Guide to getting a joint mortgage with only one income

Couple applying for a joint mortgage with one income

For many couples, owning a home together provides legal, financial and emotional security. But for those relying on a single income, the dream of joint ownership can feel out of reach. However, securing a joint mortgage with only one income is indeed possible with the right approach and understanding of the process.

Securing joint mortgages on a single income requires careful planning. Lenders assess affordability based on the sole earner’s income, credit history, and debts. To improve your chances of success, strive to reduce your debt and use a mortgage broker to seek out specialist lenders.

In this article, I will examine the assessment criteria for a joint mortgage based on income from only one person, as well as some alternative routes to homeownership for single-income families.

Contact the experts at Goldmanread for professional advice on a mortgage with joint applicants but one income.

Can a couple get a mortgage with one income?

Many households rely on a single income, for example, those where one partner is on parental leave, a caregiver, a student or unable to work due to illness. With childcare costs at a high, for some couples, it simply isn’t feasible for them both to work. If you are one of these families, you may be wondering if it’s possible to get a joint mortgage.

While it might seem daunting to borrow money on one income, the good news is that it is achievable. While many lenders prefer two-income applicants for assurance that the mortgage repayments will be met, many will consider lending on one income alone.

However, it’s important to be realistic about how much you can borrow and understand that the affordability assessment is more challenging. Preparation and research are crucial to increasing the chances of approval.

That’s why many borrowers choose to use a mortgage broker to help them find the right lender for their personal circumstances.

How are affordability calculations affected?

When assessing affordability for a joint mortgage application with only one income, lenders scrutinise the sole earner’s income and living expenses to assess their ability to meet future mortgage payments.

Most lenders will also consider the non-earning partner’s financial situation to understand their expenses, potential future income (if they plan to return to work), and any outgoings they may have, such as childcare costs.

It’s important to remember that lenders base their assessment on a case-by-case basis.

But here are some key factors that typically affect the affordability calculations for single-income mortgages:

  • Income: For a joint mortgage with a single income, lenders wish to see evidence of a strong and stable annual income. The higher the income, the more a lender will be likely to approve the mortgage application.
  • Credit score: A good credit history for both partners demonstrates responsible financial management and increases the chances of securing a favourable interest rate.
  • Living expenses: Lenders will assess your combined outgoings, including utility bills, existing debts, and any other financial commitments. The lower your expenses, the more attractive your application will be.
  • Deposit size: A larger deposit demonstrates a greater financial commitment, results in a lower loan-to-value ratio and reduces the amount you need to borrow. This can significantly improve your application’s strength.

How can you improve your chances of getting a joint mortgage using one income?

Improving your chances of securing a joint mortgage with only one income requires careful planning and preparation.

Here are some steps to enhance your prospects:

  • Strengthen your credit score: A healthy credit score is essential for favourable mortgage terms. Pay bills on time, reduce outstanding debts, and rectify any errors on your credit report, which you can access using one of the three main UK credit agencies: Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.
  • Minimise debt: Reduce existing debts to improve your debt-to-income ratio, which is a significant factor in affordability calculations.
  • Save for a larger deposit: A larger deposit demonstrates financial stability and reduces the loan-to-value ratio, making you a more attractive prospect to lenders.
  • Consider a longer mortgage term: Extending the mortgage term will lower the monthly repayments, making them more manageable on a single income. However, this will also mean paying more interest overall.
  • Look at specialist lenders: Go beyond the traditional high-street lenders and approach specialists that cater to single-income applicants or those with unique circumstances.
  • Seek professional advice: A qualified mortgage broker like Goldmanread can guide you through the process, identify the right lender for your circumstances, and negotiate the best possible interest rate.

What other mortgage options should we consider?

Apart from a traditional joint mortgage, there are alternative options worth exploring:

Single income mortgage

If one partner has no income or a poor credit history that is likely to hinder a joint mortgage application, a single-applicant mortgage might be more feasible. In this case, affordability is assessed based on the creditworthiness and living expenses of one applicant alone.

It is important to note that if someone is not named on the mortgage, they will also not be listed on the property deed, leaving them with limited legal protection.

Guarantor mortgages

If one partner has a low income or poor credit history, a guarantor mortgage may be viable. A guarantor, usually a family member, offers additional security by agreeing to cover mortgage payments if the borrower defaults.

This gives lenders more confidence in approving your application, but it’s important to understand the potential financial implications for the guarantor.

Need mortgage advice? Contact Goldmanread

Mortgage applications can be complex and daunting, especially for single-income households. At Goldmanread, our expert mortgage brokers are dedicated to providing tailored advice and support throughout the process.

We have extensive experience in securing mortgages for a wide range of clients, including joint applications with only one income. We will work hard to understand your individual circumstances and find the most suitable mortgage product for you to fulfil your dreams of joint ownership.

Contact us today to get started.

Frequently asked questions about getting a joint mortgage with one income

Can you get a joint mortgage if one is self-employed?

Yes, self-employed individuals can apply for a joint mortgage, provided they meet the lender’s criteria. Lenders assess self-employed applicants based on their income stability, business performance, and affordability. Most lenders typically require two to three years of self-employment accounts, and some may have restrictions such as a capped loan-to-value ratio (typically 75%).

Whose credit score is used on a joint mortgage?

Lenders consider the credit scores of both applicants when evaluating a joint mortgage application to assess their ability to meet the mortgage payments. A strong credit history from both parties can enhance the overall application and potentially secure more favourable terms.

Can you get a joint mortgage with only one income if you have bad credit?

Yes, getting a joint mortgage with only one income is possible, even with credit issues. However, it may require a larger deposit, higher interest rates and potentially a longer mortgage term.

You can improve your chances by saving diligently and consulting a mortgage expert like Goldmanread to find the right lender and product.

Picture of Clive Read
Clive Read

Clive Read is an appointed representative of PRIMIS Mortgage Network. PRIMIS Mortgage Network is a trading style of Personal Touch Financial Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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