Self-cert borrowers 'should seek advice'

Self-employed people in Northern Ireland who want to take out a mortgage but have no proof of fixed income could benefit from a self-cert mortgage, but should always visit solicitors for advice before taking up a deal.

Mortgage advisory company Alexander Hall said that a self-cert mortgage is an "innovative" product for the self-employed but proper advice is vital before signing on the dotted line.

A self-cert mortgage requires only a declaration of earnings, rather than proof, and will help entrepreneurs in Belfast secure a mortgage on what would otherwise be an entirely impossible property to procure, considering the price of houses in the city.

Alexander Hall's chief operations manager, Andy Pratt, said that applicants should contact reputable firms for advice, ensure they have all their financial paperwork sorted out and shop around for the right deal.

"I would say before they go along and see the broker, they should really be prepared [and] have their paperwork in order. They should certainly take along a year's worth of bank statements, take along any contracts they have or any other letters from employers from a self employed perspective, and any other documentation that they think is relevant," he explained.

"If it's a basis on which they're paid then they need to provide evidence of what they've had in previous years, if that's relevant.

"Also, any documented factors that they think may have an impact on [whether their income] is going to increase. For example, somebody may have taken on a new contract and it may have a higher mandate rate even though their bank statements don't prove what they're claiming now. But obviously if you multiply them by the new mandate rate then it will increase.

"They should really get all that documented evidence together, because it really will help their case go through quickly."

He added: "I think self-cert has been one of the key innovations in the mortgage industry, which has adapted with the changing circumstances of people.

"Some people have multiple jobs, some people are working on commission, bonuses, that type of thing. Without true self-cert products, those people in those types of situations wouldn't have been able to qualify for a standard product."

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