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


The 100% mortgage is back – but is it really new?

Thursday, 21st February, 2019
no deposit mortgage

Getting a mortgage without a deposit is, once again, a viable proposition, according to the latest wave of national mortgage news.

The new ‘Lend a Hand’ scheme offered through Lloyds Bank aims to tackle the primary barrier to home ownership experienced by would-be first time buyers – the deposit.

Now, Lloyds Bank will loan up to £500,000 for a new home on the condition that a family member places 10% of the total amount borrowed in a Lloyds Bank account for three years as security.

The drawback? The mortgage is not portable and, should the first-time buyer miss a payment, Lloyds can use the 10% capital to fill any financial holes.

First of all, it should be noted that any innovative way in which to make mortgages more accessible to young people should be applauded. And whilst Lloyds Bank’s proposition is not without its risks, it does go a long way to break down the barriers associated with home ownership amongst the younger generation.

Also, Lloyds Bank’s latest mortgage will no doubt be a success as it hits the sweet spot of a) those who are young and are looking to buy a property, and b) those whose family members can afford to part with 10% of the property’s value in capital on a temporary basis (or not, as the case may be).

However, as a Guildford mortgage broker that has been offering first time buyers a leg up via the no deposit mortgage for some time, this step isn’t particularly new.

Complete Mortgages has had access to ‘deposit-free mortgages’ since early 2018 – and they don’t necessarily require family members to put down 10% of their own capital, either.

The point I’m making is that mortgage brokers and mortgage advisers are not just on hand to do the paperwork that those applying for a mortgage would rather avoid. Nor are we simply on hand to grease the wheels of administration (which, it’s worth pointing out, is a long and resource-intensive process) in order to get the mortgage over the line. Yes, we do that too, but the value mortgage brokers add lies in finding the right mortgages for our customers from a comprehensive range of products, which, at any one time, runs into the thousands.

So, if you’re looking to apply for a 100% mortgage and don’t want to be limited to one option, contact us. We won’t be able to offer you the Lloyds Bank deal a it’s only available on a direct lending basis, but we’ll have a number of similar options for you to choose from.

Similarly, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to a mortgage broker to discuss any other barriers you may be experiencing when applying for a mortgage. Whether it’s arranging self-employed mortgages, mortgages for teachers or helping those with adverse credit to get a mortgage, mortgage brokers are there to help you make it happen – and you’d be surprised by what hidden gems there are out there. Let us help break down your mortgage barriers. Contact 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 boost for first time buyer mortgage seekers

Saturday, 20th October, 2018
first time buyer

Interest rates have gone up, but so too have the chances of first time buyers getting a mortgage with a small deposit.

Data from Moneyfacts has revealed that the average rates for 95% loan to value mortgages – mortgages for those with only 5% deposit to put down on a property – for two and five-year fixed rate terms have reached the lowest levels on record.

Whilst the period of recorded data only dates back to 2007, when Moneyfacts began recording it, 11 years is still a long time and this newfound accessibility for hopeful homeowners with a small mortgage deposit is significant.

Two-year fixed rate mortgages, for example, have fallen from an average of 4.16% in September 2017 to 3.73% today. Likewise, five year fixed rate mortgages have dropped from 4.57% in 2016 to 4.08% today.

You may think that this is at odds with the two recent interest rate rises, and to a degree you’d be right. However, there is speculation that lenders are keen to keep the first time buyer close so that they become the go-to lender at latter stages in the applicant’s property ownership lifecycle.

You could liken this to the motor industry, whereby those buying a car at the lower end of the manufacturer’s price range are nurtured as years go by in the hope that they stay loyal and buy something requiring a bigger budget as they progress in life.

Of course it’s all relative, and we shouldn’t forget that in today’s market, where there is a huge swathe of competitive mortgage deals on offer, 3.73% and 4.08% is still significantly higher than the ‘standard’ mortgage. That said, if you’re someone who’s looking to enter the property market and you only have five% to put down, then at least there are now more attractive first time buyer mortgage deals to get you on the property ladder.

As a mortgage broker in Guildford that specialises in first time buyer mortgages – including some of the more specialist mortgages such as mortgages for teachers and mortgages for self-employed people – Complete Mortgages is here to help.

If you have a 5% deposit then contact a member of the team on 01483 238280 to discuss your options and find out how you, too, can get two feet on the property ladder. Alternatively, email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


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.


How to get the best equity release mortgage advice

Thursday, 24th May, 2018

Equity release mortgages have well and truly arrived.

As recently pointed out in our last equity release article, which includes a five point guide as to what you need to know about equity release loans, it is estimated that the value of UK equity release mortgages increased by £10bn last year.

However, it’s important to note that wherever there’s an opportunity, there are always opportunists, which was my first thought on recently watching a series of equity release adverts on TV.

One advert was proudly selling access to equity release mortgages for a fee of ‘only’ 1.95%. Whilst this doesn’t sound that high, it typically equates to around £1,395 – £1,495, which is, in fact, a relatively high charge.

As a Guildford mortgage brokerage that specialises in helping our clients to get an equity release mortgage, we believe that our fees are much fairer and transparent. For example, our flat fee structure means that we can help you apply for an equity release mortgage for only £699 – regardless of the complexity of the mortgage and value of the loan amount.

What’s more, our team of Guildford mortgage brokers now includes three equity release specialists. All three advisers have secured the highly coveted Certificate in Regulated Equity Release (CeRER) qualification, which ensures that Complete Mortgages can offer a wider selection of equity release mortgages to a wider section of the population.

It also means that we can help those who have traditionally taken out interest-only mortgages – and who are on an interest-only mortgage right now – to transition to an equity release deal without having to refer to a third party.

Whether you’re currently on an interest-only mortgage and thinking of switching over to equity release, or you’re simply considering your options and think that equity release could be a route you’d like to take, the first thing you need to do is contact a trusted – and qualified – mortgage brokerage.

Why not contact us 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 self-employed people, mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages.

By Mark Lucas, Equity Release Adviser at Complete Mortgages


Is time running out to get a competitive fixed rate mortgage?

Wednesday, 14th March, 2018
guildford mortgage adviser

Have you recently switched – or considered switching – your mortgage?

If you haven’t then you’re not alone. However, it may be worth considering your options as the debate around whether or not a new interest rate rise is imminent (many are saying it is) gains ground.

Whilst we don’t know when, exactly, or by how much, the Bank of England will increase interest rates, we do know that another two are planned before 2020.

If the first, relatively modest, rise of 0.25% wasn’t enough to get you thinking about fixed rate mortgages then the second one might.

As a Guildford Mortgage adviser, we’ve seen an influx of people from across Guildford and the southeast enquire about getting a fixed rate mortgage. Lenders have increased their mortgage rates since the last interest rate rise, however it’s not too late to get the ball rolling and apply for a fixed rate mortgage.

With access to some of the most competitive mortgage deals in the UK, Complete Mortgages is still seeing a number of options which, if you were to act now, would mean that you would still benefit from an excellent mortgage rate – and would be well placed to beat the rise (if and when it happens).

We’re seeing demand for three year fixed mortgages, five year fixed mortgages and even 10 year fixed mortgages increase significantly, which indicates that people are now beginning to think seriously about locking themselves into consistent monthly mortgage payments – something that we haven’t seen on this scale for a decade.

Of course, it’s all down to affordability.

Analysis by estate agent Savills suggested that a 1% rise in interest rates would add approximately £10bn to mortgage repayments in the UK – or an average of £930 a year (£77.50 per month) to the cost of servicing an average mortgage.

Depending on your financial circumstances, you may prefer to have the flexibility that comes with other products such as tracker mortgages. Either way, if the much-deliberated rise has made its way to the front of your mind then it’s certainly worth picking up the phone and calling a member of the Complete Mortgages team, who will be able to advise you on the right fixed mortgage for you.

In answer to the original question regarding whether or not time is running out to get a competitive fixed rate mortgage, I would say that there is still time – however I would also recommend that you don’t waste time.

Complete Mortgages also specialises in other mortgages over and above fixed or tracker mortgages. We can also arrange mortgages for self-employed people, mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages. Contact us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk for more information.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Self-employed friendly mortgages

Monday, 5th March, 2018

Sometimes, it’s as though those who take the most risks are penalised the most.

At least that seems to be the sentiment of 71% of self employed people who feel that they are discriminated against when it comes to getting a mortgage, according to new research from The Mortgage Lender.

Yes, mortgages for self-employed people seem to be that little bit harder to come by, which is a huge shame – particularly when it’s this demographic who play key roles in growing the UK economy and given how, according to new research by Data Line for Business, there are now record numbers of self-employed people in the UK.

Data Line for Business’s research highlighted how:

  • One in seven people now work for themselves
  • The number of self-employed people have grown by a million since a decade ago
  • Self employed women have grown 24% to 300,000 since Q2 2013

Whilst this is great news when it comes to the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit, it’s very much at odds with the barriers – and the perceived barriers – to self-employed mortgages.

What’s the problem with getting a mortgage if you’re self-employed? 

We often get self-employed people asking, ‘Why is it hard to get a mortgage, even when my monthly mortgage repayments would be significantly less than my current rental outgoings?’.

The truth is that lenders find it hard to assess self-employed people as they might pay themselves different amounts at different times. Some may choose not to pay themselves much at all in order to keep cash in the business.

Prior to the financial crash, self-certification mortgages enabled business owners to get a mortgage relatively easy. After the crash, lenders became less inclined to lend on the basis of what the applicant claimed they earned.

However, there are a number of accessible self-employed mortgages on the market right now. Also, as a Guildford mortgage broker that specialises in contractor mortgages and mortgages for the self-employed, we are well placed to help all business owners – from sole traders to owners of limited companies – get a mortgage.

Our advice would be to get in touch on 01483 238280 or email us on info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Also, in advance of speaking – or meeting – with a member of the Complete Mortgages team, we would recommend that you gather the following documentation in readiness: –

1. Two years’ accounts (if you have a Limited Company or Partnership)

2. SA302 forms and Tax Year Overviews for the two past two years. Here’s a link for more information on how to obtain them

3. Proof of a deposit (or equity in your property, if remortgaging) of at least 5%

Getting a mortgage if you’re self-employed isn’t unachievable. It just requires a little more work. However, as a mortgage adviser in Guildford, we’ll handle the legwork on your behalf.

Remember, Complete Mortgages doesn’t just specialise in mortgages for self-employed people. We also specialise in mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages