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


Getting to grips with equity release mortgages

Wednesday, 11th March, 2020
equity release mortgages

I know, I know. We’re banging the equity release mortgage drum quite hard at the moment, particularly given how we only recently published an article covering what you need to know about equity release mortgages. However, there are two reasons for this.

Firstly, we wanted to draw your attention to the fact that we recently featured in the Daily Express after the newspaper’s financial journalist, Harvey Jones, asked Complete Mortgages for its view on the equity release mortgage sector (you can read it here).

Secondly, the piece of equity release mortgage advice included in this article could save you a lot of blood, sweat and tears in the long term.

The rise of equity release

Equity release mortgages in Guildford and the surrounding areas are on the up. And, as a Surrey equity release specialist, we can tell you that it’s because equity release represents a straightforward way in which to release capital from your property.

According to UK Finance, a collective voice for the banking and finance industry, there are around 20,000 borrowers aged 65+ with interest-only mortgages set to mature in 2020 – and who will still owe over £100,000.

Whilst £100,000 is still a sizeable balance, UK Finance suggests that the average amount of equity in property owned by those aged 65+ is £387,000. So, how do you pay off the balance if you’re retired, earning less than you used to or simply don’t have the money? The answer: equity release.

Retirement interest-only (RIO) mortgages have been popular for some time, however, the rise in strict affordability checks has seen many people go through the RIO mortgage application process only to fail to qualify on affordability checks. Importantly, equity release mortgages do not require affordability checks and applicants often find that they can release equity from their property very quickly. Having handled large volumes of mortgages in this space, we can see that the success rate of equity release mortgages vs. retirement interest-only mortgages is much higher.

Not only that, but we’ve recently halved our clients’ mortgage rates and saved them considerable amounts of money by moving them from their standard variable mortgage rate to an equity release mortgage.

If you’re considering equity release as a way in which to free up capital and you are over the age of 55, then Complete Mortgages is a team of Guildford mortgage advisers that can advise and guide you through the process. We have access to a wide range of equity release mortgage products and will handle the entire application process on your behalf.

Contact the equity release mortgage team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Remember, we also specialise in first time buyer mortgages, adverse mortgages and buy to let mortgages, too.


Make peace not mortgage war

Tuesday, 17th December, 2019
mortgage war

Christmas is a time for family, forgiveness and festive cheer.

It’s certainly not a time for war – or, at least, ‘mortgage wars’ – which is what’s being reported in one national newspaper (clue: the one that’s most likely to run a headline with the words ‘mortgage’ and ‘war’ in the same sentence).

Although, in reality, it’s not a war but simple economics that is seeing competition amongst high street mortgage lenders increase, which, in turn, is seeing the cost of fixed rate mortgages decrease.

In fact, fixed rate mortgage rates covering five-year fixed rate mortgage deals, ten-year fixed rate mortgage deals and even fifteen-year fixed rate mortgages are at their lowest level on record, with two-year fixed rate mortgages nudging towards record lows, too.

With Christmas only around the corner we expect that most of you will be winding down and preparing for the festive period. However, if you are in a position to take advantage of the cheap mortgage deals currently available UK-wide, our advice would be to look at our mortgage deal search tool. Not only will you be able to get an idea of just how competitive mortgages are right now, but you’ll also be able to work out your monthly mortgage payments, too.

As a mortgage broker in Guildford with access to a competitive portfolio of mortgage products from a wide panel of lenders, we can quickly (and efficiently) pinpoint a mortgage that works for you.

And whilst our mortgage deal search tool is a great way in which to get a good sense of what products are out there right now, the best way of getting up to date mortgage advice is to contact the Complete Mortgages team direct on 01483 238280 or email us at info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to arrange a mortgage consultation.

Failing that, and if finding a new mortgage before Christmas is just too much of an ask, then simply kick back, enjoy the holiday period and get in touch in the New Year.

Complete Mortgages offers a wide range of specialist mortgages, from first time buyer mortgages and buy to let mortgages, to adverse credit mortgages and equity release mortgages. Contact us on 01483 238280 for more information.


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