A mortgage in principle, also known as an agreement in principle, is a statement from a lender showing how much they might lend you. This guide explains why having a mortgage in principle before viewing properties and making offers is crucial, and how you can get one. It also answers some common questions about the impact on your credit score and the documents you’ll need to apply. 

What is a Mortgage in Principle? 

A mortgage in principle is an estimate from a lender of how much they might lend you based on an initial financial assessment. It's not a formal mortgage offer but it can help you figure out your budget when house hunting. 

Can You View a House Without a Mortgage in Principle? 

You can view houses without a mortgage in principle, but having one makes the process smoother. Estate agents and sellers take you more seriously, knowing you have preliminary approval from a lender. This is especially helpful in competitive markets. 

When to Get a Mortgage in Principle 

You should get a mortgage in principle early in your home-buying journey. It helps you set a realistic budget and focus your search on homes in your price range. It also shows sellers you're serious and financially prepared. 

How to Get a Mortgage in Principle 

To get a mortgage in principle, you'll need to demonstrate to lenders your current financial status. They’ll then run some checks and work out how much they think you can afford to borrow. To do that, they’ll need some information from you. 
 
Proof of identity such as a passport or driving licence 
Proof of address like a utility bill or bank statement 
Proof of income such as recent payslips or tax returns if you’re self-employed 
Details of your income and outgoings - it’s worth keeping a note of these in a spreadsheet 

How Long to Get a Mortgage in Principle 

Getting a mortgage in principle can be pretty quick. Many lenders will give you one in 24 hours if you apply online and have all the necessary documents ready. 

How Long Does a Mortgage in Principle Last? 

A mortgage in principle usually lasts between 60 to 90 days, depending on the lender. It’s worth bearing this in mind when you're house hunting. 

Does a Mortgage in Principle Affect Credit Score? 

Applying for a mortgage in principle can impact your credit score, but the effect is usually minimal. Lenders can perform a soft or hard credit check. A soft check doesn’t affect your credit score, while a hard check does. Check with your lender which type they do. 

Can You Make an Offer Without a Mortgage in Principle? 

Yes, you can, but having one strengthens your offer. It shows sellers you are prepared and serious. It can also speed up the buying process since your financial standing has already been assessed. 

Conclusion 

Getting a mortgage in principle is a key step in the home-buying process. It clarifies your budget, shows sellers you're serious, and can speed up your mortgage application once you find your ideal home. 
 
If you’re planning on buying a home any time soon, get your mortgage in principle sorted sooner than later. 
 
And if you’d like friendly, expert advice on the whole process, get in touch. We’d love to have a chat and see if we can help. 
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