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Robbie and Jane get help with their investment from the Ipswich

Robbie and Jane get help with their self-employed mortgage from the Ipswich

Older, self-employed borrowers can find it hard to get the mortgage they want, but we're always happy to consider them.

Robbie and Jane Bilton, aged 70 and 65 respectively, wanted to raise £130,000 on their existing home to put towards the purchase of a buy-to-let investment property. They were looking for an interest-only mortgage for around five years.

Both Robbie and Jane are still working, and both are self-employed. Robbie is a construction project manager, while Jane is a psychotherapist. They have no private pension set up for when they retire, just their state pension entitlement.

Most lenders prefer borrowers to have some private income if the mortgage will run into their retirement. So to help them find the right lender, the Biltons enlisted the help of their financial advisor, who reviewed the market and suggested approaching the Ipswich.

Unlike other lenders, who would have dismissed the Biltons outright, we were prepared to listen to their case. At one stage, our underwriter was inclined to turn them down on the grounds of Robbie's age, but following further discussion within the underwriting team, we were able to offer them the mortgage they were looking for.

'We had to submit a lot of information in support of our application, but that's fairly normal,' says Robbie. 'Obviously, we were anxious when it looked as though we might be turned down, but once Hayley and Michelle [Stevens, Head of Mortgage Sales] got involved, things improved dramatically. They were absolutely superb, and really bent over backwards to resolve a situation that, obviously, was of great concern to us.'

Because we review each application individually, we can take a sensible view of applicants' finances, and look beyond rules of thumb such as age and income. In the Biltons' case, the mortgage amount was far outweighed by the value of their existing property – an important factor that reduced the risk of lending to them significantly.

'When making lending decisions, we always need to balance the needs of both the borrower and the Society,' says Michelle Stevens. 'We didn't want to rush a decision, and decided to consider all the implications before we responded. In the end, we were delighted that we could support the Biltons with their investment purchase.'

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.