortgage lenders’ as such. These are the same lenders who provide mortgages to employed applicants as well as the self-employed, as long as the applicant meets their criteria for lending.

The key difference to bear in mind is that a lender will assess an application for a self-employed mortgage using different parameters of a self-employed person’s personal or business accounts in order to establish their actual income. This is a little more complex than a mortgage application from an employed person where they can simply check monthly payslips and the annual P60 form – some lenders may want to see up to three years’ verified accounts or copies of your SA302 Self Assessment tax calculations, signed copies of current contracts, a business projection, dividend certificates, business accounts showing retained profits, personal bank statements to monitor outgoings, or more.

You might be surprised by how these parameters and criteria can be substantially different from one lender to the next, so it is important to get advice from a specialist mortgage adviser who has an in-depth knowledge of the mortgage market and all the lenders within it. They understand the differences between lenders and what their criteria will mean to your application, as well as the types of deals lenders will be willing to strike, so they can help you achieve the most appropriate mortgage to suit your particular circumstances.

You might expect that with many lenders viewing self-employed people as a higher risk, and asking for a lot of sensitive financial information, self-employed mortgages are going to be more expensive than mortgage deals for salaried applicants. This is definitely not always the case, if you are able to supply all the required details about your income and outgoings, and prove that your revenue is on a reliable footing, then you should be able to get exactly the same deals as a person in conventional employment.

To get access to the most favourable mortgage deals to suit your circumstances, you will need to get all your business and personal financial information in order, and present it in the most effective way to show a lender that you are more than capable of servicing a mortgage in the long term. Aside from an effective presentation of your finances, you can also strengthen your case by having a clean credit history and providing a healthy deposit. The added security of money put down will allow lenders to extend a better mortgage rate and terms.

You can find a lot of the ‘best’ mortgage deals online by searching on one of the many helpful comparison sites and analysing the headline interest rates, introductory periods, fees, costs and variations according to tracker versus fixed rates, or interest-only versus capital repayment mortgages. However, while you’ll be given a lot of information, you may not be able to say accurately which mortgage will be the best suited to your exact circumstances, nor what other options could be available to you through other specialist lending companies who do not generally advertise online.

The only way to know for certain which mortgage will be the most suitable and cost-effective for your position and needs is to speak to an unlimited mortgage advisor, such as a member of our team here at Just Mortgage Brokers. They’ll take a close look at your circumstances and your aims, and recommend the best course of action going forward.

The quick answer to this is yes, mortgage brokers can obtain different deals to those you will see advertised on the high street or online. An established, experienced mortgage broker will have access to industry networks, be aware of special offers and rates perhaps known only to a few and will have strong relationships with the wide variety of lenders across the UK mortgage landscape – from the high street mainstream lenders to smaller lending companies and specialist providers.

But it’s important to realise that not all mortgage brokers are in the same boat. Many brokers are tied to certain providers, and are only able to source products from a specific portfolio, family or ‘board’ of lending companies. While they will be able to offer you sound professional advice, they will not be able to recommend or give you access to some of the more flexible lenders in the market nor what might potentially be the most favourable mortgage scheme for your needs (if it falls outside of their remit).

An mortgage broker such as ourselves at Just Mortgage Brokers is able to search the mortgage market in the quest to find the most suitable mortgage for your circumstances. With access to over 12,000 products through around 90 lenders, we’re confident that a scheme to fit your situation is out there, and if there is a way to strike a better deal, we’ll make every effort to do so. We are often able to secure deals on an exclusive basis, our relationships with lenders allowing us to contact them informally ahead of an official application to see what might be possible.

Feel free to contact us to discuss further how we can obtain the most favourable deal on your home loan.

When you need to make an application for a mortgage based on unconventional, unpredictable or complex income streams, a specialist mortgage broker can help you to be prepared for any lenders’ assessments and to tailor your application and supporting documents to give you the best chance of success in obtaining a mortgage.

At Just Mortgage Brokers, our expert team has built a strong reputation for specialisation in many niche areas, mortgages for self-employed people being one of them. Our experienced self-employed mortgage brokers are trained to understand the intricacies of our self-employed clients’ businesses and lives, and will take a close look at your individual or business accounts not only to gauge your affordability, but also to determine how to extract the information to present it in a favourable way to the potential lender. Tailoring your information in this way can make a difference of thousands of pounds of extra borrowing, or in savings on your payments long term.

Not all mortgage brokers are able to offer self-employed people impartial advice, depending on their experience and what lending groups they may be tied to, but our advisers have a great deal of insight into the self-employed market and are unlimited in the lenders they can look at. They understand that every business has different trading strategies, from sole traders to limited companies, and will take this into account when making an assessment and offering recommendations for mortgage products to consider. They can even look at clients who only have one year’s trading accounts, if this can be shown to be a reliable guide to income going forward.

Please feel free to get in touch with our team here at Just Mortgage Brokers for a free initial, no-obligation consultation. We’ll be happy to see how we can help, let us do the hard work for you and find the mortgage to meet your needs.

Applying for a mortgage can be quite a challenging experience for some, and is often all the more stressful when you are self-employed. Many lenders still adopt an overly cautious attitude to self-employed people, preferring to work with borrowers in a conventional, salaried position where they can see a regular income on paper rather than the less-predictable revenue of someone working for themselves.

However, just because you are self-employed, it doesn’t mean that you will have trouble finding the right mortgage at an affordable rate to meet your circumstances and enable you to own your own home. As mortgage brokers with a great deal of experience in sourcing mortgages for the self-employed, we understand the many forms that self-employment can take – from sole traders to personal limited companies, company directors or business partners – in fact, anyone not in the position of a salaried employee and who is paying themselves from the profits of their own business.

Across the board, key factors in a lender’s decision on your mortgage will revolve around the way you show your verifiable income and assets, your performance in an affordability assessment and of course the level of deposit you can provide. We can work with you at every stage to assess your true income, however it is structured through dividends, retained profits or otherwise, and marry your circumstances with a lender with a compatible approach to obtain the mortgage on your new home.

To be able to access specialist lenders and the more flexible criteria and deals they offer, you will need to work through a professional mortgage advisor or broker. This is someone who acts as a trusted intermediary and ensures that the clients are well-suited to a lender’s products and vice versa. The nature of specialist lending requires that borrowers take professional advice and are aware of all their options before moving forward.

An experienced expert adviser will have a complete understanding of the challenges around applying for a mortgage when you are self-employed, such as the right lenders to approach, the information to provide and what exactly you can do to give your application the best chance of success. They’ll conduct a thorough assessment of your circumstances, your targets for the mortgage and your requirements in the long term in order to make sure they know which lender and product to recommend.

Doing your own research into which lenders and products might be suitable for your needs can be enlightening, but will also take up a lot of time and resources. Be aware also that you will only be able to see the range of products available on the open market, and not those offered by the specialist lenders, and you may unwittingly make an application for a mortgage you believe to be the right for you, when in fact there could be better options available to you through other channels.

The most effective solution is to always talk over your situation with a specialist mortgage adviser, such as one of our team here at Just Mortgage Brokers. With access to over 12,000 mortgages through more than 90 lenders in the UK, often getting deals on an exclusive basis, we are confident you will be able to obtain the right mortgage to suit your needs, no matter how many hoops you might have to jump through as a self-employed person. Give our office a call today to find out more and book a free, no-obligation consultation.

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