How to apply for a mortgage

To apply for a mortgage, you need to go through a few application stages. Find out more about them here.

There’s no sure-fire way to guarantee you’ll be accepted for a mortgage. But there are a few things you can do to try and improve your chances.


  • Good deposit. Have a strong loan to value ratio and the biggest deposit you can afford
  • Good credit score. The overall health of your finances can have a big impact on being accepted. For example, always paying your credit card off on time
  • Regular, steady income. If you’ve been in your job for over six months and can prove you have a regular salary, this is a good sign for lenders
  • Register to vote. Being registered to vote at your current address helps a lender to confirm your identity

What you need to apply for a mortgage

You’ll need to give your lender some documents to help support your application.

This helps lenders know more about you and feel confident that you can keep up with your mortgage repayments.


Your lender may want you to provide:


  • ID (driving licence or passport)
  • Past three to six months of bank statements
  • P60 tax form from employer
  • Utility bills (electric, gas, water etc.)
  • Proof of any benefits you’re receiving
  • Details of your solicitor, estate agent and the seller


If you’re self-employed, they’ll also want to see:


  • The last two to three years of tax forms
  • SA302 tax return form
  • Bank statements to support your tax return information

Getting an Agreement in Principle

Getting an Agreement in Principle is an important step when you’re applying for a mortgage.

An Agreement in Principle (AIP) is where a lender gives you an idea of how much you might be able to borrow. This can help when house hunting, as you’ll know how much you might be able to spend on a new home.

It’s obligation-free and involves a soft credit check. A soft credit check won’t affect your credit score. The lender will want details of your income, where you’ve lived for the last three years and your outgoings. Learn more about how credit checks work.

An AIP is not a guarantee that you will be offered a mortgage. The lender will confirm the exact amount you can borrow after you make a full application, checked your income and the information you’ve provided, in more detail.

Start your application

Once you’re ready, it’s a good idea to get some advice from a mortgage adviser. A mortgage adviser is someone who can help you with your mortgage application.

  • Mortgage advisers can help you find a mortgage deal. They will look at your budget and how much you spend every month
  • You’ll have a meeting with them first. They’ll go through your personal and financial circumstances and then give you advice on the best course of action to take
  • Once you’ve made an offer for a property and it has been accepted, your adviser will handle your mortgage application
  • Your lender will start assessing your application. They will also arrange a valuation of the home you want to buy. While this is going on, the lender will look over your paperwork and run any credit checks they need to
  • Once they’re happy everything’s in order, they’ll make you a formal mortgage offer. This is usually valid for up to six months, giving you plenty of time to make your decision

How long does a mortgage application take?

The length of the mortgage application process can take anything from one to six weeks. How long it takes depends on whether there are any hold-ups while you’re applying.

For example, the process of applying for a mortgage should only take a couple of hours. However, the lender will usually take a few weeks to look over your finances, as well as arranging a valuation of the home you want to buy.

What could delay my mortgage application?

Lenders will do their best to make sure it’s a smooth process, but hold-ups can happen. There are a few common reasons why an application might be delayed:

  • Not getting documents over on time. Be as quick as you can when sending over paperwork. It’s best to prepare all of this in advance.
  • Hold-ups during assessment. If there’s an issue with your application, this can slow things down. Keep in touch with your lender to check how things are progressing and if you need to do anything.

The content on this page is for reference and does not constitute financial advice. For impartial financial advice, we recommend government bodies like MoneyHelper.

Calculators and tools

We have a range of mortgage calculators to help you:

  • Find out how much you could borrow from Halifax
  • See how much you could save if you make overpayments on your mortgage
  • Get an idea how a change to the Bank of England Base Rate could affect your monthly payments
Use our calculators and tools

Speak to someone

You can talk to us over the phone or use our mortgage video service from the comfort of your own home.

Contact us