22 June 2017

If the credit score computer says ‘no’, you will tend to find most high street lenders doors shut.

I haven't mentioned it for a while, but it certainly is causing a lot of customers an issue.  Credit scoring!  This is an assessment on all available financial information and calculates a 'score' for the lender.  It also includes a search on your overall credit history covering, in the main, all of your financial transactions over the last six years.

Most lenders credit score applications to try and assess your ability to repay any loans.  This will take in to account many factors including the amount of credit you have, whether you are on the electoral role, your recent payment profile on any existing credit and the number of recent credit searches you have on file.  Nearly all financial institutions will register a credit search against you.  So, if you have recently updated your car insurance, home insurance, taken out a mobile contract and just got a new credit/debit card, that’s probably four searches in a short amount of time! Be wary that some 'comparison sites' may have also searched you just whilst seeking a new insurance quote.

If the lenders computer says ‘no’, you will tend to find most high street lenders doors shut to you.  But fear not, if you have a reasonable deposit and can prove all income, there are lenders who do not credit score, but will manually review and underwrite affordable applications on an individual basis. 

I always suggest that you speak to an independent mortgage broker with access to whole of market mortgages.  Banks may only advise on their product range. Estate Agents ‘in-house’ mortgage advisers may only be able to offer mortgages from a select panel of lenders. Therefore, in order to get best advice, make sure you do your homework, speak to a whole of market mortgage broker who can advise on the most appropriate mortgage in the market to meet your requirements, whether this be with a credit score or just a credit search.

08 June 2017

Coming to the end of the mortgage product term. What next?

We're seeing some issues for those coming up to the end of their product promotional rate period, especially where the lender is not offering them anything attractive to stay.  Lenders want to lend, but in some cases are not able to, or may choose not to, even to existing customers.   The simple reason being that the customers may not pass the same lenders new criteria.  Reasons can include, original borrowing on a multiple of income, age, small equity levels in property.  Lending rules have changed dramatically over the last few years and more stringent measures are in place, as well as tougher reporting to the regulator.  Lenders have to be sure the customer can afford their mortgage for a number of years ahead and stress test against possible rate rises. Seek professional advice if you are concerned or are looking for an alternative lender as some might be considered to be hiding behind the rules!

Remortgaging away from your current lender should not be looked upon negatively.  Many lenders will cover the cost of surveying your property, as well as covering the legal fees in transferring your mortgage from one lender to another.  But most of all, you should think of number one as this could save you money on your monthly budgets and, subject to terms and conditions, this can only be a good thing.

Products continue to increase and one of the fastest growth markets seems to be in the Ex-Pat sector. A British Ex-Pat in good employment abroad is favoured by a growing number of lenders who are willing to provide a mortgage to help them obtain a Buy to Let property in UK. The rules are tight but there are lenders who will advance up to 75% of the property value. Incomes usually need to be from a recognised and preferably multi-national business abroad and in a region upwards of £40000 sterling equivalent. A couple of lenders will also allow Ex-Pats to own a residential property in UK and where their family, usually off-spring, will reside pending their return to UK.  

01 June 2017

Choosing the right mortgage is difficult - use a broker!

Choosing the right mortgage can be a difficult task.  Many people are swayed by the marketing leading and highly promoted incentive interest rates.  But actually, when you add on any lender fees, along with any valuation costs and look at the true cost over a period of time, these can sometimes prove to be more expensive.

Of course, this is the beauty of using a mortgage broker.  They will have access to many lenders that you have probably never heard of and products that are not usually visible to the public eye.  There is so much information readily available and over 11,000 mortgage products to choose from, but key information can get lost in translation.  Therefore seek advice.  Yes, it may cost you a small fee to have someone research the market on your behalf and make recommendations, having assessed your short to long term needs and requirements.  However, the broker will stand by their recommendation and, more importantly, it could save you thousands in the long run, versus choosing the wrong products yourself, usually from a single provider.

In addition, any professional will seek to build a long term relationship with you and contact you at the time your current rate is coming up for renewal to ensure you have access to the best rates available at all times.

This also goes for the Solicitors where they are needed to act for both yourself and the lender in a mortgage transaction.  Remember that on some re-mortgage products the lender will cover the cost of standard legal work and valuations.  HOWEVER, this is not always the best or cheapest option.  These can be slow, depending on the volumes received by the lender and sometimes it's better to pay the extra amount to get the job done quicker.

There are a huge number of legal firms in both local and more regional areas.  Prices vary from company to company and you can decide exactly who to deal with (assuming they are acceptable to the mortgage lender).  Shop around before committing and as with everything, make sure you read the small print!

18 May 2017

Payday loans won't help your mortgage application.

I have mentioned previously the impact that Payday loans can have on a mortgage application and lenders decisions. It is fair to comment that the incident rate on these went quiet for a while, but over the last few days there has been a marked increase in enquiries from those who might have used a Payday loan in the last twenty four months.  I need to reiterate that these are classed as an ‘adverse entity’ with most lenders (not that some would admit it!).  However, even the lenders who accept customers with historic CCJs, defaults, or missed mortgage payments registered against them, may choose not to accept someone who has taken out a recent payday loan.  So, although these may be right for a customer in certain circumstances, they will almost definitely limit the number of lenders available to you when you come to apply for or change mortgages.   With this in mind, lenders will also look closely at an individual’s payment profile, how many recent credit searches have been incurred by financial institutions and more. The more credit searches you have on your profile, over a recent period of time, the more likely your credit score will be lower as a result.  Every financial institution, including Payday loan lenders, will credit search you, so beware!

The other issue tends to be around lender affordability.  Difficult to detail when I have minimal words, but in the main, lenders will stress test all mortgages against a possible rate rise and underwrite the customers based on their ability to pay at the higher rates.  The regulators want lenders to ensure the customer can afford their mortgage for at least the next five years.  So, for example, a shorter term deal may be stress tested at a pay rate of 3% plus 3 percentage points higher than the prevailing rate at origination, so in this case 6%.  Whereas a five year (or longer) deal may be stress tested against the pay rate, which might only be 3 or 4% in current climates.  This can make quite a difference when it comes to calculating the affordable loan amount over the first five years of the loan, subject to the lenders terms and conditions.

There are however many opportunities, whatever your circumstances and lenders are willing to have a conversation in order to do the right deal.  Of course, rates and terms will vary depending upon the type of mortgage written. Lenders have varying degrees of risk assessment calculations and this will determine the loan to value and charging rate levels.  Finally, remember to always read the small print and understand all fees involved.  The lowest rates on offer may not always be the most cost effective over a period of time for you.

11 May 2017

The Bank of Mum and Dad is huge!

First Time Buyers trying to get on the property ladder will turn to the Bank of Mum and Dad to borrow more than £6.5bn this year, according to a report from Legal & General.  This equates to nearly 25% of UK property transactions and similar to being the country's ninth biggest mortgage lender!

The report suggests that the 'millennials' are the biggest recipients with 70% of the funding going to people under the age of 30.   

Although, a report from Prudential has also suggested that Mum and Dad worry about how their money is being spent and would like control over the gifted funds.  One in four worry it could be given to their children's spouses in the case of divorce and one third are mindful their children could squander the gift altogether!

First Time Buyers currently have a good number of options available to them, including mortgages up to 95% of the property value and where possible, parental guarantor mortgages. 

We've also seen a marked increase recently in enquiries for Right to Buy properties and those looking to purchase on a Shared Ownership basis:

Right to Buys are usually via the local council selling their properties to the existing tenant at a discounted price.  This discount can be up to £78,600 (£104,900 in London)  and applicants must have been a public sector tenant for at least three years.  Some lenders will allow borrowing of up to 100% of the purchase price.  If you resell your home within five years you will usually have to repay some or all of the discount you received, however remortgaging is usually allowed in this time period.  There are other schemes available to housing associations and the Government has plans to extend Right to Buy to more housing association tenants.

Shared Ownership Schemes are normally provided through housing associations.  You buy a share of your home, between 25% and 75% of the property value, and pay rent on the remaining share to the housing association.  You usually have the opportunity to purchase a bigger share of the property later on (normally called ‘staircasing’).  Local housing associations must confirm your eligibility in order to join these types of schemes.

Both schemes are proving popular in the local area and a wide number of lenders are looking to lend in both scenarios and to a number of different customer types, even those who may have had financial credit blips in the past.  So always seek advice.

04 May 2017

Mortgages for the over 65's. Yes!

AToM were exhibiting at the excellent Landlord and Property Investor Show at the ExCel over the weekend and in addition to the many Buy to Let enquiries received, there were a huge number from people who thought they could not obtain a Residential mortgage over the age of 70!  

On the high street, this may still remain true in some cases as these lenders generally allow a mortgage term to last until the applicants normal retirement age.  This used to be 65, it tends to now be 67, but the reality is it can be much later.  Most lenders increased their maximum age at the end of mortgage maturity to age 70.  However, we all know that people are working a lot longer now and repayment of such a large amount of money may not be possible in these restrictive conditions.  So the option is to raise further finance to repay the original loan or sell the property.  Thankfully, the first option is less onerous than it used to be.  Many non-household named lenders will look at lending to customers to a lot later in life, assuming the customers can prove their continued ability to pay.   This can take the maturity age up to age 80, 85 or even 90 and above.  If the customer has a good and regular amount of income, a high level of equity in the property and can satisfy the lenders affordability requirements, then some lenders will be happy to lend.

This is the same with Buy to Let, where at least one lender we have access to allows the applicant to apply right up to age 80, with a 30 year mortgage term!  Many others have no restriction on age either.  Responsible lending and affordability are key in any lenders decision making. 

Age really is no longer an issue and simply needs specialist advice from someone who offers a range of lenders from the 'whole of market', not just a restricted panel of lenders or the high street.

27 April 2017

Delays, low rates and AToM at the Property Investor & Homebuyer Show

Delays, delays, delays!  With so many lenders dropping rates to all time lows, it was inevitable that their back end would not be able to cope with front ends sales!  We are finding a number of lenders are often taking one to two weeks to turn things around.  A few are much longer and we know of one that is currently taking over nine weeks to review applications.  Yes, nine weeks!  When applying for the house of your dreams and with the Estate Agent demanding a quick survey, always check with the lender to find out their service levels before putting your mortgage with them.  You might find the agents won't be happy with a substantial wait. 

The other impact, just around the corner, is the impending Election.  Based on previous experiences, many people put their home plans on hold whilst elections occur and this can also have an effect on lenders, who then reduce rates to attract more business, and so we have a spiral effect as per my earlier comment above.

On the up side, we've seen some incredible offerings from lenders.  Last week we saw the lowest five year fixed rate deal at 1.29%, which was withdrawn pretty quickly and although the rate has increased, is still a very respectable 1.59% (up to 60% of the property value and £900 fee).  We also saw one Building Society launch a 0.89% two year fixed rate deal with a £1,495 fee.  How low can they go?  The choices are currently attractive and seemingly very good for the end consumer.  As always, terms and conditions apply and are subject to individual circumstances, so seek advice!

Finally, this weekend is The Property Investor & Homebuyer Show at ExCel in London (28/29th).  If you are looking at property to rent out, this is the ideal place for obtaining up to date property market information, networking and, of course, property to buy.  It is designed to cater for all levels of property experience, so whether you are a property novice or a seasoned investor you will find the answer to your questions.  Better still, both the show and seminar programme sessions are free to enter.  AToM will be exhibiting, so if you are attending, come and say Hi