When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Applying for a mortgage

You’ll normally apply for a mortgage after you’ve had an offer accepted on a property.  Mortgage offers usually last for 6 months.  If the sale hasn’t completed within that time you may need to reapply.

You’ll need to give the bank or building society proof of your income, savings and any other debts you owe.  The bank will check your credit rating and may not approve your application if this is poor. As part of the application process the lender will do a basic survey of the property.  This survey is just a basic check that the property is roughly equal in value to what you have offered.  It’s a good idea to have a more detailed survey or homebuyers report done for your own records. The valuation survey will only pick up very obvious faults with the property. 

Your mortgage broker and solicitor can answer any questions about your application. NI Direct has some useful tips on what you can do if you’re having difficulty getting a mortgage.

Mortgage insurance

You’ll probably need to get buildings insurance as a condition of your mortgage.  You’ll also need to get life assurance or mortgage insurance.  This will pay off your mortgage if you die before the loan ends. 
You should also consider getting mortgage protection insurance.  This can help cover your repayments if you fall ill or lose your job. 

Mortgage complaints

If you're not satisfied with the advice or service you have received from a lender or broker, discuss it with the lender or broker concerned. The Mortgage Code says they must have their own internal complaints procedure. You can get a copy of the code from:

  • your lender or broker,
  • UK Finance, formerly the Council of Mortgage Lenders,
  • the Mortgage Code Compliance Board

If you’re still unhappy after complaining to the broker or lender you could refer the issue to the

  • the Financial Ombudsman or
  • the Mortgage Code Arbitration Scheme.

The lender or broker should tell you which of these schemes applies to them. These bodies cannot take up individual complaints, but may be able to put pressure on the firm to follow the complaints procedure in the Code. The Financial Services Authority can also give general advice on making a complaint.

Mortgage arrears

You could lose your home if you fall behind on your mortgage payments.  Get advice immediately and make sure you understand your options if this happens to you.