Stamp duty cut could save you £15,000

Thursday, 9th July, 2020

The last few months have been turbulent, to say the least. And if you’re anything like me, then you’ve probably lost track of the countless bailouts, measures and financial packages that have been announced in order to get the UK’s economy back on track.

However, one measure that was announced yesterday by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of the Summer Statement is likely to stick firmly in the mind, particularly with those looking to apply for a mortgage and move home: the cut to stamp duty.

Prior to the announcement, stamp duty on the purchase of a main residence cost £1,500 on properties valued at £200,000; £5,000 on properties valued at £300,000; £10,000 on properties valued at £400,000, and £15,000 on properties valued at £500,000.

As of 8 July, stamp duty no longer applies to residential properties with a value up to £500,000 * – a move that is thought to affect up to 90% of UK homeowners. Not only that, but properties over £500,000 will also attract a much lower level of stamp duty, too.

It’s important to remember that this isn’t something that will stay around forever. In fact, it’s a stamp duty holiday – and one that will only last until 31 March 2021. The announcement, of course, has been designed to get the economy (and homeowners) moving, and with rates so attractively low – or non-existent in the case of purchases up to £500,000 – Complete Mortgages expects there to be a flurry of activity over the coming months.

It’s also important to note that, in real terms, the stamp duty holiday actually increases a homeowner’s purchasing power by effectively boosting their deposit. For example, if you’re looking to move home and your budget’s £500,000, then the £15,000 saved in tax can be used to increase the amount you’re putting down on the property. Rather than pay 3% in tax, you can increase your deposit by 3% – a double win that will be particularly welcomed by those looking for high loan to value mortgages.

Ironically, as a Guildford mortgage broker that has experienced its busiest June ever, we haven’t seen anything but a flurry of activity during the lockdown period. Still, we applaud the Chancellor’s bold move and we expect those applying for a mortgage in the UK will be equally appreciative.

So, the countdown is on. Will you take advantage of it?

UK homeowners now have nine months to benefit from the stamp duty holiday and reduce their property tax bill. If you’re looking to get a mortgage over the coming months, Complete Mortgages can help. Contact us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to begin your mortgage application.

* the 3% higher rate for purchases of additional dwellings (including buy to lets) applies on top of revised standard rates above for the period 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021.


Getting a mortgage after lockdown

Tuesday, 26th May, 2020
getting a mortgage after lockdown

The last few articles have covered getting a mortgage during lockdown (and demonstrated that despite this strange time, you can still apply for a mortgage from the comfort of your home using our video mortgage broker service).

So, looking ahead to life after lockdown, we thought we’d help you get ready when it comes to applying for a mortgage – in person!

Although we’re a Guildford mortgage broker we have a national base of customers, many of whom have always preferred to conduct their mortgage application remotely. However, whether you’re applying for a mortgage from afar, or seeing our team of award-winning Guildford mortgage brokers in the flesh, you still need the same documentation in order to get the process moving.

If you’re someone who’s getting a mortgage after COVID-19 has cleared, then here’s a mortgage application checklist that will help you to get organised and ensure that your application goes as smoothly as possible. If you plan to take advantage of our mortgage advice over video and apply for a mortgage during lockdown anyway, then this will still be a useful guide.

What’s even more useful is that we’ve broken it down into two parts: one for employed mortgage applicants and the other for self-employed mortgage applicants.

Essential mortgage documentation if you’re employed

  1. Passport. Make sure you have one – and that it’s valid.
  2. Proof of address dated within the last 3 months. Examples include utility bills, bank statements or credit card statements.
  3. Proof of deposit. You need to be able to clearly demonstrate how you intend to fund the deposit using bank or savings account statements that go as far back as 6 months.  If your deposit originates from sources other than savings (for example – a gift from a relative), we will need appropriate evidence of this.
  4. Last 3 months’ bank statements for your main account(s).  These should show all transactions including salary credits and bills being paid (we can accept internet statements as long as they include your name and account number).
  5. Last 3 months’ payslips (13 weeks if paid weekly).
  6. Last 2 P60’s
  7. Proof of bonuses for the past 2 years. If you have received bonuses then this will need to be clear on the payslips.

Essential mortgage documentation if you’re self-employed

  1. Passport. Make sure you have one – and that it’s valid.
  2. Proof of address dated within the last 3 months. Examples include utility bills, bank statements or credit card statements.
  3. Proof of deposit. You need to be able to clearly demonstrate how you intend to fund the deposit using bank or savings account statements that go as far back as 6 months.  If your deposit originates from sources other than savings (for example – a gift from a relative), we will need appropriate evidence of this.
  4. Last 3 months’ bank statements for your main account(s).  These should show all transactions including salary credits and bills being paid (we can accept internet statements as long as they include your name and account number).
  5. Online Tax Calculation and HMRC Tax Year Overview.  We will typically need these for the last 2-3 tax years.
  6. Signed limited company accounts for the last 3 years (Limited Company directors/shareholders only)
  7. Current and previous contract plus CV (contractors only)

Please remember that you can still apply for a mortgage with Complete Mortgages using the telephone, video technology and digital documentation. Simply call us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to arrange a virtual appointment.  But if you’d rather wait, then at least you have some time to pull everything together.

Stay safe in the meantime.

By Mark Finnegan at Complete Mortgages


Property market to restart as valuations get green light

Wednesday, 13th May, 2020
guildford mortgage broker

Physical property valuations are set to resume following the UK government’s decision to begin easing off lockdown conditions and boost economic activity.

The decision, which will see home visits permitted where digital solutions cannot be found – and within the parameters of social distancing guidelines – signals the reawakening of the property market.

The move comes as a number of prominent UK lenders announce that they will resume lending activity across residential and buy-to-let products.

Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages, comments: “UK businesses have handled lockdown exceptionally well and developed a number of innovative strategies to continue life as routinely as is possible given the circumstances. However, COVID-19 looks set to have a long-term impact and on that basis, it’s important that we look to find ways in which we can protect the property market and the UK economy as a whole. Reinstating physical valuations will expedite lending, get the property market moving and lessen the inertia that has started to affect homeowners throughout the UK.”

Complete Mortgages, a Guildford mortgage broker, has launched a series of COVID-19 mortgage initiatives to ensure business continuity when it comes to helping those looking to apply for a mortgage, including offering mortgage advice over video.

“We fully intend to limit face to face contact wherever possible until a clear end is in sight”, concludes Mark. “However, the property market is a key economic driver. If physical property valuations can take place in a way that’s safe for surveyors and homeowners, then it will undoubtedly inject life into the sector and ultimately give the local and national economies a much-needed boost.”

Virtual mortgage broker appointments can be arranged with Complete Mortgages by calling 01483 238280 or emailing info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


From office-less to paperless, this virtual mortgage broker is in full swing

Sunday, 3rd May, 2020
virtual mortgage broker

You may know by now that Complete Mortgages is currently a Guildford mortgage broker with a twist; the twist being that our team of Guildford mortgage experts is not, in fact, based in Guildford at all, as COVID-19 measures mean that they – much like the majority of the UK workforce – are working from home.

In fact, given the various locations of our team at the moment, I guess it now makes us a Surrey mortgage broker. Irrespective, we’ve taken another step to further eradicate our physical footprint* – this time by doing away with paper, too.

Yes, Complete Mortgages has made Eversign – the e-signature technology platform that allows people to sign, act on and manage agreements from anywhere in the world and without relying on someone to physically sign a single sheet of paper – part of our business.

We’ve been thinking of implementing this for some time. After all, it makes applying for a mortgage with a mortgage broker even quicker; even less of our clients’ time is wasted by either waiting for – and then sending back – envelopes containing important mortgage documents, and there’s no pressure to come into our offices (in ‘normal’ times, that is) to sign anything.

Furthermore, it’s a sustainable way of doing business – something that we’re looking to improve on all the time.

However, the current pandemic has undoubtedly made us refocus on Eversign for its ability to help facilitate quick and easy mortgage applications during COVID-19.

So, not only do our clients now have the ability to arrange a video mortgage broker consultation with any member of the team at a time and day that suits them (and using their preferred video platform), but they can also finalise the paperwork in a secure and immediate manner, too.

COVID-19 is understandably weighing heavy on people’s minds at the moment, but our advice is don’t let it stop you from doing everything, particularly as technology means that you really don’t need to let it – certainly when it comes to getting a mortgage, anyway.

*Note: we would, in fact, prefer to be in our offices right now but we can’t, so we’re making the best of the situation in order to continue helping our clients apply for a mortgage

Apply for a mortgage with our team of Guildford mortgage advisers any time – and from anywhere. Simply call us on 01483 238280 or email sam@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Sam Man at Complete Mortgages


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


Cheap mortgages and flat property growth

Monday, 27th January, 2020
cheap mortgages

You’ll be pleased to know that despite the ominous title, this article is not a dreary take on the UK’s bleak property outlook. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

According to Nationwide, weak property price growth in 2019 coupled with rising wages and employment played a driving factor in helping first time buyers get a mortgage. In fact, in the 12 months to October 2019, 354,400 got a foot on the property ladder – more than double the lows of 2009.

As a Guildford mortgage broker, the team at Complete Mortgages believes that there is also a third factor at play: the ability to get a cheap mortgage.

We covered this in a recent article about remortgaging, which touched on the number of great mortgage deals currently on the market. However, we didn’t examine cheap mortgage deals against the backdrop of flat property prices, so let’s do that now.

1. Now is the time to apply for a cheap mortgage

Huge competition amongst mortgage lenders is driving down mortgage rates. But just remember: nothing lasts forever. Maybe you’re a first time buyer searching for a first time buyer mortgage. Or maybe you’re simply ready to upsize. Either way, mortgages don’t come much cheaper than what they are right now, so if you’re ready to arrange a mortgage, then now is the time to do it.

2. Cheap mortgages + flat property price growth = a good deal

Take point one and add the fact that property prices are not currently skyrocketing, and you might find that you have more purchasing power than you thought (or certainly more than you did a couple of years ago). However, the ‘nothing lasts forever’ point stands here, too, as the same Nationwide survey stated how prices moved up 0.1% in December. Now, if they continue to move up then this is, effectively, eroding the value of your mortgage deposit.

3. Don’t hang around

We’ve covered how now’s the time to take advantage of the best mortgage deals. We’ve also looked at this in tandem with flat lining property prices, which may not be flat lining for long. And let’s not forget that the ambiguity around Brexit, which has been instrumental in the stalling of property price growth, seems to be over. Finally then, with employment and wage growth, you might want to ask yourself whether or not interest rate rises will follow. In which case, the three things currently working in your favour may switch to become the three things that ultimately work against you.

We can’t predict what is going to happen with property prices, employment growth and interest rates – and this article certainly doesn’t represent any advice on our part – however, they are certainly three points to consider if you’re contemplating getting a mortgage in 2020.

Ready to apply for a mortgage and in need of good mortgage advice? Look no further as our team of Guildford mortgage advisers will be able to help guide you through the process and make getting a mortgage as seamless as possible. Call us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


Guildford mortgage broker launches mobile mortgage service

Friday, 11th October, 2019
mortgages@work

Complete Mortgages, the award-winning mortgage broker in Guildford, has launched Mortgages@Work – a mobile mortgage brokerage service that visits workplaces to help those unable to apply for a mortgage, or who keep putting it off, due to pressures associated with juggling work and home life.

Mortgages@Work will see the Surrey mortgage broker send a team of mortgage specialists, either at the request of the employer or employee, to deliver free mortgage consultations on a one-to-one basis, each lasting 20-30 minutes. Complete Mortgages will also waive the broker fee for those borrowing over £200,000.

Suitable for anyone buying their first home, those coming to the end of their term and looking to remortgage, or homeowners planning on making home improvements, Mortgages@Work has been designed to prevent work from getting in the way when it comes to homeownership.

On launching the new service, Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages, comments: “Finding the time to apply for a mortgage can be hard, particularly for families where both parents work or those in high pressure jobs who find it difficult to leave the office. Whether you’re an employee hoping to get your first foot on the property ladder or an employer looking to offer this service to your team, we will send our award-winning mortgage brokers to your place of work at a time that suits.”

A minimum of four broker appointments is required before Complete Mortgages will commit to a workplace visit, however, those who receive a workplace mortgage consultation will benefit from a personalised quote and recommendations within 48 hours of meeting.

“Work really shouldn’t get in the way of applying for a mortgage, yet feedback from our clients suggests that work is often a barrier to making the largest and often most important purchase”, concludes Mark. “Our new service will take the pressure off and make getting a mortgage even more accessible.”

Those interested in receiving a workplace mortgage consultation should contact 01483 238280 or email workplace@complete-mortgages.co.uk.  For more information on Complete Mortgages visit www.complete-mortgages.co.uk.


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


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