The sensible thing to do is to see a Mortgage Adviser first to go through your finances and work-out how much you can (or would like to) borrow and ensure you can afford the monthly repayments. You should do this at least three months before you start looking because if there is anything that can be done to improve your chances of getting a mortgage it can be discussed at this stage. When you start your property search, your Estate Agent can contact your Adviser to confirm that you are fine to proceed. This can be done instead of obtaining a mortgage approval. Why? An approval is not worth much because the lender isn't usually confirmed at this early stage. In order to obtain an approval, a lender may leave a hard footprint on your credit file which will have a negative impact and can affect your ability to get a mortgage in the future. If the Estate Agent will not accept confirmation from your Mortgage Advisor then you should either walk away or ask your Adviser to produce an approval from a lender that will not leave a hard footprint. It's a worthless exercise but will no doubt keep the Estate Agent happy. 

Answered by the MOXI Community: Jane King, Mortgage Advisor at Ash-Ridge Private Fianance

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