Are equity release mortgages good or bad?

Tuesday, 11th December, 2018
equity release

The simple answer to what is a rather broad question is that it all depends on where you are in life in terms of finance, goals and objectives.

What can’t be avoided, however, is that the equity release mortgage is growing in popularity.

According to the latest Equity Release Council figures, homeowners released over £1bn of equity from their homes in the third quarter of 2018 – and £11m of property wealth is being ‘cashed in’ on a daily basis. As a Guildford mortgage broker we’ve certainly seen equity release mortgage applications rise.

Whilst the figures are compelling, we are regularly asked, ‘Is releasing equity in my property a good thing?’ So, to help you make your own mind up, we’ve provided a list of equity release pros and cons.

However, before we look at the fors and against equity release, let’s start by briefly explaining how equity release works (note: for a more in-depth equity release mortgage Q&A click here).

What is equity release?

If you’re a homeowner aged over 55, equity release enables you to release money from your property – without having to move. You can take a lump sum, as a drawdown (taking smaller amounts at different times) or as a home reversion plan (selling part of your property to the lender in exchange for money).

The pros 

1. Staying put

If you don’t want to leave your property, but need more money in order to continue living there, then equity release mortgages enable you to stay where you are whilst providing you with the funds required to do so.

2. No negative equity – guaranteed

Lenders who are members of the Equity Release Council – and Complete Mortgages tends to only work with those that are – have to include a no negative equity guarantee, which means that if there ever was a crash and the value of the property became less that the value owed, the lender would cover it, not you.

3. Beat inheritance tax

Nobody really likes the idea of being taxed on inheritance, so releasing equity against the value of your property can represent a way in which to pass on your wealth in a tax efficient way.

The cons

1. Compound interest

Equity release mortgages do not work in the same way as residential mortgages. Whereas homeowners with residential mortgages typically pay off the interest charges on a monthly basis, equity release mortgage interest is typically added to the overall debt. This means that the outstanding equity release mortgage balance can rise quickly.

2. Hard to go back

If you thought early repayment charges on fixed mortgages were high, then you might be surprised to learn that early repayment charges on equity release mortgages can be as high as a quarter of the amount borrowed. As a result, you need to be absolutely sure that equity release is for you before going down that route – and also that your mortgage broker goes through everything with you in detail.

3. Benefit or no benefit?

Those who receive means-tested benefits may find that a sudden cash injection results in these being taken away. Make sure you understand the wider financial implications before committing to a long-term decision.

Still not sure? Why not contact the Complete Mortgages team 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 the self-employed, mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


A stress-free mortgage zone

Tuesday, 27th November, 2018
mortgage advice

It’s always bittersweet on reading research that indicates that the mortgage sector – and those working within it – could be doing better.

It’s bitter in the sense that as a mortgage professional, I would like to see the sector working as efficiently and as proactively as possible. When it appears that in some quarters this isn’t the case, then I can’t help but feel disappointed.

However, it’s also sweet as whilst it may reveal failings by others, it also reinforces my view that Complete Mortgages, as a Guildford Mortgage Broker, is amongst the mortgage brokers who are operating at the highest level when it comes to standard setting.

Research recently published by a UK mortgage broker* revealed that stressful mortgage applications are not only causing homeowners anxiety, but also putting them off remortgaging – something that can save homeowners money in the long-term.

It also revealed that approximately 2.5 million people suffered stress during their mortgage application, that 14% of homeowners said they rarely understood where they were in the mortgage application process and that 13% claimed that the way deals were advertised was confusing.

Whilst the research has been commissioned by a mortgage broker to reveal findings that no doubt support their own objectives, we can’t overlook the fact that it’s revealed that there are a phenomenal number of people suffering from mortgage stress when they simply don’t need to.

For those who read Complete Mortgages’ news pages, then you’ll know that we’re not ones to blow our own trumpet, opting instead for guides, mortgage tips and general content that we feel adds value to those who read it. However, in light of this research, we feel that it’s important that brokers who pride themselves on excellent communication and delivering an impeccable service should also be heard.

So, by way of a response to the findings, here’s Complete Mortgages’ own mortgage promise.

Whether you’re looking to apply for a residential mortgage, a buy to let mortgage, equity release mortgage, or even if you want to apply for bridging loans and commercial mortgages, Complete Mortgages will:

  1. Handle 100% of the mortgage paperwork on your behalf
  2. Proactively chase ALL mortgage applications and update you at every step of the way
  3. Talk you through the process at every stage of the mortgage application

Our customer satisfaction survey, based on the feedback of over 250 clients during the past 12 months, has given us an average customer satisfaction score of 98.82%.

Not only are we really proud of it, but it also demonstrates that there are excellent mortgage brokers out there – and that you really shouldn’t need to settle for second best, nor put up with mortgage stress at any point.

For stress-free mortgage advice contact the experienced Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Remember, we also specialise in specialist mortgages in Guildford and the surrounding areas such as self-employed mortgages, adverse credit mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages, too.

*Trussle

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


The holiday let mortgage has well and truly checked in

Friday, 7th September, 2018
holiday home mortgage

Buy to let mortgages for short-term holiday lets are no longer just a seasonal thing. In fact, it would seem that they’re here to stay – whatever the weather.

Until recently, lenders have tended to prefer to award a buy to let mortgage to those with plans to let out their property on a long-term basis and not the short-term. This has now changed – particularly in the wake of companies like Airbnb, which have transformed the holiday accommodation sector.

However, as we approach the end of summer, and as many of us get back to normality after enjoying what has been the finest summer we’ve had in years, there will no doubt be a selection of people looking to buy a UK holiday home – and who may already be considering a holiday home mortgage.

The good news is that holiday home mortgages are now more accessible than ever and this, combined with high short-term holiday rental yields, makes owning – and letting – a holiday home an appealing prospect.

According to the Residential Landlords Association, seven per cent of landlords are moving their properties from long-term to short-term lets – a factor that has undoubtedly been prompted by changes in tax relief on buy to let properties.

As furnished holiday lets are treated as businesses and not investments they are taxed differently, which enables those who have a mortgage on a holiday let property to qualify for entrepreneurs tax relief and even claim the cost of furnishing the property!

The recent shift in attitude towards Airbnb by lenders has also changed things considerably. Beforehand, borrowers had to request permission from the lender to let their property out on a short-term basis and many lenders ruled it out completely. However, the mortgage market is moving forwards and against the backdrop of recent tax changes to buy to let properties, the short-term let mortgage is gaining popularity.

Whilst we can’t advise on the tax implications of arranging a holiday let mortgage, as a Guildford mortgage broker we certainly can advise on the right mortgage that could help you to not only own your dream holiday home, but also potentially make a nice profit on it, too.

To speak with a Guildford mortgage specialist contact the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. One of our buy to let mortgage experts will be able to talk you through your options and find a short-term buy to let mortgage that suits you. We’re also specialists in standard buy to let mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages and commercial mortgages, too.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


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