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Mortgages for Solicitors, Barristers & Lawyers

Discover expert insights into mortgage products for legal professionals, including lawyers, barristers and solicitors, from the independent team at Revolution Finance Brokers.

Almas Uddin
Almas Uddin

Founder and Mortgage Advisor

Almas Uddin2023-05-09
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Mortgages For Legal Professionals

Our comprehensive guide covers all the information you need to know about applying for a mortgage as a legal professional, from advice about selecting the most appropriate lenders, to presenting your income in the best light and adhering to affordability requirements.

We analyse mortgage prospects for trainee solicitors, explain how criteria vary for self-employed legal professionals, and discuss the advantages of working with a skilled, independent mortgage broker.

Mortgage Options for Legal Professionals

Most professionals within the legal sector have excellent job security and higher-than-average incomes, which can make finding a competitive mortgage product easier – although much depends on the applicant's seniority, their broader circumstances, and their current income.

It is also often possible to achieve more tailored mortgage terms and lower interest rates, through niche lenders or those specialising in legal sector applicants, rather than applying for a generic mortgage product through a high street lender.

There isn't a specific mortgage designed for solicitors, barristers or lawyers, nor is there one lender who will be the ideal fit for every applicant working in the sector. Still, some mortgage providers have excellent rates available to select applicants with a far lower default risk.

Any bank will potentially be keen to accept an applicant with a stable legal career, but the nature of your role, business or employment doesn't necessarily circumvent the standard lending criteria.

Banks are particularly bound by their policies, so even if an applicant has a very high future earning potential, they could be turned down if any aspect of their current circumstances doesn't align with their selected lender's policies.

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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.

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Benefits of Applying for a Mortgage as a Solicitor With a Specialist Lender

Niche lenders operate a little outside of the mainstream, and many do not deal directly with the public. These mortgage providers are also unlikely to list their services on a price comparison site and only consider applications received through their network of approved independent brokers.

As a borrower, there are multiple advantages:

  • Lower interest rates and reduced product and administration fees.
  • Less emphasis on the deposit value.
  • Options to borrow a higher Loan to Value against the property purchase price.
  • Flexibility to make overpayments, request payment holidays, or even implement a borrow-back feature where borrowers can increase their mortgage balance as required.

Of course, every product is different, and the exact terms of your mortgage will vary, but these possible inclusions demonstrate why niche lenders can be a more suitable solution than a high-street bank.

Mortgage specialists assess every application case-by-case and have the autonomy to make decisions about whether they will lend and the rates they will offer. Therefore, if you work as a lawyer, barrister or solicitor with a variable income, your prospects improve significantly with this level of flexibility.

Mortgage Affordability Assessments for Barristers, Solicitors and Lawyers

Lenders always run through an affordability assessment before they offer a mortgage in principle – this is a regulatory requirement and ensures the lender is confident the borrower will be able to afford the repayments and is unlikely to default.

Legal professionals, in general, have good incomes and don't often end up in repossession scenarios, but that doesn't preclude a lender from assessing their income nonetheless and verifying the average earnings and other debts each applicant has.

One of the complications for lawyers applying for a mortgage is that they don’t always have a fixed income, as you might expect with a permanent employment contract. For example, a legal professional may have:

  • Income based on self-employed business operations.
  • Complicated and highly variable earnings.
  • Multiple income streams from different aspects of their work.

Applying for a mortgage with a lender well-versed in the legal profession is advisable since they will appreciate why income is structured in a non-standard way and be accustomed to adjusting their affordability evaluations accordingly.

Standard mortgage assessments work on income multipliers, where the lender reviews your annual income, or average annual earnings, and multiplies that figure by between three and five times to arrive at the maximum they will lend.

Professional barristers or solicitors may earn significant amounts per case, spaced out across the year, and a mortgage lender focusing on this sector may assess affordability based on a higher multiplier and be happy to include all income streams in their assessment.

There are also attractive mortgage products new to the market with more generous income multipliers of as high as 6.49 times your annual income, which may be available to legal professionals who meet the lender’s other eligibility criteria.

Choosing the Right Mortgage Deal for a Legal Professional

As we've mentioned, there isn't a particular mortgage or lender designed explicitly for solicitors and lawyers, and your choice of mortgage will depend on your objectives.

You may wish to apply for a fixed-term deal over two to five years to ensure you have the assurance of a static repayment value, but other options, such as tracker mortgages, variable interest rates, or even interest-only mortgages, may be more suitable.

Interest-only mortgages tend to be used primarily in buy-to-let borrowing, but some lawyers prefer this product structure, freeing up their income for other investment opportunities or seeing their property as a capital investment.

Applying for a UK Mortgage as a Partner in a Law Firm

Partners may also find that standard mortgage products aren’t aligned with their expectations, and even though there isn’t any product designed solely for partners in legal firms, there are specialist lenders with experience in lending to this type of applicant.

Most lenders will assess your income as a partner based on a self-employed income and will usually ask for two years of accounts or returns to calculate an average yearly income.

There may, though, be niche lenders who are happy to lend to partners with one year of trading records, and others have greater flexibility to consider applicants who are partners in a newly incorporated or registered legal firm.

A particular advantage of working with a skilled broker is that we can recommend lenders who include every aspect of your earnings, including bonuses, dividends and royalties, when determining the upper ceiling they can lend. Mainstream lenders, in contrast, usually disregard variable pay, considerably reducing your potential borrowing.

Finding a Mortgage as a Legal Trainee

Trainees who are studying to become solicitors or working as junior barristers or lawyers may find the mortgage application process difficult because they may not have a contract of employment, the income history or the professional standing of a fully qualified applicant.

However, any career in the legal profession is typically considered stable and secure, so a broker can suggest lenders and mortgage products that meet your requirements while being suited to legal trainees.

Options will vary between individuals, but if you are approaching the end of your qualifications and have a position lined up, this can be beneficial, and mortgages such as family offset or guarantor products could be a solution over the short term.

Why Consult an Independent Broker to Secure a Mortgage as a Solicitor, Barrister or Lawyer?

Tailored mortgages are ideal, where the lender structures the terms and repayments to your circumstances – this type of bespoke mortgage isn't advertised because the lender liaises with your broker to negotiate and firm out a deal that all parties are satisfied with.

Revolution Finance Brokers is an established brokerage team with years of expertise supporting legal sector clients, and as a whole-of-market broker, we have access to a vast array of products and lenders, including specialist mortgage providers.

Our role is to take over the mortgage process from start to finish, consulting on your requirements and priorities and making independent suggestions to help you navigate the application smoothly and with minimal stress.

Please get in touch at your convenience to schedule a private discussion about your mortgage requirements, or send us a message to request a call back at a suitable time.

Almas Uddin
Almas Uddin

Founder and Mortgage Advisor

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FCA disclaimer

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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