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


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 info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

Rightmove, June 2015

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


The Rise in Equity Release

Monday, 18th May, 2015

The election is over and the uncertainty that often dominates in the lead up to it has dissipated.  And that’s a good thing.  Not only will the markets start moving again, but also homeowners will, too.

However one area of the financial services sector that seems to have been unaffected by the election is equity release*.  In fact, according to figures from the Equity Release Council, the equity release sector has grown by 3% in the first quarter of 2015 when compared with the same time last year.

But what does it mean? And, more importantly, what is equity release and how can it help you? As a whole of market mortgage adviser and equity release specialist, Complete Mortgages is well placed to advise on what it is and how it might work for you. As a starting point, here are five points to help you get to grips with how you can free up money without having to sell your property or move.

1. What is equity release?

Equity release mortgages allow homeowners aged 55 and over to free up equity from their property (or properties). If you’ve heard the phrase ‘asset rich, cash poor’, then you’ll understand that cash tied up in property is very different from cash in the bank. Those who require access to money can secure a lifetime mortgage and access between £10,000 and their maximum allowance.

2. Is the interest rate higher than typical mortgages?

Yes, however it’s a fixed rate for the lifetime of the mortgage. At present, those looking to secure an equity release mortgage can find rates around the 5% mark.

3. But what about paying it back?

Equity release mortgage holders can wait for the interest to accrue and then pay it back in one lump sum when the property is sold or when that person’s estate is sold after they have passed away. Alternatively, for those who want to pay back the debt whilst alive and owning the property, there is an option to make flexible payments or make on-going monthly payments.

4. Is it a flash in the pan?

No. At least figures to date would suggest not. The market is currently growing with predictions that it will be worth £2bn next year. After all, we’re not getting any younger however we’re certainly getting older – and living for a lot longer, too.

5. I’m interested, but what do I do next?

Our advice would be to contact a reputable – and whole of market – mortgage adviser, as they will have access to an array of products for you to choose from that can support you and your lifestyle. Complete Mortgages is arranging more and more equity release mortgages and our experience of this type of mortgage combined with our unlimited access to the mortgage market’s products means that we’d be able to guide, advise and, if relevant, secure a mortgage that’s right for you.

For more information on equity release mortgages or for specialist mortgage advice, get in touch on 01483 238280email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk or visit http://complete-mortgages.co.uk/mortgages/equity-release/.

*This is a Lifetime Mortgage or Home Reversion Plan.  To understand the features and risks, ask for a personalised illustration.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages in Guildford


Income protection and the mortgage: a match made in heaven?

Wednesday, 29th April, 2015

Property values are increasing, mortgages are getting bigger and repayment terms are getting longer.

This isn’t a surprise to most people. It’s been happening for years. But with higher value mortgages and longer payback periods comes a higher risk of defaulting in the unfortunate event whereby homeowners are unable to work due to illness.

As both a mortgage adviser and insurance broker, Complete Mortgages is not only responsible for helping clients to find a mortgage but also create the perfect premium and provide complete cover, from critical illness to income protection. Linking both services together isn’t always a natural step, nor is it always relevant, however the topic of making income protection a condition of mortgage approval is increasingly being debated.

Currently, those applying for a mortgage will, whether they know it or not, undergo a degree of financial modelling to establish whether they can withstand the impact of a rise in interest rates. This is relatively straightforward and based more on what is likely to happen or, to a degree, predictable. What isn’t predictable, however, is illness. Anyone can become ill at any time however this doesn’t have any bearing on mortgage liability. It still needs to be paid back.

By making income protection a standard part of the mortgage process it would arguably be win-win for everyone involved. Homeowners would have that extra piece of mind, albeit with a slightly higher monthly outgoing, and lenders would minimise their risk even further. Of course, a higher number of income protection policies would lead to a higher number of claims, however this would be offset by the additional revenue the insurance companies would generate.

I’m sure that there are many who would support this idea. I’m also confident that many would object on the grounds that it removes choice and adds another layer of cost to what is already a large expense.

There are regularly calls for more responsible lending and tighter regulation of the financial services markets, particularly in the wake of the last recession. If effectively controlled and enforced, this approach could help increase the UK’s credentials when it comes to financial responsibility whilst simultaneously protecting the homeowner and the lender.

For more information on income protection or for mortgage advice, contact a member of the team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


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 info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director, Complete Mortgages


Buy to let mortgages are back. But what do you really need to know?

Monday, 30th March, 2015

Once again, the buy to let market is booming.

And, as is often the case when it comes to buying property as an investment, there is a mixed response in the media about what it represents, particularly to first time buyers looking to exit rented accommodation and enter home ownership.

However, buying property as an investment isn’t something that will ever go away. So, if you’re in the market for a buy to let property and looking to find a buy to let mortgage, then here’s some free mortgage advice.

1. To know the market is to know the risks

There is huge appeal with the prospect of making money AND getting your mortgage paid for at the same time. Let’s face it, the UK’s current interest rates mean that any return on your savings isn’t great. However there are risks that need to be considered before you make the jump and take on any commitment. Research the area thoroughly and make sure that you’re fully aware of the implications before making a decision.

2. Buy something that you would be prepared to live in

It sounds so straightforward however it can be so easy to overlook. Why? Because in the quest to enter into multiple homeownership people can ‘cut corners’ by buying something just to get on the buy to let market – even if they wouldn’t live there themselves. And if you wouldn’t live in it, then maybe your prospective tenants wouldn’t either, which takes us on to the next point…

3. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes

Keep your prospective tenants in mind. If your budget affords no more than a one bedroom flat, could you be attracting transient tenants and face having to repeatedly put your property on the market? Similarly, if you’re targeting students then maybe you don’t need to extend your budget to a luxurious two-bedroom apartment. Also, are you prepared to let your tenant make it ‘their own’ by adding their own design details to it? Allowing someone to create his or her own stamp on your property could potentially be the difference between a short-term and long-term tenant.

4. Location is everything

As a mortgage broker in Guildford, this is perhaps all too easy for us to say. As a large, affluent town that falls within the London commuter belt, property in Guildford and the surrounding areas is always in high demand and values continually grow. Of course, you have to buy what you can afford but don’t compromise on location (regardless of where you live), as this could be the difference between renting and not renting out your property. Key things to consider are distance to the nearest train station, schools in and around the area and whether or not it has good local amenities. Going back to point two, has it got enough to attract your attention if you were looking for somewhere to live? If not, then maybe you need to reconsider.

5. Get the best mortgage advice. Find a mortgage broker you trust

We couldn’t give you five top tips on buy to let mortgages without including a reference to mortgage brokers. As a team of independent mortgage advisers, Complete Mortgages provides you with access to every deal on the market. From first time buyer products through to commercial mortgages and, of course, buy to let mortgages, we can find the deal that suits your needs, lifestyle and affordability.

Get the best mortgage advice. Get in touch with Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


The MMR made a dent, but mortgage approvals are on the up

Tuesday, 10th February, 2015

2014 was a busy year for the mortgage market. Firstly, back in April, the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) was introduced. This set of regulatory rules has since required lenders to delve deeper into each applicant’s true affordability, focussing on an individual’s outgoings – from childcare costs to the cost of commuting to and from work – more than ever before.

As anticipated, the MMR slowed down the mortgage application process. This, combined with the fact that lenders then started to release what were arguably the most competitive deals to enter the market in years, led to a degree of ‘bottlenecking’. Mortgage approvals subsequently began to fall month by month and many people throughout the UK looking to arrange a mortgage in time to secure their new property (before someone else did) were, in some cases, left disappointed.

However, as new data from the Bank of England shows, mortgage approvals totalled 60,725 in December, up 1,769 from November. Although markedly down from the 90,000 a month that we saw prior to the recession, this is still hugely encouraging news for anyone planning a property purchase in 2015.

Those looking to find a mortgage, however, need to be mindful of two things. Whilst we’re still very much in the midst of winter (it’s -3 degrees Celsius at the time of writing), spring is not that far away and with spring comes a period of increased activity from homeowners looking to make their next move. And, of course, increased activity brings with it the potential of increased delays. Also, as is the case with supply and demand, the higher the demand for mortgages, the more likely it is that the competitive rates we have recently seen enter the market become less competitive as lenders reconsider their products.

Of course, it is impossible to predict lenders’ next moves and there is no evidence to suggest that this is what they will do, however as a mortgage adviser with many years experience of helping our clients apply for a mortgage, we feel that these two factors are worth highlighting.

Arranging a mortgage on your own can be time consuming and frustrating, which is why mortgage broker advice and guidance from a whole of market, independent mortgage adviser can make your next move much more straightforward. So, if you’re looking to beat the spring property rush and get prepared in advance, then now’s the time to get the wheels in motion.

And, whilst we’re a Guildford-based mortgage brokerage, our clients are located throughout the UK, so for the best mortgage advice get in touch on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk for more information.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Shouldn’t we be celebrating our teachers?

Wednesday, 21st January, 2015

It would seem that HMRC has launched a ‘crackdown’ on a number of groups in order to identify gaps in tax receipts. While not exhaustive, these groups include buy-to-let landlords, taxi drivers and teachers. Yes, teachers.

My only knowledge of the teaching profession comes from having children at school, so whilst I’m not well placed to speculate on how teachers could partake in tax avoidance I do know that they do a great job, day in, day out.

Whereas HMRC has invested in its multimillion-pound Connect system to help identify discrepancies, the team at Complete Mortgages has been investing in a campaign to make mortgages for teachers even more accessible.

Our campaign, which some of you may have seen as schools in and around Surrey have been pinning up our posters in their staff rooms, is called ‘Calling all Teachers’. Put simply, throughout 2015 we’re offering to waive our broker fee for teachers, which is typically £299, and donate 10 per cent of the commission we receive from mortgages secured for teaching staff to the school at which they work. Not only will teachers benefit from a beneficial rate, but the schools will be able to invest in facilities and equipment, too.

As an award-winning Guildford-based mortgage and insurance brokerage we’ve grown a following amongst teachers to the point whereby Complete Mortgages has become regarded as a brokerage that specialises in securing mortgages for the education sector.

So, if you’re a teacher looking to find a mortgage or simply need mortgage advice, then our team of mortgage advisers are always happy to help. And as Complete Mortgages is a team of independent mortgage advisers with access to every deal on the market, you can be assured that we will find the best deal for you and your lifestyle.

Oh, and whilst we’re based in Guildford, our Calling all Teachers campaign is available to everyone throughout the UK. So, whether you’re based in Guildford or Glenrothes, we can help.

For the best mortgage advice get in touch on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk for more information.

By Mark Finnegan, Director, Complete Mortgages


Mortgage market moves in Surrey with strong performance from Guildford

Friday, 26th December, 2014

UK property prices will have increased by 8% by the end of 2014, according to industry sources, with property values in Surrey up by 13.6%.Land Registry data suggests that every country in the UK experienced value increases when compared to the same point last year, with the South East experiencing the strongest increase outside of London at 11.4%.

A Knight Frank report has also revealed that the number of properties worth more than £1m outside of London has increased by more than a third over the last year, with the largest increases being seen in Elmbridge, Windsor and Maidenhead and Guildford.

Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages, comments: “We’re currently seeing a high number of mortgage applications from Surrey homeowners, which is down to two reasons. Firstly, people are looking to secure a mortgage before the value of the property they wish to buy increases to a point where it becomes unachievable. With such strong growth in the South East it doesn’t take long for that to become an issue. Secondly, homeowners are already looking ahead to 2015. With all signs pointing towards future growth I would urge those who are considering arranging a mortgage in the New Year do it sooner rather than later in order to reduce the risk of being priced out.”

Complete Mortgages is a Guildford-based mortgage and insurance brokerage providing access to a full suite of mortgage products including first-time buyer mortgages, mortgages for contractors and mortgages for teachers.

For more information contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.


Prices rise yet mortgage rates fall for Surrey homeowners

Monday, 17th November, 2014

Positivity continues to reign over South East England’s property market following confirmation from the Land Registry that, whilst property prices dipped in parts of England and Wales last month, Surrey and Windsor saw a rise of 1.4% and 1.6% respectively – a 12.5% increase when compared with the same period in 2013.

The findings are announced as many lenders are reducing their rates in order to attract potential applicants before the end of 2014.

Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages, a Guildford-based mortgage and insurance brokerage, comments:

“A steady rise in property prices combined with a decrease in many lenders’ rates means that properties throughout Surrey and Windsor represent a sound and more accessible investment. Buying a property often falls down to market conditions and the banks’ willingness to lend, both of which are currently in the favour of homeowners in the South East of England. With rates at their lowest for some time I would advise those on the cusp of applying for a mortgage to start looking at their options now before lenders change their rates or property values rise too sharply to the point whereby any potential gain is cancelled out.”

For more information or to speak with a member of the team contact 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.