Degree-qualified professionals like doctors, solicitors, teachers, and other skilled specialists such as pilots, often have a more predictable career path.
To get to where you are today within your sector, you’ll have dedicated a lot of time and probably a lot of money too.
That dedication and ability to grind away demonstrates responsibility - and your structured career path makes it easier for mortgage lenders to assess future income and the likelihood of you falling behind on repayments and defaulting
But is it just your job title that affects your potential to get a mortgage as a professional?
What’s included in this guide?
- What’s the definition of a working professional?
- Who do mortgage lenders count as professionals?
- Is it easier for a working professional to get a mortgage?
- Professional mortgage eligibility criteria
- What’s considered a ‘professional registered body’ for a mortgage for a professional?
- How much can I borrow for a professional mortgage?
- How much deposit do I need for a mortgage as a professional?
- Can I get a mortgage as a professional if I have debt?
- Can professionals who are self-employed get a mortgage?
- Preparing to apply for a mortgage as a professional
- Mortgages for professionals: FAQs
What’s the definition of a working professional?In general, you’ll need to be fully qualified, registered, practicing in your profession, and a member of your professional association
Working professionals are often educated to a degree level, though this isn’t always the case as some professionals require specific industry training, for example, a pilot doesn’t necessarily need a Bachelor’s degree but they do require an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) and a Class 1 Medical Certificate.
Who do mortgage lenders count as professionals?
- Medical doctors
Is it easier for a working professional to get a mortgage?If you’re qualified within an internationally recognised profession, such as medicine or law, your employability is arguably high, which reduces the risk of you becoming unable to pay your mortgage.
Affordability is crucial for mortgage lenders, so it’s not just your job title that affects your opportunities for homeownership.
Your credit score, level of debt, and the type of property you want to buy, all impact the interest rate you pay and the lending criteria you have to choose from.
Choose wisely and work with an expert and you could save yourself some money. However, hastily signing a mortgage agreement without comparing could result in a costly decision.
Professional mortgage eligibility criteriaIn the UK, there is a huge range of mortgage lenders, each with their own products and criteria specifications that they’ll require you to meet. That provides a plethora of choices for you, so don’t rush into a contract and work with a broker to find a mortgage agreement that is:
A) suitable for your circumstances i.e. your income, job, and aspirations as a buyer
B) the most competitive deal.
Your mortgage lender may require you to:
- Have a qualification awarded by a registered body for your chosen profession
- Have a career, or currently be training for a career as a professional i.e. Accountants, Architects, Actuaries, Barristers, Chartered Surveyors, Dentists, Medical Doctors, Optometrists, Pharmacists, Solicitors, and Veterinarians
- Meet minimum income requirements
- Meet minimum deposit requirements
- Have a debt-to-income ratio below a specified amount, for example, 50%
What’s considered a ‘professional registered body’ for a mortgage for a professional?
|Profession||Professional registered body|
How much can I borrow for a professional mortgage?As a borrower working within a professional industry, you may be able to qualify for larger income multiples, which is good because the higher the income multiple, the higher your maximum loan amount.
Your own circumstances will affect whether you can meet eligibility criteria for high-income multiple lenders so factors like bad credit or a low credit score can sometimes result in fewer lending options and subsequently a lower-income multiple.
Typically, mortgage providers agree to lend professionals between 5.5 - 6.5 x an annual salary. The examples below are based on average salaries in the UK to demonstrate how an income multiple affects the maximum borrowing power you have.
Income figures are intended as a guide only. To find out how much you can specifically borrow based on your individual circumstances, contact a qualified mortgage broker who can provide an accurate figure. *
How much deposit do I need for a mortgage as a professional?The minimum deposit requirement for many UK lenders is 5%, but bear in mind that low deposit mortgages are usually provided when the borrower has good affordability for the loan size they’re applying for.
That means that if you have affordability issues like bad credit or a low income (perhaps because you’re currently in training or are yet to graduate) you may need a larger deposit to reduce the LTV ratio (loan-to-value).
The LTV is the ratio of the mortgage amount against the value of the property purchased. So, if you had £20,000 and wanted to buy a house worth £200,000, you’d have a 10% deposit and would need to borrow 90% of the properties’ value at £180,000. Therefore, your LTV ratio as a percentage would be 90%.
If you had a larger deposit of £40,000, you’d have a lower LTV ratio of 80% because you’d only need to borrow £160,000. This reduces the risk of loss to the lender and furthermore having a larger deposit can help you to access mortgage products for professionals with lower interest rates.
Can I get a mortgage as a professional if I have debt?Yes, it could be possible, although it depends on the level of your debt against your income and you may find that if your debt is substantial or recent, fewer lenders will be willing to loan money on a mortgage to you.
Most lenders use the DTI (debt-to-income) calculation to work out whether they can lend to you. The lower your debt to income ratio, the less risk you present to a mortgage lender, and a wider range of deals will be available to you when applying for credit.
Usually, though not always, there will be a maximum DTI that you can have, for example, 50%. Having a 50% DTI indicates that 50% of your income a month is being paid out to debt and that makes you a high-risk borrower because you have less disposable income.
What counts as recurring monthly debt?
- Credit card bills
- Vehicle finance
- Student loans
- Regular maintenance i.e. child support payments
- Debt management plans
- HMRC debt
Working out your DTI for a mortgageYou’ll need to add up your total monthly recurring debt payments and then divide them by your monthly income. (See below)
£500 (total monthly debt payments) / £2,500 (total gross monthly income) =0.2
Multiply this amount by 100 to convert it to a percentage and you get a DTI of 20%.
Acceptable debt-to-income ratio for professional mortgage
- 100% or higher DTI - these prospective borrowers represent a huge risk and do not show an ability to make regular mortgage payments. Almost all lenders will reject an application in this instance.
- 75% to 99% DTI - borrowers who are very high risk. A select few specialist lenders will be willing to look at the application and make a positive decision where other factors are given more weight, such as credit score and clean credit history or substantial deposit.
- 50% to 74% DTI - high-risk borrowers. Some specialist lenders are willing to accept applications at this level, but terms are less favourable, and larger deposits are required.
- 40% to 49% DTI - moderate risk borrowers. Specialist lenders will want to see good credit history and may ask for larger deposits.
- 30% to 39% DTI - acceptable risk. Most specialist lenders will offer a mortgage at this level at standard terms.
- 20% to 29% DTI - good borrower. Almost all lenders are happy to approve mortgage applications at this level.
- 0% to 19% DTI - very low-risk borrower. All lenders will consider an application.
Can professionals who are self-employed get a mortgage?Many self-employed individuals have heavily invested their time and money to learn the skills and qualifications they hold and arguably, this suggests self-determination and a likelihood to continue to persevere. However, if you’re a self-employed professional, concerns regarding the stability and dependability of that income can arise.
Usually, the income of a professional is multiplied by 5.5 to determine the maximum loan amount for a mortgage.
However, professional contractors may have fluctuating income due to the nature of their role. For example, a self-employed consultant may be asked to work longer hours or on an additional project and subsequently receive a higher income one month whereas the subsequent month they may work less and earn less.
This makes it difficult for mortgage lenders to predict how much you can afford to borrow. Rather than use income multiples ranging between 4.5 - 6.5, lenders for self-employed borrowers often assess each case individually.
Self-employed doctors, dentists, and accountants applying for a mortgage all need to prove the stability of their income and many lenders may require their self-employed borrowers to provide future work contracts, as proof that they can generate enough predictable income to repay a mortgage.
Proving your income as a self-employed professionalTo prove your income when you apply for a self-employed mortgage as a professional, you will need to provide:
- Two or more years’ accounts
- SA302 forms or a tax year overview (from HMRC) for the past two or three years
- Evidence of upcoming contracts (if you’re a contractor)
- Evidence of dividend payments or retained profits (if you’re a company director)
Tips for self-employed professionals trying to get a mortgage
- Try and earn an average income for a minimum of 3 months but ideally longer, to evidence that your income is dependable and doesn’t fluctuate greatly
- Save as much as you can for a deposit.
- Check your credit report and correct any mistakes with the creditor who has reported the credit incident
- Sign up to the electoral roll and if you’ve recently moved, sign up as soon as possible.
- Have evidence of future work with signed contracts
Preparing to apply for a mortgage as a professional
Prepare your documents
- Driving licence
- Council tax bill
- Three months payslips
- Six months worth of bank statements
Check your credit reportLenders look at credit reports to assess how likely you are to default on your mortgage. Recent debt that has gone unpaid can raise red flags for lenders who prefer to see a record of careful borrowing and repayment.
Improve your credit scoreSigning up to the electoral register can help to confirm you are who you say you are and you currently live where you say you live. Staying out of your overdraft or utilising less than 25% of your maximum available credit can also help to boost your score over time.
Save a big depositIf you are in a position to save a larger deposit, it could be worth the extra time or short-term expense. Having a bigger chunk of equity puts you in a stronger position as a borrower and can open up your choice of lenders.
The more choice, the more likely it is you’ll find a lender that’s specifically right for you - of course, it can save time to have a mortgage broker filter out the irrelevant options first.
Mortgages for professionals: FAQs
I’ve recently graduated, can I get a mortgage?Figures show that working-age graduates earned £10,000 more than non-graduates in 2018 and had higher employment rates. While you might have only recently graduated, certain professions have a natural progression path, so it’s easier for lenders to predict your income for the future.
Furthermore, lots of post-graduate roles provide job stability in the form of long-term employment contracts, with some ranging between 1-5 years depending on the chosen field of study or employment.
Therefore, some lenders will consider recently graduated professionals or trainees in industries like law, teaching, medicine, or accountancy.
Can I get a mortgage as a Ph.D. student?If your income is from a stipend, some lenders won’t accept it as a stable form of income to be included within maximum loan calculations. This can also decrease your affordability for a mortgage in general, making it hard to borrow enough to buy.
While there may be limitations, the good news is that there are UK lenders that accept stipend income for a mortgage application.
Your own circumstances will affect this, so be prepared to answer questions from the lender regarding your future employment as they’ll be keen to know what your income will increase to and whether any current level of debt could impact your ability to repay your mortgage.
If your prospects of getting a job after your Ph.D. ends are slim and you have no proof of future employment, it may be difficult to find a lender. To save time, ask a mortgage broker to show you the lenders that are more likely to provide you with a loan.
Can a doctor get a mortgage?Lenders are usually prepared to lend larger mortgage amounts to professionals based on factors like the stability and amount of their income, which is good news if you’re a doctor trying to keep up with property prices in central locations.
If you’re employed on a full-time contract and paid through the PAYE system, proving the stability and amount of your annual gross income is fairly straightforward and your chosen lender will usually require 3-6 months of bank statements and payslips.
However, it’s not uncommon for those in the medical profession to earn their income through additional streams such as merit awards or by taking up extra shifts at a private practice.
Many doctors in the UK are entirely self-employed and receive income through being a sessional GP or teaching.
The unpredictable nature of having multiple streams of income or income through being self-employed or a limited company director can make it difficult for a mortgage lender to predict how much you’ll earn in the future as there is likely going to be fluctuation throughout your career.
Going directly to a mainstream bank on the high street isn’t necessarily the best way to find a mortgage if you’re a doctor. Only a few building societies and mortgage lenders can understand the complex income that NHS and private practice doctors can receive and consequently, you might not get the best deal available.
Work efficiently and utilise a mortgage broker’s help. They can quickly compare suitable lenders and present you with the most financially beneficial agreement.
Can a pilot get a mortgage?If you’re a pilot, you no doubt live a busy life in the skies, so the prospect of searching for a mortgage lender and analysing agreements might not sound too appealing.
A mortgage broker alleviates this task so that your time can be better spent while they efficiently find the most relevant product for you, based on the information you provide.
Pilots’ income can fluctuate because of periods of overtime and not all mortgage lenders will understand the complexities of this and be able to provide you with the best deal.
Niche lenders that provide mortgages for pilots, can accept income from overtime or additional income that is not totally derived from a PAYE-style salary.
Allowances paid in currency or non taxable allowances can be included to help with affordability with some lenders.
This may be able to help you borrow more versus a standard mortgage lender but your unique circumstances will determine this.
Can a solicitor get a mortgage?Getting a mortgage as a practicing solicitor can be straightforward when income is solely earned through PAYE, however, when the income is related to dividends, a profit share, or freelancing, it can make it difficult for lenders to know exactly how much your average income is and therefore, how much they can lend to you.
Many solicitors work overtime or receive bonus payments too, and unfortunately, many high-street lenders won’t have criteria that allow them to include this additional income within affordability assessments.
Select mortgage lenders can be more flexible and may allow different revenue streams to be included which maximises the loan-to-value (LTV) that they can provide.
Ask a broker to highlight the most suitable selection of lenders based on your ambitions and financial situation. They can thoroughly research the available options and support you with your mortgage application, always finding and resolving any issues that could slow you down.
Can a surveyor get a mortgage?Yes, many lenders in the UK would be willing to provide a mortgage to a chartered surveyor with a predictable and healthy average salary of £48,600.
As a surveyor, you’re probably already aware of the numerous factors that can hinder a mortgage and house sale going through, including credit issues, age, and irregular income.
Good surveyors are in high demand throughout the UK and therefore it’s not uncommon for surveyors to be self-employed. Even if you work for a large firm and are employed full-time, you might also receive income from freelance projects on the side.
Some lenders won’t accept income outside of PAYE and this can cause complications.
Losing out on buying the property you love because of the way you receive your income can be heartbreaking but sometimes, this can be avoided by getting the help of a mortgage broker.
It’s their job to quickly identify mistakes or issues that could affect a mortgage application, similarly to the way that you might identify issues and major faults in your role as a surveyor.
Working with an expert who knows what they’re doing could help you secure a mortgage quicker because a broker can specifically search for lenders offering reduced rates and fees to professionals, including surveyors.
Can a teacher get a mortgage?A teacher’s income may start modestly but teaching provides a somewhat stable career path with progression and opportunity for a pay rise over time. Mortgage lenders like stability and a regular income, both of which teaching can provide.
A starting salary for a trainee science teacher ranges between £25,714 and £32,157 depending on where you teach but as you progress in your teaching career, it’s possible to move up through pay scales.
Furthermore, teachers with knowledge of STEM subjects in particular, (science, technology, engineering, and maths) are in high demand in most areas of the UK.
In 2020/21, the average salary for a primary school teacher was £36,900. Most mortgage lenders use income multiples between 4.5 - 6.5 to multiply an annual income and conclude the maximum mortgage amount.
For this example, we’ll say you have a good credit score and no debt, so you manage to find a lender who’ll multiply your annual primary school teacher’s salary of £36,900 by 5.5, to provide a maximum loan of £202,950.
While the maximum mortgage amount will be important, it’s crucial that you also consider the length of your mortgage agreement and the interest rate you’re charged for your loan.
Finding a mortgage as a teacher can be easier with help. Ask a mortgage broker who knows what your goals are and how your choice of career path might affect your future salary to research lenders and present you with the best options.
Can a vet get a mortgage?Some mortgage lenders offer preferential deals to vets, even newly qualified ones. Whether you’re the principal vet of your own practice, still in training, or working in a partnership, finding a mortgage lender should be fairly straightforward.
Your affordability for a mortgage and how much you can borrow will be determined by factors like your:
- Annual income
- Regularity of income
- Level of debt
- Credit score
- The type of property you want to buy
The average salary for a trainee vet ranges between £30,500 to £35,500, and a lender may be prepared to lend 4.5 x this for a mortgage. If we start at the lower end of the pay scale, that could result in a mortgage size of £137,250.
To find out how much you could borrow as a trainee vet or qualified and well-established vet, talk to a mortgage broker. Good advice can help you to save money and avoid common mistakes made on a mortgage application.