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


Five reasons to use a mortgage broker

Tuesday, 22nd August, 2017
mortgage broker

Regular readers will know that we tackle pretty much every topic related to applying for a mortgage; from the actual mortgage products themselves (buy to let mortgages, commercial mortgages, residential mortgages etc.) to the legislation and changes in rules that either hinders or facilitates access to them.

However, on this occasion, I’ve decided to place the spotlight not just on the team of mortgage brokers at Complete Mortgages, but mortgage brokers as a whole.

Not because mortgage brokers have come under fire, or that that there is any particular reason to defend the work of a mortgage broker. It’s just that there are now a number of elements such as regulation, new rules, and restrictions that affects those wishing to apply for a mortgage.

This, on one hand, makes the work of a broker more complex and challenging, however on the other it’s allowing brokers throughout the UK to showcase how they can add value to their clients.

As a result, I would simply like to take this opportunity to remind homeowners and investors why using a mortgage broker can help expedite the mortgage application process and save a lot of heartache in the process.

From the recent changes affecting mortgage affordability to the latest set of rules from the Prudential Regulation Authority, which come into play in September and require landlords to provide details of their assets and liabilities, declare future investment property intentions and reveal the property schedule already requested for buy to let mortgage applications, there are now more obstacles to navigate than ever before.

And, as the number of obstacles grow, so too does the number of reasons to outsource your mortgage application requirements to a mortgage professional. Here are five.

1. Knowledge is power

This sub-heading is probably slightly over-egging the pudding, however it’s true that the more you know the more you can control. A good mortgage broker thoroughly knows the industry and, as a result, knows how to present your case in a way that reduces administration time and gets the desired result quicker. This knowledge, which non-mortgage brokers typically wouldn’t know, also enables brokers to sidestep the pitfalls and capitalise on any potential opportunities, thus ensuring you receive the best possible mortgage advice for your particular circumstances.

2. Qualifications count

It goes without saying, but those with formal training and qualifications in anything – from medicine and teaching to hairdressing and car maintenance – are more likely to approach what they do in a more efficient, balanced and professional manner.

3. Duty of care

Professional mortgage brokers are not only morally obliged to act in your best interests, but also the Financial Conduct Authority also heavily regulates them. If your mortgage broker is not acting in your best interest, then you’re covered. Complete Mortgages positively embrace the FCA’s Treating Customers Fairly initiative meaning that you will be treated fairly with the utmost duty of care at all times.

4. Bigger picture

Mortgage brokers assess and evaluate every aspect of your financial situation. Not only does this ensure that you end up with the right mortgage for you, but it also means that they can develop a holistic package covering other aspects of your financial planning such as life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection in one go.

5. No time to lose

If, like most people, you’re incredibly busy, then juggling mortgage applications with your job and family commitments is probably something you could do without. By using a mortgage broker you can offload the burden of finding the right mortgage – and the associated admin – freeing you up to either a) focus on doing what you do best or b) spend time on anything but applying for a mortgage!

As the mortgage lending landscape continues to change and lenders become more careful about whom they lend to, why spend time doing something that mortgage brokers can handle for you

Whether you’re looking to secure a mortgage or simply want to remortgage, then contact the team at Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to find out how we can help you.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Mortgage rules have changed again, but don’t stress

Thursday, 20th July, 2017

Mortgage affordability has, once again, come under the spotlight following the Bank of England’s (BoE) decision to ‘tighten’ the UK’s mortgage lending criteria.

Essentially, the affordability test, or ‘stress test’, which those looking to apply for a mortgage need to undergo, is changing.

Until now, those applying for a mortgage had to prove that they could afford to make mortgage repayments of 3% above the BoE’s base rate. However, the new rules state that the 3% stress test now tests mortgage affordability on 3% above the lender’s standard variable rate (SVR).

By now, you’re probably thinking ‘will this make it harder for me to get a mortgage?’, and we’re pleased to say that, in the main, the answer is ‘no’. And here’s the reason why.

Affordability vs. unaffordability

This is similar to the idea of need vs. want. As is often the case, what we want isn’t necessarily what we need. Likewise, with the new rules (albeit reversed), those applying to get a mortgage may not want to have to pay a mortgage that is 3% more expensive than the SVR, but the majority can if they need to.

Of course, there will be a section of the public who, when faced with this test, may be unable to prove that they could afford the repayments, however professional advice from a mortgage broker will often help applicants reassess their financial situation with positive results.

However, there is another solution.

Don’t rethink, remortgage

As we covered in our last article, the often-overlooked remortgage is a way in which to avoid the SVR altogether. Simply by taking advantage of new mortgage deals you could maintain your same mortgage rate or, as is more often the case, improve on it.

So, rather than rethink in response to the new rules, simply think about remortgaging.

The team at Complete Mortgages always makes contact with its clients three to four months before they’re due to begin the SVR, to a) alert them to this fact and b) present them with new mortgage deals.

All good mortgage brokers should be doing this. If yours doesn’t, then you need to be asking them why. If you don’t use a mortgage broker, then maybe its time to look into finding one that can proactively ensure that you’re not missing a trick.

Back to the new mortgage stress test rules, then. Whilst the BoE has introduced tougher lending rules that stress test at 3% above the lender’s SVR, the reality is that if you proactively manage your mortgage you may never even have to face the SVR – let alone consider paying 3% above it.

For more in-depth information on what the new rules mean for you and how Complete Mortgages can guide you through the process, contact 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Don’t forget, we also specialise 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


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


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


Big changes for buy-to-let in 2017, but stress not

Wednesday, 11th January, 2017

The buy to let mortgage market is under fire once again.

Many buy to let landlords are still reeling from the changes announced by former Chancellor, George Osborne, which will see tax-deductible expenses reduced to 20% on a sliding scale from April 2017. And then there was the stamp-duty charge for second homes, which was introduced in April 2016.

However, when it comes to buy to let mortgages it seems that what might be regarded as ‘bad news’ for current and would-be landlords comes in threes.

Following the supervisory statement from the Central Bank’s Prudential Residential Authority on underwriting standards for buy to let mortgages, actually arranging a buy-to-let mortgage has now become more difficult.

Why? Because it has been deemed that there are too many buy to let mortgages in the market.

Now, applicants will have to undergo a ‘stress test’ that not only delves deeper into an applicant’s affordability levels, but also re-evaluates what affordable means.

Lenders will now be expected to assume a minimum borrower interest rate of 5.50% and potential interest rate rises will have to be considered for at least the first five years of the mortgage. Not only that, but landlords who own four or more mortgaged buy-to-let properties will need to submit income and mortgage details on each of them when they remortgage or purchase a new property.

As with most decisions that have the potential to have a significant impact on the property market, the rules will be phased in slowly and aren’t expected to come into effect until late 2017, however if you are a buy to let landlord looking to remortgage or thinking of applying for a buy to let mortgage then it’s probably worth considering your options sooner rather than later.

As a Guildford mortgage broker that specialises in buy-to-let mortgages and that has access to a comprehensive range of buy to let mortgage products, we are confident that we can offset some of the proposed changes by providing our clients access to a selection of products whereby the lender takes a more holistic approach.

For example, under the new rules, landlords with low rental yields may be thrown into the ‘unaffordable’ pile which, depending on the level of borrowing required, may jeopardise – if not scupper – their buy to let mortgage application. However, we have access to lenders who take into account personal income, too, which provides a much more balanced picture on what is and isn’t affordable.

Our advice is to get in touch with the Complete Mortgages team to find out how we can help navigate you through the buy to let mortgage application process and get you that step further to building your property portfolio – or, if you’re already a landlord, help you secure a mortgage that enables you to retain your position as a landlord.

Contact 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk for stress-free advice on what the new stress testing entails.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


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


Is it time to reassess your buy to let mortgage?

Wednesday, 5th August, 2015

There has been a great deal written about buy to let since the recent budget announcement, leaving many unclear as to what changes will be taking place and over what timescale.

The first thing to point out is that none of the changes announced by the Chancellor will be happening imminently. Instead, they will be introduced over a four-year period from April 2017. So, if you have a buy to let property there is plenty of time for you to consider your options.

At present, anyone buying a buy to let property can deduct a range of expenses from their rental income, including any buy to let mortgage interest. However under the new rules the amount landlords will be able to claim will be capped at the basic rate of 20%. This will particularly affect higher-rate taxpayers who are currently able to claim as much as 45% tax relief on their mortgage interest.

The changes will be phased in as follows:

2017-18

The tax deduction from property income will be restricted to 75% of finance costs, with the remaining 25% being available as a basic rate tax reduction.

2018-19

The finance costs deduction will amount to 50% with the remaining 50% given as a basic rate tax reduction.

2019-20

The split will amount to a 25% finance costs deduction and 75% given as a basic rate tax reduction.

2020-21

All financing costs incurred by a landlord will be given as a basic rate tax reduction.

Another area that will change relates to the ‘wear and tear allowance,’ which allows landlords who let out furnished properties to reduce the tax they pay by offsetting 10% of rent charged as an expense. Landlords are currently able to do this regardless of whether any actual improvements to the property have been made however under the new rules to be introduced from April 2016, landlords will only be able to get tax relief on costs they actually incur.

Whilst we’re advising landlords and prospective landlords not to worry, we do suggest that those with buy-to-let mortgages who are concerned about how these changes will affect them to seek mortgage advice as there are number of ways in which to mitigate any potential negative tax implications.

Remortgaging represents a viable solution to offset any shortfalls left as a result of the tax changes. And, as a mortgage broker with comprehensive access to a wide range of mortgage products, Complete Mortgages will make sure you have access to the best mortgage deals and the best mortgage advice.

Whether you’re considering remortgaging your buy to let mortgage or about to become a landlord for the first time, get in touch to find out how we can help on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


Is it time for you to think about a remortgage?

Thursday, 23rd July, 2015
best mortgage rates

Mortgage rates are at an all time low, but it isn’t just first time buyers that can benefit from the offers currently available on the market.

Homeowners at every stage of ownership, from first time buyers through to buy to let investors, can benefit from these lower rates, too, yet many people rarely consider remortgaging or are unaware of the benefits of doing so.

Simply put, remortgaging means moving your mortgage from one mortgage provider to another without necessarily moving home. Whilst it isn’t an option we would recommend to everyone it’s certainly one to consider and we can talk you through the options.

As an independent mortgage broker with whole of market knowledge, Complete Mortgages will work with you to make sure you get the best mortgage deal and the best mortgage advice – whether you’re a first time buyer looking for your first mortgage or you’re looking into remortgaging.

There seems to be a misconception that remortgaging is a process that homeowners undergo when wanting to free up equity in their property. This simply isn’t the case. Similar to changing to the energy provider with the most competitive tariffs, remortgaging involves switching to the lender with the most competitive mortgage deals.

The days of staying with one lender for the duration of a mortgage are over. Homeowners are now savvier when it comes to choosing how they pay back their loan. And who can blame them when the monthly savings can be in the region of hundreds of pounds.

Remortgaging offers a range of benefits, particularly if you are on a Standard Variable Rate mortgage (SVR) and your introductory mortgage rate is about to come to and end (when you’ll more often than not be automatically put on a higher rate).

According to research undertaken by Virgin Money, remortgaging to a 1.59% 2-year fixed rate mortgage could save you £417 a month if you are looking to borrow £250,000. That’s an annual saving of £5,005.

The good news is that there’s no need to wait until your current mortgage deal comes to an end to think about remortgaging. In some cases it will benefit you to switch mid-way through your current mortgage term. Either way, we will assess your situation, establish the best option for you and ensure that your decision will generate an overall saving. More importantly, we’ll take on all the administration and the legwork so that you don’t have to.

By remortgaging and switching to a better deal you might be able to pay off your mortgage sooner, use the savings to invest in improving your property or even free up enough funds to arrange a buy to let mortgage and purchase an investment property.

Are you ready to remortgage? If so, get in touch and find out how we can take the strain whilst saving you money on a monthly basis on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Could now be the time to remortgage?

Thursday, 21st March, 2013

Moving your mortgage could result in saving you money.  We have seen a number of lenders reducing their mortgage interest rates recently for both fixed and tracker products, many of which are now offering rates lower than most lenders’ standard variable rates (SVR).

This means if you are currently on an SVR mortgage, now is a great time to consider remortgaging to another lender or transferring your mortgage with the same lender.

Last year we saw a number of lenders also increasing their standard variable rate (SVR), meaning your monthly mortgage payments would increase if you are a borrower on SVR with these lenders.

Despite the Bank of England Base Rate staying at an all-time low, we have seen lenders SVR increase up to 5.99%* and we may see more increases later this year.

It is always a good idea to keep your mortgage under review to see if you are on the best rate for your circumstances.  There are many options currently on the market, including product transfers with your existing lender.  These types of offer can often mean there are no up front fees to pay.

Here at Complete Mortgages in Guildford, Surrey we can take the hassle out of remortgaging and can help find the best deal for you. We are able to provide a full advice service and guide you through all the options available.  There are many things to take into consideration when taking out a mortgage such as general insurance and protection.

Time to remortgage? Get in touch today on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. 

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

We typically charge a fee of £299.00 upon application.

*5.99% – current SVR for Leeds Building Society