Tips for first time buyer mortgage applicants

Monday, 13th July, 2020
Tips for first time buyer mortgage applicants

We’ve provided advice for first time buyers from a number of perspectives over the years. We’ve even produced a free downloadable guide to first time buyer mortgages, which included 13 tips and a selection of award-winning mortgage advice for first time buyers.

However, as a Guildford mortgage broker – and as you would probably expect – we’ve always approached it from the mortgage application process, looking at what to do and what not to do prior to applying for a mortgage.

So, to add a bit of balance – and as a result of the knowledge we’ve built from working with estate agents in Guildford and the surrounding areas – we thought we’d offer some advice on the actual viewing of the property you’re hoping to get a mortgage on. After all, if you can get that and the mortgage application bit right, then you’re pretty much home and dry.

Here is a selection of things to consider and questions to ask before you get too attached to the property you’re viewing.

1. Can you pay those bills?

The house may look great – and it’s within budget, too. But how much does it cost to run? Energy Performance Certificates will help you understand the property’s efficiency rating, but also be aware and realistic about costs associated with flats such as service charge and ground rent, as they can be quite high.

2. If you can’t park your car, then you may want to park the property

This isn’t the case for everyone – especially for those who don’t own a car. But for those who do, it doesn’t take long before having to park three streets away from your home begins to outweigh what attracted you to the property to begin with. Establish how important parking by your property is to you. If it’s an essential, then don’t be afraid to walk away. There will be many more properties that tick all the boxes – including the parking box.

3. Will you be a link in the chain?

The property chain can sometimes work for you – especially if the seller has found their next property and is keen to go. However, it can also work against you if the seller hasn’t yet found their next place. Depending on your own situation you need to be realistic about whether you’re prepared to be part of a chain and wait for months before moving. We’d recommend you get a handle on the chain from the outset.

4. Look beyond the property

Falling in love with your first property is easily done. However, make sure you also love the area in which it’s situated. Do your research and look for any issues in and around the area that may cause you problems once you’ve moved in. Another good tip is to visit the property – and the check out the immediate area – during day and night. You’d be surprised how different they can look.

5. How long has it been on the market?

Make sure you know how long the property has been listed. As a first-time buyer, it’s likely that you’ll want to make your deposit work as hard as possible for you – and a property that’s been on the market for some time may provide an opportunity to negotiate a good deal. It may also be a sign that there’s a problem. However, keep in mind that three months of lockdown slowed everything down, so a slow sale may be directly attributable to that.

For mortgage advice or to speak with a mortgage broker in Guildford about all aspects of buying a first property, then contact the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


Getting a first time buyer mortgage post-Coronavirus

Monday, 8th June, 2020
Getting a first time buyer mortgage

Imagine you’ve saved hard – for many years – and have finally reached the point whereby you have enough money for a deposit on a property you like. And then Coronavirus hits and throws everything up in the air.

Well, that’s what happened to many people who were ready to apply for a first-time buyer mortgage in March and who, for the last couple of months, have probably felt a little deflated with getting so close, only to be have their dreams of homeownership put on hold.

The good news is that the restrictions are easing – to a degree, at least. And whilst we don’t know what lies around the corner, Complete Mortgages, as a Guildford mortgage broker, is advising forthcoming homeowners to start thinking about taking their first steps towards getting a foot on the property ladder in readiness for life after (or maybe life with) Coronavirus.

To help you with your thinking before you spend time applying for a first-time buyer mortgage, here are a few things to consider.

Can I afford a first-time buyer mortgage?

These days, an online mortgage calculator – such as Complete Mortgages’ own version here – is a good starting point. It will quickly and simply tell you what you can borrow based on what you earn and what you spend.

With regards to a first-time buyer deposit, if you’re looking at a property that costs £200,000 then you’ll need to have saved at least £10,000 – or 5% – of the total value. Just remember that by having a higher deposit in relation to the total cost of the property, you’ll be able to access a wider range of mortgages.

How do lenders make decisions about how much they’re going to lend me?

No two lenders are the same and each one has its own specific lending criteria. However, there are some general points to think about. These include:

  • Income. Are you PAYE or self-employed, and does your overall income depend on bonuses? Income is key, so make sure you can clearly show all sources.
  • Expenditure. Do you have many financial commitments? If there’s more going out than coming in then you’ll want to address that before applying for a mortgage.
  • Credit rating. The difference between good and bad credit can be the difference between getting and not getting a mortgage. If you’re concerned about your credit rating, then read our article on getting a mortgage with bad credit.

There is a lot to consider before applying for a mortgage – but we can help you with the process. Regardless, now is the time to start thinking beyond COVID-19 and taking the necessary steps towards homeownership.

To access Complete Mortgages’ comprehensive first time buyer guide, which tells you all you need to know when it comes to buying your first home, click here. Or, to speak with a first-time buyer mortgage expert, call 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan at Complete Mortgages


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


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


FREE mortgage advice for the NHS

Friday, 17th April, 2020

It’s really heartening to see people and businesses – from all walks of life – showing solidarity for the NHS in the wake of Covid-19.

From BrewDog making hand sanitizer to those closer to home, such as Rye Café and Juice Bar in Ashtead, Surrey, which is delivering hot meals to the self-isolating over-70s, there is a sense that people are rallying together.

As someone whose partner works for the NHS (and as an employee at a Guildford mortgage broker that employs six people with partners or family members that work for the NHS), it got us asking the question ‘what can we do to support the national effort?’

Of course, we can’t provide life-critical supplies such as food and protective equipment – but we can offer free mortgage advice to keyworkers who are tirelessly working the front lines of the NHS in a bid to save lives.

Whilst we’re merely a team of mortgage brokers in Surrey who, at this moment in time, remain relatively unaffected by Covid-19 (other than having to endure the lockdown measures currently in place like everyone else), we can only imagine how difficult a time this must be for the NHS. However, we wanted to offer what we could.

Also, whilst we appreciate that mortgage applications may not be a priority for NHS staff right now, we do understand that the cogs involved in buying a property still need to turn and that in-between their hard work, those working in the healthcare sector need to get on with their lives, too.

So, to make it as easy as possible when it comes to applying for a mortgage, we’re suspending fees when it comes to providing mortgage advice for NHS staff up and down the UK until things have stabilised. This means that NHS staff will save £399 for residential mortgage applications and £499 for a buy to let mortgage application.

Not only that, but following our decision to offer virtual mortgage broker consultations by video (you can read our article on it here), we’re also ready to work around NHS staff and their shifts.

If you’re a NHS employee that’s struggling to fit in time to apply for a mortgage, then at least this means that you now have one less battle – albeit a much smaller one – on your hands.

Get FREE mortgage advice if you’re a NHS staff member by calling us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk

By Jordan Walker, mortgage adviser at Complete Mortgages

NHS Rainbow drawing by Brodie Finnegan, age 6.


Guildford mortgage brokers: coming to a screen near you

Wednesday, 8th April, 2020
Guildford Mortgage Brokers

With so many people having so much fun using video conferencing platforms during this period of lockdown, it’s a wonder any of us will ever leave the house again!

Whilst applying for a mortgage probably won’t be the first thing you’ll want to discuss with friends over your Friday night virtual meet up, it’s worth remembering that video is being used to make sure that the cogs of life continue to turn as much as is possible during this very strange time.

And this is exactly what we’re aiming to support following our decision to launch a video mortgage application service until things have returned to normal and those in search of the UK’s best mortgage deals are able to come and visit us in person.

Essentially, what we’re offering are face-to-face mortgage consultations, just as you would ordinarily receive from us, but over video conferencing instead. So, regardless of where you are right now, you can still apply for a mortgage using Skype or any other video platform such as Teams and Facetime. You can even apply for a mortgage with WhatsApp’s video function, too.

As mentioned in our last article, which covered how COVID-19 is affecting the mortgage industry, when the Coronavirus cloud has finally disappeared, there is likely to be an influx of mortgage applications following a prolonged period of pent up demand.

By offering our clients the opportunity to progress their mortgage application now rather than waiting until ‘normality’ has returned, we’re aiming to pre-empt the inevitable bottleneck (and it will happen) and help people make headway when it comes to buying their next property.

To apply for a video mortgage appointment with Complete Mortgages, all you need to do is:

1. Contact us on 01483 238280. The entire team is currently working from home in accordance with government advice, however, you’d never know it, as you’ll be put through to one of the team just as you would normally.

2. Agree a video mortgage appointment time with one of our mortgage advisers. They will provide a selection of times and a date so that you can choose one that best suits you.  If you would prefer an initial telephone chat with an adviser, prior to setting up your video appointment, we will be happy to do that as well.

3. State your preferred video conferencing platform, supply your e-mail address and mobile number, then we’ll do the rest.

The limitations posed by COVID-19 are likely to go on for some time. Our recommendation is that you do as much as you can now, utilising video conferencing technology, so that there’s less work to do (if there’s anything to do at all!) when we can all finally leave our homes.

Who knows, maybe we’ll make video mortgage consultations part of our service even after the dust has settled given how popular it’s proving to be across the UK.

Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from arranging your next mortgage. Whether you’re looking to remortgage, get a first time buyer mortgage or apply for equity release, you can now do so remotely by contacting the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or emailing info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


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


How is Coronavirus affecting mortgages?

Friday, 13th March, 2020

There’s nothing like an interest rate cut to get people to sit up and take notice (not that people aren’t already on high alert following the daily stream of news surrounding Coronavirus).

However, an interest rate cut does generally signify some kind of issue. Or, at the very least, provides a signal that something isn’t as it should be.

It’s also quite polarising. On the one hand, you have savers – possibly even those who’ve paid their mortgage off – who will have rolled their eyes at the fact that their savings are no longer earning as much money as they were only a few days ago. 

This also applies to those who’ve recently entered fixed rate mortgage deals, who are likely to experience a period whereby they’re potentially paying more than they would have on non-fixed mortgage deals.

On the other hand, there are those on tracker mortgages who will no doubt welcome a period of cheaper monthly mortgage payments.

Either way, the link between Coronavirus and mortgages is certainly being felt – and not just by homeowners, either. As a team of Guildford mortgage brokers, we are adjusting and adapting our approach to mortgage applications on a daily basis, too.

Negative points aside, and without trying to sound too opportunistic, Coronavirus does present an opportunity for those applying for a mortgage or who are thinking about remortgaging.

As the Bank of England’s interest rate has been cut from 0.75% to 0.25%, lenders are now likely to reduce their mortgage rates, too. Complete Mortgages predicts that any reduction by lenders isn’t going to reflect the entire 0.50% base rate cut, but probably somewhere in the region of 0.10% instead. Of course, rates may not drop at all and this, in part, depends on how long the Coronavirus lasts and how widely felt its impact is.

However, just as those keeping a keen eye on the stock market are waiting to buy back in at the right time, our advice would be to keep in touch with your Guildford mortgage adviser (and by that we mean us) to find out just how low fixed rate mortgages go before committing to a 2, 5 or even 10 year fixed rate mortgage.

For the latest mortgage advice and Coronavirus mortgage updates contact the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

Note: those currently in the mortgage application process with Complete Mortgages should not be concerned about disruption of service. All of the team are ready and fully equipped to work from home should that become necessary.


Bridging loan applications set to boom in 2020

Thursday, 27th February, 2020
Bridging Loan

It’s not just UK property prices that are on the bounce now that the general election is behind us. Bridging loans are, too.

According to one London bridging loans specialist*, 66% of developers were more likely to purchase property in 2020 compared with 2019, suggesting that property development is back in vogue.

However, it’s not just professional property developers that can see the benefits of bridging loans  – but also property investors and everyday homeowners, too.

For developers, bridging finance represents a viable way in which to consolidate all lines of borrowing accrued over the course of a project into one manageable loan until the property is sold. For the investor that spots a property at auction and needs to act quickly, a bridging loan is an effective short-term finance solution.

The same is true of homeowners. It wasn’t that long ago that property was selling even before it officially came on the market. This level of competitiveness favours those who are ready to use cash to make a commitment. However, if you’ve found that dream property but haven’t sold your current one, then without finance it remains just that – a dream. Unless you are able to arrange bridging finance, of course.

What types of bridging loan are out there?

Bridging loans are typically open or closed. A closed bridging loan is based on an agreed point whereby the loan is repaid. An open bridging loan is where the timings are not defined. In terms of repayment, this generally takes place when the property or development is sold or refinanced – whenever that may be.

Can anyone get a bridging loan?

If you can prove that you’re creditworthy, have a good credit history and have experience of property development, then it will be easier to get a bridging loan. Even if you don’t meet one or more of those criteria, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get it. Either way, speaking with a bridging loan specialist is highly recommended.

Who shall I call?

Similar to applying for a mortgage, there are many lenders out there that offer bridging finance products. However, we’d recommend making one call to one bridging loan broker who will save you the time and effort in making multiple calls to multiple lenders. As a Guildford bridging loan specialist, Complete Mortgages will not only save you time in finding the right deal for you, but we can access some of the most competitive bridging loans on the market right now.

Bridging loans are specialist products that require specialist advice. Make sure you get the best you can by calling Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or emailing info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

*Avamore Capital


Reasons to use a mortgage broker

Friday, 17th January, 2020
REASONS TO USE A MORTGAGE BROKER

Is technology about to make the mortgage broker redundant? Will robots and AI replace the traditional role of your local mortgage adviser?

The answer is ‘yes’, according to news reports from the start of the year, which claim how mortgage applications may be as simple as car insurance in the next 10 years due to advancements in finance-led technological processes.

Does Complete Mortgages agree? No, and here’s why.

1. Power to the people

There are some professions that simply need people; those in the fire service, police and surgeons all spring to mind.  But even it when it comes to the services industry, people generally tend to want to deal with people. Not screens. Or robots. The nuances that dealing with a real person allows (body language, asking questions that would be hard to articulate or communicate when not face to face) play a huge role. And when it comes to getting a mortgage, there is never any shortage of questions. So, from my perspective, applying for a mortgage isn’t an area that’s going to be entirely automated any time soon.

2. Experience is everything

As a Guildford mortgage broker, we’ve arranged mortgages for the widest spectrum of customers, from first time buyers through to equity release mortgage applicants, for many years. As a result, we’ve encountered scenarios and overcome obstructions and situations which, when added together, have a built up a high level of experience, knowledge and understanding of the mortgage sector that technology would find hard to match. Unlike the binary, black or white nature of machines, real mortgage brokers can deal with the shades of grey in-between.

3. Mortgage brokers not machines have relationships with lenders

Similar to point 1, people-based relationships enable a good mortgage broker to pick up the phone and chase the lender (who they may have known for years through working together) about Mr Smith’s mortgage application. This level of personal service, which doesn’t rely on flow diagrams and computer code, is what ultimately speeds up the mortgage application process and gets mortgages approved.

4. The perfect match

Mortgage brokers match specific lenders and specific mortgage deals with specific people. This follows a consultative approach that enables a mortgage broker to fully understand the intricacies of individual applicants’ lives, their financial limitations and personal circumstances. Without fully understanding and appraising someone prior to their mortgage application (a process that can take time), the person trying to get a mortgage may never be presented with the most suitable option.

If you’re looking to arrange a mortgage (with a real person), then contact our team of Guildford mortgage advisers on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.