ONE in six (16%) mortgage holders were previously refused a home loan, research by Which? Mortgage Advisers has found.

Younger people were most likely to have been rejected for a mortgage, with four in 10 (41%) of 18-24-year-old homeowners having experienced a mortgage rejection before buying their current home, compared with 15% for 35-44-year-olds and 8% for those aged 45-50.

So what does this mean? Which? Mortgage Advisers is warning that a mortgage rejection could lead to lengthy delays in the home buying process.

The survey found that, of those rejected for a mortgage, over half (54%) took more than three months to be accepted for another mortgage.

Being rejected by one lender can also make it harder to get accepted by another - so it's important when applying to be fairly confident of being accepted. David Blake, principal mortgage adviser, Which? Mortgage Advisers, says: "While a mortgage rejection isn't the end of the road when buying a home, it can clearly have a detrimental impact on the rest of your home-buying experience."

Here are Which? Mortgage Advisers' top tips when applying for a mortgage:

1. Mortgage applications can be rejected for a host of reasons, including poor credit score, property valuation and not being able to provide suitable documents. Find out exactly what information the lender requires when applying for a mortgage.

2. Don't apply for a mortgage that you can't afford. Generally speaking, someone with a good credit history may find they can borrow four to five times their annual salary, although this will depend on individual circumstances.

3. An independent mortgage adviser should be able to advise you on which lender you'd have the best chance of being approved for a loan with. The lender offering the cheapest rates won't always be right for you. A broker should be able to advise on the best lender and deal for your personal situation.