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What to do 6 months before buying a house

Anya GairAnya Gair
Last Updated 19 March 2024

The 6-month countdown is on! You’ve likely saved up all you want for a house deposit, or are almost there. You’re scrolling through Rightmove every chance you get. And after years of dreaming about it, owning your first home is actually within reach!

At this point, you probably just want to move in already (!!!) but before that happens, there are a few things you need to do before applying for your first mortgage and buying your first house. As with all things, a lil’ preparation goes a long way, so here are some things you can do to get you ready.

Checklist before you buy a house and apply for a mortgage:

1. Organise your paperwork in advance

When applying for a mortgage, you’ll need to prove that you’re going to be able to pay the money back. That’s why the lender will ask to see proof of your income and outgoings.

You’re going to need:

  • A form of photo ID that’s not expired and is up to date with any changes to your name or address.
  • 3-6 months of your most recent bank statements.
  • 3 months of payslips if you’re employed.
  • 2-3 years of tax returns and business accounts if you’re self-employed.

Read more: Guide to mortgages for the self-employed

2. Check your credit score

A good credit score can increase your chances of getting accepted for a mortgage because it shows that you have a good track record when it comes to paying things back on time. Ideally, you’ll have checked your credit score before this point, but if you haven’t now’s a good time to pay your score a visit. 

If your score isn’t as high as you’d like, it’s a good idea to do what you can to improve your score before applying for a mortgage. The easiest place to start is to check your credit score and see if there are any quick wins - like repaying outstanding loans.

If you’re currently renting, sign up to Credit Ladder to report your monthly rent payments to boost your credit score. You can also use apps on your phone like CredAbility to improve your score. It’s free to use, provides updates on your credit report and allows you to set credit score goals to help you improve.

Other quick wins to boost your score, are making sure you have some credit - say a small amount on a credit card and ensuring it is paid on time every month. This shows lenders you can manage debt. 


Important ⚠️

Forgetting to pay or maxing out your credit card limit will lower your score. You can set up direct debits with most providers to ensure you never miss your minimum payment.

Check your score with CheckMyFile

CheckMyFile will show your credit history from the major credit agencies. So it's easy for you to spot any issues which could be affecting your credit score.

Get your report

3. Cut back on spending

As we know, the mortgage lender will ask to see 3-6 worth of bank statements. This is to ensure you can afford a mortgage, so it’s a good idea to keep your spending in check in the months leading up to buying your first home and applying for a mortgage. 

Here’s some tips on how to keep your statements looking squeaky clean:

  • Try to avoid making any big purchases (like a new car, or a 2 week trip to Vegas).
  • Avoid buying one-off items regularly (like a pair of gym socks today, then a new suitcase tomorrow, then a new candle the next — you get the idea). It’s better to buy more things in one go, because then there will be less outgoings on your statements.
  • If you can, buy stuff like bedding, cosmetics or birthday gifts with your weekly grocery shop.
  • If you’ve got a birthday/occasion coming up, ask for gift vouchers to your favourite restaurants or bars. You can go all-out, without it showing on your statements.

4. Reduce your red flags

Even if you’re not overspending, there are a few things that can be red flags for mortgage providers. For example, if a lender sees any gambling transactions on your statements (e.g. Betfred, or Paddy Power) you are seen as more of a risk, which could impact the success of your mortgage application. The same goes for buy-now-pay-later transactions like Klarna.

Mortgage lenders have also been known to reject or take longer to process applications if you use PayPal too often. Why? Because there’s no clear reference of where your money’s going (and lenders want to know that stuff).

5. Assemble your dream team

Picture this. It’s 6 months from now — you want to put an offer in on this perfect 2-bedroom semi-detached house with a south-facing garden and time 👏  is of 👏  the essence 👏. But you haven’t got the foggiest of how to even start finding the right mortgage lender or deal for you. To avoid all that mess, find your dream team in advance to make your journey to getting your keys as smooth as possible:

  • A mortgage advisor
  • A solicitor/conveyancer
  • A building surveyor (if you want to do extra checks on the home you might buy)
  • A removals team

At Tembo, you'll get your own dedicated mortgage team to walk you through all the steps - from your first call to getting your keys. We can also recommend other professionals you need like conveyancers, to make your journey to homeownership as smooth as possibe

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Voted the UK’s Best Mortgage Broker for two years’ running by our customers, Tembo specialises in helping homebuyers and remortgagers how they could maximise their affordability. See what options are available to you by creating your own personalised mortgage recommendation today. It’s free and only takes 10 minutes.

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