Time to get a fixed rate mortgage before the general election?

Monday, 2nd December, 2019
mortgage rates

This article really couldn’t be timelier.

It also follows on nicely from my recent article on remortgaging, which encouraged homeowners to take advantage of the great mortgage deals currently on the market and consider getting a remortgage deal in place – even if it’s not strictly necessary – now just in case things take a turn for the worse in 2020.  After all, any offer made by a lender now is valid for six months and a lot could happen between now and then.

In fact, the theme of this piece is almost the same as that article in as much as it broadly covers the same topic – getting a cheap mortgage – however it does so in a more specific way, based on a more pressing event: the general election.

The last piece covered Brexit mortgage uncertainty and any possible interest rate rises in 2020. This piece tackles how the general election may affect mortgage rates, particularly given how they’re currently at rock bottom prices.

Only last week, The Sun covered how those who get a five-year fixed rate mortgage before the election could save themselves £4,350 a year. Similarly, Martin Lewis has highlighted how the UK’s political and economic uncertainty has translated into an opportunity for mortgage holders and is encouraging homeowners to look at good mortgage deals now to avoid potentially becoming vulnerable if what happens after the 12 December has a negative impact on mortgages.

Whether you’re new to the housing market and want to apply for a first time buyer mortgage, or you know your current mortgage deal is due to end, my advice is that you contact us to explore your mortgage options, see if there’s an opportunity for you to get a better mortgage deal and make sure that everything’s in place – namely a mortgage offer – before election day.

As a large and growing Guildford mortgage broker with a comprehensive panel of lenders, we not only have access to the best UK mortgage deals, but we also have a team large enough to process your application quickly, which is exactly what you need if you want to take advantage of what may, in hindsight, turn out to be the calm before the storm.

Complete Mortgages also has access to the most competitive specialist mortgages including commercial mortgages, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages and mortgages for contractors.


Revisit the remortgage (even if you don’t quite need to)

Thursday, 28th November, 2019

Here’s the thing. When it comes to remortgaging, we pride ourselves on providing a bulletproof service.

You can read more about our approach to remortgage applications via our article entitled ‘When is the right time to remortgage?’, but to summarise, if you’re a Complete Mortgages customer you will NEVER need to worry about falling onto the standard variable rate mortgage as we will never let it happen.

However, our award-winning mortgage broker services aside, there is currently one good reason to be considering your remortgaging options even before we remind you to consider them.

As I write this, remortgage rates are low. Incredibly low, in fact. And if you take into account just how competitive remortgage rates are right now combined with the fact that lenders’ mortgage offers typically last for six months, then it means that you could potentially lock in a great mortgage deal now so that it’s all in place for when your current mortgage does end.

For example, if you secured a low cost mortgage deal now, at the end of November 2019, it could be redeemable up until the end of May 2020. There would be no pressure from the lender to proceed with the deal from now until the offer expires, but it would cushion you against factors out of everyone’s control such as any negative Brexit fallout and interest rate rises, should there be any in the next six months.

Of course, we can’t predict what may or may not happen in 2020. However, as a Guildford mortgage broker, we’re just offering food for thought and highlighting a simple way in which you can protect yourself from any future rising costs.

After all, when mortgage rates become so low, it gets to the point whereby there’s only one way they can go. By getting a mortgage offer based on today’s rates, you’re safeguarding yourself against the unpredictability of tomorrow. And, if they go down even further between now and when you’re due to remortgage, then you simply apply for another deal.

Looking to hedge your bets when it comes to remortgaging? If so, contact the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to discuss your options. Remember, we also offer a range of specialist mortgages including buy to let mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages, mortgages for teachers and adverse credit mortgages.


Are high LTV mortgages good or bad?

Friday, 28th June, 2019
high ltv mortgage

In many ways, the mortgage market is similar to the fashion industry.

Just as denim jackets seem to make a comeback every decade or so, high loan to value (LTV) mortgages seem to be widely available once again.

For those of you who may not remember the impact of the financial crash of 2007/8, such as young first time buyer mortgage hunters, then I’ll just say that it was a very challenging time and one that went from lenders offering very high LTV mortgages to lending almost nothing at all.

However, high LTV mortgages are on the rise and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Prudential Regulation Authority, which has raised concerns about lenders’ willingness to increase their risk in order to maintain profit margins.

For example, Moneyfacts recently reported that the average two-year fixed-rate at 95% LTV has fallen from 5.33% to 3.25% over the past five years. Similarly, at 60% LTV, average two-year rates have fallen from 2.96% to 1.90%, making both 90% and 60% LTV mortgages more accessible.

As the debate opens up around ‘risky’ high LTV mortgages, here’s Complete Mortgages’ view.

1. Apples and pears

Lenders often talk of income multiples in order to ascertain a mortgage applicant’s affordability threshold – and the current debate around the acceptability of lending six times income is gathering momentum. However, given how low the Bank of England base rate currently is, then a multiple of six times income based on today’s available mortgage rates requires lower monthly mortgage payments than five times income based on the interest rates prior to last decade’s financial crash.

2. Helping the next generation of homeowners

Getting on the property ladder has become increasingly difficult. Property values have outstripped salaries, the result of which has priced out young people from getting a first time buyer mortgage. High LTV mortgages, which typically only require a 5 – 10% deposit, help first time buyers become homeowners, which is important.

3. Current earnings don’t necessarily reflect future earnings

First time buyers, who are relying on buying a property with only a 5 – 10% deposit, may have to go down the high LTV mortgage route as their earnings may be small in relation to the sum they’re looking to borrow. However, it doesn’t take young professionals long to move up the career ladder and increase their salaries, thus reducing their level of mortgage risk by default.

4. Post-crash regulation

Despite what is being reported in the news, structures imposed by regulatory bodies, such as the Mortgage Market Review, make it very difficult for mortgages to be handed out to those who are unable to afford the repayments.

High LTV mortgages may have increased, but so too have the number of variables and considerations that mortgage applicants are now assessed on. It is, of course, important to note that the Bank of England base rate is very low and could change at any time, however any changes to interest rates are quickly integrated within lenders’ affordability tests.

If you’re about to apply for a mortgage, looking for a professional mortgage adviser in Guildford or think you need to apply for a high LTV mortgage but are concerned by the potential risks, then contact the team at Complete Mortgages, who can assess your affordability levels prior to your mortgage application going to the lender.

We help our clients secure high LTV mortgages, buy to let mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages, equity release mortgages and adverse credit mortgages.  Contact 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk for more information.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Mortgage approvals go from strength to strength

Monday, 17th June, 2019
guildford mortgage broker

If you’re about to apply for a mortgage, then you’ll no doubt be buoyed by the news that the number of mortgage approvals for house purchases in the UK reached a two-year high last month.

In fact, mortgage approvals – according to a recent survey by UK Finance – were up for the sixth month in a row and up 5.4% year-on-year.

In April, a total of 44,034 mortgage approvals were granted, which highlights that despite political uncertainty, lenders are still lending and homeowners are still looking for their next property.

It’s also worth pointing out that levels of remortgaging (a service that Complete Mortgages is increasingly becoming renowned for) rose 5% to 31,152 between March and April and were 11% higher year-on-year.

As a Guildford mortgage broker – albeit one with a national customer base – we don’t have a full nationwide picture, however, we have seen the number of Guildford mortgages being granted since January significantly increase.

Whilst there are a number of variables that could be behind the rise – not least the recent talk around a potential interest rate rise, which may have played a part in getting homeowners to refocus on getting a good mortgage deal – the good news is that there are a number of fantastic mortgage deals available to homeowners right now.

Whether you’re looking for a cheap first time buyer mortgage or a competitive buy to let mortgage, the mortgage market is strong. However, with a competitive mortgage landscape comes a mortgage minefield that is best handled by a trusted mortgage broker that is well versed at navigating it.

Thankfully, Complete Mortgages is exactly that.

And, as a specialist mortgage broker (or a specialist mortgage specialist), we not only handle standard mortgage applications but also adverse credit mortgages, commercial buy to let mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages and even mortgages for teachers, too.

We also have a high customer satisfaction rating, so if you’re looking to take advantage of a strong mortgage market and apply for a mortgage, contact the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


When is the right time to remortgage?

Wednesday, 5th June, 2019
when is the right time to remortgage

Before I answer that question, if you’re still at the stage where you’re wondering ‘is remortgaging right for me?’ then you might want to read our article entitled should I remortgage?

If you’re fully up to speed on the potential benefits of remortgaging, then read on.

Complete Mortgages is a mortgage broker in Guildford, which not only has clients in and around Guildford (the whole of Surrey, in fact), but also those situated throughout the UK.

Yet regardless of where our clients live, they ALL have something in common, which is that they will be contacted around four months before their current mortgage deal ends and alerted to the fact that they are about to fall onto the standard variable rate mortgage.

We do this not because we’re a team of pushy mortgage brokers, but because if we can save our clients money by helping them to get a better mortgage deal as a result of simply offering a good mortgage brokerage service, then a) we will be partly responsible for making a customer happy, and b) good service helps retain good clients. Other excellent mortgage brokers do it – many don’t.  If you’re in the process of finding a good mortgage broker, then always make sure to ask them if that’s a service they provide as standard.

However, if you’ve come upon this article and you’re not one of our customers, the title of this article may well resonate with you – and the answer is, give or take, four months.

Why four months? Firstly, because getting a new mortgage can sometimes take longer than you think and secondly, why put yourself through all that last minute stress and panic by leaving it to the last minute.

Allowing yourself enough time to move comfortably from your existing mortgage to a new one will have a huge psychological benefit and help you on your path towards getting a stress free mortgage.

Of course, if you really want stress free mortgages then my advice is to use a trusted mortgage broker, who will not only let you know when it’s time to start looking for another mortgage, but also do the looking (and the applying) for you.

Complete Mortgages’ proactive remortgage approach doesn’t just apply to one type of mortgage, but all mortgages – from first time buyer mortgages and buy to let mortgages to limited company buy to let mortgages and even commercial mortgages. If you’re a customer of ours and are coming to the end of your mortgage term, then expect a call. If you’re not, but you like the idea of us – and not you – doing the hard work when it comes to applying for a mortgage, then call a member of the Complete Mortgages 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


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


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


Are interest only mortgages good or bad?

Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018

Interest-only mortgages are a bit like life. They’re not simply all bad or all good, they’re not clear-cut and they’re often right for some people, but not others.

However, from recent reports that suggest that the interest only mortgage is making its comeback, you could be forgiven for thinking that UK homeowners are about to revert to the pre-crash days and readopt the interest-only approach to home ownership.

In fact it wasn’t that long ago that interest only mortgages were commonplace.

It was only the financial crisis of 07/08 that provided what is now seen as a much-needed reset. Up until that point, people were applying for a mortgage on the strength of what they said they could afford as opposed to what they really could afford.

What made this palatable was that house price growth created a safety net as interest-only homeowners were banking on significant equity growth to pay down their mortgage when the time came. However, given the slowdown in property growth over recent years, this is less of a dead cert.

So what’s the difference this time, then?

Well, first of all a little context is needed. Data recently published by Moneyfacts, the financial analyst and comparison site, has revealed that 33 lenders now offer interest only mortgages – up from only 12 offering the product in summer 2013.

However, as stated by a Moneyfacts finance expert in a recent interview with industry title Mortgage Strategy, there were 73 lenders offering interest only mortgages back in June 2008, which reveals we have a long way to go before we reach those levels.

Furthermore, unlike days of old, to apply for an interest only mortgage today you have to have a low loan to value ratio – something that rarely got in the way of a deal pre-crash and certainly before the introduction of the Mortgage Market Review, which resulted in a severe tightening up of the mortgage market after it was put in place.

Yes, interest only mortgages seem to be gaining ground once again – however this type of interest only mortgage seems reserved for those who aren’t banking solely on property growth to pay for their mortgage decades down the line, as you will need to have a repayment strategy in place at the outset that is acceptable to the lender. Evidence also suggests that in addition to a large deposit, those looking to get an interest only mortgage will also need to earn a large salary.

Back to the original question, then: are interest only mortgages good or bad?

As a Guildford mortgage broker that has witnessed the ups and downs of the mortgage market both pre and post-crash, I’ll say that it completely depends on the individual’s circumstances. And for that reason, we would always advise that anyone thinking of applying for a mortgage – of any kind – appoints the best mortgage brokerage they can to help guide them through that process and provide that peace of mind.

If you’re considering applying for an interest only mortgage contact a member of the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Remember, we also specialise in buy to let mortgages, commercial mortgages, adverse credit mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages, too.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Is the robo-adviser redundant already?

Thursday, 28th June, 2018

At a time when there is continual debate around whether or not the human workforce will eventually be replaced by robots, I have to admit that I experienced a degree of pleasure this week upon reading an article that called into question the efficacy of robo-advisers.

The Financial Conduct Authority has issued a warning that robo-advisers could be misleading customers over fees and the nature of the advice offered – something that those applying for a mortgage should now be taking note of.

In a world where apps are standard fare, automation has become de rigueur and the perception that automation equates to better, this warning shot from the city’s watchdog pulls into focus the delicate – and often complex – nature of mortgage guidance.

It also raises the question of whether or not a service so nuanced and personal, such as that offered by experienced mortgage brokers, can simply be replaced by apps or web-based platforms.

As a Guildford mortgage broker we are all too aware that getting a mortgage is a big decision – and one that is underpinned by many variables, most of which cannot be expressed or picked up on through an automated process. A personal approach, such as that available via face-to-face meetings or even via a telephone call, enables the mortgage adviser to pick up on the small aspects that make up the bigger picture.

It also enables the adviser to ascertain the mortgage applicant’s own understanding of their obligations and commitments with respect to the nature and size of the mortgage they require. An automated platform is a standardised approach and one that doesn’t take into account swathes of people who, for example, may be more vulnerable when it comes to making big financial decisions and who, therefore, would benefit from a conversation with an expert.

I’m not anti-automation. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that there are many services and aspects of modern life that have improved since becoming automated. However, in my opinion, mortgage advice and mortgage brokerage services do not – and should not – fall within this category.

If you want to speak with actual people when it comes to getting a mortgage in the UK, contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. We specialise mortgages for the self-employed, mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages.