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5 top tips for approaching complex cases

5 top tips for approaching complex cases

As a broker, arranging mortgages for self-employed clients can sometimes be problematic. A common cause for this could be that their historic, current and future income does not follow a consistent pattern. This could be for a number of reasons: they could be sole traders, expats or contractors, for example, or they’re earning more one minute and not so much the next.

Although cases like this may be difficult to place, but if you get the planning and presentation right, you can ensure an easier process for you and your clients.

We regularly deal with such complexities, and have created a set of quick tips to make placing problematic self-employed cases as simple and easy as possible.

1. Be empathetic to your clients’ situation

Gaining a clear understanding of your clients and their specific needs upfront is going to make or break your ability to communicate them efficiently to a lender. Go to lengths to really understand the specific needs of this audience; the more clearly the lender understands the case, the more likely they are to lend.

It sounds straightforward but this is a key area where so many applications fall down, so it’s always worth finding out all you can before you start.

2. Identify the most appropriate partners

Some mainstream lenders may not be that experienced when dealing with such complex cases. So it’s important to find providers who specialise in this ‘exceptional’ area and might have offered mortgages like this before. This should give you a greater chance of a first time placement.

Also look out for lenders with high service standards, who care enough about clients to talk through the accounts with you over the phone – rather than always communicating by email.

3. Get close to providers

Maintaining excellent, ongoing relationships with providers can only benefit you as a broker. Be transparent and upfront about more complex income cases, send the right information quickly and keep in touch regularly.

If a case is really complicated, you could always equip your BDM with a concise case study synopsis and ask them to present it internally to the underwriter on your behalf.

4. Stay aware of the latest criteria changes

It’s not just getting to know the lender that’s most critical, but knowing each of their lending criteria for self-employed cases, too. Different providers will require different periods of accounts, for example, while others will be happy to use projections. Knowing the difference will save time and effort.

Also, criteria are likely to change so keep up-to-date, and keep it in writing whenever possible. This will give you a commercial specialism and a professional advantage over other brokers.

5. Consult application checklists

Ensure your forms are fully completed and aligned with the lending criteria to avoid ‘redos’. Always supply the critical details of the case you’re submitting, and always provide all supporting documents with the application. Not doing so can often delay the ability to make a decision.

You can also check our application checklist, which which you can download here.

With a little help from our hard-to-place know-how, you can better manage your clients’ expectations and provide the solutions they are looking for. Follow these steps and you could be on course to win your next client.

We wish you luck on the path to becoming an exemplar broker.

For any further help, please don’t hesitate to call our Broker Liaison Team on 01634 835791 or email us at

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