28 April 2016

Great products, but processing delays across the market

Supermarket giant Tesco has launched it's mortgage proposition into the intermediary sector this week.  With some very attractive tracker rates, two and five year fixed rates, I can see Tesco Bank being a popular choice in the coming months and years.  And not one mention of a club card! 

Coventry Building Society has launched a competitive ten year fixed rate mortgage.  Available to those borrowing up to 65% of the property value, rates start from 2.99% (3.6% APR) with a £999 lender completion fee, free valuation and free legal costs on remortgages.  The mortgage is also available as an offset mortgage (which allows you to offset your savings against the mortgage interest amount, terms apply) at a slightly higher 3.19% fixed rate (3.8% APR).  The long term deals are great if you know your plans for the foreseeable future.  Speak to an adviser to find out more.

Despite some of these amazing products being launched and lenders looking to attract new business, we are seeing general processing delays across the market.  Some lenders are not taking appointments for two to three weeks, some are up to ten working days behind on processing, and we have experienced recent telephone calls taking over an hour to receive any kind of response!  These are just on the broker side so heaven knows how customers are faring!

Therefore, to make the process as smooth as possible, make sure you have all details to hand at the outset.  With all new mortgages, a budget planner will be required.  Make sure you know and can advise exactly how much you are spending on your lifestyle.  Especially make sure you know your monthly costs on food, household expenses, travel, pension and saving contributions and other likely costs such as hobbies, going to the gym, lottery direct debits and more.  Every lender will review your ability to afford your new mortgage over coming years so all direct debits and most entries on your bank statements or credit report will need to be advised.  This is so the lender can make a viable stress test on future rate rises and ensure that you will still be able to afford your mortgage at that time.  Yes, maybe there is a little guess work, but do make sure you disclose all monthly expenditure as the lender will normally want to review your bank statements and will see it all anyway!

21 April 2016

Smaller lenders launching innovative products

A quick test to start this week!  Have you heard of the Dudley Building Society?  What about the Buckinghamshire, Harpenden, Marsden, National Counties, or Newbury Building Societies?  Not necessarily household names, but not ones to be ignored either.  We are seeing these names and a lot more like them launching innovative products.  Not necessarily looking for huge volumes, but looking to fill gaps in the market and this should be applauded.  

One such example is from our good friends at the Saffron Building Society who have a superb product aimed at First Time Buyers.  The lender is offering a 95% mortgage with no credit scoring, to those who have never owned a property.  Customers will still be credit searched but cases are reviewed on a manual assessment, rather than a computer making the decision.  There is a five year fixed rate option and the arrangement fee is just £495.  This is not just aimed at New Build properties either!  Obviously terms/conditions and other fees may apply, but this kind of innovation is exactly what the mortgage market needs! Others will look at complex deals including guarantor mortgages, shared ownership, mortgages for the self employed, contractors, professionals, all types of Buy to Lets and Self Build projects. What this all demonstrates is that there is a huge appetite to lend.  However, many consumers are turning to the internet as it’s such a superb tool.  But it can also be a disadvantage as so much information, news and in-depth product detail can make it more confusing than planned.  A good ‘old fashioned’ face to face conversation with your local specialist independent mortgage brokerage might be the answer. They will, in most cases, have a relationship with the lenders (even those you’ve never heard of!), understand their requirements and ensure all the correct information is submitted from day one.  Some even have onsite underwriters from the lenders, so can turn things around quickly and especially useful if an urgent valuation is required in a contract race scenario.  There really is no better time to utilise the expertise and staffing levels they can provide for you in what’s becoming an over informed and more recently, highly competitive market place.

14 April 2016

Lending to those over 70yrs old is not a new thing for AToM!

Rates continue to tumble as the cost of funds remains low and lenders fight to attract your custom. During the last seven days, we have witnessed Halifax reduce some rates by up to 0.30% and Coventry Building Society reduce some of theirs by 0.20%.  Other lenders have reviewed their criteria.  For example, Kensington Mortgages will now consider 100% of a customers annual bonus when it comes to working out affordability (most lenders will only look at 50% of non guaranteed income).  New  lender, Bluestone Mortgages, have reviewed their criteria and will now accept contract workers who only have three months remaining on their contract (normally six months).  In the main, lenders are making positive changes to increase their market share.  Even if you have something you think is 'out of the ordinary' or 'impossible', do explore your options as there might be a lender out there who will assist.
 This does not exclude age either!  Many think that you cannot have a mortgage over the age of 70.  And, 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 retirement age.  This used to be 65, officially it's now 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 as 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.  Seek specialist advice from someone who offers a range of lenders from the 'whole of market', not just a restricted panel or the high street. 

07 April 2016

Increasing number of people look at buying 'projects'

We are seeing an increasing number of people look at buying 'projects'.  Just because a property is run down or even classed as 'uninhabitable', does not mean you cannot get a mortgage on it. Nor if you are intending to purchase a property to let out, but it's currently in an 'un-lettable' condition.  Lenders will cater for these scenarios (dependant on the exact type of works required!).  In the main, the work required needs to be cosmetic - a redecoration, maybe a new kitchen or bathroom.  Many lenders now offer 'refurbishment' loans where the work must be carried out within a period of time after purchasing the property, normally three months.  Others will allow the works to be completed, revalue the property and lend based on the newer property value.  Each lender will work on the valuers comments once they have visited the property and adjust their offerings accordingly.  Just because the high street or your current lender says no, does not mean that it can't be done! As the local area continues to become a 'new homes exhibition', there are a number of lenders also assisting customers with more private projects such as development and self builds.  Normally the customer will purchase a property in need of work, knock it down and rebuild, or extensively renovate their existing home.  Either way, the lender who funded the original purchase will need to be advised and made aware of all works as you will be altering their security! If you plan to build your own house (Self Build), the lender will issue the funds on a stage basis. Normally once the foundations have been laid, property built to eaves level, made watertight and so on.  At each stage a surveyor will review and advise the lender of progress and to release payments.  If the property has increased in value as a result, you will tend to find the lender may lend on the Gross Development Value (the end value). On a full refurbishment, again, the lender will want to know the plans and may lend in stage payments against the end value of the property, depending on the extent of the works involved. The lender will require sight of all planning permissions and estimates of costs involved before lending any funds.   Seek out a local architect to assist you with plans and costs and always make sure you set out your budgets from the outset.