Gather your pay-slips and bank statements. Put them in date order, with the most recent items first. Include your last P60 form, which summarises your annual earnings. You'll need a minimum of three months' records. If you're self-employed, you'll need a full set of accounts that go back two years. List your assets, such as any savings you have or any other valuable property that could act as security for the mortgage loan.
Collect all your bills for the past three months. Include items such as electricity, gas, water, council tax, home insurance, road tax and motor insurance bills. Your mortgage lender will want to see all your credit card statements, too. Be prepared to explain any missed or late payments. Lenders are highly likely to refuse loans if they think your credit history is patchy.
Plug any gaps in your financial records with a written note showing your best estimate for income or outgoings. Reconstruct any missing records by cross-checking with your bank statements, to prove the accuracy of your calculations. Before approaching
the lender, pay off as much personal debt as you can, such as smaller outstanding loans on things like store cards. Aim to show you are a capable manager of your household budget.
Save money regularly to raise a deposit for your first home. Lenders will insist you put up 10 per cent of the property's price before they'll give you a mortgage. To get lower monthly repayments, you'll need to come up with even more hard cash, perhaps 25 to 40 per cent of the property's price. If you can bump up your deposit, you'll ultimately save money, by paying much less in interest.
Ask relatives to help, if you are struggling to raise the deposit. Some mortgage agreements specifically allow parents to offer a share in their own property as security for your loan. Consider a cheaper property if you can't raise a realistic deposit. Housing associations also offer schemes where you buy a share of a property and then pay rent on the rest. With deals like this, you'll need a much smaller deposit.