Too many contractors have had the sad experience of going to a high street bank and trying to obtain a mortgage. It's not a pleasant experience, and here at ContractorCalculator we are happy to say that we can help you to avoid it.
Why high street banks are a poor mortgage option for contractors
What invariably happens is that the contractor explains who they are, and what they do. The 'customer representative' will explain that since the contractor does not have a full-time job, or insufficient self-employed earnings over 3 years, and the bank won't consider the mortgage.
The fact that that the contractor has a much higher income, and solid documentation for that income, doesn’t come into the picture as that is not in the list of questions. It doesn't matter that the contractor has a perfectly clean credit record either. It's frustrating to say the least.
Eventually, some banks will offer a contractor a so-called ‘Agreement in Principle’ by looking at the activity on their bank account, which involves no verification of income and sparse questioning at best.
The problem arises when the same contractor goes back to the bank when they need to put in an application, and the bank declines the mortgage despite the ‘Agreement’ they originally issued, when the contractor actually needs it.
Don't want to get turned down? Read our great tips to securing a mortgage.
Opening a channel
But contractors do not have to endure the indignities of high street banking. At a number of specialised consultancies, contractors can work with experts who can open a channel to lenders for them.
"We have developed bespoken underwriting for contractors and all those who have problems fitting into the mould created by the financial institutions," says Taj Kang of specialist broker CMME. "Over the years , we have built up a huge reservoir of contacts with a lot of the big lenders (see our guide to preferred lenders) and can now arrange a suitable mortgage for most contractors that fits their profile of income , available deposit, length of time contracting and credit history. "
How to get the mortgage
"We realise that, if your accountant is doing his job right, you may not draw a large salary, since you take income in other ways. So we use an annualised multiple of your contract rate: if you are earning a certain number of pounds an hour, or pounds a day, then we calculate an annual income for you. With this approach, we find we can obtain quite a choice
for a contractor, the same kind of choice that a permanent employee would have," Kang says.
This kind of service is not only available to contractors at the high end of the salary range, Kang explains. "We can work with every type of contractor regardless of how much they earn, regardless of the tax vehicle they use to pay themselves.
Every contractor, no restrictions
Kang points out that they favour mortgages which offer maximum flexibility - one of his clients deliberately takes a few months out of his contracting a year to go back to Australia, his home. When he is not workinghis mortgage scheme allows him to overpay the mortgage during the time he works, then to use the equity during the time he is back home. That kind of flexibility isn’t easily found even by full-time employees.
Some contractors, perhaps because of the intermittent nature of their work, experience credit problems. This, however, does not prevent them from finding a mortgage via specialised advisers.
The essential factor is to find a contractor-focused intermediary who both understands the way that contractors work, and is able to open a channel to lenders.
See our dedicated section Contractor Mortgages
Any questions? See our common mortgages FAQ's.