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Am I too old to get a mortgage?

Legally, you're never too old to get a mortgage. As long as you've got the means to pay it, there'll be mortgage providers willing to lend it.

Words by: Nic Hopkirk

Senior Editor

The traditional view of mortgages is that the older you are, the more challenging – and expensive – it becomes to borrow for a new home. 

But if you have the means to pay a mortgage once you've retired, you could still get one when you’re 85.

Specialist mortgage brokers will have plenty of providers willing to lend to the older sector on their books.

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Can you get a mortgage when you’re over 50?

Yes you can. As with everyone taking out a mortgage, the amount you’re able to borrow depends much more on your financial circumstances than your age, particularly if you’re still years away from retirement. 

Whatever your age, lenders will look into your monthly income and outgoings, as well as how big a deposit you have, to assess your affordability.

They may require that the mortgage is repaid in full over a shorter term, 20 years rather than 30, for example. But that’s because when you retire, unless you've got a massive pension coming your way, your income is likely to go down.

A shorter mortgage term means the monthly repayments will be higher, but the overall interest you'll pay on the mortgage is likely to be lower, as it's paid back in a shorter time frame.

For a £200,000 loan with a mortgage interest rate of 2% for example, the monthly repayments would be £1,011 if it was taken out over a 20 year term, rather than £739 if it was taken out over a 30 year term.

But if you’re financially comfortable with that and can prove you can easily meet the repayments, then there's likely to be a lender out there for you.

See how a shorter term or different interest rate impacts your monthly repayments with our mortgage calculator.

Mortgage calculator

Work out what your monthly mortgage payments could be with our mortgage calculator.

Is it harder to get a mortgage when you're older?

Not necessarily. If you have a solid income and a good pension to look forward to, you’ll be in a good position to get a mortgage.

Here’s how to give yourself the best chance of securing that loan.

1. Be ready with a good deposit

Save for the biggest deposit you can, as this reduces the lender’s risk and could make them more willing to lend.

Retain bank statements showing you’re conducting your finances well.

Find out more about how to save for a deposit.

2. Get all your paperwork in order

Check your credit report with one of the UK's credit reference agencies. 

You can check your rating through Zoopla partner's Uswitch.

3. Improve your credit score

Simple ways to do this include getting registered on the electoral roll, clearing unpaid debts and closing credit card accounts you no longer use. 

Here’s how to improve your credit score.

4. Know what your monthly income from your pension will be

Ask for a pension projection from your provider to find out how much income you’re likely to receive when you retire.

If you’re already retired, get a pension statement showing the income you have to fund the mortgage.

5. Do you have any other sources of income?

Have details of investments or income from savings to hand.

6. Speak to a specialist mortgage broker

A broker who specialises in helping older borrowers get a good deal will already have a range of lenders willing to lend on their books.

Sarah Walker: I secured a mortgage in my fifties

Sarah Walker bought her mother's house when she was 52 and secured a £110,000 mortgage over a term of 17 years.

Sarah and her three children had been living with Sarah’s mother at her home but decided to buy it from her to provide her with an extra source of income. 

'We decided that it made sense for me to buy the house from her,' says Sarah, who works as a marina manager.

'This meant she could free up her capital, and it worked out better in terms of inheritance tax.' 

Sarah spoke to a mortgage broker who helped her to find a lender. 

The lender had a maximum repayment age of 69, meaning the traditional 25-year term had to be shortened to 17 years.

For a repayment mortgage at a typical rate of 3% it would cost Sarah an extra £168 a month.

'I feel very lucky to have got a mortgage, as I thought it might be harder to find lenders willing to lend to the more mature borrower,' says Sarah.

'But my monthly repayments are more expensive.

'If I'd been able to get a mortgage with a 25-year term, those extra eight years would have made it a lot less costly.' 

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