Mortgage application process is the biggest hurdle when buying a house

Nearly a quarter of homeowners believe the mortgage application process is the biggest challenge when buying a house, followed by securing a deposit

London 18 September 2018: Buying a home is one of the biggest financial commitments people will ever make.

But new research from Experian reveals that many homeowners are often left confused when trying to buy their property, with almost a quarter (24%) describing the mortgage process itself as the biggest challenge – more than securing a deposit -  to achieving their dream of getting on the property ladder.

Overall a fifth (22%) said that securing a deposit was a large obstacle of owning their own home. More than a quarter (27%) relied on their family to help them secure their deposit, receiving an average of £7,637. Even then, a third of first-time buyers (33%) took between 2-3 years to save enough for a deposit.

Unexpected costs

Part of the confusion over the application process stems from the additional costs that buyers have to pay. Nearly a third (29%) of buyers admitted they underestimated the costs of moving, after they secured their deposit.

28% underestimated how much they would have to pay in legal fees, followed by survey costs (24%), estate agents (19%) and Stamp Duty (15%).

Young homeowners – those aged between 25-34 - are the most likely to underestimate the costs of buying, with 44% admitting they did, compared to a third (34%) of 35-44 year olds, 29% of 45-54 year olds and22% of those aged 55 and older.

The survey also reveals that buyers are potentially missing out on the best mortgage deals by failing to check their credit report before they apply.

A whopping 74% didn’t check their report, meaning their credit scores may not have been as good as possible before applying, leaving them with limited – and more expensive – mortgages to choose from.

Simplifying the mortgage process

When asked what would make the process easier, most homeowners (37%) said that knowing exactly what mortgage deals they would be eligible for before applying for a mortgage would make a difference.

To help potential buyers better understand their options and guide them through the process, Experian has launched a new eligibility tool, giving them the opportunity to find out which mortgages they are likely to be accepted for, and how much they could borrow, based on lenders’ criteria. The full launch of the service comes after Experian was one of the first to trial a successful pilot of the tool in 2017.

With the service, buyers are able “soft search” without affecting their credit score. It aims to revolutionise the mortgage journey for consumers, giving them a better understanding about their options when they speak to a mortgage broker for professional advice.

Experian has also created a new mortgage quiz, designed to help buyers understand more about the house-buying journey.

Amir Goshtai, Managing Director, Experian Marketplace & Affinity comments: “Getting a mortgage is one of the biggest financial commitments many consumers will make in their lifetime and our research shows it can be overwhelming.

“We have become used to checking our eligibility for products like credit cards and loans for some time now, and there’s no reason the service shouldn’t be available in the mortgage market too.

 “Making sure consumers are well informed about their options will give them confidence when speaking to a mortgage broker. Experian’s eligibility tool provides straightforward answers allowing buyers to feel prepared without affecting their credit score.”

Seven major mortgage lenders are currently signed-up to the tool, and it is expected more will follow in the forthcoming months.

The seven providers are:

  • Barclays
  • West Brom
  • Aldermore
  • Family BS
  • Leeds BS
  • Co-op (Platform)
  • Coventry

The tool can be found here The mortgage quiz can be found here


Tips for applying for a mortgage

Work out your budget

Work out how much you can realistically afford keeping in mind how much your mortgage repayments will be. As well as the deposit also consider other associated costs including stamp duty, solicitor and surveyor fees.

Put a deposit together

Put together the largest deposit you can - the larger your deposit, the better the deal.

Get your credit report in shape

Make sure your credit report is accurate, up-to-date and in the best position possible. You can check your credit score for free with an Experian account to give you an idea of where you stand. Some of the things you can do to maintain a good credit score in the run-up to your mortgage application include:

  • Try not to make any credit applications in the six months before your mortgage application
  • Make sure you don’t have any defaulted credit cards
  • Register to vote at your current address as it proves your identity and address
  • Never miss a credit payment and always make them on time
  • Stay within your credit limits and keep balances to less than 50% of your limit

Prepare well before applying for a mortgage

This may seem like an obvious tip but take extra care when filling in application forms, the smallest of errors can cause huge delays and in some cases the whole application may have to be submitted again. Mortgage lenders will want to know your outgoings which also includes your utility bills and other fixed regular costs i.e school fees, phone contracts, Netflix/Spotify subscriptions.

You will often need to show them certain documentation, which can vary but is usually:

  • Details of your solicitors, estate agents and the seller
  • A P60 form from your most recent employer
  • Your last three months of pay slips from work
  • If you’re self-employed, two to three years’ accounting from a professional accountant plus tax form SA302
  • Current passport or driving licence (in order to prove your identity)
  • Current account bank statements going back between three and six months




Survey conducted by Onepoll based on 2000 UK homeowners

Date carried out: 15/06/2018 – 19/06/2018

Media Contact:
Rob Goodman, PR Manager, UK&I Experian
Phone: +44 (0) 20 3042 4573 | Email:

About Experian:

Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organisations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

We have 17,000 people operating across 37 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people and innovation to help all our clients maximise every opportunity.  We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Learn more at or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the company.