Get a good mortgage deal (while you still can)

Monday, 7th September, 2020

We’re revisiting the benefits of remortgaging this week. For good reason, too, as finding a great mortgage deal is becoming increasingly difficult.

It’s no surprise that the UK economy is under strain given the current crisis. However, one of its knock-on effects has been an increase in mortgage rates in tandem with a decrease in the number of mortgage products available from lenders.

In fact, getting a good mortgage deal isn’t as easy as it was only a couple of weeks ago – both in terms of mortgage rates and mortgage product choice. According to Moneyfacts, mortgage products dropped by 202 – or from 2,728 to 2,526 – from the beginning of July to the beginning of August.

In particular, those applying for a fixed rate mortgage and who require anything above 75% loan to value are likely to be wondering what’s happened, particularly given how mortgage rates have sat at historic lows over recent months.

Whether you’re looking to remortgage, or simply want to apply for a first time buyer mortgage, the good news is that all is not lost. After all, good UK mortgage deals haven’t disappeared altogether.

Yes, there are fewer mortgages available. And yes, mortgages that only required a 5% deposit are likely to remain absent until the economy is in a much stronger position. But there are options, and Complete Mortgages is able to assist mortgage applicants at every end of the spectrum.

Furthermore, as an award-winning mortgage broker in Guildford that’s part of the Mortgage Intelligence Network, our team of Guildford mortgage brokers are able to source the very best mortgage deals available at any given time. So, where there are good deals to be had, Complete Mortgages has ready access to them.

Don’t be disheartened by the shrinking pool of mortgage products. However, do take it as a sign that you should act quickly if you want to get a mortgage before the recession worsens and leads to further restricted availability.

If you want to remortgage or apply for any of the specialist mortgages we offer, such as buy to let mortgages, commercial mortgages and adverse credit mortgages, then get in touch on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan at Complete Mortgages


Don’t take a mortgage holiday (unless you really have to)

Wednesday, 12th August, 2020

The thing about holidays is that they often fall when you really need them. Whether you’re flying to the Caribbean or driving to Cornwall (the more likely of the two scenarios right now), holidays are for recharging, relaxing and regaining your energy when you’ve got nothing left to give.

Mortgage holidays, or, more to the point, mortgage repayment holidays, should be no different in as much as you should, ideally, only take them when you really need to.

Not when you’re tired or simply don’t fancy paying your mortgage for a couple of months – but when your finances have pushed you in a corner and you’re no longer able to make your monthly mortgage payments. There are two reasons for this.

Despite the fact that the term mortgage holiday sounds upbeat, it’s only really a positive if you’re at the ‘I can’t pay my mortgage’ point. If you are, then a couple of months’ grace will no doubt be welcome. However, if you can afford to continue paying your mortgage, then applying for a mortgage holiday only defers payment and therefore delays the mortgage repayment period.

So, three months off now means three months added onto the end of your term. Not only that, but by putting off paying back your mortgage, the nature of compound interest means that you’ll accrue extra interest payments and actually pay more for your mortgage overall.

Secondly, as the Independent recently reported, tens of thousands of homeowners are now facing difficulty because they decided to take a mortgage payment holiday. Interestingly, UK Finance states that around 70% of people who took a payment holiday did not need to take one for financial reasons.

However, whilst the government advised that repayment holidays would not affect credit ratings, this didn’t take into account how lenders interpret the decision to proactively defer mortgage payments and the fact that it makes those applying for a mortgage or remortgaging less attractive to lenders.

As the economy, once again, enters a period of uncertainty, lenders are naturally tightening their lending criteria in order to safeguard themselves. And a mortgage repayment holiday is likely to raise questions.

As a Guildford mortgage broker, Complete Mortgages’ advice would be to explore your remortgaging options before you explore mortgage payment holidays. In fact, we would echo some of the comments in the Independent and advise that you treat mortgage payment holidays as a last resort.

If you’re considering remortaging, or are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on your mortgage payments, then contact us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Remember, Complete Mortgages also specialises in buy to let mortgages, commercial mortgages and first time buyer mortgages, too.

By Mark Finnegan at Complete Mortgages


Equity release mortgage checklist

Saturday, 25th July, 2020

Equity release mortgages are now more robust than ever following the Equity Release Council’s decision to expand its checklist for mortgage advisers – a guide to help mortgage brokers decide whether or not an applicant is suited to an equity release product – from 12 to 24 points.

The move, which follows a review by the Financial Conduct Authority that concluded firms must do more in order to provide people with appropriate equity release advice, means that mortgage advisers must delve deeper – and more holistically – during the application stage.

Now, for example, the checklist helps mortgage brokers determine whether an applicant has recently experienced any physical or mental health issues, or any other traumatic events such as divorce, bereavement or financial problems, all of which may impact a person’s judgement.

As a Guildford mortgage broker, Complete Mortgages welcomes the update. Firstly, equity release mortgages provide a great way in which those aged 55 and over can free up equity ‘locked’ in their property. However, there are risks. These include reducing the amount of inheritance their beneficiates may receive, and the fact that ready access to funds – whilst simultaneously allowing the applicants to remain in their property – is offset by the fact that they will get less then if they sold the property on the open market.

As convenient as equity release is, it’s important that there is a formal process in place to help make applicants fully aware of this and prevent mortgage advisers from offering inadequate advice. Increasing the checklist’s size by 100 per cent is, in Complete Mortgages’ view, a positive way in which to do this.

Secondly, as an award-winning mortgage broker in Surrey and one that has always taken into account the broader picture of each and every equity release mortgage application, this checklist will help bring the standards of other, less meticulous mortgage brokers up to the highest possible level. This is not only a good thing for those applying for an equity release mortgage, but also for the mortgage industry as a whole.

You may have read in our last article that Complete Mortgages has boosted its equity release service after Lee Cousens, one of our mortgage brokers, secured the Certificate in Regulated Equity Release at the beginning of June. This means that he can offer informed and regulated equity release advice to those interested in equity release products. It also means that we’re operating at the highest UK standards.

If you’re considering, or maybe even concerned about, taking out an equity release mortgage, then we can help walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

Contact the Guildford equity release mortgage team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk for more information on applying for equity release mortgages. And don’t forget that we also specialise in first time buyer mortgages, adverse credit mortgages and buy to let mortgages, too.


Stamp duty holiday delivers big bonus for buy to let investors

Wednesday, 22nd July, 2020
Stamp duty holiday

After years of calm – not to mention generous returns for property investors – the buy to let property market hit choppy waters in 2016 when ex-Chancellor George Osborne made it harder for investors to profit from multiple properties via a series of taxes.

The short, sharp shock included a stamp duty tax surcharge on additional properties and the scrapping of tax relief on mortgage interest payments. Four years later and following a recent announcement by the current Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, on 8 July, buy to let mortgages are back in the spotlight.

As a mortgage broker in Guildford, we’ve seen a surge in buy to let mortgage enquiries in only the last few days since the Chancellor announced a stamp duty tax holiday on properties up to the value of £500,000.

Although the 3% stamp duty surcharge is still in play for property investors and second homeowners, there will be no further duty on the first £500,000 of the property’s value.

So, if you’re a property investor that’s about to purchase a £500,000 property, then the duty payable will be £15,000 instead of what would have been £30,000. Equally, if you’re looking to buy a property for £250,000, then instead of paying 3% on the first £125,000 and then 5% on the remainder, which amounts to £10,000, you’ll now only pay £7,500.

An eight-month window

Although there is great uncertainty around the economy, there is certainty as to when the stamp duty tax holiday will end given how the Chancellor has announced that it will come to a close on 31 March 2021.

Our view is that if you’ve been thinking about getting a buy to let mortgage – or have been sitting on the fence about whether or not to apply for a buy to let mortgage – then last week’s news provides a golden opportunity to save money in tandem with making your next investment.

And not only are there still a number of competitive buy to let mortgage deals on the market, but also Complete Mortgages has ready access to them, too.

The buy to let market is back. Take advantage of it while you can.

If you’re looking for award-winning buy to let mortgage advice or would like to find out what buy to let mortgages are available to you, then contact our buy to let mortgage team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan at Complete Mortgages


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