23 February 2018

Case Study: Self-employed doctor

Please note: The details in this case study are real, but the borrower’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

When Ann Smithson decided to buy a house in Cambridge, she knew she had set herself a tough challenge. The issues she had to overcome weren’t simply to do with the availability and price of properties in this sought after city, but were also to do with obtaining a mortgage.

Ann explains: “I’m a GP and work for a couple of local surgeries, where I have two separate fixed term contracts. I also do locum work, out-of-hours work and work in A&E at the local hospital. My income can therefore best be described as ‘complex’!

“At the time I wanted to apply for a mortgage, I had decided to change how I split my time between surgeries and I was concerned this would complicate matters when it came to assessing my income for a mortgage. Also, as a single mum, I thought that being reliant on a sole income would damage my mortgage prospects. I therefore knew that getting a mortgage was not going to be easy.

“I had found the perfect house in Cambridge: it was a two bed terrace with great potential. The house was structurally sound and while it did need a lot of work, it was all cosmetic changes that would let me put my stamp on it. I had agreed a purchase price of £351,000 and needed to borrow £298,000, this gave me a loan to value (LTV) of 85%.

a row of terraced houses

“Despite an initially positive response from a local mortgage broker, I soon found that the complexity of my financial circumstances was going to be a real problem with mortgage lenders. It felt like lenders wouldn’t take the time to understand the more complex nature of my income. After approaching a second mortgage broker but running up against the same issues, I was all but ready to give up on my dream house and accept that I would just have to continue renting.

“Luckily I heard about Saffron Building Society, a lender with specialist advisers and underwriters who are experienced dealing with all sorts of complex incomes. On phoning Saffron Building Society I was put in touch with one of their expert mortgage advisers who took the time to fully understand my circumstances and explain that they have a whole range of products specifically designed for contract workers.

“Saffron Building Society was able to provide a decision in principle and book me in for a detailed fact-find conversation over the phone. I was provided with an illustration of the mortgage that had been recommended and the adviser took the time to comprehensively explain why they had recommended this mortgage. The whole process was very straightforward and I received regular updates as to how my application was proceeding. Saffron Building Society took the stress out of arranging the mortgage so I was able to focus on getting ready to move into my new home.

Ann Concluded: “I highly recommend Saffron Building Society. From start to finish their professional and friendly service showed I was in good hands. Saffron Building Society took the time to understand my unique circumstances and unconventional income structure. If your income, like mine, is complex; don’t be put off, Saffron Building Society are willing and able to help.”