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.


Tips for first time buyer mortgage applicants

Monday, 13th July, 2020
Tips for first time buyer mortgage applicants

We’ve provided advice for first time buyers from a number of perspectives over the years. We’ve even produced a free downloadable guide to first time buyer mortgages, which included 13 tips and a selection of award-winning mortgage advice for first time buyers.

However, as a Guildford mortgage broker – and as you would probably expect – we’ve always approached it from the mortgage application process, looking at what to do and what not to do prior to applying for a mortgage.

So, to add a bit of balance – and as a result of the knowledge we’ve built from working with estate agents in Guildford and the surrounding areas – we thought we’d offer some advice on the actual viewing of the property you’re hoping to get a mortgage on. After all, if you can get that and the mortgage application bit right, then you’re pretty much home and dry.

Here is a selection of things to consider and questions to ask before you get too attached to the property you’re viewing.

1. Can you pay those bills?

The house may look great – and it’s within budget, too. But how much does it cost to run? Energy Performance Certificates will help you understand the property’s efficiency rating, but also be aware and realistic about costs associated with flats such as service charge and ground rent, as they can be quite high.

2. If you can’t park your car, then you may want to park the property

This isn’t the case for everyone – especially for those who don’t own a car. But for those who do, it doesn’t take long before having to park three streets away from your home begins to outweigh what attracted you to the property to begin with. Establish how important parking by your property is to you. If it’s an essential, then don’t be afraid to walk away. There will be many more properties that tick all the boxes – including the parking box.

3. Will you be a link in the chain?

The property chain can sometimes work for you – especially if the seller has found their next property and is keen to go. However, it can also work against you if the seller hasn’t yet found their next place. Depending on your own situation you need to be realistic about whether you’re prepared to be part of a chain and wait for months before moving. We’d recommend you get a handle on the chain from the outset.

4. Look beyond the property

Falling in love with your first property is easily done. However, make sure you also love the area in which it’s situated. Do your research and look for any issues in and around the area that may cause you problems once you’ve moved in. Another good tip is to visit the property – and the check out the immediate area – during day and night. You’d be surprised how different they can look.

5. How long has it been on the market?

Make sure you know how long the property has been listed. As a first-time buyer, it’s likely that you’ll want to make your deposit work as hard as possible for you – and a property that’s been on the market for some time may provide an opportunity to negotiate a good deal. It may also be a sign that there’s a problem. However, keep in mind that three months of lockdown slowed everything down, so a slow sale may be directly attributable to that.

For mortgage advice or to speak with a mortgage broker in Guildford about all aspects of buying a first property, then contact the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


Stamp duty cut could save you £15,000

Thursday, 9th July, 2020

The last few months have been turbulent, to say the least. And if you’re anything like me, then you’ve probably lost track of the countless bailouts, measures and financial packages that have been announced in order to get the UK’s economy back on track.

However, one measure that was announced yesterday by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of the Summer Statement is likely to stick firmly in the mind, particularly with those looking to apply for a mortgage and move home: the cut to stamp duty.

Prior to the announcement, stamp duty on the purchase of a main residence cost £1,500 on properties valued at £200,000; £5,000 on properties valued at £300,000; £10,000 on properties valued at £400,000, and £15,000 on properties valued at £500,000.

As of 8 July, stamp duty no longer applies to residential properties with a value up to £500,000 * – a move that is thought to affect up to 90% of UK homeowners. Not only that, but properties over £500,000 will also attract a much lower level of stamp duty, too.

It’s important to remember that this isn’t something that will stay around forever. In fact, it’s a stamp duty holiday – and one that will only last until 31 March 2021. The announcement, of course, has been designed to get the economy (and homeowners) moving, and with rates so attractively low – or non-existent in the case of purchases up to £500,000 – Complete Mortgages expects there to be a flurry of activity over the coming months.

It’s also important to note that, in real terms, the stamp duty holiday actually increases a homeowner’s purchasing power by effectively boosting their deposit. For example, if you’re looking to move home and your budget’s £500,000, then the £15,000 saved in tax can be used to increase the amount you’re putting down on the property. Rather than pay 3% in tax, you can increase your deposit by 3% – a double win that will be particularly welcomed by those looking for high loan to value mortgages.

Ironically, as a Guildford mortgage broker that has experienced its busiest June ever, we haven’t seen anything but a flurry of activity during the lockdown period. Still, we applaud the Chancellor’s bold move and we expect those applying for a mortgage in the UK will be equally appreciative.

So, the countdown is on. Will you take advantage of it?

UK homeowners now have nine months to benefit from the stamp duty holiday and reduce their property tax bill. If you’re looking to get a mortgage over the coming months, Complete Mortgages can help. Contact us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to begin your mortgage application.

* the 3% higher rate for purchases of additional dwellings (including buy to lets) applies on top of revised standard rates above for the period 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021.


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.


Getting a first time buyer mortgage post-Coronavirus

Monday, 8th June, 2020
Getting a first time buyer mortgage

Imagine you’ve saved hard – for many years – and have finally reached the point whereby you have enough money for a deposit on a property you like. And then Coronavirus hits and throws everything up in the air.

Well, that’s what happened to many people who were ready to apply for a first-time buyer mortgage in March and who, for the last couple of months, have probably felt a little deflated with getting so close, only to be have their dreams of homeownership put on hold.

The good news is that the restrictions are easing – to a degree, at least. And whilst we don’t know what lies around the corner, Complete Mortgages, as a Guildford mortgage broker, is advising forthcoming homeowners to start thinking about taking their first steps towards getting a foot on the property ladder in readiness for life after (or maybe life with) Coronavirus.

To help you with your thinking before you spend time applying for a first-time buyer mortgage, here are a few things to consider.

Can I afford a first-time buyer mortgage?

These days, an online mortgage calculator – such as Complete Mortgages’ own version here – is a good starting point. It will quickly and simply tell you what you can borrow based on what you earn and what you spend.

With regards to a first-time buyer deposit, if you’re looking at a property that costs £200,000 then you’ll need to have saved at least £10,000 – or 5% – of the total value. Just remember that by having a higher deposit in relation to the total cost of the property, you’ll be able to access a wider range of mortgages.

How do lenders make decisions about how much they’re going to lend me?

No two lenders are the same and each one has its own specific lending criteria. However, there are some general points to think about. These include:

  • Income. Are you PAYE or self-employed, and does your overall income depend on bonuses? Income is key, so make sure you can clearly show all sources.
  • Expenditure. Do you have many financial commitments? If there’s more going out than coming in then you’ll want to address that before applying for a mortgage.
  • Credit rating. The difference between good and bad credit can be the difference between getting and not getting a mortgage. If you’re concerned about your credit rating, then read our article on getting a mortgage with bad credit.

There is a lot to consider before applying for a mortgage – but we can help you with the process. Regardless, now is the time to start thinking beyond COVID-19 and taking the necessary steps towards homeownership.

To access Complete Mortgages’ comprehensive first time buyer guide, which tells you all you need to know when it comes to buying your first home, click here. Or, to speak with a first-time buyer mortgage expert, call 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan at Complete Mortgages


Getting a mortgage after lockdown

Tuesday, 26th May, 2020
getting a mortgage after lockdown

The last few articles have covered getting a mortgage during lockdown (and demonstrated that despite this strange time, you can still apply for a mortgage from the comfort of your home using our video mortgage broker service).

So, looking ahead to life after lockdown, we thought we’d help you get ready when it comes to applying for a mortgage – in person!

Although we’re a Guildford mortgage broker we have a national base of customers, many of whom have always preferred to conduct their mortgage application remotely. However, whether you’re applying for a mortgage from afar, or seeing our team of award-winning Guildford mortgage brokers in the flesh, you still need the same documentation in order to get the process moving.

If you’re someone who’s getting a mortgage after COVID-19 has cleared, then here’s a mortgage application checklist that will help you to get organised and ensure that your application goes as smoothly as possible. If you plan to take advantage of our mortgage advice over video and apply for a mortgage during lockdown anyway, then this will still be a useful guide.

What’s even more useful is that we’ve broken it down into two parts: one for employed mortgage applicants and the other for self-employed mortgage applicants.

Essential mortgage documentation if you’re employed

  1. Passport. Make sure you have one – and that it’s valid.
  2. Proof of address dated within the last 3 months. Examples include utility bills, bank statements or credit card statements.
  3. Proof of deposit. You need to be able to clearly demonstrate how you intend to fund the deposit using bank or savings account statements that go as far back as 6 months.  If your deposit originates from sources other than savings (for example – a gift from a relative), we will need appropriate evidence of this.
  4. Last 3 months’ bank statements for your main account(s).  These should show all transactions including salary credits and bills being paid (we can accept internet statements as long as they include your name and account number).
  5. Last 3 months’ payslips (13 weeks if paid weekly).
  6. Last 2 P60’s
  7. Proof of bonuses for the past 2 years. If you have received bonuses then this will need to be clear on the payslips.

Essential mortgage documentation if you’re self-employed

  1. Passport. Make sure you have one – and that it’s valid.
  2. Proof of address dated within the last 3 months. Examples include utility bills, bank statements or credit card statements.
  3. Proof of deposit. You need to be able to clearly demonstrate how you intend to fund the deposit using bank or savings account statements that go as far back as 6 months.  If your deposit originates from sources other than savings (for example – a gift from a relative), we will need appropriate evidence of this.
  4. Last 3 months’ bank statements for your main account(s).  These should show all transactions including salary credits and bills being paid (we can accept internet statements as long as they include your name and account number).
  5. Online Tax Calculation and HMRC Tax Year Overview.  We will typically need these for the last 2-3 tax years.
  6. Signed limited company accounts for the last 3 years (Limited Company directors/shareholders only)
  7. Current and previous contract plus CV (contractors only)

Please remember that you can still apply for a mortgage with Complete Mortgages using the telephone, video technology and digital documentation. Simply call us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to arrange a virtual appointment.  But if you’d rather wait, then at least you have some time to pull everything together.

Stay safe in the meantime.

By Mark Finnegan at Complete Mortgages


Equity release during lockdown is easier than you think

Tuesday, 19th May, 2020
Equity release during lockdown

Without wanting to labour the virtual mortgage broker point that we’ve made in recent articles (to summarise, it’s that we’re continuing business as usual by conducting mortgage consultations via video), we thought it might be worth highlighting that getting an equity release mortgage during lockdown is very easy.

Although equity release mortgages can be slightly more complex than standard mortgages – and whilst there is arguably more to consider when it comes to releasing equity from your property – the mortgage application process is broadly the same.

However, as a Guildford mortgage broker that has arranged countless equity release mortgages for its clients over recent years, Complete Mortgages can guide you through the process and discuss with you the pros and cons of equity release.

But before we get to that stage, let’s address some of the basic equity release questions that we’re currently being asked.

Is now a good time to apply for an equity release mortgage?

There is a raft of great mortgage deals available right now – and the recent interest rate cut has contributed to this. However, the answer to this question is less about COVID-19 and more about your personal circumstances. In terms of applying for an equity release mortgage – and us processing it – then there really is no difference between now and pre-COVID-19; we’re still offering the same service (albeit remotely).

The real point to consider is whether or not now is the right time for you. This is a point that a Complete Mortgages equity release mortgage broker can help you establish during a video mortgage consultation, which you can arrange by calling 01483 238280.

Is it better to wait until everything’s back to normal – or is remote mortgage advice okay?

In an ideal world, meeting face-to-face to discuss equity release would be the preferable option. Sadly, we’re not living in an ideal world right now. Not only that, but we have no idea when we’ll return to a world that resembles life pre-Coronavirus.  So, that takes us back to the previous question. If you’d rather meet face-to-face and there’s no pressure to arrange equity release, then maybe wait to see what happens. If not, then through our video mortgage broker service we can progress it immediately.

What about the equity release paperwork?

This isn’t a problem, either. We’ve recently started using Eversign, so that ALL documentation can be safely and securely signed from your home. You can read more about it here.

Regardless of the type of mortgage you’re looking to apply for, Complete Mortgages can handle all applications via a combination of video and digital documentation technology. ‘Is equity release right for me?’ is the question you need to start with – and if you still can’t answer it, then pick up the phone and let us help you decide through our award-winning, impartial mortgage advice.

Don’t let COVID-19 put your life on hold. For equity release mortgage advice contact us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan at Complete Mortgages