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Can I get a loan for a house deposit?

It is possible to use a loan for a house deposit, but many lenders will not accept this, so it could trip you up when it comes to finding a mortgage. You will certainly have fewer options available to you than if you used a deposit from another source. While saving a deposit is the best option, we understand that it’s not always possible. So how do you go about securing a mortgage using a loan as the deposit, and what are the pitfalls involved with doing so? We look at these questions below.
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Guide to can you get a loan for a mortgage deposit?

Research by mortgage lender Halifax found that the average first-time mortgage deposit in 2021 was almost £53,935. More recent mortgage statistics show that those saving for a 10% deposit on a property in 2022, would have likely had to raise an extra £1,800 between January and July just to keep up with rising house prices.

Given that it could take several years to scrape together this amount of cash, it’s tempting to take out a loan for a mortgage deposit. But putting yourself in debt to secure even more debt isn’t ideal - and mortgage lenders will be put off by high levels of borrowing.

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Can you use a personal loan for a house deposit?

There are loan providers who may be willing to lend to you when you intend to use the funds on a mortgage deposit. Equally, there are some mortgage lenders who will accept a loan for a house deposit when you come to take out a mortgage, however, many won't.

Those mortgage lenders willing to accept a deposit made up of borrowed money often add caveats to that, such as the loan only being able to make up an element of the deposit, not the whole thing. Others may be more likely to accept loans that have been taken out in the name of a business, rather than an individual.

The problem is, where you manage to find lenders willing to accept that you will be using a loan as a deposit, they’re unlikely to offer you the best terms and interest rates. This is because the entire cost of the house being covered by one form of loan or another - which makes you high risk!

Can I get a mortgage if I have an outstanding loan?

You can typically take out a mortgage with an outstanding loan, depending on your debt to income ratio and credit score. Most lenders are looking at a maximum debt to income ratio (typically around 50%) when they assess your suitability for a mortgage.

This means that even if they are happy to accept a loan for a house deposit, the size of the loan needed for most house deposits is significant, and may push you over their maximum debt to income ratio, especially if you have other debts as well. This is especially true if you have to borrow the whole amount.

What else affects eligibility if using loans for deposits on houses?

Your credit file is always going to play a role in whether or not you are able to secure a mortgage, but if you're using a loan as a deposit, this will be even more important. When you're using a high percentage of the credit available to you, your credit score is affected, as credit referencing agencies award higher score those who stay within 50% of their available credit limit.

Mortgage lenders will be more cautious when you have a low credit score, and this alone could limit the amount willing to offer you a mortgage. Those who are a bit more flexible will be looking for impeccable repayment history. If you have a history of missed, or even late payments, and you're taking out a large loan for a house deposit and an even larger mortgage, they will be concerned that you won't be able to manage such high levels of debt.

James Jones, head of consumer affairs at credit agency Experian, explains: “Most mortgage lenders take a dim view of applicants raising a deposit using other forms of credit. We certainly advise people to avoid applying for credit in the run-up to a mortgage application.”

It's therefore always best to think creatively about how to get a deposit for a house rather than using loans. If you must use a loan, try and combine this with savings or a gifted deposit from family. You could also consider using a guarantor mortgage, which may mean you don't need a deposit at all.

How much deposit do I need to buy a house?

The lowest mortgage deposit that's currently acceptable to get a UK mortgage is 5%, however, not all lenders will be willing to lend at this level. It's also worth considering that some lenders will limit the LTV of your borrowing if you use a loan for your deposit.

The LTV (loan-to-value ratio) is the amount you need to borrow compared to the value of the home. For example, if you needed to borrow £95,000 to buy a £100,000 house, your LTV would be 95%. The other 5% would be your deposit.

Most lenders have a maximum LTV that they are willing to offer, which will be determined by your financial and personal circumstances. This means that even though there are 95% LTV mortgages available, you won't automatically qualify, you'll need to meet the lender's criteria for that level of borrowing.

Having a loan for a deposit is one thing that may cause lenders to limit the LTV of their borrowing, and a lower credit score (which you are more likely to have if you're borrowing a lot) is another. This means that it would not be the ideal scenario to get a 95% mortgage, but certainly not impossible.

The other thing to consider, however, is that the interest rates offered to you will be higher, the higher your LTV. This means that you will always be better off providing a larger deposit if possible, as this will also give you access to more competitive interest rates.

Alternatives options to a mortgage deposit loan

Taking out a loan for a house deposit is not ideal, but is possible if it's your only option. However, there are a range of other deposit types that you may want to consider, to avoid borrowing 100% of the cost of buying your home:

Gifts from family

If a family member gives you the money for your deposit, you need to ensure that you can prove that it's a gift, not a loan. Most people providing a gift for this purpose will need to sign a declaration for the mortgage lender that confirms they will not seek repayment of the funds.

Also, it's important to be aware that under inheritance tax law, the person giving you the gift must survive for seven years after making the gift if you want to avoid potentially being liable for inheritance tax on the money.

Guarantor mortgage

A guarantor mortgage requires another person to provide a guarantee on your mortgage that they will cover the repayments, if you fail to do so. Usually this will be a close family member, such as a parent or grandparent, but there are lenders who also allow friends to perform this role.

It’s a big ask and a huge commitment from someone with no direct interest in the property, so the guarantor must be fully aware of the risk involved. In some cases, however, this would allow you to get a mortgage with no deposit.

Vendor gifted deposit

If you're buying a new build property, there are sometimes incentives offered by the building company or housing group that have built the property, which are intended to help with the costs of the mortgage. This could be the vendor being willing to reduce the cost of the property by the deposit amount or them offering a cashback offer when you purchase.

Some lenders will accept either form of vendor contribution as or towards your deposit requirement, however, there may be a limit on the percentage of the value of the property that they are willing to accept from this source.

It's also worth noting that the LTV offered by the lender could be capped if you use this method of deposit payment. This means that although it could be a useful contribution, you may still need to make up the remainder of the deposit requirement with another source.

Shared ownership

A shared ownership arrangement is where you opt to buy a proportion of a property – 10-75% with a deposit of a minimum of 5% of the property value. As you're saving up for a deposit on a percentage share, rather than the entire property, the requirement will be lower.

For example:

A home of £200,000 would have a minimum deposit of 5% - which is £10,000

A 10% share in a £200,000 would have a minimum deposit of 5% - which is £1,000

Under this scheme, you pay rent to the housing association that owns the remainder of your property, although this is charged at below-market rate. You are also able to increase your share in the home, as and when you can.

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