Mortgages for UK Armed Forces Personnel

There is a range of favourable mortgages specifically aimed at the armed forces, whether currently serving, discharged or retired. This guide explains some primary mortgage options and why professional advice may be advisable.

About your mortgage

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Based on your yearly income, you may be able to borrow:

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Most lenders will let you borrow 4.5 times your annual salary so, as long as you have a standard 10% deposit, you should be able to borrow this much.

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Depending on your personal circumstances, some lenders may let you borrow 5 times your salary.

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Lenders usually cap the amount they lend at 5.5 times your salary, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to borrow more than this.

This calculator is an estimation of how much you could borrow. If you’re ready to take out a mortgage, speak to a Revolution brokers to see what options are available.

Mortgages for UK Armed Forces Personnel

A career in the armed forces can mean a challenge with finding a mortgage, and many servicemen and women find this difficult when switching from workplace accommodation to applying for a first mortgage.

The Revolution Brokers team has years of experience in finding competitive, affordable mortgages for applicants in army, navy and air force roles. We have created this guide to outline the most important things you need to know before you make any applications.

For tailored advice and independent recommendations about the best lenders for your circumstances, contact Revolution on 0330 304 3040 or drop us a message to info@revolutionbrokers.co.uk.

Do Lenders Offer Specific Military Mortgages?

Indeed they do. Entry-level service people may find themselves falling into a low-income category. Professional military personnel often find that they have very little, or no credit rating, having been posted overseas or in multiple locations.

Revolution Brokers works with respected lenders who offer mortgages for:

  • British army serving personnel.
  • Professionals in the navy, air force and marines.
  • Ex-military staff mortgages.
  • Mortgages for armed forces personnel living overseas.
  • Civilian support staff lending.

If you are unsure about the best type of mortgage for you, give us a call, and we will run through the available options.

Do Members of the UK Military Get Help with Mortgages?

There are various schemes available, which may not be facilitated by high street banks or lenders. It is therefore vital to consult a mortgage expert who will have access to the full spectrum of mortgage options.

Support includes increased flexibility on lender criteria, Help to Buy schemes for members of the forces, and existing Long Service Advance of Pay programmes.

Get in touch for more information about any of these assistance schemes.

Can I Get Help With a Mortgage from a Specialist Military Lender?

Although there aren't usually discounts for members of the forces, you can use a specialist lender with experience in lending to service people, that understands the variable income structures and impact on your credit rating.

The key differences between a niche lender and a mainstream mortgage provider are that:

  • Specialist lenders may allow military applicants more flexibility with consent to let out properties purchased on a standard residential mortgage.
  • Niche providers offer mortgages for UK homes for armed forces personnel stationed overseas.
  • Lenders with experience in forces clients will accommodate mortgages where the property is expected to be vacant for periods when working in alternative locations.
  • Some experienced providers will offer mortgages against overseas properties for UK armed forces applicants.

How Do the Forces Help to Buy Schemes Work?

This scheme is an arm of the Help to Buy programme, designed to assist serving men and women in getting onto the property ladder.

Applicants have access to interest-free lending to provide a deposit or cover other purchasing fees.

What Level of Assistance is Available through Forces Help to Buy Mortgages?

Military personnel can apply for up to half of their annual salary, up to £25,000, which is interest-free.

The loan can be used to pay a deposit or to cover costs such as estate agent fees, legal charges and mortgage costs.

Can I Buy any Home Through Forces Help to Buy?

This scheme is intended to support purchases of:

  • First properties.
  • Relocations due to a new posting.
  • New property to accommodate the needs of your family.

Who is Eligible for Forces Help to Buy Lending?

Applicants working for the British army, navy or RAF can apply, with the following criteria:

  • Meet a minimum length of service.
  • Have at least six months remaining to serve.
  • Fall into the appropriate medical categories, with exemptions available in unusual circumstances.

Are the Forces Help to Buy Schemes Complicated to Apply for?

No, the scheme is relatively straightforward - the Ministry of Defence has created an intranet system, with secure access through the Joint Personnel Administration network.

Before applying, it is advisable to communicate your intention through your supervisor, as well as to contact an independent UK broker who can provide recommendations about the best way to utilise financial support.

When Do I Have to Repay a Forces Help to Buy Loan?

Usually, the loan is repaid gradually over ten years, with no interest payable.

How Quickly Can I Apply for Forces Help to Buy Lending?

In most cases, after a successful application, the funds will be available in around two weeks.

Once you have your funds ready, the property purchase process will take the usual time, which can be around three months on average.

Is the Forces Help to Buy Scheme Ending?

No, the scheme was launched in April 2014 and has been extended several times.

The current end date is December 2022, and new applications will be accepted up to the end date, without the process needing to have been completed beforehand.

Can I Combine Forces Help to Buy and Normal Help to Buy Support?

You can, yes - it is possible to combine both support schemes to assist with one property purchase, provided you use a lender who is experienced in both initiatives.

Forces Help to Buy offers an interest-free loan up to £25,000, at a maximum of half of your annual salary. Help to Buy can support home purchases with a 5% deposit, with an interest-free loan for up to five years, and to a maximum of 20% of the property value.

Help to Buy is aimed primarily at new-builds and doesn't apply to investments, buy to let properties, or homes costing over £600,000.

Is it Possible to Combine Forces Help to Buy and Help to Buy ISAs?

Potentially, yes, provided you have a broker who can negotiate terms with a mortgage lender - there isn't any rule preventing you from using both schemes.

Help to Buy ISAs are part of the broader Help to Buy programme and mean that the government will provide a top-up to your savings, to be used towards a property deposit.

The system works by offering an additional £50 for every £200 you have saved, from a minimum of £400 and up to a limit of £3,000.

Help to Buy ISA support is also due to run until December 2022 at present.

Does Forces Help to Buy Offer Lending for a Shared Ownership Property?

Unfortunately not - although there are many competitive Shared Ownership deals available without Forces Help to Buy, many of which are more affordable than a standalone residential property mortgage.

Can I Sub-Let my Property if I bought it Using Forces Help to Buy?

Yes, there is scope to sublet or take in a lodger, and specialist mortgage lenders are usually more flexible in these circumstances given that you are serving in the military and might not be resident in your property all year round.

Make sure to contact your mortgage lender, and your insurer, before taking in a lodger or subletting your property, and seeking the appropriate permissions.

Do the UK Government Tax Forces Help to Buy Loans?

They might do - if you borrow over £10,000 interest-free, this is treated as a beneficial loan by HMRC, and they may levy a tax charge.

It is therefore essential to seek expert support to understand the tax implications before going ahead with an application.

Can I Apply for Forces Help to Buy if I am Ex-Military?

Not at present, no - Forces Help to Buy is aimed at serving military personnel with at least six months left to serve.

However, there are schemes available for ex-military staff and retired service people.

In these circumstances, and particularly if you have previously lived in military accommodation and not owned a property before, independent advice is essential to ensure you know which lenders to apply to.

You might be advised to use Help to Buy as a way to raise a deposit, or specialist mortgage lenders offer niche bad credit mortgages if you don't have a credit score. Other options include retirement mortgages.

Give the Revolution team a call on 0330 304 3040, and we will advise on the various schemes and options available to choose from.

Is There a Forces Help to Buy Calculator I Can Use?

Any residential mortgage calculator can give you an indication of how much you might be able to borrow. However, these are only generic and cannot provide you with advice, or weigh up the pros and cons of different lending products.

For an idea of how much you can apply for, which support schemes are available, and advice about the most attractive borrowing options for your mortgage, give us a call.

As a whole-of-market broker, the Revolution team can recommend any product from any lender across the UK, ensuring that you don't miss out on a competitive deal.

What is Long Service Advance of Pay?

LSAP is another support scheme, which existed before Forces Help to Buy and was superseded by the new initiative.

If you have an existing LSAP loan, then you may be capped on a new Forces Help to Buy loan, depending on how much of the first lending remains outstanding.

Where Can I Find the Lowest Rates on a Military Mortgage?

Mortgage rates don't tend to vary from the standard products offered, since lenders do not have specific lending schemes for military personnel.

While Forces Help to Buy can support army, navy and RAF professionals in financing a deposit, they do not impact the interest rate charged by the lender.

Providers will consider various criteria when calculating the rate they can offer:

  • How much deposit you have available. The typical standard is 5% as a minimum. Still, in high-risk scenarios, such as having no credit rating, or mortgaging a non-standard property, you might be asked for a higher deposit. You should also be able to demonstrate the source of your deposit, as some lenders have restrictions on acceptable deposit sources, including overseas investments and gifts.
  • Income and Expenses. In most cases, a lender will offer up to 4.5 times your annual income, with some offering higher multiples of five or even six times. The stability of your income is also considered, with consideration given to supplementary income such as Operation Allowances or military disability benefits. Note that if you are receiving these types of allowances, it is crucial to work with a specialist provider who can consider all kinds of additional income.
  • Credit Score. A typical stumbling block for military personnel seeking a mortgage is having a minimal credit history. Other scenarios include bad credit, where you have experienced adverse credit issues. Either one of these situations can mean being asked for a higher deposit or offered a less competitive rate. If you have any credit history issues or no credit score, give the Revolution team a call, and we will advise on the most appropriate lenders to apply to.
  • How old you are. Some lenders cap mortgages for applicants aged over 75. Others lend up to 85 years old, and others have no age limits, provided your income demonstrates that you can afford the repayments.
  • What property you wish to buy. Non-standard properties include those with timber frames, thatched roofs, or listed buildings, and mainstream lenders are sometimes unable to lend against this type of unusual home. Specialist lenders are your best bet and can offer competitive terms against a variety of property types.

Can Armed Forces Personnel Get Buy to Let Mortgages?

You can, although the Forces Help to Buy scheme won't apply, since this is only available for residential property purchases.

Generally, BTL property investments require a higher deposit, with the typical Loan to Value ratio being around 85%. You will also need to demonstrate the anticipated rental income, which needs to be at least 125% of the mortgage payments.

Some BTL lenders have other criteria, such as a minimum income of £25,000 per year.

Expert Support with Military Mortgages

If you are serving in the forces, retired, or ex-military, give the mortgage advisors team a call for independent, straightforward advice about where and how to find the best mortgage options.

The team is available on 0330 304 3040, or at info@revolutionbrokers.co.uk, and works with a vast network of respected UK mortgage lenders offering flexible terms and competitive rates in any number of circumstances.

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The content included in our articles, blogs, web pages and news publications is based on information accurate at the time of writing. Note that policies and criteria can change regularly throughout the UK mortgage lending market, and it remains essential to contact the consultation team to receive up to date guidance. The information included on the Revolution Brokers site is not bespoke to any circumstances or individual application scenarios and therefore is not intended to be used as financial advice. The content we share is designed to be informative and helpful but cannot be relied upon to provide individual advice relevant to your mortgage requirements. All Revolution team members are fully qualified, trained and experienced to provide mortgage advice of an independent nature. We collaborate with lenders and providers who are regulated, authorised and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Should you require specific mortgage borrowing types, some products such as buy to let mortgages may not be FCA regulated. The Revolution team can provide further information about regulated and unregulated lending as required. Please remember that a mortgage is a debt which is secured against your home or property. Your home can be at risk of repossession if you do not keep up with the repayments or encounter any other difficulties in managing your mortgage borrowing responsibly. This also applies to any remortgage or home loan secured against your property, including equity release products.

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