In this brief guide, we will discuss the First Direct mortgage in principle process and what documents you may need when looking to get a First Direct mortgage in principle.
What is a First Direct mortgage in principle?
A First Direct mortgage in principle or First Direct decision in principle is essentially confirmation from First Direct that they may be able to lend to you based on the information you have just provided to them.
It will also provide the amount that First Direct may be willing to lend to you.
A First Direct mortgage in principle is good as it will allow real estate agents and property sellers to take you more seriously as well as give you the certainty that you may be able to get a mortgage in the near future based on your current mortgage affordability.
A First Direct mortgage in principle will usually take from a few hours to a few days for you to receive once you have applied for one. This is however not a certainty and you can still get declined for a mortgage in principle.
The good news is that a soft credit check is done and this means you will have no damage to your credit file in the scenario that First Direct is not able to offer you a First Direct mortgage in principle and you need to make another mortgage in principle offer from a different mortgage lender.
Most mortgage lenders now offer a mortgage in principle check with soft credit checks so you may be able to find other mortgage lenders who can lend to you by reapplying to others without any risk to your credit score.
If you are unsure on if you will qualify for a First Direct mortgage in principle check then you should use the First Direct mortgage affordability calculator first to try and get an indication.
You may also want to speak to a whole of market mortgage broker who may have some experience on if First Direct may be able to lend to you or offer you a decision in principle.
You will need to make an application to get a mortgage in principle. It is important you give truthful information as if you give inaccurate information and get a First Direct mortgage in principle there is no guarantee that you will actually get a mortgage offer and it is even more likely if not certain that every fact on your mortgage fact find will be checked for accuracy before First Direct provides you with a mortgage offer.
Getting a First Direct mortgage in principle doesn’t guarantee that you will get a firm mortgage offer from First Direct.
In some cases First Direct may reject you when you apply for a firm First Direct mortgage offer as your circumstances may have changed during this time or maybe the property you end up deciding to buy is beyond the type of property First Direct may be willing to offer a mortgage on or maybe you want a bigger mortgage and First Direct simply cannot offer you that loan to value on their mortgage products.
There are many other reasons why a First Direct mortgage in principle could be withdrawn or why it doesn’t necessarily serve as a complete guarantee that you will be able to get a First Direct mortgage.
How long does a First Direct mortgage in principle last?
A First Direct Mortgage in principle will usually last for 90 days but you may be able to get an extension to this by requesting one from First Direct.
You may need an extension to your First Direct mortgage in principle if you are buying an off-plan new build property which isn’t completed yet.
In these cases, there are usually delays to when the property will finally be available and First Direct will not want to provide you with a firm mortgage offer when your property isn’t ready to be valued as they simply can’t make a firm and final mortgage property valuation if the property isn’t complete.
What documents do you need for a mortgage in principle?
To get a First Direct mortgage in principle you may need a variety of documents
- Your ID documents (passport or driving license)
- Three years of address history (utility bills)
- Proof of your income and outgoings (Your bank statements)
Applying for a First Direct mortgage in principle
When you apply for a First Direct mortgage in principle, First Direct will look mainly at the three below things.
Can you afford the mortgage amount you need to buy your house based on your current income and monthly expenditure? This is known as your mortgage affordability.
First Direct will also check your credit score to see if your score falls within their lending criteria.
First Direct will finally look at their lending criteria to ensure you fit within their lending criteria.
You can apply for your First Direct mortgage in principle online or over the phone.
To apply for a First Direct mortgage in principle online will take you about 15 minutes
Government schemes for your First Direct mortgage
If you are looking to get a First Direct mortgage in principle then you should also consider the numerous government schemes for first-time buyers and home movers which may be able to help you get on the property ladder.
Government schemes help you reduce the amount of mortgage deposit you may need to put down, reduce the price of the property or create a structure that increases your mortgage affordability much sooner than it would have been.
Some of these include first-time buyer government schemes whilst others in this list are accessible to you even if you are not a first-time buyer.
Government schemes are not available to you if you are getting a buy to let mortgage.
The Government schemes include:
- Lifetime ISA– gives you a government bonus of £1,000 if you save the maximum £4,000 a year.
- Help to buy ISA– gives a maximum bonus us £3,000 if you save the maximum allowed of £12,000. Before you get either you should consider which is better. Lifetime ISA vs Help to buy ISA.
- Help to buy equity loan– gives you up to 40% as a 5-year interest-free equity loan. You begin to pay interest at 1.75 % after the fifth year and 1% plus RPI for every year thereafter.
- Shared ownership– You can buy between 25% to 75% of the property initially with a shared ownership mortgage and then buy more using a staircasing mortgage.
- Armed forces help to buy– similar to the help to buy equity loan but specific for the armed forces personnel giving them an increased chance of acceptance.
- Rent to buy– This is the right to buy scheme on which this guide is currently discussing. A different marketing name is just used. Watch out for this when shopping to avoid missing out on eligible properties due to confusion.
- Right to buy– allows you to buy your home at a discount price.
- Preserved right to buy– same as above.
- Right to acquire– similar to the above.
Depending on where you live, you may also be able to take advantage of home buying schemes provided by your local council. Example: In Norwich, the local councils provide the Norwich home options scheme.
Use a mortgage broker for your First Direct mortgage in principle
You may want to use an independent mortgage broker to help you get a mortgage on your new home.
Mortgage brokers are important as they can access mortgage products from across the whole of the market in some cases.
This could be over 11,000 mortgage products. This may have some advantages rather than going directly to a mortgage lender.
A mortgage broker will look to understand your financial circumstances and then provide recommendations on which mortgage products may be suitable for you based on your mortgage affordability.
After giving you these mortgage recommendations, most mortgage brokers will seek your consent to apply for a mortgage in principle.
This will allow you to shop for your home as more estate agents and sellers may take you seriously and it will also give you confidence that your mortgage is indeed a possibility before you make a full mortgage application.
Once you have found a home you want to buy and are satisfied with the mortgage offer for your mortgage then the mortgage broker will then look to get you a mortgage offer.
This will come with a key facts illustration document which details out the features of your mortgage including how much you will pay per month.
It will also contain information on if there are any limits such as early repayment fees, or annual overpayment limits.
If you are happy with everything you can then go on to secure your mortgage with the help of a conveyancer.
Your conveyancer will manage the legal searches on the property to ensure there aren’t any issues with it.
They will oversee the sales agreement to ensure it is in your best interest, they will manage the transfer of mortgage funds, exchange contracts with the seller or their conveyancer and set a completion date with the seller or their conveyancer.
In this brief guide, we discussed the First Direct mortgage in principle. If you have any comments or questions please let us know.