We often use the term ‘specialist mortgage lender’, which refers to a broad range of lenders, mortgage providers and private organisations who are an alternative for many people who cannot (or do not wish to) get a mortgage through a high street bank.
There are countless scenarios where the conventional mortgage application process appears overly complex or designed to trip you up, especially if you have been turned down for lending and are unsure why.
In most cases, we suggest a specialist lender if you require a mortgage with unusual circumstances or need to finance a unique mortgage agreement.
However, the choice is always yours, and we appreciate that you may want to know what specialist lending means, how it varies from a standard mortgage, and when it might be the best solution for your mortgage.
What Are Specialist Mortgages?
Specialisms vary considerably between lenders, but as a sweeping term, it means any mortgage product that differs from the norm or is available outside the confines of typical lending criteria.
You might see a mortgage lender describe a product as a ‘unique mortgage’ – it means the same thing.
The big difference from any other mortgage is primarily that the lender will assess each application case-by-case rather than having standardised policies they use to decide who to lend to and who to reject.
There is nothing worrying or unethical about specialist lending – it simply means we are recommending a lender with greater flexibility to consider your circumstances.
Specialist Mortgage Examples
When might you need a specialist mortgage product?
Some of the many examples include:
- Bad credit mortgages – you might have repaid your debts and regained control over your finances. Still, many lenders will automatically turn down a mortgage application if you have credit issues on your file that are recent, serious, or over a certain value.
- Commercial mortgages – commercial lending falls outside the FCA regulatory remit, so it is a far more open lending field. Most high street banks cannot make individual assessments about each business case, so a specialist lender might be an easier prospect.
- Self-employed mortgages – if you have fluctuations in your income, a complex income structure or want to borrow based on your most recent year’s earnings, you could struggle with a mainstream provider. Specialist self-employed lenders will be more likely to analyse your application and make a decision.
Because a specialist lender will take their time to understand your situation, review your contextual information and analyse the risk associated with the loan, it is very likely the application process will take a little longer and involve a few more questions.
Finding a Specialist Mortgage Lender
Think Plutus is a private broker, working with clients from first-time buyers to portfolio landlords. We use our whole-of-market access to recommend specific products and lenders that present the best opportunity for you.
While we do not necessarily deem ourselves solely a specialist broker, we deal with a huge number of mortgage applicants who cannot secure the financing they need through the traditional routes.
It is more important to use an independent broker if you need a specialist mortgage product than in any other situation.
Some of the best-established specialist lenders do not market products publically, or accept direct applications, and only work within their brokerage network, so you may miss out on excellent products if you try to find a specialist mortgage on your own.
The key is knowing where to look, how each lender’s policies work and applying professional knowledge about the varied niche lenders that might be appropriate.
Specialist Mortgages for Applicants With Bad Credit
Adverse credit is one of the most common reasons applicants find that a standard mortgage simply does not work for them.
There are few scenarios where you cannot find a mortgage at all, and specialist lenders have specific products and repayment structures designed for applicants with previous credit issues.
It is important to try not to submit countless applications to multiple lenders because repeated credit checks and rejections can be frustrating and exacerbate the problem.
Rather, the best solution is to work with a bad credit broker who can evaluate your requirements, advise you on ways to improve your score, restructure your application and suggest specialist lenders who will be in a position to help.
Self-Employed Mortgage Specialists
Specialist mortgage products for self-employed applicants can be more straightforward to apply for and offer different calculations to analyse your income and annual profits.
For example, some niche lenders will consider your forecast earnings or future contracts rather than solely your filed tax returns for the last two years.
Specialist Mortgage Lenders for Contractors
Contractors, freelancers and employees with zero-hours contracts often find it difficult to navigate the mortgage market, especially if they charge varying rates for their work or do not have a long trading history.
Many lenders cannot conduct an accurate affordability evaluation due to the limitations in their acceptance policies.
A specialist lender can often invest a little more time in understanding the employment scenario and evaluating whether the loan is affordable.
Buy to Let Specialist Mortgage Lenders
Buy-to-let mortgages are not necessarily a specialised lending area, but the assessment process and eligibility criteria are somewhat different than for a residential mortgage product.
Lenders will analyse the forecast rental income and may reject an application for any reason, such as not having a separate personal income stream or being above a certain age.
A specialist buy-to-let lender can offer more flexibility in terms of affordability calculations.
Specialist Lenders for Commercial Mortgages
Because business mortgages are always structured case-by-case, many companies find they cannot get the right borrowing offer from a business bank or conventional mortgage provider.
A specialist commercial lender is particularly useful for early-stage businesses or organisations without the supporting financial information a standard bank will require to consider the loan.
International Mortgage Specialist Lenders
Most banks and building societies will not consider lending to any applicant who is not either a British citizen or has permanent residency status in the UK.
Likewise, if you wish to buy a second home overseas as a rental asset, holiday home or part-time residence, you need to have a thorough understanding of the mortgage market, property taxes and rules in the other country.
Mortgage specialists focused on international lending are often a good option and can provide beneficial guidance.
Specialist Lenders for Right to Buy Applicants
Right to Buy supports council housing tenants in purchasing their homes, with reductions in market value depending on how long they have lived in the property.
Not all lenders will accept a Right to Buy applicant, and you need to make two applications – one to the Right to Buy scheme and a second to a lender.
The challenge for many borrowers is normally the second part, so if you have been approved for Right to Buy but cannot find a lender, a specialist mortgage provider may be a solution.
Shared Ownership Mortgage Specialists
Shared Ownership is an affordable mortgage scheme that allows you to buy a share in a property and pay a nominal rent to the local housing association for the balance.
Borrowers can purchase more shares as finances allow and can benefit from specialist mortgage products if they need a bespoke agreement that suits their requirements.
Other Scenarios Where a Specialist Mortgage Lender Can Help
We have run through some of the most common situations where a specialist mortgage lender may be advisable, but this is far from an exhaustive list.
There are plenty of borrowers with specific requirements who may be referred to a specialist mortgage product, including:
- HMO mortgages
- Limited Company Buy to Let
- Second home mortgages
- Borrowers requiring a very large mortgage
- Lifetime or equity release mortgages
- Non-standard construction mortgages
- Mortgages for military personnel
- Self build mortgages
- Refurbishment mortgages
- Development Finance
- Mortgages following a divorce or separation
- Foreign Nationals
If you need any assistance, please feel free to get in touch, and we will steer you down the right path with advice and suggestions about the best way forward.
Independent Specialist Mortgage Broker
Applying for a mortgage can be stressful at the best of times, but it is even more so if you need a specialist lender or a non-standard mortgage that is unavailable through your bank.
As your specialist mortgage broker, Think Plutus endeavours to make the process considerably easier, advising on appropriate lenders and products, and helping you structure a compelling application.
Specialist mortgage borrowing is an area where we strongly recommend you seek professional support and ensure you have impartial information to help you make informed decisions.
Please get in touch anytime for more information about specialist mortgage lenders or to get started on your journey to a successful mortgage application.