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Mortgages: how much can I borrow?

Finding and financing a home can be hard enough. Start your search by finding out how much you can afford.

Your Boomin mortgage affordability calculator

Buying a home is likely to be your biggest purchase ever. And getting a mortgage is the first step. The good news? You can start right here.

We’ve partnered with the Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB)* to bring you 12,000+ mortgage deals from 90 leading lenders plus advice from 1,500+ expert advisers nationwide. Because when it comes to mortgages, you need great advice.

Through MortgageMaker, you’ll see the mortgage calculator on every property for sale page, powered by MAB or the Estate Agent's recommended partner, so expert help on what you can afford is always just a few clicks away. Or you can skip to the mortgage affordability calculator.

*After your initial consultation with MAB, there may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances. The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up your repayments on your mortgage.

What is a mortgage?

A mortgage is a loan you use to buy a property. You borrow the money from a bank or building society (a.k.a., lender). However, the lender doesn’t own your home; you do. In most cases, you pay back the amount you borrow as well as interest.

The amount of interest you’re charged depends on the interest rate you’re on and your mortgage term length (such as 25, 30 years, etc.).

You repay your mortgage every month for a certain number of years. It’s a long-term loan that requires commitment.

You don’t have to stay with the same lender for your whole term. As many mortgages start with a reduced rate, it pays to switch when this deal ends. Switching mortgage lenders is called remortgaging.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. If your home is repossessed, it can be much more difficult to get another mortgage in the future.

Different types of mortgages

When taking out a mortgage to buy a property, you will have lots of different types of mortgages to choose from.

Common types of mortgages include:

  • Fixed rate

  • Variable rate

  • Interest only

Mortgage interest rates will impact how much you pay towards your mortgage each month. The higher the interest rate, the more you’ll pay every month. Mortgage rates relate to the Bank of England base rate. If the base rate increases, interest rates usually increase by a similar amount. If the base rate is reduced, interest rates usually go down.

With a variable rate mortgage, you may pay a different amount each month. If you get a fixed rate, you will pay a certain amount each month, regardless of the base rate fluctuation. An interest only mortgage is where you pay off the interest before you pay the original borrowed amount. This is why it’s important to compare mortgage deals to find the right rate to suit your needs.

Buying a house? We can help you crunch the numbers

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How much can I borrow?

Use the mortgage affordability calculator to discover how much you could borrow based on your deposit.

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Stamp duty

If you owe stamp duty on your property purchase, find out how much you’ll need to pay after the latest changes.

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Connect with an adviser

Found a property you love? We'll point you to expert mortgage advisers who will help work out your affordability.

First-time mortgage buyer advice

For many people, saving up a sizeable deposit is the most challenging part of stepping onto the property ladder. If it’s your first time buying a home, you can get government support, especially if you have a limited deposit.

For instance, there is a government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme available until December 2022. First-time buyers can use it to secure 95% mortgages (meaning you just need 5% of the property’s purchase as a deposit).

There’s also a Help to Buy scheme that helps you buy a home with a minimum of a 5% deposit. The government then loans you up to 20% of the property’s price (40% in London), which stays interest-free for 5 years.

You can also take advantage of a Shared Ownership scheme, where you buy a share of a property and pay rent on the rest.

Still have questions?

See more answers to your questions below.

Start by using a mortgage affordability calculator to see how much you can borrow. You will need to input the house value and your deposit amount.

When you apply for a mortgage, a lender will run a credit check to see how likely you are to meet the repayments.

If your mortgage application shows a poor credit history:

  1. your application may be rejected
  2. you may be asked to provide a larger deposit
  3. the lender may only lend to you at a higher interest rate

The extent to which your credit rating impacts your application depends on the severity. While some lenders may not view a late utility bill as serious, instances like a missed mortgage payment or bankruptcy stay on your report for 6 years.

Some lenders only accept applicants with poor credit if they use a broker.

If you haven’t found the right property yet, that’s okay. You can start preparing a mortgage and apply for a mortgage in principle. This gives you a budget to work with (and stick to) and gives you an edge over other buyers (as it shows Estate Agents and sellers that you are serious). Keep in mind that you won’t be able to apply for a mortgage until you’ve found a property to secure the loan against.

On average, it can take up to 3 months to get a mortgage, though this depends on your circumstances and can be much quicker. To speed up the process, prepare the documents needed for your mortgage application. This will help your mortgage broker do their part quicker. From there, it’s up to the lender to approve your application. They’ll run a credit check, complete a valuation of the property and a review of it.

No two home purchases are alike. Some will be more complex than others, which will affect the speed of getting a mortgage and buying a home.

While you’re not legally obliged to get life insurance for a mortgage, if you have loved ones who depend on you financially, you may want to consider it. A mortgage is likely to be the biggest debt you leave behind, if the worst should happen. 

Some mortgage providers may consider it a precondition for letting you borrow money to buy a home. For most homeowners, having financial protection like life insurance in place makes sense.

With Priorities, you can find the right life and home insurance to protect your finances.

See more from our mortgage guides