Guarantor Mortgages Explained

illustration of Guarantor Mortgages Explained

If you’re struggling to get on the housing ladder, a guarantor mortgage can be a good option. If you can’t save for a deposit, have a bad credit history or low income, getting a guarantor mortgage can also be a great way to get the keys to your new home. 

When deciding whether to give you a mortgage, lenders look at how much of a risk they’ll be taking. If you have a guarantor, that risk then becomes smaller. The risk will mainly fall on your guarantor, as they’ll be agreeing to pay your mortgage if you can’t.

If you’re finding it hard to get a mortgage, but have someone willing to be your guarantor, you could find some good mortgage deals. It’s a big commitment though, so there’s a few things to consider. 

What is a guarantor mortgage?

A guarantor mortgage is where someone else agrees to pay for your mortgage if you can’t.

You might need a guarantor mortgage if you’re on low income, have a bad credit history, or can’t save a lot of money for a deposit

Having a guarantor means that you’re more likely to be accepted for a mortgage. You could even borrow more than you would on your own, or unlock the lower interest rates.

It’s not a joint mortgage - your guarantor won’t own any portion of your home, they’re just agreeing to pay if you can’t. Their name will be on the legal documents but they won’t have any stake in the property. 

A mortgage lender will need to secure your mortgage against your guarantor’s home or their savings. This means they can repossess your guarantor’s home if your mortgage doesn’t get paid. Because of this risk, it’s a good idea to get advice from a mortgage broker before applying for a guarantor mortgage. 

Who can be a guarantor?

You can ask pretty much anyone to be your guarantor! As long as they’re over the age of 21 and have a decent credit rating. You could ask a parent, family member or friend. You could even ask your spouse - as long as you both have separate bank accounts. However, the majority of lenders will want your guarantor to be a relative. Whoever you ask, they should be someone you trust to cover your mortgage payments if needed.

Your guarantor will need to be financially stable. A lender will usually carry out a credit check on them before accepting them as your guarantor. The better their credit history, the more credible they’ll look to a lender. But there’s no minimum score required for someone to be your guarantor - they’ll just need to pass to the affordability checks. 

Lenders will also want your guarantor’s home to have some level of equity. Equity is the difference between what you owe on your mortgage and what your home is worth. 

If your guarantor isn’t a homeowner, some lenders will consider securing your mortgage against their savings. In this case, your guarantor would need to keep their savings in the bank. They wouldn’t be able to withdraw any of the money until a certain amount of your mortgage has been repaid. 

Does being a guarantor affect your credit rating?

As long as everyone keeps up with the mortgage repayments, your guarantor’s credit score won’t be affected. But if the mortgage isn’t paid and falls into default, this will then be marked on both credit reports.

If your guarantor is looking to take out a mortgage in the future, the fact that they’re committed to pay your mortgage will be taken into consideration on their application. This can affect how well they do in the lender’s affordability checks, and means they could borrow less. In this instance, it’s best to talk to a specialist mortgage broker who can explain all your options and find the best mortgage for you.

It’s a good idea to check your credit score regularly. You can spot any errors and see which areas need improvement. We recommend using checkmyfile. It’s free for 30 days and gives you a full picture of your finances. 

Read more in our Guide: checkmyfile Explained.

Can I borrow more with a guarantor mortgage? 

It’s possible, but it will depend on a few things. Different lenders have different lending criteria. How much deposit you can put down will also affect how much you can borrow. But usually if you have a guarantor you won’t need to put down as much upfront as you would without a guarantor. 

If you have a low income but have your heart set on a particular property, a guarantor mortgage could allow you to borrow slightly more than you could on your own. A lender will take your guarantor’s income into account as well as your own, which is good for potentially increasing the amount you can borrow. 

Can I get a guarantor mortgage if I have bad credit?

Yes, it’s definitely possible to get a guarantor mortgage if you have bad credit! In fact, a lot of people who choose the guarantor route do so because they have a poor credit rating. But it’s important to remember that you can get a mortgage without a guarantor, even without a guarantor. You just need to find the right lender. 

Read more in our Guide: Can I Get a Mortgage With Bad Credit?

If both you and your guarantor have bad credit, you might find it more difficult to get a mortgage. However, if you apply to a specialist lender they’ll look at your individual circumstances when assessing your application. Lenders will want to know what caused the bad credit, how long ago it was, and how much money was involved. If you and your guarantor have been working to improve your credit since your credit issues happened then lenders will look more favorably on your application.

If your situation isn’t straightforward, it’s always a good idea to speak to a specialist mortgage advisor before submitting any applications. Mortgage brokers live and breathe the mortgage market - they’ve seen it all and aren’t judgemental. If you’re looking for a guarantor mortgage but have bad credit, make an enquiry to speak to one of our friendly advisors.

Can I get a guarantor mortgage with no deposit?

A big plus point of guarantor mortgages is that you might only need a small deposit, or may not need a deposit at all. If you pass the affordability checks, you could get a 100% loan to value (LTV) mortgage with a guarantor.

This can be a great option if you’re a first time buyer and can’t save for a deposit, but you probably won’t get the best mortgage rates. Usually, mortgages with the best interest rates are offered to people with bigger deposits, such as 20% and above. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a good deal though, you’ll probably just need to work with a specialist mortgage broker. Make an enquiry.

Can I remove a guarantor from my mortgage?

When you ask someone to be your guarantor, they’re agreeing to a long-term financial commitment. Your guarantor will stay on your mortgage unless you remortgage or change mortgages. For this reason you’ll need to make sure both you and your guarantor are happy to enter into the agreement.

You can remortgage when you’ve built up enough equity in your home. If at that point you’re confident you could afford a mortgage without them, you can release the guarantor when you change mortgages. Make sure you check the original terms of your mortgage, as some lenders will have different requirements. Some may not allow you to remortgage without your existing guarantor. 

Help for guarantor mortgages

If you’re thinking about getting a guarantor mortgage, it’s a really good idea to work with a specialist mortgage broker. A qualified mortgage advisor will have access to the lenders who’ll look at your application and consider your unique circumstances. They’ll help you through the entire journey, from application right through to completion. Brokers know the market, and will make your application look as appealing as possible to lenders. Get started.

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