In this brief guide, we will discuss the Santander mortgage in principle process and what documents you may need when looking to get a Santander mortgage in principle.

What is a Santander mortgage in principle?

A Santander mortgage in principle or Santander decision in principle is essentially confirmation from Santander that they may be able to lend to you based on the information you have just provided to them. It will also provide the amount that Santander may be willing to lend to you.

A Santander mortgage in principle is good as it will allow real estate agents and property sellers to take you more seriously as well as give you the certainty that you may be able to get a mortgage in the near future based on your current mortgage affordability.

A Santander mortgage in principle will usually take from a few hours to a few days for you to receive once you have applied for one. The bad news is that a hard credit check is done and this means you may have some damage to your credit file in the scenario that Santander is not able to offer you a Santander mortgage in principle and you need to make another mortgage in principle offer from a different mortgage lender.

Most mortgage lenders now offer a mortgage in principle check with soft credit checks so you may be able to find other mortgage lenders who can lend to you.

If you are unsure on if you will qualify for a Santander mortgage in principle check then you should use the Santander mortgage affordability calculator first to try and get an indication. You may also want to speak to a whole of market mortgage broker who may have some experience on if Santander may be able to lend to you or offer you a decision in principle.

You will need to make an application to get a mortgage in principle. It is important you give truthful information as if you give inaccurate information and get a Santander mortgage in principle there is no guarantee that you will actually get a mortgage offer and it is even more likely if not certain that every fact on your mortgage fact find will be checked for accuracy before Santander provides you with a mortgage offer.

Getting a Santander mortgage in principle doesn’t guarantee that you will get a firm mortgage offer. In some cases Santander may reject you when you apply for a firm Santander mortgage offer as your circumstances may have changed during this time or maybe the property you end up deciding to buy is beyond the type of property Santander may be willing to offer or maybe you want a bigger mortgage and Santander simply cannot offer you that loan to value on their mortgage products.

There are many other reasons why a Santander mortgage in principle could be withdrawn or don’t necessarily serve as a complete guarantee that you will be able to get a Santander mortgage.

How long does a Santander mortgage in principle last?

A Santander Mortgage in principle will usually last for 60 days but you may be able to get an extension to this by requesting one from Santander. You may need an extension to your Santander mortgage in principle if you are buying an off-plan new build property which isn’t completed yet. In this cases, there are usually delays to when the property will finally be available and Santander will not want to provide you with a firm mortgage offer when your property isn’t ready to be valued as they simply can’t make a firm and final property valuation if the property isn’t complete.

What documents do you need for a mortgage in principle?

To get a Santander mortgage in principle you will need a variety of documents

This include:

Your ID documents (passport or driving license)

Three years of address history (utility bills)

Proof of your income and outgoings (Your bank statements)

Applying for a Santander mortgage in principle

When you apply for a Santander mortgage in principle, Santander will look mainly at the 5 below things.

The type of property you want to borrow for and how much you want to borrow

Your personal information such as your address history for the last 3 years, your full name  and your age

Can you afford the mortgage amount you need to buy your house based on your current income and monthly expenditure? This is known as your mortgage affordability.

Santander will also check your credit score to see if your score falls within their lending criteria, what credit commitments you have such as car finance or credit cards.

Santander will finally look at their lending criteria to ensure you fit within their lending criteria.

You can apply for your Santander mortgage in principle online or over the phone.

Government schemes for your Santander mortgage

If you are looking to get a Santander mortgage in principle then you should also consider the numerous government schemes for first-time buyers and home movers which may be able to help you get on the property ladder.

  • Lifetime ISA– gives you a government bonus of £1,000 if you save the maximum £4,000 a year.
  • Help to buy ISA– gives a maximum bonus us £3,000 if you save the maximum allowed of £12,000. Before you get either you should consider which is better. Lifetime ISA vs Help to buy ISA.
  • Help to buy equity loan- gives you up to 40% as a 5-year interest-free equity loan. You begin to pay interest at 1.75 % after the fifth year and 1% plus RPI for every year thereafter.
  • Shared ownership- You can buy between 25% to 75% of the property initially with a shared ownership mortgage and then buy more using a staircasing mortgage.
  • Armed forces help to buy- similar to the help to buy equity loan but specific for the armed forces personnel giving them an increased chance of acceptance.
  • Rent to buy- This is the right to buy scheme on which this guide is currently discussing. A different marketing name is just used. Watch out for this when shopping to avoid missing out on eligible properties due to confusion.
  • Right to buy- allows you to buy your home at a discount price.
  • Preserved right to buy- same as above.
  • Right to acquire- same as above.

Depending on where you live, you may also be able to take advantage of home buying schemes provided by your local council. Example: In Norwich, the local councils provide the Norwich home options scheme.

Using a mortgage broker

You may want to consider using an independent mortgage broker to get a Santander mortgage in principle.

Mortgage brokers are important as they can access mortgage products from across the whole of the market in some cases. This could be over 11,000 mortgage products. This may have some advantages than going directly to a mortgage lender.

A mortgage broker will look to understand your financial circumstances and then provide recommendations on which mortgage products may be suitable for you.

After giving you these mortgage recommendations, most mortgage brokers will seek your consent to apply for a mortgage in principle. This will allow you to shop for your home easier as more estate agents and sellers may take you seriously or it will give you confidence that your remortgage is indeed a possibility before you make a full mortgage application. Once you have found a home you want to buy or are satisfied with the mortgage offer for your remortgage then the mortgage broker will then look to get you a mortgage offer.

This will come with a key facts illustration document which details out the features of your mortgage including how much you will pay per month if there are any limits such as early repayment fees, or annual overpayment limits.

If you are happy with everything you can then go on to secure your  mortgage with the help of a conveyancer. Your conveyancer will manage the legal searches on the property to ensure there aren’t any issues with it, they will oversee the sales agreement to ensure it is in your best interest, they will manage the transfer of mortgage funds, exchange contracts with the seller or their conveyancer and set a completion date with the seller or their conveyancer.

In this brief guide, we discussed the Santander mortgage in principle. If you have any comments or questions please let us know.

John Bate

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.