Getting a mortgage as a freelancer

When I first started writing for money, I had big dreams. I figured if I could earn Ksh 300,000 a month, I could easily get a mortgage. I’d pay Ksh 100,000 a month and own my dream house in under 10 years. It seemed really viable. But everyone I told about my plans either raised an eye-brow or pulled a face-palm. One guy actually laughed out loud – and no, I’m not referring to text abbreviations.

I didn’t know why people reacted that way until I walked into a bank and read a mortgage leaflet. They have an awful lot of requirements, and they’re tailored more to salaried workers. I figured it’s easier to save up ten million and buy the house in cash. But by the time I save ten million, my house will cost much more than that.

I was talking to a business mentor, and he gave me a three-step plan on how to buy my dream house in five years. It might even work too.

  1. Identify the house you want to buy, and find out how much it costs. I found this awesome penthouse in my neighbourhood for 7.5 million. I’m sure it’s gone by now, but I’m setting the bar at 10, which seems okay.
  2. Find a bank that has good mortgage rates and open an account there. I have accounts in three different banks. One account is just for my credit card, and the other is a non-ATM junior account, so I guess I just have one option. Their rates are rather scary.
  3. Create a relationship with the bank. When he said that, I freaked out. I can’t imagine a bank manager taking me seriously while I’m in jeans and purple hair. But he explained that I need to be known by the databank, not the management. My records need to show that I’m a good loan prospect. For that to happen, I need to deposit money in the bank regularly. A client who puts in Ksh 20,000 every month is more reliable than one who banks a million once a year. The 20K guy is more likely to get credit, and therefore, a mortgage.

As a freelancer, you get some payments in cash, or cheque, or even Mpesa. Organize your finances so that you bank a set amount every month, on roughly the same date. To the bank, this is almost a salary, and will go a long way in deciding if they’ll give you a loan or not. Does this theory work? Ask me in five years…

Crystal Ading’ is a professional author, editor, rock lover and mother. Her work is available through

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  1. It seems that this could really work well 🙂

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