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


Mortgage wars: a battle that shouldn’t be fought on price alone

Wednesday, 13th September, 2017

The Telegraph recently published a story that focused on the ‘battle for mortgage customers’ and the intensification of a war that is seeing lenders cut both their rates and penalty fees.

As a Guildford mortgage broker, Complete Mortgages feels and acts on the launch of each and every new mortgage product and the fluctuation of rates associated with those that already exist on a daily basis; indeed, it is our job to do so.

However, our view on the language used by the national media that places home buying in the context of a war – and the portrayal that the mortgage market is an arena in which only the cheapest product and lender will win – is bad not only for the mortgage industry, but also those applying for a mortgage.

Firstly, it’s important to highlight that the cheapest mortgage isn’t necessarily the best mortgage.

Evidence suggests that the average rate of two and five-year fixed mortgages has significantly decreased over the last seven years, and that’s undoubtedly a good thing. The more competitive lenders are, the more attractive their mortgage products become.

However – and this is very important – not everyone’s circumstances are the same. So, whilst a five-year fixed mortgage may be ideal for candidate A, it may not be so effective for candidate B.

Simply distilling mortgages and the mortgage application process down to a price war – something more akin to inexpensive consumer products such as bread and milk – doesn’t take into account the nuances surrounding each individual’s lifestyle and financial position.

It could also panic those looking for a mortgage into running headlong into a mortgage deal that may not necessarily suit their needs in the long (or even short) term.

The same Telegraph article suggests that lenders are already braced for a surge in new applications as a wave of existing fixed-term deals come to an end this autumn.

If this surge of applications originates from mortgage applicants who are well informed then we fully support that – but finding a mortgage broker who can guide you through the process and establish the right mortgage for you before you commit to anything should be your first port of call.

As an award-winning mortgage broker, our recommendation to those looking to secure a mortgage – or remortgage – is to seek professional mortgage advice; advice that treats a mortgage for what it is, which is a long-term commitment and not a simple day-to-day purchase.

If you’re looking at getting a mortgage – or remortgaging – this autumn then don’t get caught up in the bottleneck. From specialist self-employed mortgages and commercial mortgages through to first time buyer mortgages and adverse credit mortgages, Complete Mortgages can recommend a mortgage to match your own personal circumstances.

Contact us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk for an insightful, thoughtful and expert view on the current mortgage market – and a professional opinion on where you might fit within it.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Complete Mortgages recruits ex-Countrywide highflier

Sunday, 20th August, 2017

Guildford mortgage broker, Complete Mortgages, has bolstered its rapidly expanding team of mortgage experts by recruiting one of Countrywide Mortgage Services’ most successful mortgage brokers.

Lee Cousens, who joined Complete Mortgages at the end of March, was ranked one of Countrywide Mortgage Services’ top 20 brokers from a pool of 700 located nationwide.  He is now working full time out of Seymours Estate Agents’ flagship Woking office.

During his time at Countrywide Mortgage Services, he carved a national reputation for delivering a professional service and expediting the mortgage applications of his first time buyer and second time mover clients.

With a prominent financial services career spanning over 10 years, eight of which were spent at Barclays where he worked with high net worth individuals, and including roles at prominent FTSE 250 companies, Lee has consistently generated first-class results within the residential and buy to let mortgage markets.

On joining the Complete Mortgages team Lee comments: “After a rich and varied career spent working at some of the financial services industry’s most prominent companies, I’m now looking forward to apply the knowledge I’ve accrued during that time with a view to supporting Complete Mortgages’ growth plans. The firm already has a solid UK-wide reputation and it’s an exciting time to the be joining a company that has so much more growth potential.”

Outside of work Lee, who lives in Chertsey, spends his time playing cricket and golf, as well as watching his team Brentford FC. He also ran the 2017 London Marathon on 23 April.

Complete Mortgages’ Director, Mark Finnegan, adds: “We’re delighted to welcome Lee to the team and thrilled to have attracted such an accomplished and well-regarded industry professional away from the UK’s largest property services group. Lee is a great fit for the team and will no doubt help Complete Mortgages continue to expand its customer base and strengthen its 8 year relationship with Seymours Estate Agents, whilst providing exceptional levels of customer service, industry insight and professional advice.”

For more information or to arrange a mortgage with Complete Mortgages contact 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

Image caption: Lee Cousens (centre) with some of the Seymours Woking team.


Revisit, remortgage and save money

Thursday, 29th June, 2017

It’s funny. Everyone is always looking for a deal (myself included) and yet sometimes, even when the deal is right in front of him or her, they just can’t see it.

What’s even more ironic is that people can expend huge amounts of energy collecting loyalty points here and ‘50p off your next box of tea bags’ vouchers there, all the while missing out on the most important deal – and one that could save them hundreds of pounds each month.

The deal I’m referring to in this case is the often-overlooked remortgage.

As a Guildford mortgage broker I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve seen as many instances where there is such a gulf between the mortgage our clients signed up for (call it point A) and the mortgage that they could have now, even with the same lender (call it point B).

Naturally, it is the Complete Mortgages team’s job to make our clients aware of how they could save money on a mortgage – or, to put it another way, how much they are overpaying on a mortgage. And that’s what we’re in the process of doing right now, much to our clients’ delight.

However, for many people – namely those who either don’t use a mortgage broker or don’t have a proactive mortgage broker, they might never know.

Whilst there’s lots to be said for the proverb ‘ignorance is bliss’, or ‘what you don’t know can’t hurt you’, I’m pretty sure that people would rather have the opportunity to change mortgage – or at least be alerted to the prospect of changing their mortgage – and that’s the purpose of this article.

If you’re one of those people who applied for a mortgage two or three years ago, when deals were great and seemed as though they couldn’t get any better, then this is for you.

Essentially, mortgage deals have got better and you could quite easily be saving hundreds of pounds each month as a result.

In some cases you could simply switch your mortgage to a different deal on offer through the same lender. Not only can we handle ALL the paperwork and application process on your behalf, but also our service is completely FREE for you.

Our usual fee is £399 however in the case of a simple mortgage switch with your existing lender, we wouldn’t charge you a penny.

Even in cases where a fee may be chargeable, the process of remortgaging could still work out financially beneficial for you in the long run.

Our advice is to contact a trusted mortgage broker to explore your options and discover how easy it is to save money on your mortgage. You may or may not want to use Complete Mortgages – or even a mortgage broker in general – but at least you can’t say that we never told you.

Are you looking to remortgage? Interested in finding out of you could save money on your mortgage by making a simple change to your current mortgage? If so, contact us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Remember, we’re also specialists in buy to let mortgages, adverse credit mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages and first time buyer mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Robo-mortgage advisers… whatever next?

Thursday, 8th June, 2017

Now, before reading any further I should point out that, like most people, I too use a series of apps to help make my life that little bit easier. From monitoring how active I am to listening to music, apps are now an essential part of my everyday life.

However, on reading a piece in the Telegraph recently with the headline ‘New app promises to sort your mortgage by iPhone as home buying goes digital’*, I have to say that I experienced the first pang of ‘app cynicism’ I’ve felt since I began using them.

Not because, as a mortgage broker, I felt in any way threatened by the advent of digitised mortgage applications, but because my first thought was that some things should genuinely be left alone. Applying for a mortgage, in the context of apps, is one of those things.

Admittedly, claims of being able to complete a mortgage in 15 minutes or begin the mortgage – or remortgaging – process through a mobile app sounds fantastic. However, having been a Guildford mortgage broker for almost two decades, I know that the reality of carrying out a successful mortgage application relies less on software and more on relationships and a personal touch.

Buying a house is, for the majority of people, the biggest financial decision that they will ever make. Now, relying on software to order your coffee so that it’s served to coincide with your arrival, count how many steps you’ve taken in any given day, or alert you when it’s time to drink more water is one thing. But do you really want to place one of life’s larger purchases in the hands of a faceless app?

Not only that but who do you contact when things go wrong or don’t go quite according to plan?

The mortgage application process can be complicated, resource intensive and is often affected by a number of variables and external organisations. Whilst it’s okay to seek a simplified one-button solution to some of the more mundane aspects of modern life, a one-button solution to mortgage applications is, in my view, a false economy.

In fact, let’s compare it now. Complete Mortgages typically spends 15 – 20 minutes to carry out a factfind, which is similar to what some ‘robo-advisers’ claim to take, and from that point onwards everything is handled personally by a dedicated account handler who is able to fast-track the process, carry out those sometimes-sensitive chase up calls with the lender or provide feedback to the estate agent from which the mortgage applicant originated.

We’re proud, for instance, of our high customer service ratings as showcased on our website – all of which are the direct result of real actions of real people, who not only help people secure mortgages day in, day out, but who also do so after having built a strong rapport with the customer.

Yes, there are many services and experiences that have improved through automation, however these are typically services and experiences that are black and white, that have a simple beginning and end point, and that aren’t always reliant on multiple processes in order to reach a successful conclusion. Getting a mortgage isn’t one of them.

That said, I wish those who have launched – or are in the process of launching – automated mortgage apps the very best and I will watch with interest.

In the meantime, I must go. I’m being told that I have a meeting and that I need to purchase a gift online in the next five minutes to make tomorrow’s post – all by my apps, of course.

If you need to apply for a mortgage and would like to speak to a real person, then contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. We specialise in first time buyer mortgages, commercial mortgages, buy to let mortgages, adverse credit mortgages – and providing first-class customer service. 

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages

*http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/04/18/new-app-promises-sort-mortgage-iphone-home-buying-goes-digital


Guildford mortgage lending is on the up… but so are its property prices

Thursday, 1st June, 2017
Guildford mortgage

Let’s start with the universally good news – mortgage lending to homebuyers increased by 27% in March.

The figures, as released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), suggests that even first time buyer mortgages were on the up across the UK, with 31,500 loans granted in March 2017 compared with 28,100 in March 2016.

As a Guildford mortgage broker, Complete Mortgages’ March was particularly busy; so busy in fact that it bucked the national trend by being a staggering 82% up on March 2016.

As a local mortgage broker this is, of course, good news. However, it’s also good news because it highlights that the Guildford mortgage market continues to move apace and suggests that we can expect this trend to continue as we head into summer (a period when home moving and home buying activity typically tends to slow down).

On the flipside, there is the issue of Guildford’s rapidly increasing property prices. And whilst this isn’t bad news for those who already own a home, it is unlikely to be met with positivity by those itching to get their feet on the property ladder.

Research by online estate agents House Simple has shown that outside of London, the UK’s least affordable areas include Bath, Brighton, Crawley, Tunbridge Wells and, of course, Guildford. In fact, less than 7% of Guildford properties are priced lower than the national average.

So, what does this tell us? Well, it confirms what we already know; Guildford is an expensive and desirable place to live. It’s also likely to be met with concern by first time buyers whose chances of buying a property in Guildford are arguably much slimmer than this month’s national averages from the CML would suggest.

However, what Guildford first time buyers must remember is that there are hugely competitive first time buyer mortgage deals entering the market all the time. And with 85% loan to value mortgages on 4.5 x earnings now available, the Guildford first time buyer is now able to enter the market without having to rely solely on putting down an astronomical deposit.

Are you a first time buyer? If so, then our advice is to contact the Complete Mortgages team, which specialises in first time buyer mortgages, to discuss how we can help move you towards homeownership.

Just remember that as Guildford property prices increase, the relative value of your deposit decreases, so taking action sooner rather than later is advised before homeownership really does become out of reach.

Contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to discuss our services, from first time buyer mortgages and commercial mortgages to buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


How adverse credit mortgages are helping first time buyers

Monday, 22nd May, 2017
Adverse credit mortgages

For those of you that keep up to date with Complete Mortgages’ articles, news and views, you’ll know that we have been proactive in ‘rebranding’ the adverse credit mortgage or, as it was more widely known, the sub prime mortgage.

Importantly, this is not because Complete Mortgages is an irresponsible Guildford mortgage broker. Nor is it because we refuse to accept its role in the 2007/8 financial crisis (unregulated sub prime mortgage lending was undeniably an instrumental factor).

Our reason for supporting the new wave of adverse mortgage lending is twofold. Firstly, lending of this nature no longer represents the sub prime lending of pre-2008, as you can read here. Secondly, it is increasingly becoming a way in which young first time buyers can successfully apply for a mortgage and therefore access the property ladder.

Around this time last year a TransUnion survey revealed that millennials are highly likely to have a bad credit or subprime credit rating, which limits their access to loans and, of course, mortgages. A recent article in the Telegraph also supports this by including ONS figures that suggest that almost 100,000 millennials who live with their parents believe that they will never move out.

This is a particularly disheartening scenario and one that, in many cases, stems from high student loans and the rising cost of living. Unfortunately, this can often lead to overdependence on credit, which, if not managed, can result in a bad credit rating.

The cycle is clear. The question now is how do we break it, or at least how do we help young first time buyers shortcut it? And that’s where the new wave of adverse credit mortgage comes into play.

Thankfully, first time buyers are now able to access up to 85% loan to value mortgages at 4.5 times their income with non-high street lenders.

Of course – and as pointed out in a previous Complete Mortgages article on sub-prime mortgages – there needs to be evidence that those applying for an adverse credit mortgage can make the required repayments. Likewise, applicants will need to apply for a mortgage in the knowledge that they will be paying more for the privilege.

However, when faced with living with your parents well into your thirties, a situation that is only compounded (and arguably prolonged) by escalating house prices, the modern day sub prime mortgage could prove to be a helpful springboard for many young people.

Regardless of situation and credit score, I would recommend those who think an adverse credit mortgage could be a viable route for them to get in touch with me or a member of the Complete Mortgages team to discuss their options.

To speak with a credit repair mortgage specialist contact Mark Lucas on 01483 238280 or email lucas@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Complete Mortgages also specialises in commercial mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company but to let mortgages.

By Mark Lucas, credit repair mortgage specialist at Complete Mortgages


Guildford mortgage broker scoops two national awards and grows firm by 39%

Friday, 24th March, 2017
mark finnegan

Guildford mortgage brokerage, Complete Mortgages, is banishing Brexit fears and quelling any talk of economic uncertainty after receiving two national awards and delivering 39% growth in the last 12 months.

The Railton Road-based firm collected the Top Mortgage Adviser and Top Network Adviser awards at this year’s Mortgage Intelligence Awards, which took place at Ascot Racecourse on Thursday 9 March, beating 400 advisers from around the UK to pole position.

It is the sixth consecutive year that Complete Mortgages has won a national award at the Mortgage Intelligence Annual Conference.

The double award win comes as the firm reveals that it secured mortgages for the Surrey community worth almost £140 million and expanded its team to 12 people – up from 3 people when it joined the Mortgage Intelligence Network in 2009.

On receiving the awards, Complete Mortgages’ founding director and Guildford resident, Mark Finnegan, comments: “The last twelve months have been hugely important for Complete Mortgages. We’ve grown faster than any other year in our eleven-year history and we’re continuing to draw some of the most experienced and talented brokers from across the UK, all of whom are attracted by our growing national reputation. We’re delighted to once again be recognised for delivering a first-class service and remain committed to making Guildford a southeast England hub of excellence when it comes to financial services and mortgage products.”

Kenton Cool, the world-renowned mountaineer responsible for leading Sir Ranulph Fiennes up Everest in 2008 and 2009, presented the awards to Mark at a ceremony that welcomed almost 350 people.

Dorset-based Mortgage Intelligence is a mortgage and insurance network and club, which aims to help brokers achieve more by providing tailored solutions, support and training. It has been supporting the mortgage and insurance brokerage industry for over 20 years.

On Complete Mortgages’ success, Sally Laker, Managing Director at Mortgage Intelligence, adds: “It’s no coincidence these awards are presented to Mark and his team during a period of rapid growth. Complete Mortgages’ professionalism, customer service and dedication to delivering high service standards is not only positive for the clients it serves, but also the mortgage brokerage industry as a whole. We’re delighted to have Complete Mortgages in our network and commend the firm on its excellent work.”

For more information visit www.complete-mortgages.co.uk or contact 01483 238280.

Ends

Image caption: Mark Finnegan collects the Top Adviser Award from UK mountaineer Kenton Cool at the 2017 Mortgage Intelligence Awards.

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Beat the spring rush and use winter to get ‘mortgage-ready’

Tuesday, 7th February, 2017
mortgage ready

After a wet, dreary and (more often than not) cold British winter, the onset of spring is always a welcome relief.

Not only because with it comes the sunshine and a reminder that summer is only around the corner, but it’s also a time when people start to consider their options when it comes to moving home and getting a mortgage.

Let’s face it, applying for a mortgage mid-winter, for most people, isn’t the most alluring prospect.

However, as a result of keeping big decisions to a minimum during the colder months, there is often a rush of people in March, all of whom want to apply for a mortgage at the last minute.

Not only does this bottleneck put pressure on lenders, but it also puts pressure on those applying for a mortgage, too.

The good news is that as a Guildford mortgage broker with a large – and growing – team of advisers on hand to handle mortgage applications on your behalf, we can take that pressure off and make securing a mortgage a seamless process.

Of course, since June last year we are constantly presented with the recurring questions of ‘what about Brexit?’ and ‘how will Brexit affect my mortgage?’

Despite a degree of uncertainty surrounding Brexit, recent figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders estimates that gross mortgage lending hit the £20.4 billion mark in December. Whilst this was 4% lower than November, it was also 4% higher than December 2015.

Equally, hugely competitive deals from lenders that began to make an appearance throughout 2016 and are now continuing into 2017 will mean that, for many, applying for a mortgage whilst the option of potentially saving money in the long-term is still there will make the opportunity of getting a good mortgage deal hard to resist.

Whilst some homeowners may be more inclined to wait until there is more clarity around the impact of Brexit – something that we at Complete Mortgages believe will take longer than one or two seasons – Spring is always a time of increased activity when it comes to the property market and mortgage applications. As a result, starting the process earlier will give you that extra advantage.

Regardless of the nature of the application – from residential mortgages and buy to let mortgages, to sub prime mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages – we will handle 100% of the paperwork on your behalf, proactively chase your application and keep you updated at every step of the process.

So, there really is no need to wait until spring. Our advice is to get the ball rolling by picking up the phone and discussing your options with us sooner rather than later.

Even if you do decide to wait until spring has finally sprung, we can part complete your mortgage application in advance so that you will be ahead of the game when you do make your decision – whether that’s in spring or even summer.

Either way, use winter while it’s still here and ensure that you’re ‘mortgage-ready’ in advance.

Contact a member of the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Complete Mortgages expands team with new mortgage adviser

Friday, 16th December, 2016
Mark Finnegan

Complete Mortgages will kick-start the New Year by welcoming a new mortgage adviser to the team in a move that signals how 2017 is expected to be a busy year for the property and mortgage markets.

Darren Wordsworth, a former HSBC employee who, in his five years with the bank, worked across multiple teams and experienced handling mortgage applications at every stage of the process, joins the Guildford mortgage broker after living in Barcelona for the last six years, during which time he owned a successful estate agency.

Prior to emigrating to Spain Darren carved a successful career as an independent mortgage broker in Scarborough following a period at Scarborough Building Society, where he was a full-time mortgage adviser.

On joining the Complete Mortgages team in the New Year Darren comments: “With a plethora of experience working at every stage of the mortgage application process, I plan to bring a 360-degree approach to Complete Mortgages whereby I can help expedite mortgage applications by having an end-to-end understanding of the framework. Having worked in property, both as an estate agent and a developer, I have first-hand personal experience of managing mortgage applications on both sides of the fence. I look forward to working with the team and contributing to the company’s plans for continued growth.”

Darren, who lives in Godalming, has two children and can be found coaching the under 7s Farncombe Youth FC at weekends. He can be contacted via darren@complete-mortgages.co.uk or by calling 01483 238280 from January.

Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages, adds: “We’re delighted to welcome Darren to Complete Mortgages and his knowledge, coupled with his experience of dealing with a wide variety of mortgages, make him a valuable addition to the team. It’s an exciting time for the mortgage market; competitive deals are in abundance and we anticipate 2017, the first quarter in particular, being exceptionally busy as people take advantage of the New Year mind-set and either look to move home or remortgage. We’re looking forward to the year ahead, proud to be continually growing as a business and pleased that Darren is now part of our team.”

For more information or to arrange a mortgage with Complete Mortgages contact 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.