Coronavirus and mortgages – the facts

Friday, 27th March, 2020
Coronavirus and mortgages

As if all the current panic around Coronavirus wasn’t enough, it seems that a load more has been created in the wake of government’s decision to put the property market on ice by stopping estate agents from marketing new properties and preventing viewings for those already on sale.

If you’re about to apply for a mortgage, in the process of applying for a mortgage or are waiting for a mortgage offer, then you might be concerned.

However, whilst we’re very closely related, estate agents and mortgage brokers are from different families. So much so, in fact, that issues directly impacting estate agents might not necessarily impact mortgage brokers to the same degree, and vice versa.

The currently unfolding Coronavirus property panic is a good example.

Whilst estate agents may be putting viewings on hold for the time being, mortgage brokers such as Complete Mortgages are very much in ‘business as usual’ mode. Not only that, but there’s no need to be overly concerned – and here’s why.

1. Mortgage lenders are still lending

There are countless mortgage applications working their way through the financial institutions at any given time. These need to be effectively managed and processed. Whilst some lenders have reduced application volumes in alignment with their inability to value properties, the wheels of the mortgage sector are still turning. To make the point clear, we’re still working with lenders that are offering mortgages at normal loan to value levels – albeit, where you are looking to borrow above 85% loan to value, then the chances are that there will be a delay with the property valuation.

2. Valuations are being delayed, not dismissed

If you’ve applied for a mortgage and are awaiting a valuation, then it will be on hold until things return to normal. However, just remember that everyone is in the same boat, so you’re not at a disadvantage.

3. Extended mortgage offers are now the norm

Already received an offer, but not yet exchanged? Don’t panic, it’s highly likely that your lender will extend the mortgage offer by up to three months to offset any fallout from Covid-19. This has effectively been rubber-stamped following a joint statement supporting the move by UK Finance and the Building Societies Association, too. These are exceptional times and everyone – even the lender – is doing their best to adapt to them.

4. Get ahead of the curve

And no, we don’t mean the much-debated Coronavirus curve. Many people would have been ready to apply for a mortgage before Coronavirus hit. There will also be many people who have decided to move forward with buying a house during the crisis. When balance has been restored, pent-up demand for mortgages will result in a huge influx of applications.

Whilst property viewings might be on hold, your mortgage application needn’t be. Our view is take advantage of a moving mortgage market now and get your application underway so that when the dust has settled, you don’t have to compete with other people frantically looking to get a post-Coronavirus mortgage deal.

Complete Mortgages is a Guildford mortgage broker that specialises in a wide range of mortgage products, from first time buyer mortgages and buy to let mortgages to adverse credit mortgages and equity release. Whether you have general Coronavirus mortgage concerns or are ready to apply for a mortgage, contact the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Make peace not mortgage war

Tuesday, 17th December, 2019
mortgage war

Christmas is a time for family, forgiveness and festive cheer.

It’s certainly not a time for war – or, at least, ‘mortgage wars’ – which is what’s being reported in one national newspaper (clue: the one that’s most likely to run a headline with the words ‘mortgage’ and ‘war’ in the same sentence).

Although, in reality, it’s not a war but simple economics that is seeing competition amongst high street mortgage lenders increase, which, in turn, is seeing the cost of fixed rate mortgages decrease.

In fact, fixed rate mortgage rates covering five-year fixed rate mortgage deals, ten-year fixed rate mortgage deals and even fifteen-year fixed rate mortgages are at their lowest level on record, with two-year fixed rate mortgages nudging towards record lows, too.

With Christmas only around the corner we expect that most of you will be winding down and preparing for the festive period. However, if you are in a position to take advantage of the cheap mortgage deals currently available UK-wide, our advice would be to look at our mortgage deal search tool. Not only will you be able to get an idea of just how competitive mortgages are right now, but you’ll also be able to work out your monthly mortgage payments, too.

As a mortgage broker in Guildford with access to a competitive portfolio of mortgage products from a wide panel of lenders, we can quickly (and efficiently) pinpoint a mortgage that works for you.

And whilst our mortgage deal search tool is a great way in which to get a good sense of what products are out there right now, the best way of getting up to date mortgage advice is to contact the Complete Mortgages team direct on 01483 238280 or email us at info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to arrange a mortgage consultation.

Failing that, and if finding a new mortgage before Christmas is just too much of an ask, then simply kick back, enjoy the holiday period and get in touch in the New Year.

Complete Mortgages offers a wide range of specialist mortgages, from first time buyer mortgages and buy to let mortgages, to adverse credit mortgages and equity release mortgages. Contact us on 01483 238280 for more information.


Time to get a fixed rate mortgage before the general election?

Monday, 2nd December, 2019
mortgage rates

This article really couldn’t be timelier.

It also follows on nicely from my recent article on remortgaging, which encouraged homeowners to take advantage of the great mortgage deals currently on the market and consider getting a remortgage deal in place – even if it’s not strictly necessary – now just in case things take a turn for the worse in 2020.  After all, any offer made by a lender now is valid for six months and a lot could happen between now and then.

In fact, the theme of this piece is almost the same as that article in as much as it broadly covers the same topic – getting a cheap mortgage – however it does so in a more specific way, based on a more pressing event: the general election.

The last piece covered Brexit mortgage uncertainty and any possible interest rate rises in 2020. This piece tackles how the general election may affect mortgage rates, particularly given how they’re currently at rock bottom prices.

Only last week, The Sun covered how those who get a five-year fixed rate mortgage before the election could save themselves £4,350 a year. Similarly, Martin Lewis has highlighted how the UK’s political and economic uncertainty has translated into an opportunity for mortgage holders and is encouraging homeowners to look at good mortgage deals now to avoid potentially becoming vulnerable if what happens after the 12 December has a negative impact on mortgages.

Whether you’re new to the housing market and want to apply for a first time buyer mortgage, or you know your current mortgage deal is due to end, my advice is that you contact us to explore your mortgage options, see if there’s an opportunity for you to get a better mortgage deal and make sure that everything’s in place – namely a mortgage offer – before election day.

As a large and growing Guildford mortgage broker with a comprehensive panel of lenders, we not only have access to the best UK mortgage deals, but we also have a team large enough to process your application quickly, which is exactly what you need if you want to take advantage of what may, in hindsight, turn out to be the calm before the storm.

Complete Mortgages also has access to the most competitive specialist mortgages including commercial mortgages, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages and mortgages for contractors.


Revisit the remortgage (even if you don’t quite need to)

Thursday, 28th November, 2019

Here’s the thing. When it comes to remortgaging, we pride ourselves on providing a bulletproof service.

You can read more about our approach to remortgage applications via our article entitled ‘When is the right time to remortgage?’, but to summarise, if you’re a Complete Mortgages customer you will NEVER need to worry about falling onto the standard variable rate mortgage as we will never let it happen.

However, our award-winning mortgage broker services aside, there is currently one good reason to be considering your remortgaging options even before we remind you to consider them.

As I write this, remortgage rates are low. Incredibly low, in fact. And if you take into account just how competitive remortgage rates are right now combined with the fact that lenders’ mortgage offers typically last for six months, then it means that you could potentially lock in a great mortgage deal now so that it’s all in place for when your current mortgage does end.

For example, if you secured a low cost mortgage deal now, at the end of November 2019, it could be redeemable up until the end of May 2020. There would be no pressure from the lender to proceed with the deal from now until the offer expires, but it would cushion you against factors out of everyone’s control such as any negative Brexit fallout and interest rate rises, should there be any in the next six months.

Of course, we can’t predict what may or may not happen in 2020. However, as a Guildford mortgage broker, we’re just offering food for thought and highlighting a simple way in which you can protect yourself from any future rising costs.

After all, when mortgage rates become so low, it gets to the point whereby there’s only one way they can go. By getting a mortgage offer based on today’s rates, you’re safeguarding yourself against the unpredictability of tomorrow. And, if they go down even further between now and when you’re due to remortgage, then you simply apply for another deal.

Looking to hedge your bets when it comes to remortgaging? If so, contact the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to discuss your options. Remember, we also offer a range of specialist mortgages including buy to let mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages, mortgages for teachers and adverse credit mortgages.


Guide to bridging loans

Thursday, 24th October, 2019
guide to bridging loans

Do you remember the heady days (and they weren’t that long ago) when a property would be sold within minutes of going on sale?

In some cases, the buyer hadn’t even seen the property – they just knew it would be a good investment, or they simply knew they had to stake their claim in order to be in with a chance to move and avoid upsetting their buyer by holding up the chain.

In both cases, applying for a bridging loan may have been essential in order to buy one property whilst still owning another.

This heated rush to buy property has cooled somewhat, arguably down to another word beginning with ‘b’, however the bridging loan (and an understanding of how to get a bridging loan) is still important.

So that you’re up to speed when it comes to short-term loans, here is a Complete Mortgages bridging loan briefing.

1. What is a bridging loan?

Let’s start with the basics. A bridging loan provides short-term finance so that you can, amongst other things, either a) fund the purchase of another property before the one you currently own has sold, or b) fund building works prior to accessing the cash via a traditional mortgage. A bridging loan will typically run for up to 12 months, although longer term products are available on the market.

2. What’s the difference between a bridging loan and a commercial mortgage?

Bridging loans are generally required for as little as a matter of months, weeks or even days. Commercial mortgages, on the other hand, are long-term loans taken by businesses looking to buy property.

3. Does that mean I can only get a bridging loan for residential property?

No. Bridging loans can be used to fund both residential and commercial properties – but only on a short-term basis. It’s simply used as an interim measure and a way in which to get access to finance when you really need it.

4. What are the restrictions on bridging loans?

Bridging loans are a flexible way in which to borrow money and can used to fund all types of property. They’re also a lot less restrictive than traditional loans and can even be used to fund self-build projects until a standard mortgage is agreed.

5. Does that mean that they’re easier to get?

In many ways, yes. If you’re a business applying for a bridging loan then the process is unregulated, which means the bridging loan application process is very quick. However, if you’re a homeowner looking to bridge the gap to your next property, then the lender will assess your income and outgoings as part of the application. As a Guildford bridging loan specialist, we can guide you through this process.

6. What about the monthly repayments?

Bridging loans don’t typically require monthly repayments as the cost is generally rolled up into the loan. However, as you might expect with a short-term loan that provides this degree of flexibility, the rates are higher than typical mortgages. The team at Complete Mortgages can provide you with a selection of products and discuss their suitability with you during the bridging loan application stage.

7. What are the next steps?

If you’re interested in applying for a bridging loan then contact a member of the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

As a Guildford mortgage broker we also handle other specialist mortgages such as adverse credit mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages and mortgages for teachers, too.

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


How to get a cheap mortgage

Wednesday, 7th August, 2019

This isn’t a cheat. Nor does it involve any sneakiness or withholding of information on your part when it comes to applying for a mortgage. And yes, it’s legal!

In fact, it’s so above board that you may even kick yourself and wonder why you haven’t done anything about it before.

Note: if you’re an existing Complete Mortgages customer then this doesn’t apply to you as, for reasons you’ll understand if you read on, we wouldn’t have let this happen to you in the first place.

According to Yorkshire Building Society, more than £26bn worth of mortgage deals are due to mature in October. Simply put, this means that £26bn worth of mortgages are about to slip on to the more expensive standard variable rate (SVR).

It’s a bit like energy providers or telecoms firms; when you’re coming up to the end of your contract you can either renew on a more cost-efficient deal – or start paying more.

The building society’s analysis further reveals that by avoiding the ‘default mortgage setting’ of the SVR through remortgaging, homeowners could be saving themselves up to £200 a month. That’s £2,400 a year!

If you’re not currently a Complete Mortgages customer but are one of the many UK homeowners whose mortgage is about to become more expensive, then our advice is that you start looking into remortgaging as soon as possible. Of course, as an award-winning Guildford mortgage adviser, then we recommend you call us on 01483 238230 to kick start the remortgage process.

Either way, failing to change mortgage deal – or even mortgage lender – if you’re about to fall onto the SVR could end up costing you a pretty penny.

As to why it doesn’t apply to our customers, we contact each and every single one of them months before their mortgage deal is due to end – regardless of whether that’s in October or not.

We have a team of people whose role it is to make sure that not a single client falls onto the SVR. The reason we do this is because being a good mortgage broker isn’t just about making sure the customer gets the best mortgage available to them, but also that they save as much money as possible along the way.

Yes, remortgaging takes a bit of time and legwork (although a mortgage broker worth its salt should gladly handle this for you), but it isn’t particularly difficult. And as the price of not doing it can be as much as £2,400 a year, then why wouldn’t you explore your options.

If you’re not currently a Complete Mortgages customer and think that you might need to remortgage in the not too distant future, then contact the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

If you are already a customer, then you needn’t do anything at all. If your remortgaging needs are already catered for then remember that we also specialise in first time buyer mortgages, buy to let mortgages, adverse credit mortgages and equity release mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Are high LTV mortgages good or bad?

Friday, 28th June, 2019
high ltv mortgage

In many ways, the mortgage market is similar to the fashion industry.

Just as denim jackets seem to make a comeback every decade or so, high loan to value (LTV) mortgages seem to be widely available once again.

For those of you who may not remember the impact of the financial crash of 2007/8, such as young first time buyer mortgage hunters, then I’ll just say that it was a very challenging time and one that went from lenders offering very high LTV mortgages to lending almost nothing at all.

However, high LTV mortgages are on the rise and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Prudential Regulation Authority, which has raised concerns about lenders’ willingness to increase their risk in order to maintain profit margins.

For example, Moneyfacts recently reported that the average two-year fixed-rate at 95% LTV has fallen from 5.33% to 3.25% over the past five years. Similarly, at 60% LTV, average two-year rates have fallen from 2.96% to 1.90%, making both 90% and 60% LTV mortgages more accessible.

As the debate opens up around ‘risky’ high LTV mortgages, here’s Complete Mortgages’ view.

1. Apples and pears

Lenders often talk of income multiples in order to ascertain a mortgage applicant’s affordability threshold – and the current debate around the acceptability of lending six times income is gathering momentum. However, given how low the Bank of England base rate currently is, then a multiple of six times income based on today’s available mortgage rates requires lower monthly mortgage payments than five times income based on the interest rates prior to last decade’s financial crash.

2. Helping the next generation of homeowners

Getting on the property ladder has become increasingly difficult. Property values have outstripped salaries, the result of which has priced out young people from getting a first time buyer mortgage. High LTV mortgages, which typically only require a 5 – 10% deposit, help first time buyers become homeowners, which is important.

3. Current earnings don’t necessarily reflect future earnings

First time buyers, who are relying on buying a property with only a 5 – 10% deposit, may have to go down the high LTV mortgage route as their earnings may be small in relation to the sum they’re looking to borrow. However, it doesn’t take young professionals long to move up the career ladder and increase their salaries, thus reducing their level of mortgage risk by default.

4. Post-crash regulation

Despite what is being reported in the news, structures imposed by regulatory bodies, such as the Mortgage Market Review, make it very difficult for mortgages to be handed out to those who are unable to afford the repayments.

High LTV mortgages may have increased, but so too have the number of variables and considerations that mortgage applicants are now assessed on. It is, of course, important to note that the Bank of England base rate is very low and could change at any time, however any changes to interest rates are quickly integrated within lenders’ affordability tests.

If you’re about to apply for a mortgage, looking for a professional mortgage adviser in Guildford or think you need to apply for a high LTV mortgage but are concerned by the potential risks, then contact the team at Complete Mortgages, who can assess your affordability levels prior to your mortgage application going to the lender.

We help our clients secure high LTV mortgages, buy to let mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages, equity release mortgages and adverse credit mortgages.  Contact 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk for more information.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


More than just a Guildford mortgage broker

Thursday, 20th June, 2019

Don’t you just hate it when a company, say for instance a sweet shop, has a slogan that reads ‘more than just sweets’. Or a stationer that claims to offer ‘more than just stationery’. What does it even mean? And what more would you want from a stationer other than stationery?

Those who share my sentiments may well have rolled their eyes at reading the headline for this article. However, there is a reason for it.

It was recently reported that a teacher was refused a mortgage on the basis that she had unknowingly been issued a County Court Judgement (CCJ) for a parking ticket she was advised had been cancelled. Unfortunately, what turned out to be a mistake left a negative imprint on the teacher’s credit rating and resulted in her being unable to get a mortgage.

As a mortgage broker in Guildford – and a specialist mortgage broker for teachers – I know that this could have been avoided. And this is where my point about being ‘more than just a mortgage broker’ comes in.

There are many reasons to use a mortgage broker over and above simply managing the mortgage application process. Making sure the right paperwork is ready at the right time is, of course, essential. However, there really is more to being a mortgage broker than administrative duties. It’s the advice, mortgage product navigation and recommendations, as well as the professional mortgage guidance that really adds value when it comes to using a mortgage broker.

Had Complete Mortgages encountered a mortgage applicant with a CCJ for a small amount, we would have presented it to a lender for what it was rather than letting it become a barrier. Failing that, we would have made the client aware of the options available under the adverse mortgage range – mortgages available to those with poor credit ratings.

Of course, in this case, the teacher wasn’t aware of the CCJ to begin with. However, there are many people who are aware of their credit misdemeanours and adopt a ‘head in the sand’ approach to getting a mortgage.

Despite what people may think, lenders are keen to lend money. Whilst CCJs can represent a problem, particularly if they relate to considerable amounts, smaller CCJs that are nothing more than a ‘blip’ in an applicant’s otherwise unblemished credit report can be justified over a conversation between broker and lender.

A good mortgage broker – that’s one that does have regular dialogue with lenders – sits closer to those who make lending decisions than mortgage applicants. So, why not let the mortgage broker do the talking on your behalf.

Applying for a mortgage yourself can be a bit like cutting your own hair; the result might turn out okay, but it probably won’t reflect the work of a professional, who is paid to get it right first time.

So, if you’re about to apply for a mortgage and have a CCJ, or if you’re concerned about your credit rating, then rather than throw caution to the wind and hope it turns out okay, apply for a mortgage in confidence by going through a mortgage broker.

We are specialists in first time buyer mortgages, adverse credit mortgages and mortgage for teachers. We also have a high customer satisfaction rating, so get it right fist time by contacting the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Mortgage approvals go from strength to strength

Monday, 17th June, 2019
guildford mortgage broker

If you’re about to apply for a mortgage, then you’ll no doubt be buoyed by the news that the number of mortgage approvals for house purchases in the UK reached a two-year high last month.

In fact, mortgage approvals – according to a recent survey by UK Finance – were up for the sixth month in a row and up 5.4% year-on-year.

In April, a total of 44,034 mortgage approvals were granted, which highlights that despite political uncertainty, lenders are still lending and homeowners are still looking for their next property.

It’s also worth pointing out that levels of remortgaging (a service that Complete Mortgages is increasingly becoming renowned for) rose 5% to 31,152 between March and April and were 11% higher year-on-year.

As a Guildford mortgage broker – albeit one with a national customer base – we don’t have a full nationwide picture, however, we have seen the number of Guildford mortgages being granted since January significantly increase.

Whilst there are a number of variables that could be behind the rise – not least the recent talk around a potential interest rate rise, which may have played a part in getting homeowners to refocus on getting a good mortgage deal – the good news is that there are a number of fantastic mortgage deals available to homeowners right now.

Whether you’re looking for a cheap first time buyer mortgage or a competitive buy to let mortgage, the mortgage market is strong. However, with a competitive mortgage landscape comes a mortgage minefield that is best handled by a trusted mortgage broker that is well versed at navigating it.

Thankfully, Complete Mortgages is exactly that.

And, as a specialist mortgage broker (or a specialist mortgage specialist), we not only handle standard mortgage applications but also adverse credit mortgages, commercial buy to let mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages and even mortgages for teachers, too.

We also have a high customer satisfaction rating, so if you’re looking to take advantage of a strong mortgage market and apply for a mortgage, contact the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Getting a mortgage with bad credit

Saturday, 9th March, 2019

Do you remember the heady days of pre-2007; a time (for a decade or so leading up to the ‘credit crunch’) when there was unfettered access to mortgages and mortgages were granted on the basis of what the applicant stated they earned?

I do, as it was only 2006 when I launched Complete Mortgages as a mortgage broker in Guildford, so I was able to witness the pre-crunch and post-crunch scenarios in a very short space of time.

Pre-2007, those who wanted to buy into homeownership could do so with relative ease. Post-2007, mortgage lending dried up and a more forensic approach was taken when it came to analysing the affordability levels of those applying for a mortgage. So much so, in fact, that adverse credit mortgages, formerly known as sub-prime mortgages, all but dried up completely.

However, after mortgage lending reform, the introduction of tighter legislation and a deeper understanding of how to avoid ending up in a similar situation again, the subprime mortgage is no longer frowned upon. In fact, adverse credit mortgages have quickly become a mainstay amongst mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers UK-wide.

Importantly, those applying for an adverse credit mortgage will need to be able to fully evidence their earnings. The days of self-certification mortgages really are over. Instead, adverse credit mortgages have been designed to help the following groups of people:

1.Those with a history of defaulting on payments

It’s no secret that failing to pay your bills on time is generally frowned upon. However, as we all know, it’s very easy to do. Overlooking payment dates is a common occurrence for many – but should they really be locked out of home ownership because of it.

2. Those who have had County Court Judgments (CCJs)

A CCJ is a type of court order that can be filed against those who owe money yet have failed to pay it back. If you receive a CCJ but fail to pay the amount stated back within 30 days, it is entered on your credit record for six years and is regarded as a serious black mark.

3. Those who have arranged Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs)

Whilst not quite bankruptcy, it is a form of insolvency that’s based on a formal, legally binding agreement to pay off your debts over a period of time. As the courts and the creditors have agreed it, you have to stick to it.

4. Those who have declared themselves bankrupt

The big ‘B’. This one is generally viewed as the end of the line and taken very seriously by mortgage lenders. After all, if someone has been declared bankrupt then they are often viewed as high risk.

5. Those with a thin credit file

If you are new to borrowing – regardless of your age – then there can be little (or zero) history available to enable lenders to build up an accurate financial picture of those looking to borrow. This factor is assessed on a case-by-case basis, but it can have a negative impact on your ability to apply for a mortgage.

If you are hoping to get a mortgage but fall under one of the five areas above, then the good news is that all is not lost. However, you may have to consider applying for a subprime mortgage.

Our team of adverse credit mortgage specialists are on hand to discuss any concerns you may have and help you overcome any mortgage obstacles you’re currently facing. Simply contact us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. We can also help with standard mortgages, buy to let mortgages, mortgages for self employed people and commercial mortgages, too.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages