The Fixer: How to get a mortgage

The Fixer logoHave you been left out of pocket due to poor service or sharp practice? Do you have a money problem that won't go away?

It can seem impossible to get a fair result when you are battling a financial issue alone. But never fear! The AOL Money Fixer is here to help.

Dear Fixer,
My girlfriend and I want to buy our first home this year. We have a small deposit saved up and we have started looking around on the internet and in estate agent windows for suitable properties.

However, I am worried that problems I had with debt while at university will affect my chances of being accepted for a mortgage.

Am I right to think this, and is there anything I can do to improve how mortgage lenders will see my application?

D Harris, York

Dear Mr Harris,

You will need a good credit score to qualify for the best mortgage deals. To avoid lots of rejections that further damage your file, it is therefore sensible to check your score before applying.

If you find it lacking, steps you can take to improve it include reducing any credit card balances to no more than 30% of your credit limit, closing down any accounts you no longer use and checking that you are not registered on the electoral roll at your current address (your local council can help if you're not).

To help your application go smoothly, you should also check that you have the documents needed to prove your identity, such as an up-to-date passport and a recent letter from say a bank or utility company.

And as yours in a joint application, both you and your girlfriend will have to obtain your pay slips for the last three months and your P60s for the last two years (from the accounts or HR department if you no longer have the originals).

Other top tips to improve your chances of being accepted for a mortgage include avoiding unusual properties such as flats above cafes and continuing to save as much as you can so that your deposit is as big as possible.

To avoid more debt problems in the future, it is also vital not to overstretch yourself financially by taking on a mortgage without ensuring that you and your girlfriend can manage the repayments. Good luck!

The Fixer

Whatever your financial problem, write to and The AOL Money Fixer will get on the case.