The Complete Guide To Mortgages For Self-Employed Professionals

Potentially borrow up to six times income if you meet the eligibility criteria.

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Graham Cox - Founder & Cemap Mortgage Advisor |
Graham Cox
CeMAP Mortgage & CPSP Specialist Finance Advisor

The great news for professionals working in a self-employed capacity is that they are viewed by mortgage lenders as some of the 'safest bets' when it comes to offering loans.

This means it's possible to borrow up to six times your income when applying for a self-employed mortgage. Read on to find out more.

What are self-employed professional mortgages?

Dedicated self-employed mortgage products offered by some lenders that only professionals can qualify for.

The main attraction of these deals is they provide the ability to borrow more, using higher multiples of self-employed income for affordability.

Not only do professional applicants tend to take out larger mortgages, but their risk of defaulting on payments is lower as well.

As such, they can be very profitable home loans, which is why many mortgage lenderare more flexible in their criteria with these applicants.

How do professional mortgage products differ from standard product ranges?

The main difference between self-employed professional mortgage deals and standard product ranges is the flexibility over lending.

Some mortgage lenders only have products for professionals who've newly qualified within the last three to five years. The expectation is the applicant's income is only likely to increase as their career or business develops.

Other providers have mortgage deals avaiable for all professionals, regardless of whether they are newly qualified or not.

Which professions qualify?

Each mortgage lender has it's own list of acceptable professions for the purposes of qualifying for a professional product, but common vocations include:

  • Accountants
  • Architects
  • Barristers
  • Chartered Surveyors
  • Chiropodists
  • Commercial Pilots
  • Dentists
  • Financial Advisers
  • GP Partners (Equity or Fixed Share Partners in a GP practice)
  • Locum doctors
  • Mortgage Advisers
  • Optometrists
  • Solicitors
  • Vets

Professional self-employed mortgage applicants must be qualified and registered with their relevant UK professional body, and they must be practising in their qualifying profession at the point of application.

Non-qualifying mortgage applicants can usually still take out a standard mortgage product at a lower loan-to-income multiple of around 4.5 times income, subject to affordability assessment.

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How much can a self-employed professional borrow?

Professionals can borrow at between five and six times income with some self-employed mortgage lenders. In fact, it's currently possible to borrow at a 6.5 Loan-to-Income (LTI) multiplier with one s.

By comparison, applications from other self-employed people are generally restricted to a 4.5-5 Loan-to-Income multiplier.

How is professional income assessed?

How your professional income is assessed depends on whether you're a limited company director, LLP equity partner or contractor.

Here's more info on each of them...

Limited company directors

For limited company directors, self-employed income is calculated in one of three ways, depending on the lender used:

  1. Salary and dividends. Either an average of the last two years figures as per your tax calculations or the latest year
  2. Salary and net profit after corporation tax. Some lenders use the latest year's figures from business accounts produced by a qualified accountant. Others average the last two.
  3. Salary and pre-tax net profit. Nearly always an average of the last two year's numbers.

To use options 2 or 3, a minimum 50% company shareholding is often required.  For more information see our limited company directors mortgage guide.

Equity Partners in a LLP

Equity partners in a Limited Liability Partnership are assessed in one of two ways:

  1. Using the partner's share of net profit after tax, as evidenced by the LLP's finalised accounts.
  2. The partner's income as evidenced by their annual tax calculations/SA302s.

Our Mortgage Guide for LLP Partners has more information on how LLP member's income and affordability is assessed.


If you're a contractor, we have a number of self-employed mortgage guides including for limited company contractors and umbrella contractors.

Sole traders

Most lenders take the profit from self-employment figure as evidenced from your SA302/Tax Calculations and the corresponding Tax Year Overview documents. Usually for the last two years, though a few will use your latest year's figures.

What other factors affect how much I can borrow?

Your maximum borrowing amount is dependent on several factors including:

  • Your annual income
  • Your age
  • Deposit size
  • Whether you have any financial dependents (children or elderly relatives)
  • Debts:
  • Ongoing financial commitments
  • The mortgage term
  • The concessionary period. For example, a five-year fix can often allow greater borrowing than a two-year fix

As you can see, income is no longer the sole criteria for affordability.

Ongoing financial commitments

Nowadays, all providers have to take your personal circumstances into account, including committed expenditure for things like spousal support, child maintenance, tuition fees and so on.

As you might expect, debts such as credit card balances (unless they're cleared monthly), unsecured loans, overdrafts, or personal car finance are also looked at closely.

The size of the debts, the monthly payments to service them, and the duration of the loan will all affect how much you can borrow.

Joint mortgage applications where only one applicant is a professional

For a joint application, most lenders apply the 'standard' income multiple of 4-4.5 x income to an employed or non-professional self-employed applicant.

Here's an example...

Jenny is a self-employed solicitor with a 50% equity share in a Limited Liability partnership (LLP). Her share of post-tax profit is £87000 in the latest year which some lenders will base their calculations off.

Her civil partner Kerry is employed full-time in a local government senior finance role, earning £62000 p.a.

The lender for the mortgage product sourced allows 5.5 x income for a self-employed professional, and 4.5 x income for other roles. Note that whilst Kerry works in finance, her role does not meet the lender's specific definition to qualify as a 'professional'.

The maximum borrowing amount, subject to affordility assessment, is calculated like so:

  • 5.5 x £87000 = £487500
  • 4.5 x £62000 = £279000
  • Maximum borrowing = £766500

What are the eligibility criteria

Due to the higher borrowing available, mortgage providers require applicants to meet strict eligibility criteria.

You'll often need a minimum income of £30,000 to £50,000 and a good credit history.

Regardless of whether you have a limited company or Limited Liability Partnership, most lenders require two years or more trading history with HMRC submitted accounts or tax calculations. Note that lenders don''t accept tax returns.

The bank or building society may also specify a maximum age at mortgage application. Typically borrower's must be no older than 35 or 40 years old.

What documents do I need to provide?

The documents required by a self-employed person to support a mortgage application varies between lenders. The business structure is also key.

But all self-employed applicants are required to provide their last three months personal and business bank statements to verify income and expenditure.

Your mortgage broker will also need to see your credit report so that he can place you with the most appropriate lender.

Our handy self-employed document checklist has more details.

Mortgage advice for self-employed professionals

Getting a self-employed mortgage doesn't need to be difficult. Our mission at SEMH is to help self-employed borrowers buy their home or investment property as quickly and smoothly as possible.

And with the most suitable pound-for-pound mortgage deal for their circumstances and credit rating.

As an independent, whole-of-market mortgage broker, we serve entrepreneurs, company directors, LLP partners and contractors nationwide. Sourcing the best mortgage rates and products for their individual circumtances.

To get expert self-employed mortgage advice, just get in touch and tell us what you're looking to do.

Our simple quiz takes about 2 minutes to complete and you'll also be able to schedule a free 15 minute consultation to discuss your case in more detail with a mortgage adviser.

Of if you prefer, call us on 0117 205 0655 during our office hours of 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. There's no call center or queueing. You'll speak to an adviser direct.

We look forward to finding you a great mortgage deal.

Graham Cox - MLIBF CeMAP Mortgage Adviser & Director of Hub FS Ltd

About the author

Graham Cox is the founder of Self Employed Mortgage Hub, the trading name of Hub FS Limited.

Based just north of Bristol, SEMH is an independent, whole of market broker and a true specialist in self employed mortgages, helping business owners across the UK get great mortgage and protection deals.

Graham's market commentary and analyis is regularly quoted in the national press and media, including The Guardian, Telegraph, FT Adviser, and BBC Radio Bristol.