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


How to increase your chances of getting a mortgage – part 2

Friday, 10th August, 2018
mortgage broker

Following on from part one, which you can read here, part two continues with some of the more standard tips and pitfalls to be aware of – as well as presenting some of the mistakes which have had negative consequences for those applying for a mortgage in the past.

1. Bad form is to not correctly fill in your form

If you’re using a mortgage broker, then this is less relevant as they should be handling – and checking – the paperwork on your behalf. However, if you do decide to go it alone with your mortgage application, fill everything out in full – including your entire name. Don’t round up income figures, do make sure that your address history is accurate and always give honest answers about your spending habits. More importantly, declare any debts; not doing so could lead to being instantly declined for a mortgage.

2. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do NOW!

When it comes to gathering paperwork, we’re all guilty of a bit of procrastination and hoping that the omission of the odd document here and there won’t be a problem. However, when it comes to getting a mortgage, getting the application right first time is well worth the effort. Our advice is to get everything you need together in one go. Examples include: bank statements for the last three months; last three months’ pay slips, latest P60, any evidence of bonuses, and, if you’re self employed, your last three years’ worth of accounts and tax returns.

3. Stay out of your overdraft

Being in the red creates a black mark – on your credit rating. It also implies that you’re unable to manage your own money and spending. Make every effort to stay within the confines of your own budget and give the lender fewer reasons to say ‘no’ to granting a mortgage.

4. Light-hearted bank statement pranks may lead to heavy consequences

As tempting it as might be when paying a friend back for a set of concert tickets they bought to leave something cheeky or crude in the ‘reference’ field, think twice before you do it. Whilst it may be funny in the heat of the moment, it leaves a record that might not have the same impact on the lender reviewing your case. As funny as it might be at the time, out advice is to save the gags for the pub.

5. Don’t take a gamble on your mortgage

This one probably should be obvious – but it’s often overlooked. A regular transaction made at high street or online gambling companies doesn’t look particularly good and sends alarm bells ringing. Our advice, given how we’re not betting people, would be to put any money you were going to gamble towards a deposit on your property.

6. Big cash deposits can lead to big problems

The odd irregular cash deposit from or to a friend isn’t a problem, however if these payments regularly appear on your statement then it could be flagged and questioned by the lender. If the topic of money laundering isn’t called into question then any payments may be viewed as financial commitments. Either have explanations for each and every significant payment, or try to reduce the amount of irregular payments you either make or receive.

For many, getting a mortgage is a minefield. Why not let Complete Mortgages, a mortgage broker in Guildford, do it on your behalf? From first time buyer mortgages and buy to let mortgages, to commercial mortgages and more specialist mortgages, we can help. Call us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to find out how we can help you.


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


Godalming tops UK list of biggest property price risers

Tuesday, 20th June, 2017

Firstly, and on a purely personal level, I have to point out my satisfaction with the recent announcement that Godalming has been crowned top of the charts* when it comes to property value growth.

Not only because the Complete Mortgages team and myself continually manage Godalming mortgage applications on behalf of those looking to get a mortgage in Godalming. Nor is it because I also happen to live there and have benefitted from a rise in property values. It’s because Godalming is genuinely a wonderful place to live.

Whilst Complete Mortgages is not technically a Godalming mortgage broker, given how we’re based in Guildford, our close proximity to the area and the amount of mortgages in Godalming that we arrange means that have seen first-hand borrowing requirements increase in line with booming prices month on month.

And the fact that property prices are continuing to rise at the same time as more and more people from London are taking up residence in Godalming is no coincidence.

Good schools, excellent transport links to and from London and the convenience of having the both the countryside and the capital on your doorstep all add to Godalming’s rapidly growing allure.

This is all common knowledge to those who already live there, of course, but what about those wanting to move to the area? How will steadily increasing property prices affect your chances of getting a mortgage in one of Surrey’s gems?

There are currently three things in a Godalming mortgage applicant’s favour:

1. The market

There is no shortage of competitive deals entering the market on a regular basis. Whilst this may be a lot to digest for those tackling the mortgage application process on their own, an abundance of mortgage deals generally means improved affordability in relative terms.

2. The summer

Why think about home buying when you can think about holidaying? At least that’s the sentiment shared by many. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it means that you can steal a march on the summer slowdown and take advantage of a less competitive marketplace.

3. The election 

At the time of writing, it has been announced that the outcome of the general election is a hung parliament. The likely fallout from this is a period of indecision and a lack of market movement, which means that, similar to point two, those looking to buy a property in Godalming may have greater bargaining power.

When it comes to securing a mortgage on a property in Godalming, Complete Mortgages recommends that you act fast, take advantage of the three points listed above and get in touch to discuss your options. Whether you’re looking for a first time buyer mortgage or to remortgage, we can help.

Contact us on 01483 238280 or email me at darren@complete-mortgages.co.uk to find out more.

By Darren Wordsworth, Godalming Mortgage Adviser at Complete Mortgages

*http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/property-news/uks-biggest-spike-house-prices-12910950


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


How to ditch the property chain without ditching your next home

Friday, 31st March, 2017
bridging finance

How many times have you – or people you know – been affected by the dreaded breakdown in a property chain?

Unpleasant, right? Particularly if you’re weeks (if not months) down the line and have all but physically moved in to what you hoped would be your next new home.

The good news is that personal bridging loans provide a way in which to beat the housing chain and reduce your exposure to any last minute nasty surprises.

At the current time it’s not a method that is commonly used as a way in which to ‘bridge the gap’ – and not for any particular reason other than most people don’t really know about it. Or, if they do, they tend to feel that it’s out of their reach. Well it isn’t, and here’s why.

What is bridging finance?

Chain breaking bridging finance solutions represents a fantastic route to keeping on track when it comes to buying your next property.

A bridging loan is essentially a short-term finance arrangement that enables people to complete the purchase of their property even if they’ve been let down by their buyer.

As you might expect, the rate of interest is typically higher – but if you’ve already invested time and money in a process that’s got you right to the finish line, you might be reluctant to throw the towel in.

Can I get a bridging loan?

Landlords and amateur property developers, including those who purchase at auction and need quick access to finance after grabbing a bargain, generally use a short-term bridging loan. However, it has become more popular amongst the general public given the tightening of regulation around lending, and the longer waits for lenders to approve a mortgage application following the introduction of more stringent frameworks around mortgage lending.

Is there an age limit for bridging loans?

People are now living longer than ever before, and with that comes the understanding that people over 75 may also need access to bridging finance, too. However, restrictions on lending has also meant that mainstream mortgage products are more difficult for the elderly to secure, which is why bridging is a useful route to finance.

Interestingly, the rules that restrict the lending of traditional mortgages to those of a certain age do not apply for bridging loans, as interest payments are deferred until the loan is redeemed when the sale finally takes place.

Other than that, anybody is able to apply for bridging finance.

Do your research – and use a broker

As with most mortgages and finance products, much depends on the individual applicant. If you’re considering applying for a bridging loan or are wondering if bridging finance is the right option for you, simply give us a call.

If you have decided on using a broker, then one important piece of advice I’d like to offer is to always use one that is Financial Conduct Authority-regulated – like Complete Mortgages – as bridging loans are a niche product and may not be suitable for everyone.

Interested in something other than bridging finance? We also specialise in buy to let mortgages, first time buyer mortgages, sub prime mortgages, equity release mortgages and self build mortgages. Call us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to find out more.

Commercial and bridging loans are processed through our subsidiary company, Complete Mortgages Property Limited.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Why owner-occupied commercial mortgages are good for business

Tuesday, 2nd August, 2016

Buy to let mortgages and their role as investment vehicles for those looking to become landlords or continue building a successful property portfolio (and the fallout of the EU referendum, of course) are never far from the news agenda.

But what about commercial property as an investment? In all the clamour caused by a combination of a) people wanting to invest in residential property and b) people trying to find out how the buy-to-let tax changes affects them, the humble commercial mortgage seems to have been sidelined.

Admittedly, it is a more specialist mortgage product when you compare the number of UK homes (approx. 27.8 million*) with the number of SMEs (approx. 5.4 million+), yet for business owners wanting more control over their costs and to avoid being at the mercy of their landlord, then a business mortgage might be the answer.

First of all, let’s take a closer look at the benefits.

You’re in control 

Particularly if you arrange a fixed rate mortgage. No more rent hikes or unwanted charges from the landlord, although if on a variable rate your mortgage will flex in line with interest rates.

Property values tend to go up, not down

Of course this is based on what we have seen so far and Complete Mortgages isn’t discounting the possibility that prices could start to fall, but property tends to appreciate. And, as the owner of the building, if it appreciates then you build value. It’s also worth highlighting that interest repayments on an owner-occupied commercial mortgage are tax deductible.

An extra revenue stream?

Whilst you may be frustrated with your own commercial landlord, it doesn’t mean that you can’t become one. Depending on the size of the property – and the agreement you have with your lender – why not let rooms or even desk space to smaller businesses. Matching those looking for office space with those who have space to let is now big business, and the number of self-employed people has dramatically increased, too (in 2014 the UK hit an all-time high of 4.5 million self employed people**).

Now let’s look at the things you’ll need to overcome in order to arrange a commercial mortgage.

Affordability vs. history

Commercial mortgages are not as clear-cut as residential mortgages and no two applications are the same. For example, Business A has been trading for 10 years and requires a £250,000 mortgage on a commercial unit that it is buying for £295,000.  Business B also needs to borrow £250,000 on a commercial unit that it is buying for £295,000 but has only just started trading. Unfortunately for Business B, the fact that it has less commercial experience means that it will need to provide a deposit of around a 50%. A mortgage broker will add value here by outlining where you stand from the outset.

Where to start?

There are countless commercial mortgage deals available however they all differ and they all come with their own pros and cons. Navigating this complicated market is resource-intensive and a typical commercial mortgage application can take time to complete for those making an application independently.

Preparation is everything

Make sure you have crafted that perfect business case before making a commercial mortgage application. Demonstrating that you’re aware of the challenges, the requirements and the figures will stand you in good stead when it comes to making a successful – and swift – mortgage application.

When it comes to commercial mortgages, our advice is to use a trusted mortgage broker that can not only present you with a suite of options that best suit the needs of you and your business, but also do the leg work for you.

Thinking of applying for an owner-occupied business mortgage? Contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to discover the commercial mortgages available to you. 

*http://visual.ons.gov.uk/uk-perspectives-housing-and-home-ownership-in-the-uk/

+www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn06152.pdf

**https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/key-issues-parliament-2015/work/self-employment/


Time to remortgage?

Friday, 27th May, 2016
apply for a mortgage

When is a deal not a deal? In mortgage terms it’s when you’re paying more for a home loan than you need to be – and there are quite a number of people who are guilty of it.

Not because they’re thoughtless or have money to burn, but because life is busy and all too often, accepting the shift onto a standard variable rate is sometimes easier than rolling up your shirtsleeves, getting into the ‘nitty-gritty’ of your agreement and getting the wheels in motion to change your mortgage (which, for many homeowners, is perceived as a mammoth job in itself).

Here’s the thing: you could me missing out on a cheaper mortgage deal. Many of you will be reading this and thinking, ‘that’s nonsense, my standard variable rate is 2.50% – could it even get any cheaper?’ If you are that person, then the answer is, ‘yes, it can’.

Not that long ago, it seemed as though interest rates were set to rise at the end of 2015. And then they didn’t. Now, there are predictions of an interest rate rise up to 1% at the end of 2017, rising to 2% at the end of 2018. The result of which is that there is now an abundance of ‘cheap mortgages’ available, some of which include five year fixed rate mortgages that cost less than what many people are currently paying for their standard variable rate mortgage.

As a Guildford mortgage broker with a reputation for providing good service, we let our existing customers know when they’re about to default to their pre-agreed standard variable rate. They then have the option of applying for a mortgage that’s cheaper and saves the money that they would have otherwise unknowingly spent without seeing any real gain.

Of course, those people who don’t have any safeguard or ‘alert system’ in place, either because they don’t have a broker or because their broker isn’t doing what it should, will never know what they are missing.

Which, of course, is why I’m writing this piece. As we enter that time of the year whereby mortgages typically ‘reset’, it’s important that homeowners are made aware of their options.

Similar to changing utility provider, changing mortgage is often much less work than you think – particularly if you have a reputable mortgage broker doing the work for you.

Regardless of whether you decide to use Complete Mortgages for your mortgage application or not, then just be aware that the market is currently very competitive. And, as is the case with everything, nothing lasts forever. So, if you’re aware that you’re about to enter the world of SVR mortgages – or even if you weren’t aware until reading this piece – then I would urge you to a) find out what your rate is and b) shop around and see what is currently out there.

Alternatively, contact the Complete Mortgages team to find out if we can save you money.

From remortgaging and first time buyer mortgages to commercial mortgages and bridging loans, we can help. Contact 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Guildford mortgage brokerage, Complete Mortgages


Getting to grips with the Mortgage Credit Directive

Monday, 23rd November, 2015
Mortgage Credit Directive

The European Union receives its fair share of the limelight. And it’s not hard to see why when you consider the big issues it has had to deal with of late – and that’s before you take into account the current renegotiation that the UK government is in the process of entering.

However one recent change to be handed to the UK from Brussels, entitled the Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD), could get lost amongst the noise of a potential referendum. And this is exactly why we thought we’d bring it to your attention.

Just as we gave you a brief introduction to the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) last year, we thought we’d offer a brief summary of what the MCD is and how it could affect you if you expect to apply for a mortgage in 2016.

What is the MCD?

It is European legislation designed to foster a single market for mortgages. It has been created to protect consumers by providing standardised information including demonstrating the impact of interest rate increases to your proposed borrowing. The rules also apply to those looking to remortgage – even if they don’t intend to borrow more. The European Commission published the final MCD text in February 2014. The MCD must be implemented in the UK through rules set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) by 21st March 2016. It is closely aligned with the UK’s existing mortgage regulation however mortgage advisers and arrangers will need to provide greater detail on a product’s key features and how they receive remuneration. This will be within the content of the standardised information document.

Will the consumer see any direct benefit of the MCD as a result of its implementation?

Complete Mortgages believes that the essential features of a product and the way that mortgage brokers are remunerated will be clearer under the new system, which is a positive change. Overall the changes are very subtle and we can explain everything to you when you get in contact with us.

So, how will it affect me?

There is little additional benefit to the UK mortgage market as a result of the directive, as MMR addressed many aspects of how mortgages are obtained by consumers, however one clear benefit is that the process of obtaining a mortgage will be more transparent. For example, the new directive incorporates a ‘cooling off’ period of at least seven days, which needs to be factored into the conveyancing process. Just as the MMR impacted on the length of the application process, the MCD will extend the application process as determined by the ‘reflection’ period.

But what if I’m 100% sure that I’m making the right decision and want to proceed?

The directive has been created to provide the consumer with time to compare alternatives and assess their options; the cooling off period is part of that measure. This can, however be waived by signing a disclaimer via your solicitor if timely completion is a necessity.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Yes, second charge mortgages, including regulated loans entered into before 21st March, will be subject to the FCA’s rules. There are a few more technical points, such as how some buy-to-let mortgages will be regulated by the FCA, however we can go through these (if applicable to you) during the mortgage application process.

Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages, comments:

“Changes to legislation affecting the financial services industry is a continual process. Our job, as an independent mortgage broker, is to make sure that these changes don’t negatively impact on your mortgage application and help you navigate your way through it. Whilst the Mortgage Credit Directive’s presence is likely to be felt, our team of mortgage brokers can put in place the necessary measures to limit its impact and ensure that our clients secure a mortgage as quickly and as efficiently as possible.”

So, if you are looking to secure a mortgage in the New Year and have questions about how the Mortgage Credit Directive might affect you, then get in touch with the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.