The benefits of using a mortgage adviser

Tuesday, 13th August, 2019
mortgage broker

It was refreshing to see a piece in the Express, recently, which revealed how a third of homeowners who didn’t use a mortgage adviser had no form of protection.

Refreshing not from an ‘I told you so’ perspective of a mortgage broker, but refreshing to see the benefits of using mortgage brokers being put forward by a national newspaper.

However, it was the fact that this particular article drew attention to an important – if subtle – benefit of using a broker when applying for a mortgage, which is that not only should good mortgage brokers strive to get their customers the very best mortgage deals, but also ensure that they are protected, too.

The article, which focused on research by Legal & General Mortgage Club, revealed how 34% of homeowners that did not use a mortgage adviser do not currently have any kind of financial protection for their mortgage – be that life insurance, critical illness cover or income protection.

Sadly, this means that there are a significant number of homeowners that haven’t accounted for the negative financial impact – and the potential for missed mortgage payments – associated with long-term illness. Essentially, there are currently a large number of UK homeowners that are exposed.

Fortunately for our clients, Complete Mortgages isn’t just a Guildford mortgage broker.

Through our sister brand, Complete Cover, we also provide a wide portfolio of personal cover and mortgage-related insurances so that in the event of illness and even death, those that have taken a mortgage with us can feel rest assured that they (the policy holder and their family) will not run into financial difficulty.

In order to safeguard UK homeowners, it’s essential that mortgage advisers advise and not just broker deals. Articles such as that published by the Express – and research commissioned by Legal & General – will not only play a role in raising awareness of the potential consequences of sub-standard cover, but also make mortgage brokers more accountable in the process, too.

For access to mortgage insurances including property insurance, life insurance, mortgage payment protection and income protection contact the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


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


When is the right time to remortgage?

Wednesday, 5th June, 2019
when is the right time to remortgage

Before I answer that question, if you’re still at the stage where you’re wondering ‘is remortgaging right for me?’ then you might want to read our article entitled should I remortgage?

If you’re fully up to speed on the potential benefits of remortgaging, then read on.

Complete Mortgages is a mortgage broker in Guildford, which not only has clients in and around Guildford (the whole of Surrey, in fact), but also those situated throughout the UK.

Yet regardless of where our clients live, they ALL have something in common, which is that they will be contacted around four months before their current mortgage deal ends and alerted to the fact that they are about to fall onto the standard variable rate mortgage.

We do this not because we’re a team of pushy mortgage brokers, but because if we can save our clients money by helping them to get a better mortgage deal as a result of simply offering a good mortgage brokerage service, then a) we will be partly responsible for making a customer happy, and b) good service helps retain good clients. Other excellent mortgage brokers do it – many don’t.  If you’re in the process of finding a good mortgage broker, then always make sure to ask them if that’s a service they provide as standard.

However, if you’ve come upon this article and you’re not one of our customers, the title of this article may well resonate with you – and the answer is, give or take, four months.

Why four months? Firstly, because getting a new mortgage can sometimes take longer than you think and secondly, why put yourself through all that last minute stress and panic by leaving it to the last minute.

Allowing yourself enough time to move comfortably from your existing mortgage to a new one will have a huge psychological benefit and help you on your path towards getting a stress free mortgage.

Of course, if you really want stress free mortgages then my advice is to use a trusted mortgage broker, who will not only let you know when it’s time to start looking for another mortgage, but also do the looking (and the applying) for you.

Complete Mortgages’ proactive remortgage approach doesn’t just apply to one type of mortgage, but all mortgages – from first time buyer mortgages and buy to let mortgages to limited company buy to let mortgages and even commercial mortgages. If you’re a customer of ours and are coming to the end of your mortgage term, then expect a call. If you’re not, but you like the idea of us – and not you – doing the hard work when it comes to applying for a mortgage, then call a member of the Complete Mortgages 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


The 100% mortgage is back – but is it really new?

Thursday, 21st February, 2019
no deposit mortgage

Getting a mortgage without a deposit is, once again, a viable proposition, according to the latest wave of national mortgage news.

The new ‘Lend a Hand’ scheme offered through Lloyds Bank aims to tackle the primary barrier to home ownership experienced by would-be first time buyers – the deposit.

Now, Lloyds Bank will loan up to £500,000 for a new home on the condition that a family member places 10% of the total amount borrowed in a Lloyds Bank account for three years as security.

The drawback? The mortgage is not portable and, should the first-time buyer miss a payment, Lloyds can use the 10% capital to fill any financial holes.

First of all, it should be noted that any innovative way in which to make mortgages more accessible to young people should be applauded. And whilst Lloyds Bank’s proposition is not without its risks, it does go a long way to break down the barriers associated with home ownership amongst the younger generation.

Also, Lloyds Bank’s latest mortgage will no doubt be a success as it hits the sweet spot of a) those who are young and are looking to buy a property, and b) those whose family members can afford to part with 10% of the property’s value in capital on a temporary basis (or not, as the case may be).

However, as a Guildford mortgage broker that has been offering first time buyers a leg up via the no deposit mortgage for some time, this step isn’t particularly new.

Complete Mortgages has had access to ‘deposit-free mortgages’ since early 2018 – and they don’t necessarily require family members to put down 10% of their own capital, either.

The point I’m making is that mortgage brokers and mortgage advisers are not just on hand to do the paperwork that those applying for a mortgage would rather avoid. Nor are we simply on hand to grease the wheels of administration (which, it’s worth pointing out, is a long and resource-intensive process) in order to get the mortgage over the line. Yes, we do that too, but the value mortgage brokers add lies in finding the right mortgages for our customers from a comprehensive range of products, which, at any one time, runs into the thousands.

So, if you’re looking to apply for a 100% mortgage and don’t want to be limited to one option, contact us. We won’t be able to offer you the Lloyds Bank deal a it’s only available on a direct lending basis, but we’ll have a number of similar options for you to choose from.

Similarly, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to a mortgage broker to discuss any other barriers you may be experiencing when applying for a mortgage. Whether it’s arranging self-employed mortgages, mortgages for teachers or helping those with adverse credit to get a mortgage, mortgage brokers are there to help you make it happen – and you’d be surprised by what hidden gems there are out there. Let us help break down your mortgage barriers. Contact the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Are you a mortgage prisoner?

Tuesday, 14th August, 2018
remortgage guildford

It’s now over 10 years since the financial crisis hit. And, whilst most of us have been able to put it behind us, there are a large number of people – an estimated 15,000 – who are still affected by its fallout in the context of mortgage applications.

These people, often referred to as ‘mortgage prisoners’, are those who were unlucky enough to apply for a mortgage before the crash and who were subsequently affected by the Mortgage Credit Directive – a post-crash EU ruling that subjects those applying for a mortgage to strict affordability checks.

As a result of the directive’s introduction, many people who would benefit from remortgaging are now stuck on lenders’ standard variable rate mortgages, which can have an interest rate of up to five per cent.

New standards

The good news is that a large proportion of mortgage prisoners now have the opportunity to be ‘set free’ following new industry common standards that have been adopted by 59 mortgage lenders, all of which represent 90 per cent of the residential mortgage market.

The new standards, which are the result of efforts between UK Finance, the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) and the Building Societies Association (BSA), mean that many mortgage prisoners will now be able to switch to better mortgage deals.

The standards, which apply to first-charge mortgage borrowers, stipulate that qualifying mortgage prisoners that wish to switch mortgage must:

  1. Be up to date on mortgage repayments
  2. Have a minimum term of two years left
  3. Have a minimum outstanding mortgage balance of £10,000

Sadly, the new standards excludes 20,000 people who have mortgages with inactive lenders and around 120,000 people who are currently with unregulated mortgage providers that are not members of UK Finance, the BSA or the IMLA.

However, at least a significant number of people now have the chance to arrange a mortgage that works for them and sees them saving money year on year.

If you feel that you are a mortgage prisoner and are wondering if you meet the standards recently announced, then Complete Mortgages can help.

Contact a member of the team on 01483 238280, who will be able to advise, guide and apply for a new mortgage on your behalf. Alternatively, for more information email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


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

Friday, 10th August, 2018
mortgage broker

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

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

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

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

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

3. Stay out of your overdraft

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

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

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

5. Don’t take a gamble on your mortgage

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

6. Big cash deposits can lead to big problems

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

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


How to increase your chances of getting a mortgage

Saturday, 28th July, 2018
guildford mortgage broker

Firstly, this isn’t a cheat or a piece that advocates – or even encourages – you to try and pull the wool over a mortgage lender or broker’s eyes, and that’s for the very simple reason that it’s impossible and won’t work.

You will not be able to trick a lender into giving you a mortgage or awarding you with the best mortgage deal.

However, just as an athlete prepares for an event, there are a number of things that you can do to help get you mortgage fit. Here are a few pointers to get you started.

1. Score points with your credit score

One way a lender can check if you have what it takes to repay your mortgage and honour your commitment is to check if you have good credit history.

In general, your credit report is what it is and made up of a number of sources including credit card history, loans taken and overdrafts used.

Before you apply for a mortgage it’s worth checking to make sure it’s a) up to date and b) correct.

If you spot anything glaringly inaccurate then at least you have the opportunity to fix it in the short term before it scuppers your chances long-term.

2. No vote, no chance

If you’re not registered to vote than you’re unlikely to get a mortgage. This one’s really easy to prepare for, too. If you’re going to fall down at one of the hurdles then don’t let it be this one. Click here to register to vote.

3. Don’t let the past affect your future

Joint current accounts, loans and other commitments carry joint responsibility. If you’re linked to any of these via an ex-partner – and the ex-partner has defaulted on a payment or done something that would have a negative consequence – then you’re going to be affected, too.

The best way forward in this instance is to check if you’re still linked in any way and, if you are, get yourself disassociated.

4. Be careful with your credit

Just because you have a credit limit of £12,000 doesn’t mean you need to spend £12,000 on credit. At least that’s the view of lenders, who would typically prefer your overall credit card debt to be no more than 50 per cent of the amount available (the lower the better).

When it comes to credit card debt, then it’s better to pay it off – however don’t leave yourself with zero debt and huge credit limits; lenders worry that you may one day go one a huge spending spree!

5. Be diligent with your admin

We’ve all had accounts that we don’t use and rather than close them down, we’ve simply cut the associated cards up and thought that that was it.

Having multiple bank accounts open with nothing in them isn’t advisable, especially if the details attributable to those accounts are out of date and could be disadvantageous to you.

6. Don’t apply for credit just before you apply for a mortgage

The more credit searches you have on your file in a short space of time, the more chance a lender has of thinking you’re in desperate need of credit – even if you’re not.

We would advise that you get a mortgage before you get the new car!

7. Bills don’t pay themselves

So make sure you pay yours – on time.

Not paying a bill on time stays on your records for six years, so don’t let an innocently missed payment result in a missed mortgage offer.

8. Use a mortgage broker

This one really is simple.

As a Guildford mortgage broker, we see people battling with mortgage applications on their own day in, day out, all when they could let us do the legwork on their behalf. As mortgage brokers do this every day and know what’s required (and, importantly, what’s not) they can simply fast-track the process.

Why waste your time when you can hand it over to a professional!

If you’re thinking of applying for a mortgage, or if you’ve been struggling to get a mortgage, contact the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. We can help with first time buyer mortgages, buy to let mortgages, commercial mortgages and adverse credit mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Are interest only mortgages good or bad?

Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018

Interest-only mortgages are a bit like life. They’re not simply all bad or all good, they’re not clear-cut and they’re often right for some people, but not others.

However, from recent reports that suggest that the interest only mortgage is making its comeback, you could be forgiven for thinking that UK homeowners are about to revert to the pre-crash days and readopt the interest-only approach to home ownership.

In fact it wasn’t that long ago that interest only mortgages were commonplace.

It was only the financial crisis of 07/08 that provided what is now seen as a much-needed reset. Up until that point, people were applying for a mortgage on the strength of what they said they could afford as opposed to what they really could afford.

What made this palatable was that house price growth created a safety net as interest-only homeowners were banking on significant equity growth to pay down their mortgage when the time came. However, given the slowdown in property growth over recent years, this is less of a dead cert.

So what’s the difference this time, then?

Well, first of all a little context is needed. Data recently published by Moneyfacts, the financial analyst and comparison site, has revealed that 33 lenders now offer interest only mortgages – up from only 12 offering the product in summer 2013.

However, as stated by a Moneyfacts finance expert in a recent interview with industry title Mortgage Strategy, there were 73 lenders offering interest only mortgages back in June 2008, which reveals we have a long way to go before we reach those levels.

Furthermore, unlike days of old, to apply for an interest only mortgage today you have to have a low loan to value ratio – something that rarely got in the way of a deal pre-crash and certainly before the introduction of the Mortgage Market Review, which resulted in a severe tightening up of the mortgage market after it was put in place.

Yes, interest only mortgages seem to be gaining ground once again – however this type of interest only mortgage seems reserved for those who aren’t banking solely on property growth to pay for their mortgage decades down the line, as you will need to have a repayment strategy in place at the outset that is acceptable to the lender. Evidence also suggests that in addition to a large deposit, those looking to get an interest only mortgage will also need to earn a large salary.

Back to the original question, then: are interest only mortgages good or bad?

As a Guildford mortgage broker that has witnessed the ups and downs of the mortgage market both pre and post-crash, I’ll say that it completely depends on the individual’s circumstances. And for that reason, we would always advise that anyone thinking of applying for a mortgage – of any kind – appoints the best mortgage brokerage they can to help guide them through that process and provide that peace of mind.

If you’re considering applying for an interest only mortgage contact a member of the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Remember, we also specialise in buy to let mortgages, commercial mortgages, adverse credit mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages, too.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Is the robo-adviser redundant already?

Thursday, 28th June, 2018

At a time when there is continual debate around whether or not the human workforce will eventually be replaced by robots, I have to admit that I experienced a degree of pleasure this week upon reading an article that called into question the efficacy of robo-advisers.

The Financial Conduct Authority has issued a warning that robo-advisers could be misleading customers over fees and the nature of the advice offered – something that those applying for a mortgage should now be taking note of.

In a world where apps are standard fare, automation has become de rigueur and the perception that automation equates to better, this warning shot from the city’s watchdog pulls into focus the delicate – and often complex – nature of mortgage guidance.

It also raises the question of whether or not a service so nuanced and personal, such as that offered by experienced mortgage brokers, can simply be replaced by apps or web-based platforms.

As a Guildford mortgage broker we are all too aware that getting a mortgage is a big decision – and one that is underpinned by many variables, most of which cannot be expressed or picked up on through an automated process. A personal approach, such as that available via face-to-face meetings or even via a telephone call, enables the mortgage adviser to pick up on the small aspects that make up the bigger picture.

It also enables the adviser to ascertain the mortgage applicant’s own understanding of their obligations and commitments with respect to the nature and size of the mortgage they require. An automated platform is a standardised approach and one that doesn’t take into account swathes of people who, for example, may be more vulnerable when it comes to making big financial decisions and who, therefore, would benefit from a conversation with an expert.

I’m not anti-automation. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that there are many services and aspects of modern life that have improved since becoming automated. However, in my opinion, mortgage advice and mortgage brokerage services do not – and should not – fall within this category.

If you want to speak with actual people when it comes to getting a mortgage in the UK, contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. We specialise mortgages for the self-employed, mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages.