Securing a mortgage as a firefighter shouldn’t be difficult, but calculating overtime or income from a second job might pose challenges for some lenders.
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about firefighters mortgages, income calculations, and why speaking to a whole-of-market broker is the best way to find the ideal deal for you and your family.
Are there specific mortgages for firefighters?
While there may not be mortgage lenders exclusively for employees of the fire service, some lenders do offer more flexible terms for key workers, including those with unique pay structures. It’s important not to limit your options to these offers alone.
As a mortgage broker, we will help you find the best lenders for your unique pay structure, ensuring you have access to the most suitable mortgage deals for your specific situation. Whether you are a first-time buyer wanting to get on the property ladder or needing to remortgage to a new fixed rate our goal is to guide you through the entire market and secure the best mortgage deal tailored to your needs.
Are there specialist lenders for firefighters?
- Building societies: Local and regional building societies are known for their flexible lending criteria and willingness to accommodate public sector workers. Examples include Nationwide, Yorkshire Building Society, and Coventry Building Society.
- Banks: High-street lenders such as Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, and NatWest may offer competitive rates and special deals for public sector workers.
- Specialist lenders: Some lenders focus on specific professions or public sector workers, like the Teachers Building Society or Saffron Building Society.
- Mortgage brokers: Consider using a mortgage broker who specialises in public sector workers or has experience working with firefighter mortgages. They can help you navigate the market and find the best deals tailored to your needs.
Options for Fire and Rescue Workers
In addition, to specific lenders being more flexible with the keyworker pay structure and overtime, government schemes are available to help with home purchases. You will find schemes to help key workers as well as first-time buyers, and others who struggle to obtain a mortgage.
- Shared Ownership – Allows you to buy part of a property and rent the rest from a housing association. Eligibility varies but is generally open to firefighters.
- First Homes – New homes sold at a discount of between 30% – 50% to first-time buyers and key workers in England.
- Right to Buy – Exclusive to existing council or housing association tenants, this scheme enables you to purchase your home at a discounted price.
While some eligibility factors are unique to your position as an emergency services worker, you’ll also need to meet lenders’ standard eligibility criteria, such as:
- Deposit amount
- Loan-to-value ratio
- Credit history and good credit rating
- Property type
- Employment length
Lenders have varying criteria, so factors like bad credit or being close to retirement don’t necessarily disqualify you from getting a mortgage but will limit your borrowing options.
How Much Can Firefighters Borrow?
Most lenders use income multiples to determine maximum borrowing capacity. Typically, this is 4.5 times the combined income of all borrowers. However, some providers will lend at five or even six times a firefighter’s salary.
The average firefighter salary at the time of writing (May 2023) is around £33,652 per annum (according to Glassdoor). This equates to a income multiple borrowing capacity of:
- £33,652 x 4.5 = £151,434
- £33,652 x 5 = £168,260
- £33,652 x 5.5 = £185,086
Remember, if you have a working partner or receive benefits such as Universal Credit, this can increase the maximum amount you can borrow. Mortgages for six times income are typically reserved for those with above-average pay.
To see how this might work for you, use our online mortgage calculator or speak with a broker who can provide a personalised assessment of your borrowing power.
Calculating Income for Firefighters
As a firefighter, your income may include basic salary, overtime, and potentially income from a second job. Some lenders may only consider your basic salary when calculating your borrowing power, while others will include a percentage of your overtime or second-job income.
To maximise your borrowing potential, work with a broker who understands the nuances of your profession and can find a lender who will take into account all aspects of your income.
Overtime and Second Jobs
Firefighters often experience variable pay due to overtime or holding a second job. Lenders have different methods for calculating affordability based on these factors.
The typical mortgage lender averages overtime from the last three months, while others are more flexible and open to discussing the actual figure. Avoid lenders that won’t consider second job income.
For a second job, you’ll typically need to provide three months of payslips if on PAYE or two years’ accounts if self-employed.
Don’t worry if you lack two years of accounts. Specialist lenders may consider a self-employed mortgage with one year’s accounts or even less in certain situations.
Improving Your Chances of Securing a Mortgage
There are several steps you can take to improve your chances of securing a mortgage as a firefighter:
- Improve your credit score: Make sure you’re on the electoral roll, pay bills on time, and avoid maxing out credit cards. Check your credit report for any errors and dispute them if necessary.
- Save a larger deposit: The larger your deposit, the lower your loan-to-value ratio, which can improve your chances of getting a mortgage and secure better interest rates.
- Reduce existing debts: Lenders will factor in your outstanding debts when determining your affordability. Paying down credit cards or other loans can improve your chances of being approved for a mortgage.
- Work with a broker: A knowledgeable broker can guide you through the mortgage or remortgage application process, recommend suitable lenders, and help you avoid common pitfalls.
Using a mortgage broker for your firefighter mortgage
To help you find the best mortgage rate for your unique situation, get in touch with a specialist broker. They can assess your financial circumstances and help you navigate the mortgage market, making the process smoother and more efficient.
In summary, securing a mortgage as a firefighter requires careful consideration of your income and the available deals on the market. By working with an experienced mortgage broker, you’ll be well-positioned to find a mortgage tailored to your needs and financial situation.
Access to the best mortgage lenders
A knowledgeable mortgage broker, like YesCanDo Money, can be an essential ally when searching for a mortgage as a firefighter. We have a team of experienced mortgage advisors that are used working with firefighters and will be able to find the best lender for you that understands the distinctive pay structures and benefits associated with the fire service. This will put the odds in your favour to obtain the most suitable mortgage deals available to you.
A mortgage broker can:
- Identify the best mortgage deals: With access to the entire mortgage market, a broker can find the top mortgage deals that align with your needs and financial situation.
- Save you time and effort: A broker will manage the application process, communicate with the lender and submit all necessary paperwork, sparing you time and effort.
- Offer expert mortgage advice: A broker can provide customised advice based on your unique circumstances, helping you effortlessly navigate the mortgage process.
- Support with paperwork: A broker will assist you in collecting and submitting the required documents, ensuring your application is comprehensive and accurate.
In conclusion, if you are a firefighter seeking a mortgage, there are several benefits linked to your job that can be advantageous. By working with a mortgage broker who comprehends the exclusive aspects of your profession, you can secure the best possible interest rate. Take into account factors such as income multiples, overtime, and shift allowances, as well as government schemes and special mortgage programs for public sector workers, to maximise your mortgage options. With careful planning and expert guidance, you can accomplish your homeownership dreams as a dedicated firefighter.
Whether you are looking for a police mortgage, or you’re a firefighter, or in the NHS, we have years of experience getting the best mortgage for key workers.
Do firefighters get help buying a house?
Firefighters can receive indirect housing discounts through government schemes like Help to Buy or Shared Ownership, and special mortgage deals tailored for public sector workers. These deals, which may include higher income multiples, unique pay structure accommodations, reduced interest rates, or flexible lending criteria, make it easier for firefighters to secure a mortgage and facilitate homeownership, indirectly lowering costs.
Do other types of first responders get exclusive deals?
Other types of first responders, such as police officers, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians, may also receive exclusive deals on mortgages or have access to government schemes designed to help public sector workers. These deals typically cater to their unique employment situations and can provide more favourable mortgage terms or assistance in purchasing a home.