Guildford mortgage broker boosts Equity Release offering

Tuesday, 16th June, 2020

Award-winning Guildford mortgage adviser, Complete Mortgages, has strengthened its Equity Release mortgage team after one of its brokers secured the coveted Certificate in Regulated Equity Release (CeRER) at the beginning of June.

Lee Cousens, who was been with Complete Mortgages since 2017 after the Guildford broker recruited him from Countrywide Mortgage Services – where he was one of the UK’s top performing brokers – passed the two-unit exam with a distinction and a merit.

The move enables Lee to offer specialist Equity Release advice on lifetime mortgages and Retirement Interest Only (RIO) mortgages, both of which have experienced significant growth in 2020.

According to the Equity Release Council, an organisation that represents the Equity Release sector and exists to promote high standards of conduct and practice in the provision of advice on Equity Release, £1.06bn of property wealth was accessed via Equity Release products in Q1 2020, up 14% from £936m a year earlier.

The findings suggest that Equity Release is increasingly becoming an accessible and popular way in which to fund retirement income, one-off expenses and lifestyle purchases including holidays.

On bolstering Complete Mortgages’ Equity Release team, Lee comments: “Equity Release is a growing sector and there is a wide range of Equity Release mortgage products continually coming onto the market. With the CeRER qualification under my belt, I’m now able to offer Equity Release consultations at the highest level, manage the increase in Equity Release enquiries we’re receiving on a daily basis and reinforce Complete Mortgages’ reputation as an expert in this field.”

Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages, adds: “Equity Release has proven to be a popular way in which to fund later years by a large section of society. Complete Mortgages’ Equity Release applications have increased substantially over the last 12 months and I only expect this upwards trend to continue. Lee’s certification will not only enable Complete Mortgages to meet this growing demand but it also reaffirms our position as a specialist mortgage broker.”

For more information or to apply for an Equity Release mortgage contact 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


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


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


How to get the best equity release mortgage advice

Thursday, 24th May, 2018

Equity release mortgages have well and truly arrived.

As recently pointed out in our last equity release article, which includes a five point guide as to what you need to know about equity release loans, it is estimated that the value of UK equity release mortgages increased by £10bn last year.

However, it’s important to note that wherever there’s an opportunity, there are always opportunists, which was my first thought on recently watching a series of equity release adverts on TV.

One advert was proudly selling access to equity release mortgages for a fee of ‘only’ 1.95%. Whilst this doesn’t sound that high, it typically equates to around £1,395 – £1,495, which is, in fact, a relatively high charge.

As a Guildford mortgage brokerage that specialises in helping our clients to get an equity release mortgage, we believe that our fees are much fairer and transparent. For example, our flat fee structure means that we can help you apply for an equity release mortgage for only £699 – regardless of the complexity of the mortgage and value of the loan amount.

What’s more, our team of Guildford mortgage brokers now includes three equity release specialists. All three advisers have secured the highly coveted Certificate in Regulated Equity Release (CeRER) qualification, which ensures that Complete Mortgages can offer a wider selection of equity release mortgages to a wider section of the population.

It also means that we can help those who have traditionally taken out interest-only mortgages – and who are on an interest-only mortgage right now – to transition to an equity release deal without having to refer to a third party.

Whether you’re currently on an interest-only mortgage and thinking of switching over to equity release, or you’re simply considering your options and think that equity release could be a route you’d like to take, the first thing you need to do is contact a trusted – and qualified – mortgage brokerage.

Why not contact us 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 self-employed people, mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages.

By Mark Lucas, Equity Release Adviser at Complete Mortgages


What is an equity release mortgage?

Tuesday, 6th March, 2018
lifetime_mortgage

It’s a big year for equity release mortgages.

In fact, estimates by one UK equity release specialist suggest that the value of UK equity release mortgages increased by a staggering £10bn last year.

So, what’s happening?

Essentially, the cost of living has grown whilst wage growth has slowed down. However, as we all know, the one thing that has also grown over recent decades is property prices, the result of which means that those who have owned a home for many years have amassed significant equity.

However, what good is equity when a) it’s locked within bricks and mortar and b) you could do with the money right now?

It seems as though the UK’s public is asking similar questions.

The Equity Release Council has revealed that the total amount of housing wealth unlocked by the over 55s reached £3.06bn in 2017; the first time equity release lending has exceeded £3bn in a single year.

And the appetite for equity release borrowing shows no signs of slowing down as Legal and General research highlights how one in five homeowners would consider using equity release as a way in which to unlock funds.

As a mortgage adviser in Guildford we are seeing more and more people apply for an equity release mortgage. There was a time when only a handful of people would consider this approach. However, as people increasingly live longer and money needs to stretch further, homeowners are now viewing equity release mortgages as a viable way in which to continue enjoying a high quality of life without making compromises.

Although before you consider it an option you’ll need to know how it works, so here are five things to know about equity release mortgages.

1. What is equity release?

A way of freeing up money tied up in your property as equity. You can spend it however you wish and there are no mortgage payments to make; the lender is repaid through the sale of your property.

2. Who can access equity release deals?

Those over 55 – all the way up to 95 – and who typically own a property worth £70,000 and above.

3. Can I still benefit from equity release if I currently have a mortgage?

Yes, as long as the funds you release can clear any outstanding borrowing.

4. Is equity release safe?

The Financial Conduct Authority regulates equity release, however, you should make sure that the lender is a member of the Equity Release Council, which can help ensure that you don’t find yourself owing more than the value of the property at the end of the term.

5. Will I need to move?

Not at all. You can downsize in order to release equity but if you would rather not move, then this could be a win-win situation. Some lifetime mortgages now allow you to manage interest charges by making monthly repayments.  Or, instead of making monthly mortgage repayments, the interest can be rolled up and, when the plan finishes, the interest plus the original loan is paid pack to the lender via the sale of the property.  If you are moving home, many of the plans are portable.  The only thing to consider here is that it will decrease the value of your estate.

Still need more information? We understand that equity release is a big decision. So, for expert advice and guidance from a team of award winning mortgage advisers and equity release experts contact 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Equity release. It could be in your interest.

Monday, 6th June, 2016
home reversion

It’s funny how things change. Sometimes it seems to happen in the blink of an eye. At least that’s how it felt when interest-only mortgages became less common (not to mention less available) as people decided that it probably was a good idea to make monthly repayments rather than put off paying back their mortgage until a later date.

Of course, the well-documented financial crisis played no small part in this shift in attitude, bringing the long-term picture – or the lack of it for some people – into sharp focus.

But interest-only mortgages dominated the mortgage market for many years, and that’s many years whereby homeowners didn’t ‘chip off’ their mortgage capital, instead favouring to bet on growing property prices that, when the time came, would enable them to pay off their debt by either downsizing or remortgaging.

Well, for many that time has come (or is at least around the corner). Interest-only mortgages are maturing and it’s this realisation that has promoted a rise in equity release mortgages – or lump sum equity release plans.

The good news is that those who bet on the continued growth of the property market won’t be disappointed; property prices have increased significantly, generating wealth for the majority of UK homeowners.

Similarly, figures from the Equity Release Council* revealed how the value of equity release lending has also increased, having amounted to almost £394m in the first quarter of 2016, a increase of 21% year-on-year and the highest quarter one lending figure ever recorded. And the fact that over 5,000 equity release plans were arranged during that same period indicates that it’s only going to grow in popularity.

Quite simply, equity release deals enable homeowners to ‘extract’ the value from their property and pay the bank the remaining balance on the mortgage. And when you consider that the Financial Conduct Authority places the average shortfall owned by interest-only mortgage customers at £71,000**, then this approach to freeing up capital is likely to become a popular option for a number of homeowners.

So, what are your options? Well, there are generally two: lifetime mortgages and home reversion.

Lifetime mortgage

With this option, you take out a mortgage secured on your property and ring-fence some of the value of the property as inheritance for your family – or you can choose to make repayments or let the interest roll up. The loan amount is then paid back when you pass on or when you move into full time care.

Home reversion

Here, you sell part of – or all of – your property in return for a lump sum. You are still entitled to live in the house and in the event of death, the property is sold and the proceeds are shared based on the ownership agreement.

Of course, we appreciate that this is a significant topic and one that you will need to research fully before making a decision. Also, it’s important to remember that equity release products only apply to those aged 55 and over. So, if you’re thinking of applying for an equity release mortgage then contact a member of the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

Complete Mortgages also specialises in a wide range of mortgages, from equity release to first time buyer mortgages and commercial mortgages through to bridging loans.

*http://www.equityreleasecouncil.com

**http://www.theguardian.com