Revisit the remortgage (even if you don’t quite need to)

Thursday, 28th November, 2019

Here’s the thing. When it comes to remortgaging, we pride ourselves on providing a bulletproof service.

You can read more about our approach to remortgage applications via our article entitled ‘When is the right time to remortgage?’, but to summarise, if you’re a Complete Mortgages customer you will NEVER need to worry about falling onto the standard variable rate mortgage as we will never let it happen.

However, our award-winning mortgage broker services aside, there is currently one good reason to be considering your remortgaging options even before we remind you to consider them.

As I write this, remortgage rates are low. Incredibly low, in fact. And if you take into account just how competitive remortgage rates are right now combined with the fact that lenders’ mortgage offers typically last for six months, then it means that you could potentially lock in a great mortgage deal now so that it’s all in place for when your current mortgage does end.

For example, if you secured a low cost mortgage deal now, at the end of November 2019, it could be redeemable up until the end of May 2020. There would be no pressure from the lender to proceed with the deal from now until the offer expires, but it would cushion you against factors out of everyone’s control such as any negative Brexit fallout and interest rate rises, should there be any in the next six months.

Of course, we can’t predict what may or may not happen in 2020. However, as a Guildford mortgage broker, we’re just offering food for thought and highlighting a simple way in which you can protect yourself from any future rising costs.

After all, when mortgage rates become so low, it gets to the point whereby there’s only one way they can go. By getting a mortgage offer based on today’s rates, you’re safeguarding yourself against the unpredictability of tomorrow. And, if they go down even further between now and when you’re due to remortgage, then you simply apply for another deal.

Looking to hedge your bets when it comes to remortgaging? If so, contact the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to discuss your options. Remember, we also offer a range of specialist mortgages including buy to let mortgages, limited company buy to let mortgages, mortgages for teachers and adverse credit mortgages.


When is the right time to remortgage?

Wednesday, 5th June, 2019
when is the right time to remortgage

Before I answer that question, if you’re still at the stage where you’re wondering ‘is remortgaging right for me?’ then you might want to read our article entitled should I remortgage?

If you’re fully up to speed on the potential benefits of remortgaging, then read on.

Complete Mortgages is a mortgage broker in Guildford, which not only has clients in and around Guildford (the whole of Surrey, in fact), but also those situated throughout the UK.

Yet regardless of where our clients live, they ALL have something in common, which is that they will be contacted around four months before their current mortgage deal ends and alerted to the fact that they are about to fall onto the standard variable rate mortgage.

We do this not because we’re a team of pushy mortgage brokers, but because if we can save our clients money by helping them to get a better mortgage deal as a result of simply offering a good mortgage brokerage service, then a) we will be partly responsible for making a customer happy, and b) good service helps retain good clients. Other excellent mortgage brokers do it – many don’t.  If you’re in the process of finding a good mortgage broker, then always make sure to ask them if that’s a service they provide as standard.

However, if you’ve come upon this article and you’re not one of our customers, the title of this article may well resonate with you – and the answer is, give or take, four months.

Why four months? Firstly, because getting a new mortgage can sometimes take longer than you think and secondly, why put yourself through all that last minute stress and panic by leaving it to the last minute.

Allowing yourself enough time to move comfortably from your existing mortgage to a new one will have a huge psychological benefit and help you on your path towards getting a stress free mortgage.

Of course, if you really want stress free mortgages then my advice is to use a trusted mortgage broker, who will not only let you know when it’s time to start looking for another mortgage, but also do the looking (and the applying) for you.

Complete Mortgages’ proactive remortgage approach doesn’t just apply to one type of mortgage, but all mortgages – from first time buyer mortgages and buy to let mortgages to limited company buy to let mortgages and even commercial mortgages. If you’re a customer of ours and are coming to the end of your mortgage term, then expect a call. If you’re not, but you like the idea of us – and not you – doing the hard work when it comes to applying for a mortgage, then call a member of the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Why the sudden interest in interest only mortgages?

Friday, 23rd February, 2018
interest only mortgages

First it was the interest rate rise. Now it’s the interest only mortgage. So, what’s with the sudden interest in all things interest-related?

Well, an interest rate increase is always enough to create debate (and keep an eye out for more articles from us on this topic as we watch – with interest – to see whether another interest rate rise happens in spring), however the debate around interest-only mortgages is a reoccurring one.

It wasn’t until the financial crash of 2007/8 that interest rates found themselves under scrutiny. Up until that point it was assumed that property prices – and therefore equity – was going to continue growing, leaving the homeowner with a pot of gold when they sold their property.

Now, with property prices beginning to slow, it would seem that the opportunity to make money on property like days of old is no longer a sure thing and this has the potential to leave homeowners exposed. On that basis, it’s no doubt one of the reasons why the Financial Conduct Authority has brought the interest-only mortgage back into focus.

According to Which?, new research has revealed that there are three points over the next decade-and-a-half whereby a large number of the UK’s interest-only mortgages will reach maturity, with more recent borrowers most at risk of a shortfall.

If you are currently on an interest only mortgage deal and concerned by the recent media coverage surrounding them, then our advice would be to contact a good mortgage adviser, who will be able to go through the pros and cons of interest only deals in relation to your own circumstances. However, for now, here are a few things you will need to consider.

1. Place your head in the future – not the sand

Will you be able to repay your mortgage at the point of maturation based on your current circumstances and income? If the answer’s ‘no’, then maybe it’s time to switch to a repayment mortgage. There really is little point in ignoring the issue or putting it off until tomorrow. Besides, the sooner you address it the sooner you can apply for a repayment mortgage or remortgage.

2. Seek mortgage advice

As a Guildford mortgage broker, helping people to establish the right mortgage for them is what we do well. And given how it’s our job, we know the mortgage landscape inside out as well as the best alternatives to interest only mortgages currently available.

3. Equity release mortgages may be an option

Even if you’ve come to the conclusion that you’ve gone too far and for too long on an interest only mortgage to be able to pay the balance, there are still options. Applying for an equity release mortgage is one of those – and one that may mean you don’t have to compromise your current standard of living. As an equity release mortgage specialist Complete Mortgages can guide you through this process.

Regardless of mortgage type, we always recommend that you speak with a reputable and trusted mortgage adviser – even if it’s not us. By doing so, you will be able to shortcut the process, save time and energy on researching the market and get professional guidance and advice when it comes to making a decision that’s right for you.

If you’d like to discuss your options when it comes to switching from an interest only mortgage to a repayment mortgage, contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

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


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 info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. 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


Revisit, remortgage and save money

Thursday, 29th June, 2017

It’s funny. Everyone is always looking for a deal (myself included) and yet sometimes, even when the deal is right in front of him or her, they just can’t see it.

What’s even more ironic is that people can expend huge amounts of energy collecting loyalty points here and ‘50p off your next box of tea bags’ vouchers there, all the while missing out on the most important deal – and one that could save them hundreds of pounds each month.

The deal I’m referring to in this case is the often-overlooked remortgage.

As a Guildford mortgage broker I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve seen as many instances where there is such a gulf between the mortgage our clients signed up for (call it point A) and the mortgage that they could have now, even with the same lender (call it point B).

Naturally, it is the Complete Mortgages team’s job to make our clients aware of how they could save money on a mortgage – or, to put it another way, how much they are overpaying on a mortgage. And that’s what we’re in the process of doing right now, much to our clients’ delight.

However, for many people – namely those who either don’t use a mortgage broker or don’t have a proactive mortgage broker, they might never know.

Whilst there’s lots to be said for the proverb ‘ignorance is bliss’, or ‘what you don’t know can’t hurt you’, I’m pretty sure that people would rather have the opportunity to change mortgage – or at least be alerted to the prospect of changing their mortgage – and that’s the purpose of this article.

If you’re one of those people who applied for a mortgage two or three years ago, when deals were great and seemed as though they couldn’t get any better, then this is for you.

Essentially, mortgage deals have got better and you could quite easily be saving hundreds of pounds each month as a result.

In some cases you could simply switch your mortgage to a different deal on offer through the same lender. Not only can we handle ALL the paperwork and application process on your behalf, but also our service is completely FREE for you.

Our usual fee is £399 however in the case of a simple mortgage switch with your existing lender, we wouldn’t charge you a penny.

Even in cases where a fee may be chargeable, the process of remortgaging could still work out financially beneficial for you in the long run.

Our advice is to contact a trusted mortgage broker to explore your options and discover how easy it is to save money on your mortgage. You may or may not want to use Complete Mortgages – or even a mortgage broker in general – but at least you can’t say that we never told you.

Are you looking to remortgage? Interested in finding out of you could save money on your mortgage by making a simple change to your current mortgage? If so, contact us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Remember, we’re also specialists 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


Godalming tops UK list of biggest property price risers

Tuesday, 20th June, 2017

Firstly, and on a purely personal level, I have to point out my satisfaction with the recent announcement that Godalming has been crowned top of the charts* when it comes to property value growth.

Not only because the Complete Mortgages team and myself continually manage Godalming mortgage applications on behalf of those looking to get a mortgage in Godalming. Nor is it because I also happen to live there and have benefitted from a rise in property values. It’s because Godalming is genuinely a wonderful place to live.

Whilst Complete Mortgages is not technically a Godalming mortgage broker, given how we’re based in Guildford, our close proximity to the area and the amount of mortgages in Godalming that we arrange means that have seen first-hand borrowing requirements increase in line with booming prices month on month.

And the fact that property prices are continuing to rise at the same time as more and more people from London are taking up residence in Godalming is no coincidence.

Good schools, excellent transport links to and from London and the convenience of having the both the countryside and the capital on your doorstep all add to Godalming’s rapidly growing allure.

This is all common knowledge to those who already live there, of course, but what about those wanting to move to the area? How will steadily increasing property prices affect your chances of getting a mortgage in one of Surrey’s gems?

There are currently three things in a Godalming mortgage applicant’s favour:

1. The market

There is no shortage of competitive deals entering the market on a regular basis. Whilst this may be a lot to digest for those tackling the mortgage application process on their own, an abundance of mortgage deals generally means improved affordability in relative terms.

2. The summer

Why think about home buying when you can think about holidaying? At least that’s the sentiment shared by many. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it means that you can steal a march on the summer slowdown and take advantage of a less competitive marketplace.

3. The election 

At the time of writing, it has been announced that the outcome of the general election is a hung parliament. The likely fallout from this is a period of indecision and a lack of market movement, which means that, similar to point two, those looking to buy a property in Godalming may have greater bargaining power.

When it comes to securing a mortgage on a property in Godalming, Complete Mortgages recommends that you act fast, take advantage of the three points listed above and get in touch to discuss your options. Whether you’re looking for a first time buyer mortgage or to remortgage, we can help.

Contact us on 01483 238280 or email me at darren@complete-mortgages.co.uk to find out more.

By Darren Wordsworth, Godalming Mortgage Adviser at Complete Mortgages

*http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/property-news/uks-biggest-spike-house-prices-12910950


Big changes for buy-to-let in 2017, but stress not

Wednesday, 11th January, 2017

The buy to let mortgage market is under fire once again.

Many buy to let landlords are still reeling from the changes announced by former Chancellor, George Osborne, which will see tax-deductible expenses reduced to 20% on a sliding scale from April 2017. And then there was the stamp-duty charge for second homes, which was introduced in April 2016.

However, when it comes to buy to let mortgages it seems that what might be regarded as ‘bad news’ for current and would-be landlords comes in threes.

Following the supervisory statement from the Central Bank’s Prudential Residential Authority on underwriting standards for buy to let mortgages, actually arranging a buy-to-let mortgage has now become more difficult.

Why? Because it has been deemed that there are too many buy to let mortgages in the market.

Now, applicants will have to undergo a ‘stress test’ that not only delves deeper into an applicant’s affordability levels, but also re-evaluates what affordable means.

Lenders will now be expected to assume a minimum borrower interest rate of 5.50% and potential interest rate rises will have to be considered for at least the first five years of the mortgage. Not only that, but landlords who own four or more mortgaged buy-to-let properties will need to submit income and mortgage details on each of them when they remortgage or purchase a new property.

As with most decisions that have the potential to have a significant impact on the property market, the rules will be phased in slowly and aren’t expected to come into effect until late 2017, however if you are a buy to let landlord looking to remortgage or thinking of applying for a buy to let mortgage then it’s probably worth considering your options sooner rather than later.

As a Guildford mortgage broker that specialises in buy-to-let mortgages and that has access to a comprehensive range of buy to let mortgage products, we are confident that we can offset some of the proposed changes by providing our clients access to a selection of products whereby the lender takes a more holistic approach.

For example, under the new rules, landlords with low rental yields may be thrown into the ‘unaffordable’ pile which, depending on the level of borrowing required, may jeopardise – if not scupper – their buy to let mortgage application. However, we have access to lenders who take into account personal income, too, which provides a much more balanced picture on what is and isn’t affordable.

Our advice is to get in touch with the Complete Mortgages team to find out how we can help navigate you through the buy to let mortgage application process and get you that step further to building your property portfolio – or, if you’re already a landlord, help you secure a mortgage that enables you to retain your position as a landlord.

Contact 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk for stress-free advice on what the new stress testing entails.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Time to remortgage?

Friday, 27th May, 2016
apply for a mortgage

When is a deal not a deal? In mortgage terms it’s when you’re paying more for a home loan than you need to be – and there are quite a number of people who are guilty of it.

Not because they’re thoughtless or have money to burn, but because life is busy and all too often, accepting the shift onto a standard variable rate is sometimes easier than rolling up your shirtsleeves, getting into the ‘nitty-gritty’ of your agreement and getting the wheels in motion to change your mortgage (which, for many homeowners, is perceived as a mammoth job in itself).

Here’s the thing: you could me missing out on a cheaper mortgage deal. Many of you will be reading this and thinking, ‘that’s nonsense, my standard variable rate is 2.50% – could it even get any cheaper?’ If you are that person, then the answer is, ‘yes, it can’.

Not that long ago, it seemed as though interest rates were set to rise at the end of 2015. And then they didn’t. Now, there are predictions of an interest rate rise up to 1% at the end of 2017, rising to 2% at the end of 2018. The result of which is that there is now an abundance of ‘cheap mortgages’ available, some of which include five year fixed rate mortgages that cost less than what many people are currently paying for their standard variable rate mortgage.

As a Guildford mortgage broker with a reputation for providing good service, we let our existing customers know when they’re about to default to their pre-agreed standard variable rate. They then have the option of applying for a mortgage that’s cheaper and saves the money that they would have otherwise unknowingly spent without seeing any real gain.

Of course, those people who don’t have any safeguard or ‘alert system’ in place, either because they don’t have a broker or because their broker isn’t doing what it should, will never know what they are missing.

Which, of course, is why I’m writing this piece. As we enter that time of the year whereby mortgages typically ‘reset’, it’s important that homeowners are made aware of their options.

Similar to changing utility provider, changing mortgage is often much less work than you think – particularly if you have a reputable mortgage broker doing the work for you.

Regardless of whether you decide to use Complete Mortgages for your mortgage application or not, then just be aware that the market is currently very competitive. And, as is the case with everything, nothing lasts forever. So, if you’re aware that you’re about to enter the world of SVR mortgages – or even if you weren’t aware until reading this piece – then I would urge you to a) find out what your rate is and b) shop around and see what is currently out there.

Alternatively, contact the Complete Mortgages team to find out if we can save you money.

From remortgaging and first time buyer mortgages to commercial mortgages and bridging loans, we can help. Contact 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Guildford mortgage brokerage, Complete Mortgages