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.


New Year, New Mortgage (but don’t leave it too late)

Monday, 29th January, 2018

Now that the New Year is fully underway, we’re urging our clients to start taking steps towards getting a new mortgage.

Whilst there are still a few lenders that are yet to increase their rates in line with the recent interest rate rise, the majority have already done so. Now, if you’re on a fixed rate mortgage then this won’t affect you.

However, if you’re currently on the standard variable rate (SVR) – or are about to enter the realms of the SVR – then this may be of interest.

1. Some lenders still haven’t raised their rates

For those who haven’t been thinking about their mortgage and what the interest rate rise means for them over the last few weeks, there’s still time to switch to a pre-interest rate rise mortgage deal – but you’d better be quick.

2. Beat the New Year rush

Whilst 2018 is in full swing, it can often take a few weeks before people start to really think about their next mortgage move. In fact, sometimes it’s February before the mortgage market really gets going. Put simply, if you act fast we can get you ‘mortgage-ready’ before everybody starts to want to do the same thing.

3. To rise or not to rise

There is already speculation that the next interest rate rise could come as early as May 2018, which means that if you haven’t already noticed the difference to your monthly mortgage repayments, then you may well do if the next interest rate rise comes as early as spring.

As a Guildford mortgage broker that has been in business since 2005, we’re still amazed to see the reaction on our clients’ faces when we explain how easy it is for them to remortgage. It’s even easier if you let a reputable mortgage adviser manage the process on your behalf.

So, if any of the three points raised here are relevant to you and you feel that you’re ready to remortgage – or at least you’re thinking about remortgaging in 2018 – then call us so that we can get your mortgage application underway.

Even if you aren’t looking to remortgage and simply need to arrange a mortgage, either for the first time or on a new property, then call us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

Remember, we also specialise in buy to let mortgages, commercial mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages, equity release mortgages and adverse credit mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Complete Mortgages recruits ex-Countrywide highflier

Sunday, 20th August, 2017

Guildford mortgage broker, Complete Mortgages, has bolstered its rapidly expanding team of mortgage experts by recruiting one of Countrywide Mortgage Services’ most successful mortgage brokers.

Lee Cousens, who joined Complete Mortgages at the end of March, was ranked one of Countrywide Mortgage Services’ top 20 brokers from a pool of 700 located nationwide.  He is now working full time out of Seymours Estate Agents’ flagship Woking office.

During his time at Countrywide Mortgage Services, he carved a national reputation for delivering a professional service and expediting the mortgage applications of his first time buyer and second time mover clients.

With a prominent financial services career spanning over 10 years, eight of which were spent at Barclays where he worked with high net worth individuals, and including roles at prominent FTSE 250 companies, Lee has consistently generated first-class results within the residential and buy to let mortgage markets.

On joining the Complete Mortgages team Lee comments: “After a rich and varied career spent working at some of the financial services industry’s most prominent companies, I’m now looking forward to apply the knowledge I’ve accrued during that time with a view to supporting Complete Mortgages’ growth plans. The firm already has a solid UK-wide reputation and it’s an exciting time to the be joining a company that has so much more growth potential.”

Outside of work Lee, who lives in Chertsey, spends his time playing cricket and golf, as well as watching his team Brentford FC. He also ran the 2017 London Marathon on 23 April.

Complete Mortgages’ Director, Mark Finnegan, adds: “We’re delighted to welcome Lee to the team and thrilled to have attracted such an accomplished and well-regarded industry professional away from the UK’s largest property services group. Lee is a great fit for the team and will no doubt help Complete Mortgages continue to expand its customer base and strengthen its 8 year relationship with Seymours Estate Agents, whilst providing exceptional levels of customer service, industry insight and professional advice.”

For more information or to arrange a mortgage with Complete Mortgages contact 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

Image caption: Lee Cousens (centre) with some of the Seymours Woking team.


Spring has sprung when it comes to the mortgage market

Tuesday, 17th May, 2016

Whilst the current inclement weather isn’t (strictly speaking, at least) shouting spring, the mortgage market is.

In fact, spring has really sprung this year with reports that 161,990 properties were sold in March compared with 92,690 in February.

Although this is likely to be, in part, down to the ‘property rush’ associated with the change in stamp duty that took place on 1 April, which saw a 3 per cent surcharge levied against property purchases that are not the purchaser’s main residence. However that aside, spring is generally a time when people look to arrange a mortgage and as a Guildford mortgage broker, we’ve certainly seen activity relating to the South East property market dramatically increase.

What is interesting is that applications for first-time buyer mortgages are up considerably, however this is, to a degree, at the expense of buy-to-let mortgages, which have dipped slightly since the introduction of the new tax structure on property investors.

Of course it always has been – and always will be – a challenge for first time buyers to get their feet on the property ladder. Yet in the wake of the recent stamp duty tax change and the phasing in of the changes that will see landlords taxed on 100 per cent of their rental income, we anticipate that the challenge will lessen as the proportion of buy-to-let investors decreases.

Figures already released by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) indicate that this shift is already underway, with 28 per cent of property sales in March attributable to first time buyers. And not only has competition from investor landlords subsided, but the NAEA has also reported that the number of properties selling for more than asking price has also decreased, too. How long that window will remain open for is unknown however what we do know is that recent tax reforms, compounded by that ‘spring feeling’, has created a perfect storm for those ready to enter the property market for the first time.

So, the future looks bright for first time buyer mortgages and, more importantly, those applying for them. Now, all we need is the sun; only then will we truly feel that spring has arrived.

And although the weather is not something we can help with, we can offer a wide selection of mortgages for first time buyers in the UK. Simply get in touch with the Complete Mortgages team to discuss your options, establish what products are open to you based on the size of your first time buyer deposit and the mortgage that is best suited to you and your lifestyle.

Whilst this spring is the season for first time buyers, Complete Mortgages specialises in the whole spectrum of mortgages ranging from commercial mortgages through to bridging loans, both of which we would handle via our specialist arm, Complete Mortgages Property Ltd. To speak with a reputable Surrey mortgage broker call Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk and find out how we can help you.

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


Nationwide mortgage referral scheme launched

Friday, 25th March, 2016

Guildford mortgage broker, Complete Mortgages, has launched its latest campaign – a nationwide mortgage referral scheme that could see its existing clients receive 100% of their broker advice fees waived.

Backdated to 1 January 2016, every existing client who refers a friend, family member or colleague to Complete Mortgages (who then applies for a mortgage with the brokerage) will receive 20% off their next broker advice fee, which typically ranges from £349.00 to £549.00, when they next decide to arrange a mortgage.

However unlike many referral schemes, where clients cannot accrue multiple discounts generated through referrals, the award-winning mortgage brokerage will accept five discounts of 20%, which would take a referrer’s broker advice fee down to £0.

A breakdown of the mortgage referral scheme is as follows:

Number of referrals made Amount of discount received
1 20%
2 40%
3 60%
4 80%
5 (maximum) 100% (maximum)

Full terms and conditions can be found on the website here.

On launching the mortgage offer, which is available to all UK residents, Mark Finnegan comments: “Since Complete Mortgages opened its doors we’ve been extremely fortunate to build a business based on recommendations and word-of-mouth marketing. However it’s typically been a one-way process, with Complete Mortgages being the only one to benefit. As a way of saying ‘thank you’ to those who have been and continue to be loyal to the business, and to expedite the number of referrals we generate, it made sense to launch a campaign that’s ‘win-win’ for everyone. ”

Those who refer have no time limit before their accrued discount expires, which means that if they secure five referrals, and therefore 100% off their next mortgage, their discount will be valid until they next apply for a mortgage with Complete Mortgages.

However once the referrer applies for their next mortgage, their ‘discount balance’ reverts back to zero. Similarly the referrer cannot, when applying for their mortgage, defer the discount to a subsequent mortgage or wait until they have accrued the maximum 100% allowable before claiming their discount.

The discount can be applied to all mortgage products offered by Complete Mortgages including standard mortgages, buy-to-let mortgages and commercial mortgages.

Mark concludes: “Based on the fact that the number of referrals isn’t capped, and that those who refer could secure their mortgage for free, I expect this will be a popular campaign.”

The offer is set to run indefinitely however those who have any questions about eligibility or for more information on how it works, contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


Raising capital to live in the capital just got easier

Thursday, 4th February, 2016
london help to buy

Well, slightly. But when you consider that the average price of a London property is now £514,097*, then every little helps.

The good news, however, is that the move by the government to increase the Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme’s upper loan limit from 20 per cent to 40 per cent for those looking to buy in London is more than just a gesture; it has the potential to be a real game changer for first time buyers looking to get their foot on the London property ladder.

So, what exactly is the new London Help to Buy? Well, it’s an official acknowledgement that properties in London are much less accessible than those elsewhere and, as a result, the government has taken steps to enable first-time buyers to access more mortgages. Prior to the change, those applying for a mortgage were, in effect, locked out of a high percentage of mortgage products due to the fact that the loan amount required was too high.

Now, those looking to arrange a mortgage with as little as a 5 per cent deposit qualify for a government equity loan for up to 40 per cent of the purchase price (which, under the scheme, is limited to £600,000). Not bad, when you consider that London property prices increased by 12.4 per cent in 2015 and look set to increase further.

With as little as £20,000, first time buyers can now purchase a property in London worth £400,000, with £160,000 coming from a government loan and the remaining £220,000 originating from the commercial lender.

The scheme is funded by an £8.6bn ‘pot’ earmarked to extend the equity loan programme from April 2016, when it was expected to end, until March 2021.

As a Guildford mortgage broker, whose remit is to help people throughout the UK secure a mortgage, we regularly represent those looking to get a mortgage on a London property. And whilst the revised allocation is a significant increase, there are many factors that property hunters need to be aware of. For example, lenders want to know that mortgage applicants taking advantage of the London Help to Buy can still repay their loan even if interest rates were to hit 4 per cent (which, on the £240,000 maximum borrowable amount, would mean that homeowners would need to find £800 in addition to their mortgage and other outgoings).

There has also been criticism of the scheme, with some industry figures claiming that the difference in price between London and non-London properties is already too high for the scheme to benefit those who are already hard-pushed to afford to own a property in London. Our view is that it comes down to each individual’s circumstances, all of which are different and can be discussed and reviewed during an initial meeting with a recommended mortgage broker. And that’s where the Complete Mortgages team comes in.

Let’s face it, navigating the number of products on the market on top of establishing whether a particular product is a) right for you or b) even available to you can be a slog. So, why not let us do the legwork.

From getting first-time buyers on the property ladder through to arranging buy-to-let mortgages for the self-employed, Complete Mortgages has built a reputation for helping people throughout the entire mortgage application process.

So, whether you’re looking to take advantage of the London Help to Buy scheme or simply want professional mortgage advice and guidance from a Surrey mortgage broker, contact the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


Getting to grips with the Mortgage Credit Directive

Monday, 23rd November, 2015
Mortgage Credit Directive

The European Union receives its fair share of the limelight. And it’s not hard to see why when you consider the big issues it has had to deal with of late – and that’s before you take into account the current renegotiation that the UK government is in the process of entering.

However one recent change to be handed to the UK from Brussels, entitled the Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD), could get lost amongst the noise of a potential referendum. And this is exactly why we thought we’d bring it to your attention.

Just as we gave you a brief introduction to the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) last year, we thought we’d offer a brief summary of what the MCD is and how it could affect you if you expect to apply for a mortgage in 2016.

What is the MCD?

It is European legislation designed to foster a single market for mortgages. It has been created to protect consumers by providing standardised information including demonstrating the impact of interest rate increases to your proposed borrowing. The rules also apply to those looking to remortgage – even if they don’t intend to borrow more. The European Commission published the final MCD text in February 2014. The MCD must be implemented in the UK through rules set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) by 21st March 2016. It is closely aligned with the UK’s existing mortgage regulation however mortgage advisers and arrangers will need to provide greater detail on a product’s key features and how they receive remuneration. This will be within the content of the standardised information document.

Will the consumer see any direct benefit of the MCD as a result of its implementation?

Complete Mortgages believes that the essential features of a product and the way that mortgage brokers are remunerated will be clearer under the new system, which is a positive change. Overall the changes are very subtle and we can explain everything to you when you get in contact with us.

So, how will it affect me?

There is little additional benefit to the UK mortgage market as a result of the directive, as MMR addressed many aspects of how mortgages are obtained by consumers, however one clear benefit is that the process of obtaining a mortgage will be more transparent. For example, the new directive incorporates a ‘cooling off’ period of at least seven days, which needs to be factored into the conveyancing process. Just as the MMR impacted on the length of the application process, the MCD will extend the application process as determined by the ‘reflection’ period.

But what if I’m 100% sure that I’m making the right decision and want to proceed?

The directive has been created to provide the consumer with time to compare alternatives and assess their options; the cooling off period is part of that measure. This can, however be waived by signing a disclaimer via your solicitor if timely completion is a necessity.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Yes, second charge mortgages, including regulated loans entered into before 21st March, will be subject to the FCA’s rules. There are a few more technical points, such as how some buy-to-let mortgages will be regulated by the FCA, however we can go through these (if applicable to you) during the mortgage application process.

Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages, comments:

“Changes to legislation affecting the financial services industry is a continual process. Our job, as an independent mortgage broker, is to make sure that these changes don’t negatively impact on your mortgage application and help you navigate your way through it. Whilst the Mortgage Credit Directive’s presence is likely to be felt, our team of mortgage brokers can put in place the necessary measures to limit its impact and ensure that our clients secure a mortgage as quickly and as efficiently as possible.”

So, if you are looking to secure a mortgage in the New Year and have questions about how the Mortgage Credit Directive might affect you, then get in touch with the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.