Specialist Mortgages

Home Specialist Mortgages
Sunny Avenue
Mortgages Sunny Avenue
7 Jul 2023

Buying a home is a significant milestone in anyone's life. It's a decision that involves careful consideration of multiple factors, and one of the most crucial aspects is securing the right mortgage. While high-street banks and building societies are the go-to options for many, there is another avenue worth exploring - specialist mortgages.

In this insight, we explore the world of specialist lending and help you understand how it could be the ideal solution for your unique circumstances.

Key Takeaways

  • Specialist mortgages are an alternative option to traditional bank or building society mortgages. They offer a more flexible approach and are more likely to approve applications that high-street lenders might reject.
  • Specialist mortgages are ideal for specific situations such as retirement, self-employment or contract work, and adverse credit history. They consider individual circumstances and provide tailored solutions to meet unique needs.
  • The benefits of specialist mortgages include personalized assessment, flexibility for non-standard situations, expert guidance and support, and access to a wider range of specialist lenders.
  • The specialist mortgage application process involves consulting a mortgage adviser, providing necessary documentation, submitting the application to lenders, and completing the approval and completion stages. Throughout the process, your adviser will assist you and ensure a smooth experience.

What is a Specialist Mortgage?

A specialist mortgage refers to obtaining a mortgage from a lender who isn't a traditional high-street bank or building society. Unlike high-street lenders, specialist lenders adopt a flexible approach when assessing mortgage applications. They take a case-by-case view, making them more likely to approve applications that other lenders might reject.

When your mortgage adviser suggests a specialist lender, there's no need to be alarmed. It simply means that your circumstances may be better suited to the more tailored approach offered by these lenders.

When to Consider Specialist Mortgages

Specialist mortgages are designed to cater to individuals with specific needs or situations that may not fit the criteria of high-street lenders. Let's take a closer look at some scenarios where a specialist mortgage might be the ideal option for you.

Age and Retirement Considerations

If you're planning to repay your mortgage loan during your retirement years, a specialist lender may be the best choice. As you transition into retirement, your income may change or decrease, posing a potential risk that you might not have enough funds to meet your mortgage repayments. Specialist lenders take this into account and can offer more flexible options that align with your retirement income.

Self-Employment or Contract Work

For self-employed individuals or contractors, securing a mortgage from a high-street lender can be challenging. High-street lenders typically require a consistent history of earnings to prove your income, which may be difficult if your work is irregular or if you have recently changed jobs. Specialist lenders understand the nuances of self-employment and contract work, and they often have more flexible criteria for income verification, increasing your chances of mortgage approval.

Credit History and Adverse Credit

Your credit history plays a crucial role in mortgage applications. High-street banks are generally more risk-averse and may be less willing to lend to individuals with adverse credit scoring, such as County Court Judgments (CCJs), missed payments, or bankruptcy records. Specialist lenders, on the other hand, are often more open to working with borrowers who have experienced credit challenges in the past. They consider these events as one-off or explainable circumstances, focusing more on your current financial position and commitment to improving it.

The Benefits of Specialist Mortgages

Now that we've explored the situations in which specialist mortgages can be advantageous, let's delve into the benefits they offer.

Individual Assessment and Tailored Solutions

One of the key advantages of specialist mortgages is the individual assessment they provide. Unlike high-street lenders who often apply a one-size-fits-all approach, specialist lenders take the time to understand your unique circumstances. They consider factors such as your income, employment history, credit history, and future plans to offer tailored solutions that align with your specific needs. This personalized approach increases the chances of securing a mortgage that fits your situation perfectly.

Flexibility for Non-Standard Situations

Specialist lenders are adept at handling non-standard situations that may not fit within the rigid criteria of high-street banks. Whether you're self-employed, have irregular income, or require a mortgage for an unconventional property, specialist lenders are more likely to provide options that accommodate your specific circumstances. They understand that everyone's situation is different and are committed to finding solutions that work for you.

Expert Guidance and Support

Navigating the mortgage application process can be complex and overwhelming, especially when dealing with non-standard situations. Specialist lenders often provide expert mortgage advisers who are well-versed in the intricacies of their lending criteria. These advisors take the time to understand your needs, answer your questions, and guide you through the entire process. From handling paperwork to liaising with relevant parties, they ensure a smooth and seamless mortgage journey, providing you with peace of mind.

Access to Specialist Lenders

As specialist mortgage brokers, we have access to a wide range of specialist lenders who are not typically found on the high street. These lenders are carefully selected based on their expertise in specific areas, such as self-build mortgages, buy-to-let properties, or adverse credit situations. 

The Specialist Mortgage Application Process

Now that you understand the benefits of specialist mortgages, let's take a closer look at the application process and what you can expect.

  • Step 1: Consult a Mortgage Adviser: Meet with a specialist mortgage adviser who will understand your needs and financial situation.
  • Step 2: Assessment and Documentation: Provide necessary documents like income proof, bank statements, and credit reports as your advisor assesses your application.
  • Step 3: Mortgage Submission and Processing: Your adviser submits your application to chosen lenders, handling the process and keeping you updated.
  • Step 4: Mortgage Approval and Completion: If approved, you'll receive an offer, review it with your advisor, complete paperwork, and proceed to homeownership.

Your advisor will guide you throughout, making the process smooth and hassle-free.

The Role of Regulation and Affordability

It's important to note that specialist lenders are still subject to the same rules and regulations as high-street banks. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) introduced in 2014 ensure that all lenders assess affordability thoroughly. Borrowers are stress-tested at 3-4 percentage points above the lender's standard variable rate (SVR) to determine if they can afford repayments in the event of an interest rate rise. Manual underwriting further ensures that lenders only lend to borrowers who can demonstrate their ability to repay the mortgage.

Seeking Specialist Mortgage Advice

If you find yourself in need of a specialist mortgage, it's always wise to seek advice from a specialist mortgage broker. They have the expertise and access to specialist lenders to help you navigate the complexities of the mortgage market. By working with a mortgage broker, you can ensure that your application is handled professionally, and you receive unbiased advice tailored to your unique situation.

Specialist mortgages offer a lifeline to individuals with non-standard situations who may not fit the criteria of high-street lenders. Whether you're self-employed, have adverse credit, or require a mortgage for an unconventional property, specialist lenders can provide tailored solutions that align with your specific needs. By working with a mortgage adviser who specialises in specialist lending, you can access a wide range of lenders and benefit from their expertise and support throughout the application process. Don't let your unique circumstances hold you back from homeownership - explore the world of specialist mortgages and find the perfect loan for your needs.


Stuart is an expert in Property, Money, Banking & Finance, having worked in retail and investment banking for 10+ years before founding Sunny Avenue. Stuart has spent his career studying finance. He holds qualifications in financial studies, mortgage advice & practice, banking operations, dealing & financial markets, derivatives, securities & investments.

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