Contractor mortgages

Are you a PayStream contractor? Struggling to find lenders who understand your situation? Talk to a specialist mortgage consultant today.

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At Cleerly we obsess over service and problem-solving for our clients. We partner exclusively with service providers who share the same ethos.

How Cleerly can help

We are a specialist contractor mortgage broker

Our consultants have helped thousands of contractors during their careers. Even if your own bank has said no, we can still assist.

Rates you deserve

We work with high street lenders to ensure you do not get penalised for working as a contractor.

The solution

We strive to educate lenders about contractor affordability, meaning you won't be penalised for the way you work.

Speak to us about contractor mortgages. We have worked tirelessly to educate lenders around contractors. As a result, we now have bespoke contractor underwriting, meaning you get a financial package tailored to your needs.

Borrowing based on your annualised daily/hourly rate

Deposits as low as 5%

Borrow up to 5 times your income

Utilise the Lifetime ISA scheme

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Frequently asked questions

Yes. Our consultants have helped 1000s of Contractors obtain mortgage funding during their careers. As a company, we have access to bespoke Contractor underwriting that will allow you to borrow based on your contract value not how you do or choose to receive your income.

One of our consultants will contact you to conduct an initial fact find to understand exactly what it is you are looking to do and whether we can assist. As a Contractor looking to obtain a mortgage there is certain information our consultants will need to collect before engaging with Contractor friendly Lender to review your options.

Once you are ready to submit a full mortgage application, Lenders will typically ask Contractors to provide documentation to support the mortgage application (see below).

  • Proof of identity and address
  • Evidence of current contract with 1 month unexpired term at point of application.
  • Previous signed contracts covering the previous 12 months.
  • Latest 3 months bank statements for your personal and business bank (if ltd) accounts for all applicants
  • Proof of consent to let and tenancy agreements for any investment property
  • Proof of deposit funds (bank statements) for a property purchase

Your Specialist Contractor Consultant will then be able to liaise with Underwriters specifically trained and allocated to look after Contractor applications.

There is no easy answer to this, except to say that for a Contractor Mortgage, you can borrow just the same amount as if you were earning an equivalent PAYE salary based on the value of your contract in most instances. There are even situations in which you could borrow more, as Lenders become more aware of the earning potential of the nation’s contractor and freelancer work force, coupled with our unprecedented access to their specialist underwriting teams.

Ultimately, the amount you can borrow will depend on the way in which you can be presented to the Lender. As a rule of thumb, if you are a contractor earning £500 per day, a contractor friendly Lender should be happy to annualise your contract rate. Different contract friendly Lenders calculate contract values in different ways but for the purpose of this exercise we will use the most common which is:

Contract Rate x number of days contracted per week x 46 weeks. Therefore, a contractor earning £500 per day 5 days per week would be assessed on £500 x 5 x 46 weeks = £115,000.

Assuming a Lender is then happy to lend you 4.5 x your income, this could result in a maximum loan being available of £517,5000. Consideration will be made based on family make-up and any other debts to be retained in the background.

Warning – Your broker will also need to factor in things such as:

  • Deposit level
  • Monthly credit commitments
  • Education costs
  • Breaks in contract history
  • Previous contract rates
  • Number of dependants
  • Other incomes and outgoings

For a detailed assessment, speak with one of our Specialist Contractor Mortgage Consultant.

Most High Street Lenders now have some form of Contractor Mortgage criteria, including the biggest names in mortgage lending in the UK such as Halifax, Barclays, NatWest, Nationwide and many others.

With our bespoke direct-to-underwriter process, we can ensure that the correct Lender for your circumstances is chosen, and you get the mortgage funding that your contract rate deserves.

Different contractor lenders cater for different contractor issues such as:

  • Skipton Building Society – Can be very understanding with breaks in contracting history or multiple contracts.
  • Halifax – One of the original contractor lenders with far more flexibility offered to IT contractors.
  • Nat West – Standard contractor mortgage policy includes contracts paid in foreign currency provided you are subject to UK tax.
  • Principality – Are happy to consider contractors for day one in their contracting career.
  • Accord – Whilst offering a solid contractor policy, Accord can be very generous on their affordability calculations.

It is important to speak with a specialist contractor mortgage broker to assess the options available to you and your individual circumstances.

The amount of deposit required to buy a house in the UK can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the price of the property, the type of mortgage you are applying for, and your individual circumstances.

Similarly, some lenders may require a larger deposit for properties that are deemed to be higher risk, such as those that are located in areas with a high risk of flooding, or those that are of non-standard construction.

As a contractor, the amount of deposit you need to buy a house may differ from that required of a salaried employee. This is because lenders may see your contracting income as more variable and less predictable, which can in theory make it more difficult to secure a mortgage.

Some lenders may require you to have a larger deposit as a contractor, in order to offset this perceived risk of your income being less stable.

It is worth noting that the amount of deposit required will also depend on other factors, such as the price of the property you are looking to buy, the type of mortgage you are applying for, and your individual circumstances.

There are a number of government schemes and initiatives that you may be eligible for as a contractor. The Help to Buy scheme allows first-time buyers to purchase a new build property with just a 5% deposit, with the government providing a loan of up to 20% of the purchase price.

Alternatively, the Shared Ownership scheme allows you to purchase a share of a property (usually between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining share. This can help to reduce the amount of deposit required, as you will only need to save for a deposit on the share of the property that you are buying.

Both of these are available to contractors via contractor friendly lenders, if your circumstances fit the criteria required, and with the approval of the relevant Help to Buy agent. Using a contractor specialist adviser, however, can mean you are not treated unfairly compared with your salaried peers.

Applying to the wrong lender can have catastrophic consequences on your chances of gaining approval. You could be offered less competitive terms than you would ordinarily be able to achieve, and it can impact your credit rating with unnecessary searches from lenders who would never be able to help in the first place.

It is important to seek advice from a mortgage broker who has experience working with contractors, as they can provide guidance on the most suitable mortgage products and lenders for your individual circumstances. They can also help you to navigate the complex process of applying for a mortgage as a contractor and ensure that you are able to secure the most competitive mortgage deal possible.

A common concern amongst contractors is the potential to get a mortgage while working through an Umbrella company. While it is definitely possible, there are some factors that could impact the likelihood of being approved for a mortgage and the terms of the mortgage offered.

It is important to understand how banks see the difference between being an employee and being a contractor. As a contractor, you work on a project-by-project basis, are self-employed, and usually work for multiple clients. This can cause confusion for lenders who do not understand how contracting works when applying old fashioned lending criteria.

Working through an Umbrella company means you fall into the gap between being employed and self-employed. The umbrella company acts as an intermediary between you and your clients, handling things like invoicing and payroll. When you work through an umbrella company, you receive a regular salary, and your tax and national insurance contributions are deducted at source.

One of the challenges that you will face working through an Umbrella company is proving your income to the lenders satisfaction. Applying the criteria above and using payslips from your Umbrella company may not result in a fair assessment, as they are unlikely to match exactly what your contract rate shows.

There are lenders however who specialise in offering mortgages to contractors, including those who work through umbrella companies. These lenders will typically consider your contract rate and the length of your current contract, as well as your previous work history and earning potential.

If you are receiving money as trust or loan payments, this may affect your ability to meet the affordability requirements of the lender. Depending on the nature and amount of these payments, they may not be considered as a reliable or regular source of income and may not be factored into the affordability assessment, limiting the amount of money that you can borrow for your mortgage.

Furthermore, some lenders may view trust or loan payments as a potential financial risk, particularly if they are provided by a third party, as they may not be considered as stable income. If the lender is not confident in your ability to repay the mortgage, they may offer you a lower amount or decline your application entirely.

If you are receiving trust or loan payments, it is important to ensure that you have a clear understanding of how these payments will impact your ability to obtain a mortgage. Be prepared to provide your broker with detailed documentation to support your income and explain the nature and source of the payments to the lender.

In addition to your income, lenders will also consider your credit score and any outstanding debts or financial obligations you may have, so ensuring a lender takes all of your income into account is even more important.

It is worth noting that some lenders may require you to provide additional documentation, such as proof of income for the past 12-24 months or a letter from your current client or agency confirming the details of your contract, or willingness to extend.

While there may be some additional hurdles to overcome, it is definitely possible for contractors who are working through an umbrella company to obtain a mortgage. By working with a specialist lender and ensuring that your finances are in good order, you can increase your chances of being approved for a mortgage with terms that work for you.

If you’re a contractor without limited company trading accounts, getting a mortgage can seem daunting. It is possible, however, by following the right steps, to secure a mortgage even if you don’t have accounts. The process may be slightly more complicated than it is for traditional employees, but it is still achievable.

Firstly, it is important to understand that mortgage lenders will require you to provide proof of income before they will consider lending you the money you need to buy your home.

For traditional employees, this proof of income typically comes in the form of payslips and P60s. However, as a contractor with a limited company, you won’t have access to these documents, or if you do they are unlikely to show anything like your contract rate.

One option is to provide your lender with your annual self-assessment tax return. This document will show how much income you earned in the previous year and how much tax you paid. However, some lenders may be hesitant to accept this document as proof of income, as it doesn’t provide a complete picture of your financial situation.

Another option is to provide your lender with your contracts or invoices from your clients. This can be a useful way to demonstrate your income, as it shows how much you have been paid for your work. However, this method can also be problematic, as it doesn’t necessarily show your future earning potential. Lenders may be hesitant to lend to contractors who don’t have a steady stream of work lined up.

One way to address this issue is to provide evidence of future work. If you have contracts lined up for the next few months or years, provide this information to your broker. This can help to reassure the lender that you have a stable income and that you will be able to make your mortgage payments.

Finally, it’s important to do due diligence when looking for a mortgage as a contractor without limited company trading accounts. Some lenders are more willing to work with contractors than others, and some may have specific requirements that you need to meet. Approaching the wrong lender for your circumstances could be catastrophic.

Even approaching the right lender via the wrong channels could be tricky.

It is, therefore, possible to get a mortgage as a contractor without limited company accounts, but it may be more challenging than it is for traditional employees. Going it alone without a specialist adviser will make this infinitely more problematic.

To increase your chances of success, speak with a specialist adviser who fully understands how contracting works. They can ensure that only the right lenders are approached, and crucially that your circumstances are presented in a way that tells the true story of your income.

One of the questions we are frequently asked is whether, as a contractor, you need to have been contracting for a set period of time in order to obtain a mortgage.

Lenders historically have preferred borrowers who have a stable source of income, and as a contractor, they will want to see that you have a consistent track record of earning a steady income. Lenders will look at your employment history, your income over the past few years, and your future earning potential to determine whether you are a good candidate for lending.

If you have only recently started contracting, or if you have a history of fluctuating income on zero hours contracts, lenders may be hesitant to approve you for a mortgage via the traditional routes. However, if you can demonstrate that you have a strong financial track record, a solid income stream, and a reliable client base, you may be able to secure a mortgage even if you are relatively new to contracting.

The key is in dealing with a specialist mortgage broker who truly understands how contracting works, how it differs to standard employment, and crucially who has the relationships with contractor friendly lenders in order to get your situation assessed fairly.

If you have been a contractor for a number of years but have taken a break until recently, it may still be possible for you to get a mortgage, but there may be some additional challenges.

Lenders will want to see that you have a consistent track record of earning a steady income, and a recent break in your contracting work could make them more cautious about lending to you, due to having concerns over your ability to maintain the mortgage in times when you are out of contract.

A specialist lender, however, can have this considered compassionately, as the benefits of contracting are explained to them and they can see that the only reason you are out of contract is through choice and lifestyle, rather than the inability to find new work.

Having a current CV showing your experience and expertise will mean that your broker is able to demonstrate your employability to the lender and ensure that you are not penalised for having a lifestyle that your experience affords you through working as a contractor.

In summary, while full-time employees may have an easier time getting a mortgage than contractors, by dealing with a specialist mortgage broker who understands contracting, you can ensure you are not treated unfairly by lenders when it comes to underwriting decisions, and you can unlock the borrowing power that your contract deserves.

The interest rate that could apply to your mortgage as a contractor depends on a number of factors, such as your income, employment history, credit score, and the lender’s lending criteria.

It’s important to realise that all of these factors are determined at underwriting stage, and so it isn’t so much a question of what rates you will be able to access as a contractor, but how you can access the same rates as regular PAYE employees by choosing the right lender for your circumstances.

One of the main factors that lenders consider when determining your eligibility is your income. As a contractor, your income may be seen to be more variable than that of a salaried employee. Lenders may therefore be more cautious about lending to you, as they may see you as a higher risk borrower.

Another important factor that lenders consider is your employment history. If you have a long history of contracting and have worked for a variety of clients, this may be seen as a positive by lenders, as it demonstrates your ability to generate a steady income. However, if you are a relatively new contractor, or have had gaps in your employment history, lenders may view you as higher risk.

Lastly, your credit score is another important factor that lenders consider when determining your mortgage interest rate. If you have a good credit score, this may help to offset any concerns that lenders may have about your income or employment history.

The big mistake that many contractors make is shopping around from lender to lender with direct applications. Even if all of the above points are satisfactorily met, you may be met with a declined application from a lender who advertise themselves as ‘contractor friendly’.

The reason for this is underwriting. Underwriting is the most important aspect of a mortgage application. In essence, it is the process by which the bank decide whether to lend to you or not. This comprises an assessment of all aspects of your case, including your income and how it is made up.

At Professional Contractor Mortgages we frequently come across cases that have been turned down by a lender that we know will lend, due to an underwriter not having the required knowledge of contracting, often leading to requests for documentation that you cannot provide, and ultimately leading to a declined application.

With our access to specialist underwriting teams within the main banks, we can ensure that only underwriters who are familiar with the way that you work are reviewing your case, meaning the decision is made by someone who truly understands the earning potential that being a contractor brings.

This means that your application is truly judged on it’s own merits, and you can quality for a High Street mortgage rather than having to resort to specialist lenders.

Having credit problems in the past can make it more difficult to secure a mortgage as a contractor, but it is by no means impossible. There are a few things worth considering in order to give yourself the best chance:

Check your credit report: It’s important to understand exactly what your credit report looks like. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report from one of the three main credit reference agencies in the UK – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Check your report for any errors or inaccuracies, as you may be unknowingly penalised for something that is reported in error. Top tip: don’t be blindsided by the credit agency ‘score’ – this is just their interpretation of your credit file and has no bearing on the decisions a lender will make in assessing any application.

Consider a specialist lender: There are lenders who specialise in providing mortgages for those with historical credit issues. While you may end up paying a higher rate than a ‘High Street’ lender might charge, often it can be the difference between getting a more expensive mortgage, and not getting one at all. Top tip: usually these lenders are only available via intermediaries and do not accept direct applications.

Improve your credit report: Even if you’ve had credit problems in the past, there are still things you can do to improve your credit profile. This could include paying off any outstanding debts, making sure that you’re on the electoral roll, and ensuring that you make all future repayments on time. Top tip: Credit cards are a key area to focus on, as lenders will take higher nominal rates of interest on these balances, even if you have a 0% card, to allow for future fluctuations.

Have as much deposit available as possible: With a patchy credit history, particularly if you’ve had County Court Judgements, you may be required to pay a higher deposit than you would otherwise. This is because lenders may view you as a higher risk borrower and need to mitigate the risk by lending a lower proportion of the house value as a mortgage. Top tip: do not assume that CCJ’s will ‘drop off’ your credit report after six years as they will still remain enforceable and can still be traced by lenders.

Speak to a specialist mortgage broker: A mortgage broker can help you to find the right lender for your circumstances. They’ll be able to give you advice on what kind of mortgage you’re likely to be eligible for and help you to navigate the application process. Top tip: No-fee does not always mean the best outcome. Do not be put off by a broker who is ‘fee charging’. The reality is that most brokers charge a fee nowadays, and the more unique or non-standard your circumstances are, the more work will be required.

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of lenders who may be able to help who are not open for direct applications, making the use of a broker essential. Similarly you may find that your situation is not as bad as you think it is, and that a High Street lender may be able to help.

Ultimately, the best course of action will depend on your individual circumstances. With some awareness and preparation, it may be possible for you to secure a mortgage, even if you’ve had credit problems in the past. As with most areas of concern, the key is to speak to a specialist mortgage adviser who can offer the best options available based on your own circumstances.

Historically contractors have only had a small choice of lenders who truly understood how contracting worked. Typically,  Halifax were the first port of call, and if you didn’t work in IT, they couldn’t help.

Thankfully those days are long gone, with many lenders now having some sort of contractor policy, however with wholesale changes in mortgage regulation over the past decade, lenders are more particular and stringent over what they will and will not deem acceptable.

Various High Street banks want to appear to be inclusive by having lending criteria aimed at Contractors. Dig a little deeper however and sometimes the chances of success for a genuine contractor is very low.

A lack of understanding of how contractors get paid means that in setting criteria to require Limited Company accounts or Umbrella Company payslips, coupled with being assessed by underwriters with no knowledge of contracting, often means that only genuinely self employed people or fixed term contractors have a chance of being successful.

Added to the fact that many specialist lenders such as Kensington, Precise or Pepper Money are only available via intermediaries, the use of a specialist mortgage broker becomes a vital piece of the jigsaw.

Rates, eligibility criteria and service will vary widely from lender to lender, so a broker with knowledge of how contracting works can help determine the best option for your individual circumstances.

High Street lenders such as Halifax, NatWest, Nationwide and Barclays are all genuinely contractor friendly, however even amongst these mainstream lenders the appetite to risk will vary hugely,  meaning the margins between contractors who may or may not be successful could be very fine.

Professional Contractor Mortgages will help determine the most suitable lender based on how you work, saving time, money and potentially rejection.

It’s worth remembering the golden rule; the best rate on the market may not be achievable for everyone. Work with a specialist to find out what your best options truly are. It may well bethe difference between getting a mortgage and being declined.

Obtaining a mortgage as a contractor can be more challenging than for someone who is permanently employed , even on a higher equivalent salary. Lenders typically prefer applicants with a stable and predictable income stream, and contractors may not have a consistent income or employment history.

That being said, it is not impossible to obtain a mortgage as a contractor. Many lenders do offer mortgages to contractors, but the criteria and requirements can vary depending on the lender. Generally, lenders will want to see evidence of your income and employment history over the past few years, as well as proof that you have ongoing contracts or a steady stream of work lined up.

Some lenders may also require a larger deposit or charge higher interest rates for contractors, so it’s important to shop around and compare different options. Working with a mortgage broker who has experience working with contractors will be hugely beneficial, as they can help you navigate the process and find lenders that are more likely to approve your application.

There are a few things you can do to make it easier to obtain a mortgage as a contractor:

Keep copies of contracts : As a contractor, it’s important to keep detailed records of your work history. This will help you provide lenders with the information they need to assess your eligibility for a mortgage by seeing the consistent renewal of your contract, or work with different clients over the last few years.

Truly understand your income: Whether you work through a Limited Company or via an Umbrella Company, it is important to understand exactly how your income is made up. This will help your broker to explain exactly what a potential lender may or may not use to lend against, as payments like expenses or trust payments may not be counted.

Keep gaps between contracts to a minimum: Although the ability to work when you want is undoubtedly one of the biggest advantages of being a contractor, too many gaps or too long between roles can present a challenge.  Lenders will want reassurance that the mortgage can be maintained at all times, so minimising any breaks will help with underwriting and improve your chances of success.

Engage a specialist mortgage broker: A specialist broker who understands the challenges faced by contractors can be a valuable resource. They can help you identify lenders who are more likely to approve your application and guide you through the process, having your situation effectively pre-approved before underwriting by speaking directly to specialist teams at High Street banks.

Yes. Historically, banks would only ever assess applications based upon either employed or self-employed criteria. Now, thanks to the access that we have directly to decision makers, lenders are waking up to the knowledge of there being a third way, and being able to obtain a Contractor Mortgage based upon your day rate or hourly rate, instead of either payslips or company accounts, neither of which tell the true story of your earning potential.

The process of getting a mortgage as an independent contractor may be a bit different than for someone who is employed full-time, but it is by no means impossible.

As an independent contractor, you may need to provide additional documentation to the lender to demonstrate your income and financial stability. This might include things like tax returns, contracts, and bank statements. Lenders will typically look at your average income over the past few years to determine your borrowing power.

It’s also worth noting that some lenders may be more willing to work with independent contractors than others, so it’s important to do your research and find a lender who is comfortable working with self-employed individuals.

There are some ways that you can help yourself to be viewed more favourably, however:

Save for a larger deposit: Generally, the larger the deposit you can put down, the lower perceived risk. Ultimately more equity in the property means more chance of the bank recouping their losses quickly in the unlikely event of repossession.

Improve your credit score: Your credit score is a key factor in the approval process. Make sure to pay all your bills on time, keep your credit utilisation as low as possible, and avoid applying for credit in the months leading up to a potential application. A good credit score is not a reason on its own that you’d get a mortgage, however a bad credit score may rule out potential specialist lenders.

Consider a joint mortgage: If you’re applying for a mortgage with someone else, their income and credit score can also be taken into account. This can be helpful if you’re a self-employed contractor and have a lower income, or are new to contracting, and have a partner who is a full time employee. A specialist broker can help to take both incomes into account.

Get advice from a specialist broker: A specialist broker can help you understand the application process and find the right lender for your circumstances. They can also help you with any documentation you may need to provide to support your application, as well as discussing your case with underwriters ahead of an application to ascertain your chances of approval.

As an independent contractor, using a specialist adviser could mean that not only do you stand a better chance of a successful application,  but it can open up lending options that might otherwise not be available directly. Going it alone first could prove catastrophic, as a declined application might mean that even a specialist lender is unable to help.

Yes. The lenders that we deal with take a holistic view of each application on its own merits, meaning that regardless of the length of your contract, there could be lending options available. Whether you’re on a daily rate or an hourly rate, and whether you’ve been contracting for 2 years or 2 weeks, we are confident that we can help you obtain a Contractor Mortgage.

The house buying process is no different whether you are a contractor or whether you are permanently employed. The big difference is how your Contractor Mortgage is approved and offered. With such a buoyant housing market currently, any delays in underwriting could risk losing the property to another buyer, so it is vital to ensure that your application is assessed correctly. Similarly, the relationship between your mortgage broker and your solicitor is crucial, to ensure that all parties are aware of expected timescales to ensure a smooth transaction.

Ideally you would be in contract when applying for a mortgage, as this is the easiest way of demonstrating a current income, however, with the access that we have to underwriting teams, there may be options for you to obtain a Contractor Mortgage even if you are between contracts. Give us a call to discuss your circumstances in more detail.

We deal with lenders who can approve a Contractor Mortgage even if you are a ‘day 1’ contractor, due to the bespoke underwriting arrangements that we have in place with High Street banks and building societies. While it’s true that some lenders may have a minimum period in which you need to have been contracting, being a new contractor will not necessarily preclude you from accessing a Contractor Mortgage.

Yes. With recent developments around IR35, many of our clients have reassessed their remuneration structure, to ensure that it is as tax efficient as possible considering the potential financial impact of being considered inside IR35. We can access Contractor Mortgages for you regardless of whether you contract through an umbrella company, a Limited Company or even directly to your end client.

Yes! There is more access than ever before to a wider range of lenders and products on the market, based upon your contract rate. Buying a house with a Contractor Mortgage need not be any more complicated or stressful for you than if you were an employee, and it’s why our clients trust our decades of experience in the industry to help you buy your dream home.

Yes. Lenders are now realising that contracting is a far more lucrative and flexible way of working compared to permanent employment, and using our direct to underwriter approach, they have begun to embrace the nature of contracting, rather than turning you away, as may have been the case in years gone by. We can obtain a Contractor Mortgage for our clients regardless of the length of the contract.

No! In today’s financial climate, Contractors have far more spending power and surplus income than many equivalent PAYE employees. Thanks to the hard work in building such close relationships with underwriters, we can obtain a Contractor Mortgage based upon a daily or hourly rate rather than a permanent salary, ensuring that you are not disadvantaged when it comes to rate or choice of lender.

Yes. The lenders that we deal with do not penalise you for the length of your contract, as they understand the way in which you work. With the access that we have to underwriters, we can obtain a Contractor Mortgage regardless of the length of your contract, and this is where we utilise your CV to add weight to your application, by demonstrating your working history, regardless of contract.

Yes. Our bespoke underwriting arrangements include lenders who have no requirement for any trading history if you are operating through a Limited Company. A true Contractor Mortgage is based upon your contract rate, rather than any figures from your Limited Company anyway, and as such we can even arrange mortgages for those brand new to contracting.