Mortgages

How to apply for a mortgage if you’re self-employed in Ireland

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Here we provide tips on how to apply for a mortgage when you’re self-employed and outline the extra documents required for your application.

Securing a mortgage in Ireland is already tough enough as it is, and if you’re self-employed in Ireland it may even seem impossible.  

However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the mortgage application process for PAYE employees and the self-employed is extremely similar.  

The only difference for self-employed mortgage applicants is that you will need to provide your mortgage broker or lender with extra financial information in relation to your business and income. 

What qualifies as self-employed?

In the eyes of mortgage lenders and brokers, you are classified as being self-employed if you are:

  • Self-employed i.e. freelance 
  • A sole trader i.e. set up a business on your own
  • A Director of a Company
  • A Director of a Partnership

Unlike PAYE employees who have a contract with a stated income, self-employed people’s income is directly related to the performance of their business or freelance work. 

How many years do you need to be self-employed before applying for a mortgage? 

This varies depending on the lender, but the majority of lenders will request 3 years' worth of accounts from you in order to consider your mortgage application. 

However, some will only request 2 years. 

If you have just returned from abroad, and are looking to establish your business in Ireland too, you will need to wait an extra year before applying for a mortgage. 

This is so that you can prove to lenders that you are able to turn over the same amount of income in Ireland, as you were able to abroad. 

To learn more about applying for a mortgage as a recently returned Irish expat check out this guide. 

Is it more difficult to get a mortgage if you’re self-employed? 

Technically, it can be harder to secure a mortgage if you are self-employed. This is because mortgage lenders deem you a bigger financial risk in comparison to a standard applicant. 

As a sole trader or a freelancer, you are more susceptible to a loss of income because:

  • Your business could go bust
  • You could fall sick and be unable to work
  • There could be a downturn in the market
  • You cannot secure regularly work

If any of these situations were to occur, your lender is at risk of losing money as you may no longer be able to keep up with your mortgage repayments. 

How to assure a lender that you can repay your mortgage

Thankfully, there are many things you can do to show mortgage lenders or brokers that providing you with a loan is a viable option. You can:

Invest in income protection:

If you were to fall ill or become injured and can not work, you will receive monthly payouts from this type of life insurance policy until you can return to work again. 

Taking out this policy shows lenders that you will have the money to make your monthly mortgage repayments if you become ill. 

Save a larger deposit:

Although first-time buyers are only required to have a 10% deposit saved, and second-time buyers 20%, as a self-employed applicant the more money you have saved for your deposit the better.

This is because you will pose less of a risk to lenders and you won’t have to borrow as much money from them. 

Plus, it indicates that you have good financial habits as you were able to save a large amount of money. 

Pay off any loans:

Having outstanding loans or debts shows lenders that you are not able to manage your finances properly. As a result, you may be refused a mortgage or the amount of money you can borrow will be reduced. 

Therefore, it is wise to clear or lower any personal loans or credit card balances you have under your name before you apply for a mortgage. 

Get an accountant:

Whether you act as an accountant for your own business or not, hiring a certified accountant to help you get your accounts and documents in order for your application is recommended. 

Your accounts will need to have undergone an audit, be up-to-date, and be organised so that lenders can easily understand your financial situation. 

Some lenders may also request a letter from your accountant to:

  • Certify your accounts
  • Confirm that your business is tax compliant
  • Confirm that your business is profitable now and will continue to be once you get your mortgage

Prepare your documents in advance

Applying for a mortgage can be an overwhelming process, to say the least. That is why it is essential that you have all your documents prepared and organised when you are submitting your application. This will also ensure your mortgage process won’t be delayed because you are waiting to receive documents from your bank, for example. 

As a self-employed applicant, you will have to submit extra information and documents that standard applicants aren’t asked for.

You can discover what documents all applicants need to apply for a mortgage here in this guide. 

What extra documents do you need to supply a lender with?

As we previously mentioned, if you are a self-employed mortgage applicant you will be required to submit extra documentation to prove to lenders that you have a steady stream of income and will be able to make regular mortgage repayments. 

These documents include:

Your certified/ audited financial accounts:
Depending on the lender or bank that you are applying to, you will be required to submit 2 to 3 years' worth of accounts. These accounts will need to be certified by an accountant to show they are in working order. 

For example, AIB requires 3 years' worth of audited accounts for mortgage applicants, but only 2 years' worth of accounts if you are looking to switch your mortgage to its bank. 

If you had a bad year trading and are worried it will affect your application or the amount of money you will be lent, then you can submit accounts from additional years. 

This will confirm to your lender that the poor performance your business recently experienced does not usually happen.  

Bank statements: 

You will need to provide a minimum 6 months' worth of bank statements from your

  • Personal account
  • Business account

If you have bank accounts in other countries, you will need to provide statements from these too. 

Top tip: Keep your personal and business accounts separate. This will ensure that when you make a purchase, lenders can distinguish between a business purchase and a personal transaction. 

This will help them gather a more accurate picture of your spending and saving habits.


Revenue documents:

You will have to show a lender how much tax you or your business pays. This is why you are required to submit:

  • 2 or 3 years of Revenue Notices of Assessment
  • Your Tax Clearance confirmation

Other business documents:

Include:

  • A summary of your business 
  • Copies of any contracts your business might have
  • Your projected income for the upcoming year 

These documents will show your lender how busy you are, whether you have regular clients or not, and how consistent your work is. This information will provide the lender with insight into what size mortgage you can afford. 

Find the best rate mortgage rates on bonkers.ie

Once you have all your documentation in order and your deposit saved, head over to our free mortgage comparison tool to compare the different mortgage rates available from Ireland’s main lenders

You can also apply for mortgage protection and home insurance on our site, both of which will be needed to draw down your mortgage. 

As well as this, our range of comparison services will help you save money across energy, broadband, banking, and other insurance products

Get more information about applying for a mortgage

If you found this guide informative, why not check out our other guides on the mortgage process? 

You can stay up to date on all the latest mortgage news and tips with our blogs and guide pages. 

Need any help?

If you have any more questions about applying for a mortgage when you’re self-employed, send us a message today. You can contact our team on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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