Home Front logoQ. I have decided I have had enough of throwing my money down the drain by renting and am seriously considering buying my first property especially with all the government’s latest schemes to entice people like me to do so. Only thing is I have no idea whether I would be legible for a mortgage or not and unsure as to what may prevent me from being successful. Are you able to give me a rough idea of reasons I could be turned down by a lender?

A. That’s very sensible of you to realise that paying rent really is dead money and I would definitely encourage anyone that is in a position to buy to do it as soon as they are financially able to do so. Of course with the aftermath of the credit crunch lending has become so much more difficult as moneylenders are obviously so much more cautious these days and there is much tougher criteria to be met. In a recent Rightmove survey, buyers were asked to give the main reason they were turned down for a mortgage and these were the top five:

1. Low credit score

2. Insufficient deposit

3. Bad debt history

4. Failed affordability assessment

5. Self-employment/gaps in employment history

The list remained generally the same across buyer groups with a slight reshuffling of the top positions. First and second time buyers were primarily turned down for low credit scores while bad debt history was the main deal breaker for those purchasing a home for the third time or more. For investors, the leading cause for refusal was self-employment/gaps in employment. So, while facing up to the deposit hurdle and finding a suitable home remain two of the principal concerns about buying for prospective buyers in today’s housing market, make sure you’ve considered the list above before you take that final step and apply for a mortgage. First of all analyse the situation yourself from those key points, if one of those is likely to flag up, can you do anything to change it before taking the next step? I would strongly advise that before you even think about looking at a property you contact a recommended financial advisor and sit down with them to see if you are in a position to buy. This will prevent disappointment further down the line.