9th March 2023

Top Criteria Brain searches revealed!

Criteria searches among mortgage advisers for the last quarter continue to indicate the impact that the cost of living crisis is having on UK households. As a mortgage adviser, you’ll already know the increased challenges your clients are facing with high rates and inflation.  

Now more than ever, borrowers are looking at ways they can keep their monthly payments as low as possible by extending their mortgage term, or paying just interest only. Read on to find out what the top 5 Criteria Brain searches for the last 3 months and the likely reasons behind them.

Lending into retirement

No change at the top. Age Limits: Maximum Age at End of Mortgage Term and Age Limits: Maximum Age at Term End Without Pension Proof (Maximum retirement age) are still the two most popular criteria searches over the last three months.

Why is that? Our population is living longer. There were 11 million people over the age of 65 in the UK last year. That’s 19% of the total population. That total is expected to rise to 13 million in ten years’ time[1].

The later-life lending sector was worth up to £153.9 billion in 2022[2]. It looks set for more rapid growth this year fuelled by the rising cost of living, longer-term mortgages, and buoyant house prices. Lenders are looking to provide suitable products for those borrowing into retirement as it becomes more acceptable and commonplace.

Read more on these criteria in our previous blog.

Foreign nationals

At number three is Foreign Nationals without indefinite leave to remain. Those who have only been in the country a short time, maybe on a T2, Skilled Worker, or Family visa. They have yet to receive indefinite leave to remain but can still apply for a mortgage.

Applicants will need:

  • Proof of ID and residency
  • Proof of name and address
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of expenditure


Lenders will have restrictions based on the length of time they have been resident in the UK, the size of their deposit, and the applicant’s type of employment.

Ukrainians fleeing the war have two visa options available to make it easier to live, work, study, and claim benefits in the UK.

  • The Ukraine Family scheme – allowing Ukrainians to join family members already in the UK.
  • Ukraine sponsorship scheme – allowing Ukrainians to come to the UK if they have a sponsor providing accommodation for at least six months, up to a maximum of three years.


These schemes can be extended. The government recently said it had issued 65,900 Ukraine Family Scheme visas and 152,600 for the sponsorship scheme[3]. A quick search on Criteria Brain shows 20 lenders accepting this criteria.

Abstract colour image representing criteria data

It’s estimated that 1.4 million households are due to renew their mortgage deals in 2023. How many of those will switch to an interest-only mortgage to avoid a huge rise in monthly payments?


The economic climate means Interest only: sale of mortgaged property has stayed in our top five residential criteria. Last time we focused on the older generation going into retirement, but switching to an interest-only mortgage can also ease the pressure for those struggling to meet repayments due to higher interest rates.

It’s estimated that 1.4 million households are due to renew their mortgage deals in 2023[4]. How many of those will switch to an interest-only mortgage to avoid a huge rise in monthly payments? Is this what we’re seeing the start of now?

Tread carefully

Every penny counts right now. Your clients will want to preserve their credit score. Hence a preference for a soft footprint on credit search and an appearance in our top five most searched criteria this quarter.

A hard credit check is recorded on a customer’s report and shows how many times they have applied for credit, affecting their credit score. This reduces their ability to get approved for future credit. A soft search is not visible on the report but gives lenders basic information for their decision making. Customers are now more money savvy, and they have many ways to keep a check on their credit score.

Simplify your sourcing

All of these criteria show that the days of the vanilla mortgage are long gone. Your cases now need more of your time but with only the same number of hours in the day. Technology can significantly increase your efficiency.

Cases with criteria like these may seem time-consuming, but with Criteria Brain you can instantly see which lenders are willing to lend together with any other requirements and warnings. You could even search all of the above criteria in one go! Criteria Brain searches up to six in one go. Why not try it right now with a 30-day free trial?

We are here to help you.
If you have any questions contact us