Mortgage FAQs Every day reassurance

At Cowens we strive for jargon-free clarity and transparency. We understand that whilst talking about mortgages is something we do every day, the ins and outs of the process may not be so easy for everyone to understand or remember.

That’s why, on this page, you’ll find the answers to frequently asked questions, from your initial appointment, to explaining the basics of the process, to understanding some of the terms you’re likely to encounter.

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Mortgage FAQs

What happens at a Cowens initial appointment?
Your first appointment is at no cost to you and involves no obligation. It will typically last around an hour and can be held at your convenience, in person over a cuppa, or by video or telephone.

We will ask questions to allow us to understand your current personal and financial circumstances and what you are hoping to accomplish.

Your independent adviser will be able to discuss your needs and, either give you indication as to whether there might be a lender likely to consider you – or, if the timing or circumstances are not quite right – we can advise on how you might improve your position to be considered for a mortgage in the future.

What is a decision in principle / Agreement in principle?
Starting to look for a property can be exciting. But you don’t want to spend weeks finding a dream home to find that you won’t be considered without a decision in principle (sometimes called an AIP or agreement in principle).

A decision in principle gives estate agents and sellers the confidence that you can get the money required for your purchase, subject to a more in-depth assessment, so it is their guarantee that you are serious and can make you a more attractive buyer.

Following our first appointment and after we’ve understood your loan requirements we can usually look to apply for a decision in principle within 24 hours. Ordinarily a lender will give an instant decision as to whether they will consider you, though occasionally they will refer to a further assessment before making a decision.

Depending on the lender, an agreement is typically valid between 30-90 days. If it expires before you’ve found the right property you can re-apply.

How much will I need for a mortgage deposit?
Typically for residential purchases you’ll need a minimum of 5% deposit, though, depending on your circumstances and credit rating, a larger sum may be required.
For Buy to Let purchases a bigger deposit is ordinarily required because of the increased lending risk. Again this will depend on your circumstances and the property. Most lenders will consider a 25% deposit but since all situations are different others may accept as little as 15%.

What do I need to make a mortgage application?
For all applications you will require documents confirming personal ID and proof of address and the last four months of bank statements showing all income and outgoings. Employed applicants will ordinarily need four months of pay slips and self-employed applicants should provide the last three years of accounts, self-assessment forms and tax calculations.

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