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How Serving in the Forces Can Affect Your Mortgage Application

Getting on the property ladder can be difficult as a member of the Armed Forces. Here are some tips on the Mortgage Application process.
soldier holding a house key

Getting on the property ladder can be hard work, and can be even harder work if you’re a member of the Armed Forces. Serving abroad, being on the front line, and having a BFPO address are all factors that can make the mortgage application process that bit more complicated. However, mortgage lenders have been working with the MOD, and agree that:

“Those who serve with the Armed Forces should not be disadvantaged because of their occupation. Mortgage applications will be treated fairly and consistently with civilian counterparts and will not be automatically rejected purely on the basis of a BFPO address.”

Before Applying

How easy will it be for a broker, solicitor, or mortgage lender to get in contact with you while serving? A mortgage application can take weeks to be processed, and even longer to be finalised. If you are serving abroad or on the front line, you might be difficult to reach. This could cause a delay and result in a lender closing your application.

If possible, start your application well in advance of deployment. Or if you know you’ll be coming back to the UK soon, get the ball rolling before your return.

Spend some time researching and looking into your options. Weigh up what you can afford, what your bank or building society offers, and where you can get the best help or advice. A mortgage broker or intermediary might help you to find a mortgage that suits you best.

Your Application

  • Give your lender a contact number and email they can reach you on. Advise them of any time differences if you are serving abroad.
  • Avoid unnecessary contact from lenders – double, then triple check your application. Make sure all of your information is completely correct. Cross all your t’s and dot all of your i’s.
  • If you are serving or have served overseas, you must include your full BFPO addres, along with post code and unit number. It may even help you to get a letter of confirmation from your Commanding Officer confirming your address history.
  • Provide the correct, and up to date details of your Commanding Officer, Payroll department, and estate agent (if neccessary).

What a Mortgage Lender will Consider

There are multiple things a lender will look into when considering your mortgage application. Some lenders will even make allowances for helping service members with their applications if they have spent a lot of time serving abroad in the last 3 years. The main factors a lender will look at when considering your mortgage application are:

  • Affordability – A mortgage lender will look into your income and outgoings, and come to a decision on wether they think you will be able to afford the monthly mortgage repayments. They may also look into your spending activity, and flag any unhealthy habits such as gambling, as a reason to reject the application.
  • Credit HistoryThe better your credit history, the more likely a lender is to approve your application. This is similar to any other type of borrowing. It can be difficult to build a credit score when serving overseas, so it would be a good idea to provide evidence of any borrowing you have done while serving.

Additional Help

See the Ministry of Defence Guidance notes for service personnel applying for a mortgage >>

Forces Help to Buy Scheme >>

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Good to Know

The contents of this article are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute financial advice. Always consult a qualified professional for independent advice if you are unsure about whether a financial product or strategy is suitable for you.

All loans are subject to our loans policy and availability. The amount and rate that we may offer you may differ based on our assessment of your personal circumstances. Applying for a loan may affect your future ability to take out credit.

Holly Hunt

Holly is Digital Marketing Officer at London Mutual, and oversees our online content, email newsletters and promoting our services to members.

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