Getting a mortgage as a single parent can be daunting. Whether you're newly single and sorting out a joint mortgage, or hoping to get on the property ladder, there's lots of options for single parents.
Bringing up children on your own is tough, before adding a mortgage application on top! You might be worried about getting accepted on a single income, or how having dependents affects your chances of being accepted.
The good news is, it's definitely possible to get a mortgage as a single parent. You might just need some help applying to the right mortgage lender.
In this Guide, you’ll find all you need to know about getting a mortgage as a single parent, and the different factors to consider when applying.
In this Guide:
Can I get a mortgage if I’m a single parent and have bad credit?
What happens to my joint mortgage if I’m a newly single parent?
Yes, you can absolutely get a mortgage as a single parent! Applying for a mortgage by yourself when you have little ones can feel overwhelming. Some high street lenders aren’t set up to deal with situations that aren’t straightforward, but there’s plenty of specialist mortgage lenders who could help.
You won’t have the benefit of an extra income, so you’ll need to be able to prove you can afford the repayments by yourself. If you’ve been renting, you’ll know all about the extra costs that come with being the only adult in a household. However, your monthly mortgage payments could be cheaper than your rent, so you might be able to save more money as a homeowner.
Use our Mortgage Payments Calculator to see what your mortgage repayments could look like.
How much you’ll be able to borrow will depend on a few things. When deciding whether to give you a mortgage, lenders will check to see if you can afford the repayments without struggling. Different lenders have different lending criteria, but generally they’ll check:
Your income – the higher your income, the more you should be able to borrow
Your credit report – a positive credit history will be more appealing to lenders
Your deposit – putting down more money upfront means you’re asking to borrow less and could get the better deals
Work out how much you could borrow using our Mortgage Affordability Calculator.
Any debts you have or adverse credit issues (such as CCJs or defaults) will affect how much you can borrow. But don’t be disheartened if you have some marks on your file, it’s still totally possible to get a mortgage with a poor credit history. You’ll just need to find the right lender who can look at your application on a case-by-case basis. Most of the time, these lenders are only accessible through specialist mortgage brokers.
That’s why it’s a good idea to work with a mortgage broker who knows the market and can find the right deal for you with one of these lenders. Make an enquiry to speak to one of our friendly Mortgage Experts.
When mortgage lenders look at your application, they won’t just look at your salary. They’ll take other sources of income into account. This includes things like state benefits and child support payments from an ex-partner. All these sources add up, and could increase the amount you borrow. Getting these presented properly in your application is really important (our Mortgage Experts can help you do this).
Lenders want to know you can afford your mortgage repayments without struggling. To do this, they’ll look at things like:
Your regular monthly outgoings
What you spend your money on
How much money you have spare after all your outgoings
How much you’ve managed to save
In the months leading up to your application, you should try to get to grips with your finances so you look as good as possible to lenders. If you’re worried about applying for a mortgage, get in touch to get matched to the right broker for your situation.
Being a self-employed single parent, your income isn’t as straightforward as it would be if you were on a salary. If you’ve got a solid self-employed income that’s steady and easy to prove, you should be absolutely fine with the majority of lenders.
But if you have a more complex self-employed income, or are newly self-employed, you might struggle to find lenders willing to lend to you. That’s because a lot of mortgage lenders just aren’t set up to deal with complex incomes.
Read more in our Self Employed Mortgage Guide.
Most lenders will ask for three years of accounts, but there are some who will only require one year. If you haven’t submitted your income to HMRC yet, then you’ll have to wait until you’ve done this before submitting a mortgage application.
Getting a mortgage as a self-employed single parent might feel impossible. You may even be told you can’t get a mortgage at all. But that’s not true. There are lenders who specialise in mortgages for the self-employed and people with complex incomes. You just need a specialist mortgage broker to help you find them. That’s where our Mortgage Experts come in! Make an enquiry to find out your options.
Yes, it’s possible to get a mortgage as a single parent, even if you have bad credit. It’ll be more difficult than if you had a perfect credit score, but it’s not impossible.
You’ll need to explain what caused your bad credit, how long ago it happened, and how much money was involved. It’s also important to show what you’ve been doing since to improve your score. For example, a few missed mobile phone payments will be less worrying to lenders than a bankruptcy.
When it comes to bad credit, it’s best to face the issue head on. The first step is to get an accurate, up-to-date and detailed look at your credit history and credit score. We recommend using checkmyfile* – it’s the UK’s most detailed and trusted credit report service. They’ve been helping people understand the credit system for over 20 years, and are the UK’s top ranked credit report service on Trustpilot.
Recent or severe credit problems such as CCJs or IVAs can make things a lot harder. A lot of the high street banks will probably turn you down. That’s why it’s a good idea to work with a specialist mortgage advisor before making any applications.
The advisors we work with have seen it all and aren’t judgemental. If you’re looking for a mortgage as a single parent with bad credit, make an enquiry to speak to an expert.
*Heads up, when you click through to our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. We only recommend sites we truly trust and believe in.
Separations and divorces can be stressful, even more so if you need to sort out a joint mortgage. You have a few options for your mortgage when separating from an ex-partner:
Sell the home
That means you would no longer have any financial ties to each other. But it means both of you will need to find somewhere else to live.
If both of you want to leave the house, but don’t want to give up ownership, then you could explore the option of renting it out. If you do this, either one or both of you can still own the home. If both of you want to still own the home, you’ll have to split the rent two ways, and you’ll still be on a joint mortgage with financial ties to each other. If just one of you wants to rent the property out, they’ll have to buy out the other from the mortgage.
Buy out your ex
One of the most common choices is to have one partner buy the other out and transfer the joint mortgage to one person.
The benefit of this option is that you get to keep your home, which could be a good idea if you’d struggle to get a mortgage on your own. Your mortgage payments wouldn’t be affected and you’d still have a joint mortgage.
If you both decide you want the mortgage to be transferred to one person, you can either stick with your current lender, or consider looking around for a new lender.
The process of transferring a mortgage to one person usually involves an interview and consultation with a solicitor, and you might have to have your property revalued. There’s likely to be admin and legal fees, and possibly stamp duty if you’re making a substantial payment to the other joint owner.
Read more in our Guide: Can a Joint Mortgage Be Transferred to One Person?
Don’t forget you’re both liable for the mortgage
Even if you’ve separated, you’ll both still need to make your mortgage payments until you reach an official agreement. If either of you misses a payment then it’ll bring down both of your credit scores. Separating from a partner can be a difficult process, but it’s important to keep on top of things while you’re still financially linked.
Yes, there are some mortgage lenders who are happy to consider you if you’re on state benefits. You’ll probably need to find a specialist lender if your benefits are your main source of income.
It’s a good idea to use a mortgage broker. Our Mortgage Experts live and breathe the mortgage market, and know which lenders will consider applications from people on benefits or Universal Credit. Getting rejected for a mortgage can really hurt your credit score, so you don't want to risk being refused simply because you applied to the wrong lender. Make an enquiry to find out your options.
There are some lenders who’ll count child benefits towards your income on your application, but usually they’ll need your children to be under 13 years of age. This is because if your child benefit makes up a big part of your income, lenders might think you’ll struggle to pay the mortgage once you stop receiving the benefit. Some lenders will also include childcare vouchers when working out how much you can afford to borrow.
You can read more in our Guide: Can I Get a Mortgage With Low Income?
If you already have a mortgage but need help with your repayments, you can get help from the government if you receive certain benefits. These include:
Employment and Support Allowance
The help you can get is called Support for Mortgage Interest. It’s a loan, so you’ll have to repay it if you sell your home.
Getting a mortgage as a single parent can feel like a scary prospect. While there aren’t any schemes dedicated specifically to single parent mortgages, there are a number of ways you could get on the property ladder.
Shared Ownership is where you buy part of a property and rent the rest. You take out a mortgage on the part you're buying, then pay a reduced rent on the part you don't own. You can buy some or all of the remaining property share later on. Shared ownership can be a complicated process. So we’d recommend speaking to one of our Mortgage Experts.
Help to Buy
Help to Buy is where the government grants you an equity loan to put towards the cost of a new-build home (up to 20% of the property price). You can get a Help to Buy mortgage with only a 5% deposit - a good option if you can’t save much money and want a brand new home. Read more in our Guide: Help to Buy Explained.
Right to Buy
If you’re currently a council tenant in England, you could qualify for the Right to Buy scheme If you meet the criteria, you'll be able to buy your home at a discount. Most mortgage lenders will then accept your discount as a deposit.
If you’re struggling to meet the affordability needed to be accepted, you could apply for a guarantor mortgage. A guarantor mortgage is where someone else agrees to pay for your mortgage in the event that you can’t. This means that you’re much more likely to be accepted for a mortgage and might be able to borrow more than you would on your own, or maybe qualify for lower interest rates.
Buy with family or friends
Buying a house with a friend or a family member is becoming a popular way to get on the property ladder. Combining deposits and sharing all the monthly living expenses can be appealing. It’s a big commitment though. You’ll be jointly responsible for the mortgage payments. If one of you can't pay, you'll have to cover the cost. You also can't sell the property unless everyone agrees.
Getting a mortgage as a single parent can be overwhelming, that’s why it’s a good idea to work with a specialist mortgage broker.
Mortgage brokers live and breathe the mortgage market. They’ll have expert knowledge of how to handle your unique situation, and will be there every step of the way. A broker will guide you to the right lender and will make your application look good.
When you have the right broker and the right mortgage lender on your side, your chances of mortgage success are much higher. Our Mortgage Experts have great relationships with specialist lenders. Lenders who use human underwriters that look beyond credit scores, minimum incomes and automated box ticking. They treat customers as individuals and look for reasons to help, rather than refuse it.
Our Mortgage Experts are fully-qualified with experience in bad credit, self-employed and complex mortgages. They have a proven track record of getting mortgages for people who’ve been rejected elsewhere.
Applying for a mortgage or understanding your options shouldn't be confusing, yet there are just so many myths doing the rounds and it's not easy to know where to turn to get the right advice.
Our calculators give you an idea of what you might be able to borrow, what's affordable and a rough estimate of the kind of property prices you can start to look at.
Talk to our Mortgage Experts to find out your options