Budget boost for first time buyer mortgages

Friday, 12th March, 2021

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, handed the UK some positive news last week (particularly those in the market for first time buyer mortgages) after announcing that ‘generation rent’ is to be replaced by ‘generation buy’.

The claim follows the government’s decision to extend the stamp duty holiday to 30 June from what was scheduled to conclude at the end of this month. It will then be tapered from 1 July until the 30 September.

What does this mean? Well, it means that the current tax break on the first £500,000 will remain in place until 30 June. It will then be halved to £250,000 from 1 July to 30 September. Then, from 1 October, the full stamp duty measures will be put back in place.

This is, of course, good news for those who were planning on applying for a mortgage before the stamp duty holiday ends. It’s also good news for those who are currently in the process of buying a property, but who may just have completed after 31 March, which would have perhaps incurred charges that the buyer was aiming to avoid.

And, of course, the Chancellor’s decision is also likely to be welcomed by anyone looking to get a mortgage today, as it means that there is now an extra amount of time available to cover the mortgage application process and any chain-related issues that often impact the sale and purchase of a property.

So, if any of the above descriptions accurately describe you – or if the outcome of the Budget has acted as a tipping point and given you the certainty you needed to make your first – or next – move, then the next bit is simple.

If you are looking to apply for a first-time buyer mortgage, or if you simply want to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday before it ends, then contact the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

Remember, whilst we are first time buyer mortgage specialists, we are also buy to let mortgage specialists, equity release mortgage specialists and commercial mortgage specialists, too.


Guildford named best place to relocate to

Thursday, 4th March, 2021
best mortgage broker in Guildford

This one almost escaped us.

Although, given how we’re not only a Guildford mortgage broker but also an award-winning mortgage broker in Guildford, we felt that a belated nod to the place in which we are based was important.

In December last year, Compare My Move, a firm that compares conveyancers, chartered surveyors and removal companies, announced how Guildford was the best place in the country for city dwellers to relocate to following its own research.

Those already familiar with the area may not be surprised. After it all, it ticks a multitude of boxes including taking only 35 minutes to get to London by train, its close proximity to Heathrow and Gatwick Airports, and the fact that it’s only a drive away from the coast. And that’s before you consider its access to the North Downs and South Downs.

Yes, Guildford isn’t a cheap place to live (the average property price is over £500,000). However, given the points listed above, you do get what you pay for. And, if you’re used to city living – and city prices, more to the point – then Guildford is likely to be relatively accessible.

And that leads to the next point. In the wake of a pandemic, London appears to be losing its shine as homeowners consider less densely populated areas in which to call home. Whether that’s temporary or a long-term affect of Covid-19, only time will tell.

However, now isn’t the time to consider yet another way in which Covid-19 has made its presence felt. As a team of Guildford mortgage advisers, the majority of whom live in and around Guildford, this is a time to bask in the glory of success and give our fellow Guildfordians a virtual high-five!

The only question that perhaps needs answering now is ‘who is the best mortgage broker in Guildford?’

We already know, of course. But if you don’t and would like to find out, then call Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280, or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. We specialise in an array of mortgages, from first time buyer mortgages and buy to let mortgages to commercial mortgages and equity release mortgages.


Business as usual?

Friday, 13th November, 2020
business as usual

As 2020 continues to upend the entire world in one way or another, the use of the word ‘usual’ has become – well, unusual.

In fact, there really hasn’t been anything usual about this year at all; whether it’s global pandemics or global politics, things have unquestionably been very different from what we’ve become used to.

However, despite the uncertainties caused by the current pandemic and the rules and regulations associated with the latest national lockdown, one thing is certain – the housing market remains open for business as usual.

According to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, homeowners are able to move and estate agents should continue operating. Of course, things will be different and, in the case of property viewings, virtual viewings are likely to increase, but the important point is that those looking to move should keep on looking, and those applying for a mortgage should keep on applying.

Realistically, ‘Is now a good time to move?’ and ‘Is now a good time to get a mortgage?’ are probably more pertinent questions for those thinking of buying a property.

As a Guildford mortgage broker, we saw first-hand how the first national lockdown caused a bottleneck effect when the housing sector temporarily closed. People still need to get a mortgage and move, after all.

This time around things are different, not only because the sector is open and government is actively encouraging people to move if they need to, but also because the Chancellor announced a stamp duty holiday on properties up to £500,000 (and therefore a potential property tax saving of up to £15,000), provided that completion takes place by 31st March 2021 *. ­­

As a result, you have a housing sector that’s open as usual and the equivalent of a discount on the cost of moving available for the next few months.

So yes, now is a good time to move and apply for a mortgage. But let’s be honest, it’s more business as unusual than business as usual.

If you’re hoping to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday then contact the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Remember, we specialise in ALL mortgages from first time buyer mortgages and equity release mortgages, to adverse credit mortgages and commercial mortgages.

* https://www.gov.uk/guidance/stamp-duty-land-tax-temporary-reduced-rates

If you purchase a residential property between 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021, you only start to pay SDLT on the amount that you pay for the property above £500,000. These rates apply whether you are buying your first home or have owned property before.


Rush for first time buyer mortgages

Friday, 2nd October, 2020
first time buyer mortgages

As the wheels of the economy slow down and people begin to brace themselves for the full effects of a recession, there are a number of groups likely to be affected over the coming months. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on those applying for a first time buyer mortgage (or those about to apply for a first time buyer mortgage).

Sadly, COVID-19 has impacted young people’s income and forced lenders to tighten up their mortgage lending criteria. The overall result is shrinkage in first time buyer mortgage availability.

House prices are predicted to fall in the wake of the recession, and this is likely to help make getting on the property ladder that bit easier. However, it’s those who, after many years of saving, have built a sizeable deposit that are likely to be well placed to get a first time buyer mortgage.

Regardless of your situation, the good news is that all is not lost.

As a Guildford mortgage broker and first time buyer mortgage specialist, we still have access to a good range of first time buyer mortgage products that includes low deposit mortgages – and even a few no deposit mortgages, too.

You may also find our first time buyer mortgage guide useful, which includes 13 tips for how to improve your chances of getting a first time buyer mortgage – all of which are still relevant in a post COVID-19 world. You can download it here.

Of course, if you are looking to get your feet on the property ladder but feeling overwhelmed by the news that it’s becoming harder to buy a property, then there really is no substitute for picking up the phone and speaking to one of our first time buyer mortgage experts.

The situation does seem to change on a daily basis so our advice, if you are ready to apply, is get in touch straight away and start the mortgage application process sooner rather than later.

Contact the Complete Mortgages team today on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. And if your mortgage requirements are less first time buyer oriented, then remember we’re also buy to let mortgage specialists and adverse credit mortgage specialists, too.


Is getting a mortgage quickly October’s priority?

Tuesday, 29th September, 2020

We recently covered how the recession is beginning to bite, and that first time buyer mortgages – particularly low deposit mortgages and no deposit mortgages – are slowly disappearing from lenders’ shelves. However, a recent report claims that mortgage demand is at pre-COVID levels. So, with demand high and availability low, is September a key month to apply for a mortgage?

The answer might just be ‘yes’ – particularly if you fall into the first time buyer mortgage category (and potentially the adverse credit mortgage category, too). But first of all, let’s take a look at the figures.

The Bank of England reported that demand for mortgages rose in July – the first time since lockdown – and that the number of new home loans rocketed from 39,900 in June to 66,300 in July. Whilst this is good for the economy, it is also at odds with a report from Moneyfacts that states how borrowers with a 10% deposit now have almost no low deposit mortgage deals available to them – down from 779 at the beginning of March.

As a Guildford mortgage broker with access to the UK’s best mortgage deals, we can find the right mortgage for everyone. However, given the speed at which mortgage products are disappearing, combined with increasing demand for mortgages, it looks as though another bottleneck could be around the corner; one caused by people scrambling for specific mortgage products just in case they disappear.

Whilst Complete Mortgages is unable to comment on how many more low-deposit mortgages are going to be withdrawn, there certainly seems to be a downward trend.

As a result, the only way in which to address this is to apply for a mortgage as soon as possible; not only so that you have access to the biggest pool of mortgage products available, but also to place yourself firmly in the mortgage application queue, which is likely to continue to grow until the stamp duty holiday is discontinued in March.

If you feel like you’re running out of time when it comes to applying for a mortgage, then let Complete Mortgages handle it all – from initial mortgage consultation to getting a decision from the lender – for you.

Contact our team of Guildford mortgage advisers on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. And remember, we also handle buy to let mortgages and commercial mortgages, too.


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.