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.


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


Complete Mortgages recruits ex-Countrywide highflier

Sunday, 20th August, 2017

Guildford mortgage broker, Complete Mortgages, has bolstered its rapidly expanding team of mortgage experts by recruiting one of Countrywide Mortgage Services’ most successful mortgage brokers.

Lee Cousens, who joined Complete Mortgages at the end of March, was ranked one of Countrywide Mortgage Services’ top 20 brokers from a pool of 700 located nationwide.  He is now working full time out of Seymours Estate Agents’ flagship Woking office.

During his time at Countrywide Mortgage Services, he carved a national reputation for delivering a professional service and expediting the mortgage applications of his first time buyer and second time mover clients.

With a prominent financial services career spanning over 10 years, eight of which were spent at Barclays where he worked with high net worth individuals, and including roles at prominent FTSE 250 companies, Lee has consistently generated first-class results within the residential and buy to let mortgage markets.

On joining the Complete Mortgages team Lee comments: “After a rich and varied career spent working at some of the financial services industry’s most prominent companies, I’m now looking forward to apply the knowledge I’ve accrued during that time with a view to supporting Complete Mortgages’ growth plans. The firm already has a solid UK-wide reputation and it’s an exciting time to the be joining a company that has so much more growth potential.”

Outside of work Lee, who lives in Chertsey, spends his time playing cricket and golf, as well as watching his team Brentford FC. He also ran the 2017 London Marathon on 23 April.

Complete Mortgages’ Director, Mark Finnegan, adds: “We’re delighted to welcome Lee to the team and thrilled to have attracted such an accomplished and well-regarded industry professional away from the UK’s largest property services group. Lee is a great fit for the team and will no doubt help Complete Mortgages continue to expand its customer base and strengthen its 8 year relationship with Seymours Estate Agents, whilst providing exceptional levels of customer service, industry insight and professional advice.”

For more information or to arrange a mortgage with Complete Mortgages contact 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

Image caption: Lee Cousens (centre) with some of the Seymours Woking team.