More than just a Guildford mortgage broker

Thursday, 20th June, 2019

Don’t you just hate it when a company, say for instance a sweet shop, has a slogan that reads ‘more than just sweets’. Or a stationer that claims to offer ‘more than just stationery’. What does it even mean? And what more would you want from a stationer other than stationery?

Those who share my sentiments may well have rolled their eyes at reading the headline for this article. However, there is a reason for it.

It was recently reported that a teacher was refused a mortgage on the basis that she had unknowingly been issued a County Court Judgement (CCJ) for a parking ticket she was advised had been cancelled. Unfortunately, what turned out to be a mistake left a negative imprint on the teacher’s credit rating and resulted in her being unable to get a mortgage.

As a mortgage broker in Guildford – and a specialist mortgage broker for teachers – I know that this could have been avoided. And this is where my point about being ‘more than just a mortgage broker’ comes in.

There are many reasons to use a mortgage broker over and above simply managing the mortgage application process. Making sure the right paperwork is ready at the right time is, of course, essential. However, there really is more to being a mortgage broker than administrative duties. It’s the advice, mortgage product navigation and recommendations, as well as the professional mortgage guidance that really adds value when it comes to using a mortgage broker.

Had Complete Mortgages encountered a mortgage applicant with a CCJ for a small amount, we would have presented it to a lender for what it was rather than letting it become a barrier. Failing that, we would have made the client aware of the options available under the adverse mortgage range – mortgages available to those with poor credit ratings.

Of course, in this case, the teacher wasn’t aware of the CCJ to begin with. However, there are many people who are aware of their credit misdemeanours and adopt a ‘head in the sand’ approach to getting a mortgage.

Despite what people may think, lenders are keen to lend money. Whilst CCJs can represent a problem, particularly if they relate to considerable amounts, smaller CCJs that are nothing more than a ‘blip’ in an applicant’s otherwise unblemished credit report can be justified over a conversation between broker and lender.

A good mortgage broker – that’s one that does have regular dialogue with lenders – sits closer to those who make lending decisions than mortgage applicants. So, why not let the mortgage broker do the talking on your behalf.

Applying for a mortgage yourself can be a bit like cutting your own hair; the result might turn out okay, but it probably won’t reflect the work of a professional, who is paid to get it right first time.

So, if you’re about to apply for a mortgage and have a CCJ, or if you’re concerned about your credit rating, then rather than throw caution to the wind and hope it turns out okay, apply for a mortgage in confidence by going through a mortgage broker.

We are specialists in first time buyer mortgages, adverse credit mortgages and mortgage for teachers. We also have a high customer satisfaction rating, so get it right fist time by contacting the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


The buy to let mortgage goalposts have moved… again

Thursday, 28th September, 2017

Staying on top of the buy-to-let mortgage market has become a job in its own right.

Some changes are small and relatively inconsequential – the inner workings, or behind the scenes details, if you will, that we tackle as part of the mortgage application process and that don’t need to burdened on our clients.

Others, such as the upcoming Prudential Regulation Authority changes, which will be applied by 30 September 2017, do need some light shed on them.

After all, current landlords and those in the process of applying for a buy to let mortgage are coming to us and asking ‘what does it mean for me?’.

In order to make the information accessible to everyone, we’ve prepared our Prudential Regulation Authority changes made simple.

This should clear a few things up, however if you still need clarification then please call a member of the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280, who will be more than happy to help.

So, if you’re a landlord and wondering ‘how will the new buy to let rules affect me?’, then read on.

1. Size matters

As part of what appears to be a crackdown on buy to let landlords who have ‘stockpiled’ mortgaged properties, the new rules really impact those who have four or more properties within their portfolio.

It’s also important to note here that the figure of four doesn’t relate to the number of mortgages you have – but the number of properties. If you own four properties under one mortgage then you will still be treated as a portfolio landlord. If you have two or three mortgaged buy to let properties, the new lending criteria will not affect you.

2. Down to the last detail

If you currently own three buy-to-lets and are looking to buy a fourth, or if you already own four and are looking to buy more, then you will be required to prove that your other properties – or at least your ability to cover the cost of the other properties – won’t be affected by taking on another.

To do this, lenders will:

a. Want to review income from other sources – including that derived from your existing portfolio – to ensure that can cover maintenance and void periods

b. Assess your experience as a landlord

c. Apply an Income Coverage Ratio, which is dependent on a number of factors including all your earned income. Note: this will vary from lender to lender

d. Require full details of the entire portfolio in order to assess the overall risk, potentially including assets/liabilities, cashflow and investment intentions.

Essentially, lenders will want to carry out stringent checks to make sure that taking on an additional property – or properties – will not be too much of a financial stretch.

3. Getting personal

Of course, as part of these checks, lenders will also want to know your personal liabilities and outgoings, too.

Expect the following areas to be explored as part of the review:

a. Credit cards and their balances

b. Vehicle financing agreements

c. Loans

d. General outgoings

The buy to let mortgage market is a constantly evolving sector. As a result, it’s important that you don’t get caught out.

As a Guildford mortgage broker our advice for buy-to-let landlords is to contact a mortgage adviser to find out how the new changes might affect you personally.

Likewise, we recommend that all new and aspiring landlords find a reputable mortgage broker to advise them on how to apply for a buy to let mortgage in the context of the impending new rules.

Contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Remember, we also offer specialist mortgages including limited company buy to let mortgages, equity release mortgages and adverse credit mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Mortgage wars: a battle that shouldn’t be fought on price alone

Wednesday, 13th September, 2017

The Telegraph recently published a story that focused on the ‘battle for mortgage customers’ and the intensification of a war that is seeing lenders cut both their rates and penalty fees.

As a Guildford mortgage broker, Complete Mortgages feels and acts on the launch of each and every new mortgage product and the fluctuation of rates associated with those that already exist on a daily basis; indeed, it is our job to do so.

However, our view on the language used by the national media that places home buying in the context of a war – and the portrayal that the mortgage market is an arena in which only the cheapest product and lender will win – is bad not only for the mortgage industry, but also those applying for a mortgage.

Firstly, it’s important to highlight that the cheapest mortgage isn’t necessarily the best mortgage.

Evidence suggests that the average rate of two and five-year fixed mortgages has significantly decreased over the last seven years, and that’s undoubtedly a good thing. The more competitive lenders are, the more attractive their mortgage products become.

However – and this is very important – not everyone’s circumstances are the same. So, whilst a five-year fixed mortgage may be ideal for candidate A, it may not be so effective for candidate B.

Simply distilling mortgages and the mortgage application process down to a price war – something more akin to inexpensive consumer products such as bread and milk – doesn’t take into account the nuances surrounding each individual’s lifestyle and financial position.

It could also panic those looking for a mortgage into running headlong into a mortgage deal that may not necessarily suit their needs in the long (or even short) term.

The same Telegraph article suggests that lenders are already braced for a surge in new applications as a wave of existing fixed-term deals come to an end this autumn.

If this surge of applications originates from mortgage applicants who are well informed then we fully support that – but finding a mortgage broker who can guide you through the process and establish the right mortgage for you before you commit to anything should be your first port of call.

As an award-winning mortgage broker, our recommendation to those looking to secure a mortgage – or remortgage – is to seek professional mortgage advice; advice that treats a mortgage for what it is, which is a long-term commitment and not a simple day-to-day purchase.

If you’re looking at getting a mortgage – or remortgaging – this autumn then don’t get caught up in the bottleneck. From specialist self-employed mortgages and commercial mortgages through to first time buyer mortgages and adverse credit mortgages, Complete Mortgages can recommend a mortgage to match your own personal circumstances.

Contact us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk for an insightful, thoughtful and expert view on the current mortgage market – and a professional opinion on where you might fit within it.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Five reasons to use a mortgage broker

Tuesday, 22nd August, 2017
mortgage broker

Regular readers will know that we tackle pretty much every topic related to applying for a mortgage; from the actual mortgage products themselves (buy to let mortgages, commercial mortgages, residential mortgages etc.) to the legislation and changes in rules that either hinders or facilitates access to them.

However, on this occasion, I’ve decided to place the spotlight not just on the team of mortgage brokers at Complete Mortgages, but mortgage brokers as a whole.

Not because mortgage brokers have come under fire, or that that there is any particular reason to defend the work of a mortgage broker. It’s just that there are now a number of elements such as regulation, new rules, and restrictions that affects those wishing to apply for a mortgage.

This, on one hand, makes the work of a broker more complex and challenging, however on the other it’s allowing brokers throughout the UK to showcase how they can add value to their clients.

As a result, I would simply like to take this opportunity to remind homeowners and investors why using a mortgage broker can help expedite the mortgage application process and save a lot of heartache in the process.

From the recent changes affecting mortgage affordability to the latest set of rules from the Prudential Regulation Authority, which come into play in September and require landlords to provide details of their assets and liabilities, declare future investment property intentions and reveal the property schedule already requested for buy to let mortgage applications, there are now more obstacles to navigate than ever before.

And, as the number of obstacles grow, so too does the number of reasons to outsource your mortgage application requirements to a mortgage professional. Here are five.

1. Knowledge is power

This sub-heading is probably slightly over-egging the pudding, however it’s true that the more you know the more you can control. A good mortgage broker thoroughly knows the industry and, as a result, knows how to present your case in a way that reduces administration time and gets the desired result quicker. This knowledge, which non-mortgage brokers typically wouldn’t know, also enables brokers to sidestep the pitfalls and capitalise on any potential opportunities, thus ensuring you receive the best possible mortgage advice for your particular circumstances.

2. Qualifications count

It goes without saying, but those with formal training and qualifications in anything – from medicine and teaching to hairdressing and car maintenance – are more likely to approach what they do in a more efficient, balanced and professional manner.

3. Duty of care

Professional mortgage brokers are not only morally obliged to act in your best interests, but also the Financial Conduct Authority also heavily regulates them. If your mortgage broker is not acting in your best interest, then you’re covered. Complete Mortgages positively embrace the FCA’s Treating Customers Fairly initiative meaning that you will be treated fairly with the utmost duty of care at all times.

4. Bigger picture

Mortgage brokers assess and evaluate every aspect of your financial situation. Not only does this ensure that you end up with the right mortgage for you, but it also means that they can develop a holistic package covering other aspects of your financial planning such as life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection in one go.

5. No time to lose

If, like most people, you’re incredibly busy, then juggling mortgage applications with your job and family commitments is probably something you could do without. By using a mortgage broker you can offload the burden of finding the right mortgage – and the associated admin – freeing you up to either a) focus on doing what you do best or b) spend time on anything but applying for a mortgage!

As the mortgage lending landscape continues to change and lenders become more careful about whom they lend to, why spend time doing something that mortgage brokers can handle for you

Whether you’re looking to secure a mortgage or simply want to remortgage, then contact the team at Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to find out how we can help you.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Robo-mortgage advisers… whatever next?

Thursday, 8th June, 2017

Now, before reading any further I should point out that, like most people, I too use a series of apps to help make my life that little bit easier. From monitoring how active I am to listening to music, apps are now an essential part of my everyday life.

However, on reading a piece in the Telegraph recently with the headline ‘New app promises to sort your mortgage by iPhone as home buying goes digital’*, I have to say that I experienced the first pang of ‘app cynicism’ I’ve felt since I began using them.

Not because, as a mortgage broker, I felt in any way threatened by the advent of digitised mortgage applications, but because my first thought was that some things should genuinely be left alone. Applying for a mortgage, in the context of apps, is one of those things.

Admittedly, claims of being able to complete a mortgage in 15 minutes or begin the mortgage – or remortgaging – process through a mobile app sounds fantastic. However, having been a Guildford mortgage broker for almost two decades, I know that the reality of carrying out a successful mortgage application relies less on software and more on relationships and a personal touch.

Buying a house is, for the majority of people, the biggest financial decision that they will ever make. Now, relying on software to order your coffee so that it’s served to coincide with your arrival, count how many steps you’ve taken in any given day, or alert you when it’s time to drink more water is one thing. But do you really want to place one of life’s larger purchases in the hands of a faceless app?

Not only that but who do you contact when things go wrong or don’t go quite according to plan?

The mortgage application process can be complicated, resource intensive and is often affected by a number of variables and external organisations. Whilst it’s okay to seek a simplified one-button solution to some of the more mundane aspects of modern life, a one-button solution to mortgage applications is, in my view, a false economy.

In fact, let’s compare it now. Complete Mortgages typically spends 15 – 20 minutes to carry out a factfind, which is similar to what some ‘robo-advisers’ claim to take, and from that point onwards everything is handled personally by a dedicated account handler who is able to fast-track the process, carry out those sometimes-sensitive chase up calls with the lender or provide feedback to the estate agent from which the mortgage applicant originated.

We’re proud, for instance, of our high customer service ratings as showcased on our website – all of which are the direct result of real actions of real people, who not only help people secure mortgages day in, day out, but who also do so after having built a strong rapport with the customer.

Yes, there are many services and experiences that have improved through automation, however these are typically services and experiences that are black and white, that have a simple beginning and end point, and that aren’t always reliant on multiple processes in order to reach a successful conclusion. Getting a mortgage isn’t one of them.

That said, I wish those who have launched – or are in the process of launching – automated mortgage apps the very best and I will watch with interest.

In the meantime, I must go. I’m being told that I have a meeting and that I need to purchase a gift online in the next five minutes to make tomorrow’s post – all by my apps, of course.

If you need to apply for a mortgage and would like to speak to a real person, then contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. We specialise in first time buyer mortgages, commercial mortgages, buy to let mortgages, adverse credit mortgages – and providing first-class customer service. 

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages

*http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/04/18/new-app-promises-sort-mortgage-iphone-home-buying-goes-digital


Getting to grips with the Mortgage Credit Directive

Monday, 23rd November, 2015
Mortgage Credit Directive

The European Union receives its fair share of the limelight. And it’s not hard to see why when you consider the big issues it has had to deal with of late – and that’s before you take into account the current renegotiation that the UK government is in the process of entering.

However one recent change to be handed to the UK from Brussels, entitled the Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD), could get lost amongst the noise of a potential referendum. And this is exactly why we thought we’d bring it to your attention.

Just as we gave you a brief introduction to the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) last year, we thought we’d offer a brief summary of what the MCD is and how it could affect you if you expect to apply for a mortgage in 2016.

What is the MCD?

It is European legislation designed to foster a single market for mortgages. It has been created to protect consumers by providing standardised information including demonstrating the impact of interest rate increases to your proposed borrowing. The rules also apply to those looking to remortgage – even if they don’t intend to borrow more. The European Commission published the final MCD text in February 2014. The MCD must be implemented in the UK through rules set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) by 21st March 2016. It is closely aligned with the UK’s existing mortgage regulation however mortgage advisers and arrangers will need to provide greater detail on a product’s key features and how they receive remuneration. This will be within the content of the standardised information document.

Will the consumer see any direct benefit of the MCD as a result of its implementation?

Complete Mortgages believes that the essential features of a product and the way that mortgage brokers are remunerated will be clearer under the new system, which is a positive change. Overall the changes are very subtle and we can explain everything to you when you get in contact with us.

So, how will it affect me?

There is little additional benefit to the UK mortgage market as a result of the directive, as MMR addressed many aspects of how mortgages are obtained by consumers, however one clear benefit is that the process of obtaining a mortgage will be more transparent. For example, the new directive incorporates a ‘cooling off’ period of at least seven days, which needs to be factored into the conveyancing process. Just as the MMR impacted on the length of the application process, the MCD will extend the application process as determined by the ‘reflection’ period.

But what if I’m 100% sure that I’m making the right decision and want to proceed?

The directive has been created to provide the consumer with time to compare alternatives and assess their options; the cooling off period is part of that measure. This can, however be waived by signing a disclaimer via your solicitor if timely completion is a necessity.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Yes, second charge mortgages, including regulated loans entered into before 21st March, will be subject to the FCA’s rules. There are a few more technical points, such as how some buy-to-let mortgages will be regulated by the FCA, however we can go through these (if applicable to you) during the mortgage application process.

Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages, comments:

“Changes to legislation affecting the financial services industry is a continual process. Our job, as an independent mortgage broker, is to make sure that these changes don’t negatively impact on your mortgage application and help you navigate your way through it. Whilst the Mortgage Credit Directive’s presence is likely to be felt, our team of mortgage brokers can put in place the necessary measures to limit its impact and ensure that our clients secure a mortgage as quickly and as efficiently as possible.”

So, if you are looking to secure a mortgage in the New Year and have questions about how the Mortgage Credit Directive might affect you, then get in touch with the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.