Are interest only mortgages good or bad?

Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018

Interest-only mortgages are a bit like life. They’re not simply all bad or all good, they’re not clear-cut and they’re often right for some people, but not others.

However, from recent reports that suggest that the interest only mortgage is making its comeback, you could be forgiven for thinking that UK homeowners are about to revert to the pre-crash days and readopt the interest-only approach to home ownership.

In fact it wasn’t that long ago that interest only mortgages were commonplace.

It was only the financial crisis of 07/08 that provided what is now seen as a much-needed reset. Up until that point, people were applying for a mortgage on the strength of what they said they could afford as opposed to what they really could afford.

What made this palatable was that house price growth created a safety net as interest-only homeowners were banking on significant equity growth to pay down their mortgage when the time came. However, given the slowdown in property growth over recent years, this is less of a dead cert.

So what’s the difference this time, then?

Well, first of all a little context is needed. Data recently published by Moneyfacts, the financial analyst and comparison site, has revealed that 33 lenders now offer interest only mortgages – up from only 12 offering the product in summer 2013.

However, as stated by a Moneyfacts finance expert in a recent interview with industry title Mortgage Strategy, there were 73 lenders offering interest only mortgages back in June 2008, which reveals we have a long way to go before we reach those levels.

Furthermore, unlike days of old, to apply for an interest only mortgage today you have to have a low loan to value ratio – something that rarely got in the way of a deal pre-crash and certainly before the introduction of the Mortgage Market Review, which resulted in a severe tightening up of the mortgage market after it was put in place.

Yes, interest only mortgages seem to be gaining ground once again – however this type of interest only mortgage seems reserved for those who aren’t banking solely on property growth to pay for their mortgage decades down the line, as you will need to have a repayment strategy in place at the outset that is acceptable to the lender. Evidence also suggests that in addition to a large deposit, those looking to get an interest only mortgage will also need to earn a large salary.

Back to the original question, then: are interest only mortgages good or bad?

As a Guildford mortgage broker that has witnessed the ups and downs of the mortgage market both pre and post-crash, I’ll say that it completely depends on the individual’s circumstances. And for that reason, we would always advise that anyone thinking of applying for a mortgage – of any kind – appoints the best mortgage brokerage they can to help guide them through that process and provide that peace of mind.

If you’re considering applying for an interest only mortgage contact a member of the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Remember, we also specialise in buy to let mortgages, commercial mortgages, adverse credit mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages, too.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Is the robo-adviser redundant already?

Thursday, 28th June, 2018

At a time when there is continual debate around whether or not the human workforce will eventually be replaced by robots, I have to admit that I experienced a degree of pleasure this week upon reading an article that called into question the efficacy of robo-advisers.

The Financial Conduct Authority has issued a warning that robo-advisers could be misleading customers over fees and the nature of the advice offered – something that those applying for a mortgage should now be taking note of.

In a world where apps are standard fare, automation has become de rigueur and the perception that automation equates to better, this warning shot from the city’s watchdog pulls into focus the delicate – and often complex – nature of mortgage guidance.

It also raises the question of whether or not a service so nuanced and personal, such as that offered by experienced mortgage brokers, can simply be replaced by apps or web-based platforms.

As a Guildford mortgage broker we are all too aware that getting a mortgage is a big decision – and one that is underpinned by many variables, most of which cannot be expressed or picked up on through an automated process. A personal approach, such as that available via face-to-face meetings or even via a telephone call, enables the mortgage adviser to pick up on the small aspects that make up the bigger picture.

It also enables the adviser to ascertain the mortgage applicant’s own understanding of their obligations and commitments with respect to the nature and size of the mortgage they require. An automated platform is a standardised approach and one that doesn’t take into account swathes of people who, for example, may be more vulnerable when it comes to making big financial decisions and who, therefore, would benefit from a conversation with an expert.

I’m not anti-automation. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that there are many services and aspects of modern life that have improved since becoming automated. However, in my opinion, mortgage advice and mortgage brokerage services do not – and should not – fall within this category.

If you want to speak with actual people when it comes to getting a mortgage in the UK, contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. We specialise mortgages for the self-employed, mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages.


How to get the best equity release mortgage advice

Thursday, 24th May, 2018

Equity release mortgages have well and truly arrived.

As recently pointed out in our last equity release article, which includes a five point guide as to what you need to know about equity release loans, it is estimated that the value of UK equity release mortgages increased by £10bn last year.

However, it’s important to note that wherever there’s an opportunity, there are always opportunists, which was my first thought on recently watching a series of equity release adverts on TV.

One advert was proudly selling access to equity release mortgages for a fee of ‘only’ 1.95%. Whilst this doesn’t sound that high, it typically equates to around £1,395 – £1,495, which is, in fact, a relatively high charge.

As a Guildford mortgage brokerage that specialises in helping our clients to get an equity release mortgage, we believe that our fees are much fairer and transparent. For example, our flat fee structure means that we can help you apply for an equity release mortgage for only £699 – regardless of the complexity of the mortgage and value of the loan amount.

What’s more, our team of Guildford mortgage brokers now includes three equity release specialists. All three advisers have secured the highly coveted Certificate in Regulated Equity Release (CeRER) qualification, which ensures that Complete Mortgages can offer a wider selection of equity release mortgages to a wider section of the population.

It also means that we can help those who have traditionally taken out interest-only mortgages – and who are on an interest-only mortgage right now – to transition to an equity release deal without having to refer to a third party.

Whether you’re currently on an interest-only mortgage and thinking of switching over to equity release, or you’re simply considering your options and think that equity release could be a route you’d like to take, the first thing you need to do is contact a trusted – and qualified – mortgage brokerage.

Why not contact us to find out more on 01483 238280 or by emailing info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

Complete Mortgages also specialises in other mortgages over and above equity release mortgages. We can also arrange mortgages for self-employed people, mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages.

By Mark Lucas, Equity Release Adviser at Complete Mortgages


Is time running out to get a competitive fixed rate mortgage?

Wednesday, 14th March, 2018
guildford mortgage adviser

Have you recently switched – or considered switching – your mortgage?

If you haven’t then you’re not alone. However, it may be worth considering your options as the debate around whether or not a new interest rate rise is imminent (many are saying it is) gains ground.

Whilst we don’t know when, exactly, or by how much, the Bank of England will increase interest rates, we do know that another two are planned before 2020.

If the first, relatively modest, rise of 0.25% wasn’t enough to get you thinking about fixed rate mortgages then the second one might.

As a Guildford Mortgage adviser, we’ve seen an influx of people from across Guildford and the southeast enquire about getting a fixed rate mortgage. Lenders have increased their mortgage rates since the last interest rate rise, however it’s not too late to get the ball rolling and apply for a fixed rate mortgage.

With access to some of the most competitive mortgage deals in the UK, Complete Mortgages is still seeing a number of options which, if you were to act now, would mean that you would still benefit from an excellent mortgage rate – and would be well placed to beat the rise (if and when it happens).

We’re seeing demand for three year fixed mortgages, five year fixed mortgages and even 10 year fixed mortgages increase significantly, which indicates that people are now beginning to think seriously about locking themselves into consistent monthly mortgage payments – something that we haven’t seen on this scale for a decade.

Of course, it’s all down to affordability.

Analysis by estate agent Savills suggested that a 1% rise in interest rates would add approximately £10bn to mortgage repayments in the UK – or an average of £930 a year (£77.50 per month) to the cost of servicing an average mortgage.

Depending on your financial circumstances, you may prefer to have the flexibility that comes with other products such as tracker mortgages. Either way, if the much-deliberated rise has made its way to the front of your mind then it’s certainly worth picking up the phone and calling a member of the Complete Mortgages team, who will be able to advise you on the right fixed mortgage for you.

In answer to the original question regarding whether or not time is running out to get a competitive fixed rate mortgage, I would say that there is still time – however I would also recommend that you don’t waste time.

Complete Mortgages also specialises in other mortgages over and above fixed or tracker mortgages. We can also arrange mortgages for self-employed people, mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages. Contact us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk for more information.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Self-employed friendly mortgages

Monday, 5th March, 2018

Sometimes, it’s as though those who take the most risks are penalised the most.

At least that seems to be the sentiment of 71% of self employed people who feel that they are discriminated against when it comes to getting a mortgage, according to new research from The Mortgage Lender.

Yes, mortgages for self-employed people seem to be that little bit harder to come by, which is a huge shame – particularly when it’s this demographic who play key roles in growing the UK economy and given how, according to new research by Data Line for Business, there are now record numbers of self-employed people in the UK.

Data Line for Business’s research highlighted how:

  • One in seven people now work for themselves
  • The number of self-employed people have grown by a million since a decade ago
  • Self employed women have grown 24% to 300,000 since Q2 2013

Whilst this is great news when it comes to the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit, it’s very much at odds with the barriers – and the perceived barriers – to self-employed mortgages.

What’s the problem with getting a mortgage if you’re self-employed? 

We often get self-employed people asking, ‘Why is it hard to get a mortgage, even when my monthly mortgage repayments would be significantly less than my current rental outgoings?’.

The truth is that lenders find it hard to assess self-employed people as they might pay themselves different amounts at different times. Some may choose not to pay themselves much at all in order to keep cash in the business.

Prior to the financial crash, self-certification mortgages enabled business owners to get a mortgage relatively easy. After the crash, lenders became less inclined to lend on the basis of what the applicant claimed they earned.

However, there are a number of accessible self-employed mortgages on the market right now. Also, as a Guildford mortgage broker that specialises in contractor mortgages and mortgages for the self-employed, we are well placed to help all business owners – from sole traders to owners of limited companies – get a mortgage.

Our advice would be to get in touch on 01483 238280 or email us on info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Also, in advance of speaking – or meeting – with a member of the Complete Mortgages team, we would recommend that you gather the following documentation in readiness: –

1. Two years’ accounts (if you have a Limited Company or Partnership)

2. SA302 forms and Tax Year Overviews for the two past two years. Here’s a link for more information on how to obtain them

3. Proof of a deposit (or equity in your property, if remortgaging) of at least 5%

Getting a mortgage if you’re self-employed isn’t unachievable. It just requires a little more work. However, as a mortgage adviser in Guildford, we’ll handle the legwork on your behalf.

Remember, Complete Mortgages doesn’t just specialise in mortgages for self-employed people. We also specialise in mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


How to remortgage

Tuesday, 13th February, 2018

2018 is the year of the remortgage.

If you didn’t read my last piece and are wondering why 2018 is any different to 2017 – or any other year for that matter – then read on.

Going up? 

Nobody knows when or even if interest rates will go up in 2018, however there is much talk and speculation that the Bank of England could raise the Base Rate of interest by up to 0.50% at some point this year.

To put this into context, it would mean that someone on a variable rate mortgage borrowing £200,000 would face up to a £600-a-year increase.

Getting the most from your mortgage 

First of all, and despite what you may think, arranging a new mortgage is really straightforward – particularly if your mortgage broker is handling it on your behalf.

As a Guildford mortgage broker we see it all the time; people resisting remortgaging due to the perceived ‘hassle’, only to be pleasantly surprised when it’s all done and dusted without much effort on their part.

Here are Complete Mortgages’ top tips on remortgaging to get you started:

1. Dig out your paperwork 

Having an understanding of how much is outstanding on your mortgage, the mortgage term and any fees attributable with changing your mortgage will make it easier to navigate any questions that you will inevitably have to answer.

2. Know what you spend 

The process of getting a mortgage has changed over recent years, in as much as lenders now want to see clear evidence of your outgoings and, more importantly, your ability to comfortably make the mortgage repayments. Having some idea of what you spend on a monthly basis in advance will save time to-ing and fro-ing.

3. Do your homework

It may sound obvious, but take some time to find out what mortgage products are out there. New mortgage products are entering the market all the time, so make sure you pick the right mortgage for you and your lifestyle. More importantly, make sure that you’re set to benefit from a mortgage switch and that any financial gain from a new mortgage isn’t wiped out with exit fees from your existing mortgage.

Is there an easier way of doing this?

Of course there is. Using a trusted mortgage broker, such as Complete Mortgages, will save you a lot of legwork, time and possibly a bit of heartache, too.

If you let us handle your remortgage we’ll not only manage the entire mortgage application process on your behalf, but we’ll also spend the time finding the right mortgage for you, from the hundreds available (including the many broker exclusives that we have access to). What’s more, depending on the product chosen, there may not even be a fee for you to pay at all.

See, remortgaging really isn’t as difficult as you might think.

Contact the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to find out more. Even if you’re not looking to remortgage, don’t forget we’re also specialists in buy to let mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages, adverse credit mortgages and commercial mortgages, too.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


New Year, New Mortgage (but don’t leave it too late)

Monday, 29th January, 2018

Now that the New Year is fully underway, we’re urging our clients to start taking steps towards getting a new mortgage.

Whilst there are still a few lenders that are yet to increase their rates in line with the recent interest rate rise, the majority have already done so. Now, if you’re on a fixed rate mortgage then this won’t affect you.

However, if you’re currently on the standard variable rate (SVR) – or are about to enter the realms of the SVR – then this may be of interest.

1. Some lenders still haven’t raised their rates

For those who haven’t been thinking about their mortgage and what the interest rate rise means for them over the last few weeks, there’s still time to switch to a pre-interest rate rise mortgage deal – but you’d better be quick.

2. Beat the New Year rush

Whilst 2018 is in full swing, it can often take a few weeks before people start to really think about their next mortgage move. In fact, sometimes it’s February before the mortgage market really gets going. Put simply, if you act fast we can get you ‘mortgage-ready’ before everybody starts to want to do the same thing.

3. To rise or not to rise

There is already speculation that the next interest rate rise could come as early as May 2018, which means that if you haven’t already noticed the difference to your monthly mortgage repayments, then you may well do if the next interest rate rise comes as early as spring.

As a Guildford mortgage broker that has been in business since 2005, we’re still amazed to see the reaction on our clients’ faces when we explain how easy it is for them to remortgage. It’s even easier if you let a reputable mortgage adviser manage the process on your behalf.

So, if any of the three points raised here are relevant to you and you feel that you’re ready to remortgage – or at least you’re thinking about remortgaging in 2018 – then call us so that we can get your mortgage application underway.

Even if you aren’t looking to remortgage and simply need to arrange a mortgage, either for the first time or on a new property, then call us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

Remember, we also specialise in buy to let mortgages, commercial mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages, equity release mortgages and adverse credit mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


How will the interest rate rise affect my mortgage?

Monday, 27th November, 2017
complete mortgages

Well, it’s finally happened.

We knew it was coming, of course; or at least we had an inkling. Those of you who follow the news may even say we had fair warning.

The thing is, a rise in interest rates had to come at some point. Especially when you consider how the base rate dropped to 0.50% way back in April 2009 and maintained that level until August 2016, when it dropped a further 0.25%. The recent announcement was, in fact, the first interest rate rise since 2007.

And whilst it’s good news for savers, those on standard variable rate mortgages and tracker mortgage products are likely to notice the difference, particularly if their level of mortgage borrowing is substantial. As a result, there will undoubtedly be many people wondering how much more expensive their monthly mortgage repayments will become following the hike.

Rather than provide a breakdown of costs based on mortgages valued at X, Y and Z (particularly when there are countless mortgage calculators online that can give you the exact difference to the pound), I’d like to use this article to reassure homeowners with mortgages and let them know that there are still hugely competitive fixed rate mortgages available.

First of all, the 0.25% interest rate rise equates to a monthly mortgage repayment increase of around £18 based on an average 25 year repayment mortgage of £150,000 – or £216 a year. However, perhaps the most important thing to consider is the likelihood of a continued rise in interest rates – something that none of us can predict.

For example, if we take that average mortgage amount of £150,000 and add another 0.25% rise, and then another 0.25%, monthly repayments begin to climb by £36 and £54 respectively; £432 and £648 if we approach it on an annual basis.

And whilst nobody knows when the next interest rate rise will be, it is our job to make our clients aware of the financial implications of further incremental raises.

Our advice is as follows: –

1. Find an online mortgage calculator and understand the implications of further interest rate rises in increments of 0.25% (for many people, this hasn’t been a consideration for almost a decade!)

2. Review your current mortgage; even if the recent rise isn’t enough of a shock to make you switch your mortgage, there’s no harm in reviewing it and weighing up your options.

3. Contact a member of the Complete Mortgages team to find out how we can help you benefit from some very competitive fixed rate mortgages – before they become less competitive. Don’t delay – we have access to some great 5 year fixed mortgage rates which won’t be around forever – speak to one of our advisers now.

Contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to find out more. Remember, we also offer specialist mortgages including limited company buy to let mortgages, equity release mortgages and adverse credit mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Three reasons to use a buy to let mortgage broker

Monday, 6th November, 2017
buy-to-let mortgages

The buy-to-let mortgage market is booming – but not necessarily in the way you might think.

In fact, it’s taken quite a pounding over recent years. The first attack came when George Osborne, in his role as Chancellor, announced the phasing out of tax relief for landlords. The second, also a ‘blow’ by Osborne, came in the form of stamp duty surcharge on additional properties.

The result? The jury’s still out, however the repercussions seem to be a combination of landlords with high LTV mortgages releasing some of their properties back on to the market and existing landlords raising their rent.

Yet recently released figures suggest that buy to let mortgages are far from over.

According to Moneyfacts*, there has been a seven per cent rise in the number of buy to let mortgage products to enter the market, taking the total to 1,735 – the highest number of mortgages for landlords since the heady, pre-crash days of 2007.

It also makes choosing the right buy-to-let mortgage increasingly difficult.

So, as increasing taxes don’t seem to be putting off would-be landlords from entering the market – and following our recent ‘five reasons to use a mortgage broker’ article – we thought we’d outline three key reasons to consider using a buy to let mortgage broker.

1. Time is money

As a mortgage broker in Surrey, a county with a large share of buy to let landlords, we are in a continuous cycle of appraising new buy to let mortgage products in the context of our clients’ needs. Of course this is hugely time consuming – however it’s our job. You, on the other hand, may not have the time required to separate the wheat from the chaff and sift through this growing glut of deals.

By getting a buy to let mortgage broker to do the legwork and find a deal based on your personal requirements – all of which would have been established during an initial consultation – you are able to save yourself huge amounts of time by only having to deal with a shortlist containing the best-of-the-best deals.

2. Mortgage brokers are mortgage experts

If you’re looking to sell your property, you’ll no doubt commission an estate agent to sell it. If you have a problem with your roof you’ll consult a roof specialist. Similarly, if your car’s not working, you will probably visit a mechanic. We can’t all be experts in everything – there simply isn’t enough time. We don’t claim to be property experts, nor can any member of my team (myself included) fix a car, but we are experts in arranging a mortgage for our clients. If you want to save time and benefit from expert advice, then use a mortgage broker with a good reputation.

3. Not just any mortgage

Those of you that already have experience of getting a mortgage – either independently or though a mortgage adviser – will know that there is a lot of ‘crossing the Is and dotting the Ts’. With buy to let mortgages, there is even more.

Not only that, but a good mortgage broker can help advise you with regards to making sure the numbers stack up (i.e. the mortgage you secure works in tandem with the rent you plan to charge). The difference between 1% on your mortgage rate here, or a potential/hidden charge there, can make a serious impact on your profit. An experienced buy to let mortgage broker will be able to review this in relation to your own requirements very quickly and make sure that you get the right deal for your circumstances.

Cut through the buy-to-let mortgage ‘noise’ and contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Remember, we also offer specialist mortgages including commercial mortgages, self-employed mortgages and adverse credit mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages

*https://www.ftadviser.com/mortgages/2017/09/12/number-of-buy-to-let-deals-at-10-year-high/


The buy to let mortgage goalposts have moved… again

Thursday, 28th September, 2017

Staying on top of the buy-to-let mortgage market has become a job in its own right.

Some changes are small and relatively inconsequential – the inner workings, or behind the scenes details, if you will, that we tackle as part of the mortgage application process and that don’t need to burdened on our clients.

Others, such as the upcoming Prudential Regulation Authority changes, which will be applied by 30 September 2017, do need some light shed on them.

After all, current landlords and those in the process of applying for a buy to let mortgage are coming to us and asking ‘what does it mean for me?’.

In order to make the information accessible to everyone, we’ve prepared our Prudential Regulation Authority changes made simple.

This should clear a few things up, however if you still need clarification then please call a member of the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280, who will be more than happy to help.

So, if you’re a landlord and wondering ‘how will the new buy to let rules affect me?’, then read on.

1. Size matters

As part of what appears to be a crackdown on buy to let landlords who have ‘stockpiled’ mortgaged properties, the new rules really impact those who have four or more properties within their portfolio.

It’s also important to note here that the figure of four doesn’t relate to the number of mortgages you have – but the number of properties. If you own four properties under one mortgage then you will still be treated as a portfolio landlord. If you have two or three mortgaged buy to let properties, the new lending criteria will not affect you.

2. Down to the last detail

If you currently own three buy-to-lets and are looking to buy a fourth, or if you already own four and are looking to buy more, then you will be required to prove that your other properties – or at least your ability to cover the cost of the other properties – won’t be affected by taking on another.

To do this, lenders will:

a. Want to review income from other sources – including that derived from your existing portfolio – to ensure that can cover maintenance and void periods

b. Assess your experience as a landlord

c. Apply an Income Coverage Ratio, which is dependent on a number of factors including all your earned income. Note: this will vary from lender to lender

d. Require full details of the entire portfolio in order to assess the overall risk, potentially including assets/liabilities, cashflow and investment intentions.

Essentially, lenders will want to carry out stringent checks to make sure that taking on an additional property – or properties – will not be too much of a financial stretch.

3. Getting personal

Of course, as part of these checks, lenders will also want to know your personal liabilities and outgoings, too.

Expect the following areas to be explored as part of the review:

a. Credit cards and their balances

b. Vehicle financing agreements

c. Loans

d. General outgoings

The buy to let mortgage market is a constantly evolving sector. As a result, it’s important that you don’t get caught out.

As a Guildford mortgage broker our advice for buy-to-let landlords is to contact a mortgage adviser to find out how the new changes might affect you personally.

Likewise, we recommend that all new and aspiring landlords find a reputable mortgage broker to advise them on how to apply for a buy to let mortgage in the context of the impending new rules.

Contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Remember, we also offer specialist mortgages including limited company buy to let mortgages, equity release mortgages and adverse credit mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages