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

Monday, 2nd December, 2019
mortgage rates

This article really couldn’t be timelier.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thursday, 28th November, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


How to get a cheap mortgage

Wednesday, 7th August, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Are high LTV mortgages good or bad?

Friday, 28th June, 2019
high ltv mortgage

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Apples and pears

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

2. Helping the next generation of homeowners

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

3. Current earnings don’t necessarily reflect future earnings

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

4. Post-crash regulation

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

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

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

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

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


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


Six top tips on equity release mortgages

Wednesday, 20th March, 2019
Equity Release Mortgages

If you’re considering going down the equity release mortgage route, then you’re probably aware of the overall concept behind them, how they work and the benefits of releasing equity from your home – particularly if you’re 55 years old and above and looking to free up capital.

If that’s not the case, then read our ‘Are equity release mortgages good or bad?’ article, which provides a quick and easy guide to equity release.

However, if you are further down the line and are now thinking about the wider implications, then these six tips may be of interest.

1. Consider the alternatives

Equity release mortgages are effective and their growing popularity reflects this, however it’s always good to know your options. When it comes to alternatives, then the most cost effective way of raising capital is to downsize. However, if space is important to you and you want to stay in your home and have more money at your disposal, then applying for an equity release mortgage could be a more suitable route.

2. Keep your family in the loop

Equity release is a big decision and one with a number of potential repercussions for children and family members later on down the line. Our advice, when it comes to equity release mortgages, is to make your intentions clear to all those who may be affected by an equity release contract in the future.

3. Big decisions require good mortgage brokers

As a Guildford mortgage broker, we’ve seen – and helped people through – the effects of poor equity release decisions made on the back of bad advice. Getting an equity release mortgage is a significant decision and one that needs to be backed up by sound advice. Make sure that choosing a good mortgage broker is on your list of priorities before committing yourself to anything.

4. Know the numbers

Fees and compound interest form part of equity release mortgage deals. It’s no different from any other mortgage agreement in that regard, however this may have more implications on those who, as they get older, are likely to work and earn less. Know where you stand and how much it’s going to cost you before you sign the paperwork.

5. Equity release is convenient…

…but it can also be an expensive way to borrow. If, after getting good advice from a mortgage broker, you decide to apply for an equity release mortgage, then make sure you don’t take out more than you need, as any excess money will be accruing interest up until the point that your property is sold.

6. Lowest isn’t always the best

Choosing a mortgage with the lowest possible rate is pretty much a priority for everyone. However, when it comes to equity release, lowest isn’t necessarily the best. Equity release mortgage deals often include special features, such as offering the borrower the ability to make monthly repayments to avoid interest rolling up. Whilst the premium for this may be a slightly higher interest rate, it may work out more beneficial on a long-term basis and provide a greater degree of flexibility.

Still unsure about equity release mortgages? Contact one of our equity release mortgage specialists on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to find out more. Remember, we’re not just specialists in equity release mortgages but also first time buyer mortgages, buy to let mortgages and commercial mortgages, too.

By Mark Lucas, Equity Release Specialist 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


A guide to commercial mortgages

Tuesday, 8th January, 2019

There’s never a shortage of debate around residential mortgages and buy to let mortgages. Even equity release mortgages are currently basking in the sunlight after the amount of equity released from the properties of UK homeowners hit over £1bn. However, one type of mortgage that often gets overlooked is the commercial mortgage.

According to the Federation of Small Businesses, there were 5.7 million private sector businesses at the start of 2017 – up 197,000 from 2017 and 2.2 million more than in 2000.

It stands to reason, then, that whilst the process of applying for a commercial mortgage doesn’t get as much airtime as residential mortgages (there are less UK businesses than UK properties, after all), commercial mortgage applications are on the up.

As a mortgage broker in Guildford, an area where there is a high concentration of business owners, we have seen an increase in the number of people interested in getting a commercial mortgage over the years. Yet when comparing applicants’ knowledge of commercial mortgages with residential mortgages, there are huge gaps.

So, here’s our brief guide to the commercial mortgage in the hope that it provides you with enough information to get you started.

1. What is a commercial mortgage?

Commercial mortgages are used to buy land or property for a business. Equally, a commercial mortgage can be used to expand an existing business or for property development. It’s generally a long-term loan spanning 10 to 20 years and lenders are generally willing to lend up to 70% of the total value of the property, although they can consider lending more where they are happy with the overall circumstances. The remaining funds are expected to come from the business.

2. What are the benefits of taking out a commercial mortgage?

If you run a business and want to protect yourself against escalating rental costs, then owning a business premises is a great way of controlling this particular overhead. Also, just like residential properties, commercial property values can increase, the equity of which can give you an added buffer in fallow periods or when cash flow is poor.

3. Are commercial mortgages easy to get?

There are many lenders offering commercial mortgages. The trick is finding the one that works for you and your business. As a commercial mortgage specialist, Complete Mortgages can help you identify a lender from a wide pool of commercial mortgage lenders that we work with and that can support your short and long term objectives.

4. What about commercial mortgage rates?

They are typically higher than residential mortgage rates and tend to vary. A good mortgage broker will help you identify a commercial mortgage that best suits your needs.

5. Is my credit rating still important in order to get a business mortgage?

Yes, it is important. However, rather than just looking at your personal credit rating, a lender will also be able to get a good indication of whether or not you’re a ‘safe bet’ by looking at your business as a whole, which is a good thing.

6. Is there anything I need to be aware of?

The commercial mortgage journey is arguably less predictable than that of a residential mortgage. Residential mortgages are quite linear; you need somewhere to live and once you’re on the property ladder, the chances are you won’t get off. Businesses are different. Many grow, many fail and sometimes businesses owners simply decide to go and do something entirely different. As a result, you need to be aware of the financial commitments of a commercial mortgage and have a good idea of what you’re looking to achieve before taking out a commercial mortgage.

This is only a brief guide to commercial mortgages. If you’re interested in finding out more information then contact the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to find out more.


Are equity release mortgages good or bad?

Tuesday, 11th December, 2018
equity release

The simple answer to what is a rather broad question is that it all depends on where you are in life in terms of finance, goals and objectives.

What can’t be avoided, however, is that the equity release mortgage is growing in popularity.

According to the latest Equity Release Council figures, homeowners released over £1bn of equity from their homes in the third quarter of 2018 – and £11m of property wealth is being ‘cashed in’ on a daily basis. As a Guildford mortgage broker we’ve certainly seen equity release mortgage applications rise.

Whilst the figures are compelling, we are regularly asked, ‘Is releasing equity in my property a good thing?’ So, to help you make your own mind up, we’ve provided a list of equity release pros and cons.

However, before we look at the fors and against equity release, let’s start by briefly explaining how equity release works (note: for a more in-depth equity release mortgage Q&A click here).

What is equity release?

If you’re a homeowner aged over 55, equity release enables you to release money from your property – without having to move. You can take a lump sum, as a drawdown (taking smaller amounts at different times) or as a home reversion plan (selling part of your property to the lender in exchange for money).

The pros 

1. Staying put

If you don’t want to leave your property, but need more money in order to continue living there, then equity release mortgages enable you to stay where you are whilst providing you with the funds required to do so.

2. No negative equity – guaranteed

Lenders who are members of the Equity Release Council – and Complete Mortgages tends to only work with those that are – have to include a no negative equity guarantee, which means that if there ever was a crash and the value of the property became less that the value owed, the lender would cover it, not you.

3. Beat inheritance tax

Nobody really likes the idea of being taxed on inheritance, so releasing equity against the value of your property can represent a way in which to pass on your wealth in a tax efficient way.

The cons

1. Compound interest

Equity release mortgages do not work in the same way as residential mortgages. Whereas homeowners with residential mortgages typically pay off the interest charges on a monthly basis, equity release mortgage interest is typically added to the overall debt. This means that the outstanding equity release mortgage balance can rise quickly.

2. Hard to go back

If you thought early repayment charges on fixed mortgages were high, then you might be surprised to learn that early repayment charges on equity release mortgages can be as high as a quarter of the amount borrowed. As a result, you need to be absolutely sure that equity release is for you before going down that route – and also that your mortgage broker goes through everything with you in detail.

3. Benefit or no benefit?

Those who receive means-tested benefits may find that a sudden cash injection results in these being taken away. Make sure you understand the wider financial implications before committing to a long-term decision.

Still not sure? Why not contact the Complete Mortgages team to find out more on 01483 238280 or by emailing info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

Complete Mortgages also specialises in other mortgages over and above equity release mortgages. We can also arrange mortgages for the self-employed, mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


The holiday let mortgage has well and truly checked in

Friday, 7th September, 2018
holiday home mortgage

Buy to let mortgages for short-term holiday lets are no longer just a seasonal thing. In fact, it would seem that they’re here to stay – whatever the weather.

Until recently, lenders have tended to prefer to award a buy to let mortgage to those with plans to let out their property on a long-term basis and not the short-term. This has now changed – particularly in the wake of companies like Airbnb, which have transformed the holiday accommodation sector.

However, as we approach the end of summer, and as many of us get back to normality after enjoying what has been the finest summer we’ve had in years, there will no doubt be a selection of people looking to buy a UK holiday home – and who may already be considering a holiday home mortgage.

The good news is that holiday home mortgages are now more accessible than ever and this, combined with high short-term holiday rental yields, makes owning – and letting – a holiday home an appealing prospect.

According to the Residential Landlords Association, seven per cent of landlords are moving their properties from long-term to short-term lets – a factor that has undoubtedly been prompted by changes in tax relief on buy to let properties.

As furnished holiday lets are treated as businesses and not investments they are taxed differently, which enables those who have a mortgage on a holiday let property to qualify for entrepreneurs tax relief and even claim the cost of furnishing the property!

The recent shift in attitude towards Airbnb by lenders has also changed things considerably. Beforehand, borrowers had to request permission from the lender to let their property out on a short-term basis and many lenders ruled it out completely. However, the mortgage market is moving forwards and against the backdrop of recent tax changes to buy to let properties, the short-term let mortgage is gaining popularity.

Whilst we can’t advise on the tax implications of arranging a holiday let mortgage, as a Guildford mortgage broker we certainly can advise on the right mortgage that could help you to not only own your dream holiday home, but also potentially make a nice profit on it, too.

To speak with a Guildford mortgage specialist contact the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. One of our buy to let mortgage experts will be able to talk you through your options and find a short-term buy to let mortgage that suits you. We’re also specialists in standard buy to let mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages and commercial mortgages, too.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages