Advice guide centre

Working out what you can afford

Buying a property is a big step involving a substantial long-term financial commitment, so think hard about what you can afford. You will need to consider the assets you have – like savings – as well as the money that’s coming in and going out.

Although it may reduce your buying options, you don’t want to commit to a mortgage and then realise you can’t afford some of the nicer things in life! It may sound obvious but take time to think of all the things you spend money on throughout the year, even without a mortgage.

How much may I be able to borrow?

Every lender has different ways of calculating how much they will lend to you, or even whether they will lend to you at all. It includes criteria such as your income, the size of your deposit, your regular expenditure, and your credit rating. These will be considered for both of you if you are making a joint application.

But you can start by getting a rough idea of how much you could borrow by using our calculators:

Find out how much you may be able to borrow on your salary

Find out how much you may be able to borrow on a fixed monthly budget

Actual loan amounts and affordability criteria will differ across lenders. Make sure you obtain accurate figures from your lender before committing to any mortgage. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage.

Helping you get an affordable mortgage

The current rules around mortgages were put in place to help make sure that customers only borrow what they can comfortably afford.

So when it comes to applying for a mortgage, you will have to go into a lot of detail about your income and spending. Ultimately, this is for your benefit, as the adviser or lender will be able to recommend a product that best suits your needs and circumstances.

Consider other costs too

Remember, when you’re working out what you can afford, there are other costs that you will need to take into account besides the cost of the mortgage itself.

For example, when you get a mortgage the lender will require that you take out buildings insurance to cover the property.

You may also have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax. This government tax is payable on property or land above a certain price threshold in England or Northern Ireland. Use our stamp duty calculator to work out how much your stamp duty will be.

Similarly, if you’re buying a property or land in Scotland or Wales, there are equivalents of this tax that you might have to pay. Different rates apply for different property prices, so it’s worth looking into it well in advance.

There are other things to consider too, such as the cost of moving from your current home, estate agency fees, solicitor’s fees, potentially paying for a surveyor, and charges associated with getting a mortgage, such as arrangement and mortgage adviser fees.

It’s a good idea to take these costs into account early on, since they could impact what you ultimately decide to borrow.

Want a more concrete estimate?

In that case, it’s best to speak to a lender or mortgage adviser. They can take a look at your situation and advise you on what you might be able to borrow, or arrange an Agreement in Principle which outlines what size of mortgage you could get.

Are you self-employed?

Then the calculator won’t work as well for you. Your best bet is to speak to a mortgage adviser or a lender in order to get an indication of what you could borrow and how much the repayments will be.

Investing in a buy-to-let?

Again, speaking to a mortgage adviser or a lender is the best way to make sure you get an accurate estimate.

How much will I have to repay per month?

What you can borrow isn’t the only factor to take into account. You should be aware of how much your mortgage might cost you every month – so you can be sure you can comfortably afford it.

Calculate your estimated mortgage repayments

What if interest rates change?

Interest rates could well change – and if you’re on a Tracker, Discount or Standard Variable Rate mortgage, your payments could go up. So it’s worth using the mortgage calculator to check what your monthly payments would be if there was an increase in interest rates.

Consider all possibilities

When you’re working out what you can afford remember that the unexpected can happen and things can go wrong. So it’s a good idea not to push yourself to your spending limit.

Instead, speak to your mortgage adviser or lender representative about how you would afford your repayments in the event of redundancy, serious illness, or even in the unfortunate event of death.

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