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


The 100% mortgage is back – but is it really new?

Thursday, 21st February, 2019
no deposit mortgage

Getting a mortgage without a deposit is, once again, a viable proposition, according to the latest wave of national mortgage news.

The new ‘Lend a Hand’ scheme offered through Lloyds Bank aims to tackle the primary barrier to home ownership experienced by would-be first time buyers – the deposit.

Now, Lloyds Bank will loan up to £500,000 for a new home on the condition that a family member places 10% of the total amount borrowed in a Lloyds Bank account for three years as security.

The drawback? The mortgage is not portable and, should the first-time buyer miss a payment, Lloyds can use the 10% capital to fill any financial holes.

First of all, it should be noted that any innovative way in which to make mortgages more accessible to young people should be applauded. And whilst Lloyds Bank’s proposition is not without its risks, it does go a long way to break down the barriers associated with home ownership amongst the younger generation.

Also, Lloyds Bank’s latest mortgage will no doubt be a success as it hits the sweet spot of a) those who are young and are looking to buy a property, and b) those whose family members can afford to part with 10% of the property’s value in capital on a temporary basis (or not, as the case may be).

However, as a Guildford mortgage broker that has been offering first time buyers a leg up via the no deposit mortgage for some time, this step isn’t particularly new.

Complete Mortgages has had access to ‘deposit-free mortgages’ since early 2018 – and they don’t necessarily require family members to put down 10% of their own capital, either.

The point I’m making is that mortgage brokers and mortgage advisers are not just on hand to do the paperwork that those applying for a mortgage would rather avoid. Nor are we simply on hand to grease the wheels of administration (which, it’s worth pointing out, is a long and resource-intensive process) in order to get the mortgage over the line. Yes, we do that too, but the value mortgage brokers add lies in finding the right mortgages for our customers from a comprehensive range of products, which, at any one time, runs into the thousands.

So, if you’re looking to apply for a 100% mortgage and don’t want to be limited to one option, contact us. We won’t be able to offer you the Lloyds Bank deal a it’s only available on a direct lending basis, but we’ll have a number of similar options for you to choose from.

Similarly, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to a mortgage broker to discuss any other barriers you may be experiencing when applying for a mortgage. Whether it’s arranging self-employed mortgages, mortgages for teachers or helping those with adverse credit to get a mortgage, mortgage brokers are there to help you make it happen – and you’d be surprised by what hidden gems there are out there. Let us help break down your mortgage barriers. Contact the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


How will Brexit affect my mortgage?

Monday, 28th January, 2019

Ah, Brexit. If there’s one word that people – regardless of their position – are tired of hearing, it’s probably that one. However, it’s a reality and one that is affecting all markets – including the mortgage market.

Regular readers will know that the team at Complete Mortgages isn’t one to shy away from topical debate, so as the official date approaches (or moves further away?), we thought we’d address Brexit and mortgages head-on.

Is it a bad time to get a mortgage?

There is general uncertainty around Brexit – and understandably so.

However, you may be surprised to learn that despite all the talk of doom and gloom, housing transactions, post-EU referendum, have remained relatively stable.

Figures from HMRC UK Property Transaction Statistics suggest that the biggest spike was pre-referendum in April 2016, when there was a big push for mortgages and house purchases prior to the introduction of the 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge. Since then, there haven’t been any dramatic reductions or increases in the number of houses being sold.

Shall I make the jump to a fixed mortgage?

There is still a long way to go – maybe even longer than we thought – before we officially leave the EU. As a result, our advice to those who are about to apply for a mortgage is don’t put your life on hold.

Mortgage rates are still very low so there are still some fantastic deals on the market. Equally, given the turbulence around Brexit, it has become a buyers’ market. On that basis, buying now could result in the savvy property hunter bagging a bargain.

Yes, there are some incredibly competitive fixed rate mortgages on the market right now, however any decision to switch to a fixed rate mortgage, in our view at least, should be made with more than just Brexit in mind.

Taking a long-term view

Often, when you’re in the eye of the storm, it’s difficult see beyond the immediate issues and consider the long-term picture.

Whilst very different to Brexit, the financial crash of 2007/8 caused much panic and saw house prices slump significantly. However, much less than a decade later, house prices bounced back and the impact of the crash drifted from the minds of UK homeowners. 

Whilst Complete Mortgages cannot predict the future, buying a house is a long-term investment, so making decisions using a short-term view could be, well, shortsighted.

Brexit is unknown territory, yet regardless of the direction that it takes us in – for good or for bad – the world will still continue to spin and people will always need mortgages to buy property.

As a Guildford mortgage broker, we have access to hundreds of fixed rate mortgage deals available NOW that will provide certainty of payments in these uncertain times for homeowners – existing and prospective – in Guildford and the surrounding areas. If you’re sitting on the Brexit fence and need some mortgage advice from a Guildford mortgage adviser, why not contact the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


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


A stress-free mortgage zone

Tuesday, 27th November, 2018
mortgage advice

It’s always bittersweet on reading research that indicates that the mortgage sector – and those working within it – could be doing better.

It’s bitter in the sense that as a mortgage professional, I would like to see the sector working as efficiently and as proactively as possible. When it appears that in some quarters this isn’t the case, then I can’t help but feel disappointed.

However, it’s also sweet as whilst it may reveal failings by others, it also reinforces my view that Complete Mortgages, as a Guildford Mortgage Broker, is amongst the mortgage brokers who are operating at the highest level when it comes to standard setting.

Research recently published by a UK mortgage broker* revealed that stressful mortgage applications are not only causing homeowners anxiety, but also putting them off remortgaging – something that can save homeowners money in the long-term.

It also revealed that approximately 2.5 million people suffered stress during their mortgage application, that 14% of homeowners said they rarely understood where they were in the mortgage application process and that 13% claimed that the way deals were advertised was confusing.

Whilst the research has been commissioned by a mortgage broker to reveal findings that no doubt support their own objectives, we can’t overlook the fact that it’s revealed that there are a phenomenal number of people suffering from mortgage stress when they simply don’t need to.

For those who read Complete Mortgages’ news pages, then you’ll know that we’re not ones to blow our own trumpet, opting instead for guides, mortgage tips and general content that we feel adds value to those who read it. However, in light of this research, we feel that it’s important that brokers who pride themselves on excellent communication and delivering an impeccable service should also be heard.

So, by way of a response to the findings, here’s Complete Mortgages’ own mortgage promise.

Whether you’re looking to apply for a residential mortgage, a buy to let mortgage, equity release mortgage, or even if you want to apply for bridging loans and commercial mortgages, Complete Mortgages will:

  1. Handle 100% of the mortgage paperwork on your behalf
  2. Proactively chase ALL mortgage applications and update you at every step of the way
  3. Talk you through the process at every stage of the mortgage application

Our customer satisfaction survey, based on the feedback of over 250 clients during the past 12 months, has given us an average customer satisfaction score of 98.82%.

Not only are we really proud of it, but it also demonstrates that there are excellent mortgage brokers out there – and that you really shouldn’t need to settle for second best, nor put up with mortgage stress at any point.

For stress-free mortgage advice contact the experienced Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Remember, we also specialise in specialist mortgages in Guildford and the surrounding areas such as self-employed mortgages, adverse credit mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages, too.

*Trussle

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Should I remortgage?

Wednesday, 10th October, 2018
Guildford mortgage broker

This is a question that we hear time and time again. Thankfully, as a Guildford mortgage broker, it is one that we can answer.

However, before we get into the detail, it’s worth pointing out that recent data released through UK Finance revealed that 46,900 new homeowner remortgages were completed in July – over 23% more than the same period in 2017.

Furthermore, the value of renewed borrowing in July was £8.7 billion, which equates to more than 26% than in July 2017.

Is the UK a nation of intuitive homeowners, given how The Bank of England raised interest rates to 0.75% the following month? Or were these homeowners simply savvy and preparing themselves for an interest rate rise on the basis that, after years and years of low interest rates, it was only ever going to go up?

The simple fact is that there’s nothing like an interest rate rise – or even the threat of interest rates rising – to sharpen the focus of those with mortgages. After all, nobody wants to be caught short and faced with increased monthly mortgage payments that stretch the realms of affordability.

Recent interest rate rises do seem to have pushed the amount of remortgaging in the UK to a new high. However, regardless of interest rate rises – real, impending and possible – here are a number of reasons why you should consider remortgaging:

1. Beat further interest rises

As I’ve just covered, remortgaging – particularly when it comes to fixed rate mortgages – could protect you from interest rate rises and ensure that your outgoing monthly mortgage payments remain fixed in line with your monthly income (or at least fixed at a level you’re comfortable with). With many fixed rate mortgage options covering periods of up to 10 years, those who like to know where they are when it comes to mortgage payments my find this appealing. But remember, The Bank of England can also lower the interest rate at any time, too.

2. Avoid the SVR

If your current mortgage deal is about to end then you are likely to be switched over to the lender’s standard variable rate (SVR), which is highly likely to be higher than the one you’re on right now. Remortgaging is a great way of arranging a mortgage with a preferred rate and avoiding the SVR.

3. The equity in your property has grown

If the value of your property has increased since you took out a mortgage, then you may fall under a different loan to value bracket. If the loan to value ratio is smaller, then you might qualify for lower rates.

4. You’re tired of the inflexibility of the fixed mortgage

Whilst the fixed rate mortgage is great for those wanting security and consistency, they often come with a few negative aspects, too. For example, they tend to place limits on how much you can overpay – and penalise you if you pay more than is allowed each year. For example, if you were to receive an inheritance that would, in theory, pay off a significant amount of your mortgage, you may find yourself unable to do so without incurring fines. As part of the remortgaging process, you can wrap any windfalls into the new agreement, thus avoiding fees and arranging a new mortgage with a much smaller balance.

5. You are looking to borrow more, not less

People are always looking to move into bigger and more expensive properties. If that’s you, then there may be competitive mortgage deals available that enable you to borrow more capital without the monthly repayment being as big as you might think it would be.

As with these five reasons to remortgage and the countless others not covered here, the best way of understanding how you can benefit from remortgaging is to contact a mortgage broker. As an award-winning mortgage brokerage in Guildford that deals with remortgages on a daily basis, we can help. Simply contact the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Beware the SVR mortgage trap

Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018

This definitely sounds more sinister than it really is, however the standard variable rate (SVR) mortgage trap surprisingly affects a high number of people every year.

It’s a bit like household energy deals or ISAs: you are drawn in by the competitive rates, be they cheap – and fixed – energy or a high rate of interest for the first 12 months, only to find yourself paying twice as much for home heating or receiving half as much interest as soon as that period is over.

It’s arguably more difficult to overlook increases in your monthly mortgage payments than it is the rate of interest on your ISA, generally because the stakes are higher and the increases more noticeable, however people do tend to find themselves on the SVR and subject to higher monthly payments – and there’s really no need for it to happen at all.

When it comes to finding yourself on your lender’s SVR rate, there are two scenarios:

a) You’ve sorted the mortgage and you’ve lost track of when your preferred mortgage rate ends and the SVR begins – and your lender either hasn’t reminded you, or they have, but you’ve put off sorting it for another day

b) You use a mortgage broker and they’ve failed to remind you to consider your options as you approach the end of what seemed like the best mortgage deal when you took it out 18 to 24 months ago.

As a Guildford mortgage broker the advice we have covers both points, and that’s don’t just use a mortgage broker – but a good mortgage broker.

Firstly, using a mortgage broker doesn’t mean handing over money to someone who you feel does just as good a job as you. In return for getting a mortgage broker to apply for a mortgage on your behalf, you will be working with someone who’s qualified, bound by stringent regulation and who often has access to the best mortgage deals on the market at any given time.

More importantly, in the context of the SVR trap at least, it takes the responsibility of keeping on top of your mortgage off of you and places it firmly at your mortgage broker’s door.

Secondly, good mortgage brokers should know your mortgage as well – if not better – than you. As a result, they should not only be aware of key dates, such as the date your mortgage is due to switch to the SVR, but also proactively contacting you with a list of options when it comes to doing something about it.

That’s what we do, at least, and it’s an approach that prevents the majority of Complete Mortgages’ clients from having to experience the SVR.

Don’t get caught in the SVR mortgage trap. Contact a member of the team at Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 who can manage your mortgage on your behalf and make sure that you’re aware of all the best mortgage rates available to you in advance. Alternatively, email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


The holiday let mortgage has well and truly checked in

Friday, 7th September, 2018
holiday home mortgage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


How will the second interest rate rise affect my mortgage?

Tuesday, 7th August, 2018
mortgage broker guildford

After much speculation the second interest rate rise has happened.

As of now, the interest rate is 0.75% following only the second rise by the Bank of England in a decade. In fact, the last time the base rate sat around this region was in 2009 – so it’s no surprise that it’s heading on an upward trajectory.

But what everyone wants to know – particularly those on either a standard variable rate mortgage or a tracker mortgage – is how the interest rate rise affects mortgage repayments.

As per our last interest rate rise article, we’re going to keep it simple and say that the increase of 0.25%:

  1. Increases a £100,000 repayment-based tracker mortgage that matches any rise in the base rate by £12 a month
  2. Increases the monthly payments on a £200,000 mortgage loan by £25

For some, a rise of 0.25% may be manageable. For others, this increase and the possibility – or, if we’re honest about it, the probability – of others further down the line may be unsettling. On this basis, many will now be viewing the fixed rate mortgage as a safer bet given the consistency and stability it represents.

The good news is that there is still a raft of competitive fixed rate mortgages on the market.

Inevitably, in the wake of this week’s news, lenders across the nation will be looking to reflect the rate rise in their products, so those considering applying for a new mortgage or remortgaging will need to move relatively quickly if they are to agree a deal before any changes are implemented.

According to the Guardian, the number of people on a variable mortgage has fallen to 35% from 70% in 2001, so there is a clear move towards the security offered via fixed rate mortgages.

As a mortgage broker in Guildford, we’ve seen countless people switch to a fixed rate mortgage since the first interest rate rise in November and we now expect to experience a sharp rise in fixed rate mortgage applications in the coming weeks. And, as a Guildford mortgage broker with access to a comprehensive selection of mortgages that includes some of the most competitive deals on the market, our advice is don’t waste time.

If you’re either about to apply for a mortgage or are thinking of switching your mortgage from variable to fixed, then contact us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Second Countrywide broker joins Complete Mortgages

Monday, 6th August, 2018
Mortgage Broker Knaphill

Guildford mortgage broker, Complete Mortgages, has lured yet another high-flying mortgage specialist from the UK’s largest single mortgage brokerage, Countrywide, as part of its continued growth plan and following a series of national mortgage industry award wins.

Sam Man, who takes the Complete Mortgages team to 14 people, spent one-and-a-half years at Countrywide after taking over the role of mortgage and protection consultant from Lee Cousens when he left the firm to join Complete Mortgages in 2017.

Prior to working at Countrywide, Sam established his career as a senior banker and protection consultant at Lloyds TSB and Natwest.

Building on Complete Mortgages’ relationship with Surrey’s network of 17 independent estate agents, Seymours, which has seen senior Complete Mortgages brokers permanently located in the estate agent’s offices, Sam will operate out of Seymours’ Knaphill office from August 2018.

On joining the team, Sam comments: “Complete Mortgages is a Guildford Mortgage Brokerage with a national reach and a growing reputation for securing great mortgage deals for its clients. This, combined with its award-winning service levels, makes Complete Mortgages a great company to work for and an opportunity that I’m looking forward to develop as I make it the ‘go-to’ mortgage broker in Knaphill.”

Complete Mortgages has grown significantly since it was established in 2005 and become nationally renowned for providing access to a diverse range of mortgage products, from first time buyer mortgages and buy to let mortgages to adverse credit mortgages and equity release mortgages. It also continues to win prominent Mortgage Intelligence Awards year after year.

Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages, adds: “We’re delighted to have once again appointed a high-profile broker from a high-profile brokerage and we now look forward to building on our success, growing our client base and continuing to deliver an award-winning mortgage broker service.”

If you are looking to arrange a mortgage in Knaphill contact Sam via sam@complete-mortgages.co.uk or call 01483 238280.