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 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

Mortgage rules have changed again, but don’t stress

Thursday, 20th July, 2017

Mortgage affordability has, once again, come under the spotlight following the Bank of England’s (BoE) decision to ‘tighten’ the UK’s mortgage lending criteria.

Essentially, the affordability test, or ‘stress test’, which those looking to apply for a mortgage need to undergo, is changing.

Until now, those applying for a mortgage had to prove that they could afford to make mortgage repayments of 3% above the BoE’s base rate. However, the new rules state that the 3% stress test now tests mortgage affordability on 3% above the lender’s standard variable rate (SVR).

By now, you’re probably thinking ‘will this make it harder for me to get a mortgage?’, and we’re pleased to say that, in the main, the answer is ‘no’. And here’s the reason why.

Affordability vs. unaffordability

This is similar to the idea of need vs. want. As is often the case, what we want isn’t necessarily what we need. Likewise, with the new rules (albeit reversed), those applying to get a mortgage may not want to have to pay a mortgage that is 3% more expensive than the SVR, but the majority can if they need to.

Of course, there will be a section of the public who, when faced with this test, may be unable to prove that they could afford the repayments, however professional advice from a mortgage broker will often help applicants reassess their financial situation with positive results.

However, there is another solution.

Don’t rethink, remortgage

As we covered in our last article, the often-overlooked remortgage is a way in which to avoid the SVR altogether. Simply by taking advantage of new mortgage deals you could maintain your same mortgage rate or, as is more often the case, improve on it.

So, rather than rethink in response to the new rules, simply think about remortgaging.

The team at Complete Mortgages always makes contact with its clients three to four months before they’re due to begin the SVR, to a) alert them to this fact and b) present them with new mortgage deals.

All good mortgage brokers should be doing this. If yours doesn’t, then you need to be asking them why. If you don’t use a mortgage broker, then maybe its time to look into finding one that can proactively ensure that you’re not missing a trick.

Back to the new mortgage stress test rules, then. Whilst the BoE has introduced tougher lending rules that stress test at 3% above the lender’s SVR, the reality is that if you proactively manage your mortgage you may never even have to face the SVR – let alone consider paying 3% above it.

For more in-depth information on what the new rules mean for you and how Complete Mortgages can guide you through the process, contact 01483 238280 or email Don’t forget, we also specialise in buy to let mortgages, adverse credit mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages and first time buyer mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages

Guildford mortgage broker scoops two national awards and grows firm by 39%

Friday, 24th March, 2017
mark finnegan

Guildford mortgage brokerage, Complete Mortgages, is banishing Brexit fears and quelling any talk of economic uncertainty after receiving two national awards and delivering 39% growth in the last 12 months.

The Railton Road-based firm collected the Top Mortgage Adviser and Top Network Adviser awards at this year’s Mortgage Intelligence Awards, which took place at Ascot Racecourse on Thursday 9 March, beating 400 advisers from around the UK to pole position.

It is the sixth consecutive year that Complete Mortgages has won a national award at the Mortgage Intelligence Annual Conference.

The double award win comes as the firm reveals that it secured mortgages for the Surrey community worth almost £140 million and expanded its team to 12 people – up from 3 people when it joined the Mortgage Intelligence Network in 2009.

On receiving the awards, Complete Mortgages’ founding director and Guildford resident, Mark Finnegan, comments: “The last twelve months have been hugely important for Complete Mortgages. We’ve grown faster than any other year in our eleven-year history and we’re continuing to draw some of the most experienced and talented brokers from across the UK, all of whom are attracted by our growing national reputation. We’re delighted to once again be recognised for delivering a first-class service and remain committed to making Guildford a southeast England hub of excellence when it comes to financial services and mortgage products.”

Kenton Cool, the world-renowned mountaineer responsible for leading Sir Ranulph Fiennes up Everest in 2008 and 2009, presented the awards to Mark at a ceremony that welcomed almost 350 people.

Dorset-based Mortgage Intelligence is a mortgage and insurance network and club, which aims to help brokers achieve more by providing tailored solutions, support and training. It has been supporting the mortgage and insurance brokerage industry for over 20 years.

On Complete Mortgages’ success, Sally Laker, Managing Director at Mortgage Intelligence, adds: “It’s no coincidence these awards are presented to Mark and his team during a period of rapid growth. Complete Mortgages’ professionalism, customer service and dedication to delivering high service standards is not only positive for the clients it serves, but also the mortgage brokerage industry as a whole. We’re delighted to have Complete Mortgages in our network and commend the firm on its excellent work.”

For more information visit or contact 01483 238280.


Image caption: Mark Finnegan collects the Top Adviser Award from UK mountaineer Kenton Cool at the 2017 Mortgage Intelligence Awards.

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Getting a mortgage before Christmas

Friday, 23rd September, 2016

As far as annual milestones go, we’ve just passed one of the big ones.

The beginning of a new school year not only signifies the end of summer, but it also marks the dawning of winter (Halloween is already beginning to dominate shop shelves) and the lead in to Christmas.

From a property perspective, people often tackle a new home move in line with a new season, something that property marketers will often take the opportunity to maximise, with calls to action such as ‘move in time for summer’ or ‘get in before spring’.

When it comes to Christmas, the sense of urgency is only stronger as homeowners want to be in a position to celebrate the festive season and entertain friends and family in their new property.

And now the children are back at school, the starting gun has been fired and the countdown to the festive season has begun. So, what does that mean for those who are thinking of applying for a mortgage this side of 2016?

The good news is that if your heart is set on moving into a new property in time for Christmas then it’s not too late to apply for a mortgage.  At the time of writing there’s approximately two and a half months until the big day. And let’s not forget that we’ve only just hit autumn – a period, which, according to HomeOwners Alliance*, is a great time to sell a property given how the holiday season is over.

However, there are a few things to consider as the homeowner’s champion also states that people need to be ready to move quickly in autumn, as the market tends to slow down once October arrives. On that basis, this leaves two weeks to get the ball rolling if you are serious about a pre-Christmas move.

Whether that’s securing a mortgage in principle to ensure that you’re at the front of the queue when it comes to accessing the funds, or using a mortgage broker in order for them to complete as much paperwork in advance of an offer being accepted on a property, there are ways in which time invested now will mean time saved later on.

If you’re self employed then another point to consider, and one that we covered here, is that lenders ideally want to see that you’ve submitted your accounts within 3-6 months of the end of the previous tax year. So, in keeping with getting as much out of the way as possible now – and bearing in mind that 6 October marks six months from the end of the last tax year – we would recommend that if you haven’t submitted your tax returns yet, then do so within the next couple of weeks.

As a Guildford mortgage broker that specialises in a wide range of products including self-employed mortgages, we have partnered with a number of Guildford estate agents – and estate agents in Surrey – which means that we have high visibility of our clients’ property purchasing process from beginning to end. The result of this means that we can give them a helpful push to expedite the process when required, which is useful when time is not on your side.

And for those who aren’t based in Guildford or Surrey and who won’t be using our local property partners, then all you need to do is contact us on 01483 238280 or email to find out how Complete Mortgages can get you as prepared as possible and help you get moved in by Christmas.

From first-time buyer mortgages and commercial mortgages to individual buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages, Complete Mortgages provides a complete service when it comes to getting a mortgage.


By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages

Are you ready for the social media mortgage?

Tuesday, 23rd June, 2015
mortgage advisor in Surrey

The boundary between real life and social media is now clear. Quite simply, there isn’t one. Social media is now as much a part of everyday life as eating, working and sleeping.

A huge proportion of people live their lives through it. Businesses do business via it. Employers recruit (or at least avoid making recruitment mishaps) using it. So, how can social media impact the mortgage market?

Just as employers screen prospective employees using the usual social media suspects, savvy mortgage underwriters seem to have adopted this tactic when it comes to filtering mortgage applications. According to Mortgage Solutions magazine, Instagram (which also happens to be undergoing huge growth), is being used by lenders to ascertain whether a not an applicant has UK residency. Similarly, LinkedIn enables lenders to review a person’s ‘claimed’ job history against their online CV.

The reality is that as social media becomes inextricably linked to people’s lifestyles and day-to-day habits, it’s going to be relied on more and more to establish whether or not a person, from a mortgage applicant to a job hunter, is who they say they are.

Until now, the vetting process has been limited to credit scores and a lengthy application and interview process. Now, as new social media platforms continue to launch on a regular basis, there are even more ‘channels’ for people to use as a resource and to gather intelligence.

With the average property price now standing at £294,351* homeowners will increasingly need to borrow more – and the more people need to borrow, the more stringent the criteria they will need to meet as lenders do all they can to ensure that whoever they are lending to is a safe bet.

Our advice? Well, as an independent mortgage broker Complete Mortgages is not only well-placed to find you the best mortgage rates, compare mortgages on your behalf and provide you with award-winning mortgage advice, but also brief you on the wider context (such as the rise in ‘social media mortgages’) and the nuances associated with securing a mortgage.

The traditional route to securing a mortgage is changing – and that’s no bad thing. Our job is to make sure that applying for a mortgage is a straightforward process and help you navigate the potential pitfalls.

From first time buyer mortgages through to buy to let mortgages and a range of specialist mortgage advice, we can help. Simply get in touch on 01483 238280 or email

Rightmove, June 2015

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages

What the election means for the mortgage market

Wednesday, 15th April, 2015

We’re at the end of the five-year political cycle, which means three things: uncertainty, unease and (arguably) unproductivity.

As a mortgage adviser who has seen many elections, I’ve come to expect this ‘blip’. And it isn’t exclusive to the financial markets. It affects every industry and sector. However with experience comes an inkling of what will happen in the lead up to the election and, perhaps more importantly, what will happen post-election.

So, let’s start with the pre-election phase. According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, a total of 40,600 loans, worth a reported £6.8bn, were signed off in February.

This represents a one per cent drop since January and a three per cent drop when compared with the same time last year. From our perspective, a drop in the number of people looking to find a mortgage isn’t a surprise. In fact we recall the same trend in 2010 in the lead up to the last election. After all, a reluctance to take financial risks is hardly surprising whenever there is uncertainty around important components of the mortgage mix – such as interest rates and the potential impact upon lending and mortgage deals.

However, in order to predict ‘what happens next’, you need to retain perspective and remember that people still want – and need – to move, which means that people still need to find a mortgage.

Post-election then. Once the uncertainty has faded and the unease has been replaced with confidence, I predict that there will be a surge of activity that may lead to bottlenecking when it comes to mortgage applications. The property market is a key barometer for the mortgage market and even though it’s spring, a time when the property market is generally at its busiest, it’s moving very slow in the lead up to the election. Again, once the uncertainty has disappeared there will no doubt be a flurry of activity as people decide they can’t wait any longer and put their property on the market, which will ultimately impact on the mortgage market.

If you think you’re going to need a mortgage sometime over the next couple of months then my recommendation would be to get the best mortgage advice sooner rather than later in order to beat the rush when it hits mid-May.

Getting good mortgage broker advice now will stand you in good stead once the new government has been elected.

For independent advice on mortgages – from buy to let mortgages to commercial mortgages – get in touch with the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email

By Mark Finnegan, Director, Complete Mortgages

Could now be the time to remortgage?

Thursday, 21st March, 2013

Moving your mortgage could result in saving you money.  We have seen a number of lenders reducing their mortgage interest rates recently for both fixed and tracker products, many of which are now offering rates lower than most lenders’ standard variable rates (SVR).

This means if you are currently on an SVR mortgage, now is a great time to consider remortgaging to another lender or transferring your mortgage with the same lender.

Last year we saw a number of lenders also increasing their standard variable rate (SVR), meaning your monthly mortgage payments would increase if you are a borrower on SVR with these lenders.

Despite the Bank of England Base Rate staying at an all-time low, we have seen lenders SVR increase up to 5.99%* and we may see more increases later this year.

It is always a good idea to keep your mortgage under review to see if you are on the best rate for your circumstances.  There are many options currently on the market, including product transfers with your existing lender.  These types of offer can often mean there are no up front fees to pay.

Here at Complete Mortgages in Guildford, Surrey we can take the hassle out of remortgaging and can help find the best deal for you. We are able to provide a full advice service and guide you through all the options available.  There are many things to take into consideration when taking out a mortgage such as general insurance and protection.

Time to remortgage? Get in touch today on 01483 238280 or email 

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

We typically charge a fee of £299.00 upon application.

*5.99% – current SVR for Leeds Building Society