26 January 2017

Computer says 'no'

So!  You have no credit problems: you have a good income: no debts and you are looking to buy a property or maybe remortgage.  But then, your bank, with whom you’ve been a loyal customer to for many years, reports back that you have a low credit score and the computer says “no”. They will not offer you a mortgage. This is a dramatically increasing scenario. The world of credit scoring (tick box mentality) is in our day to day finances and there’s no arguing with the lender once their technology has made the decisions.

Fear not!  There are a number of options still available to you which include lenders who will assess an application manually and seek to offer assistance to such customers. It does not just include those turned away by the high street for low credit scores. It could be a case scenario that needs a bit of lateral ‘out of the box’ thinking by an underwriter keen to say ‘yes’. This could include cross collateral security for clients who are asset rich: a sympathetic view for those who have trouble in proving ‘real’ income: customers who need guarantors: those in later life, or maybe just need someone to sit down, review the whole picture and advise on the best route to take.

As with everything you purchase, it’s always worth shopping around as although you might think you have a great deal with your current provider, there may be better products out there that you are missing out on.  And make sure you do move!  Why would you stay on the lenders variable rate, after the promotional rate had ended, if there was a more cost effective rate available with another lender saving you money?  Always think of number one.

Banks may only advise on their own product ranges. 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.

And yes, there may be a small fee for this research and advice.  Prices vary from company to company and you can decide exactly who to deal with.  As with everything, before committing, make sure you read the terms, conditions and small print!

19 January 2017

AToM awarded 'Best Residential Mortgage Packager' 2016!

I am delighted to commence this week’s column with the fantastic news that AToM has received a national mortgage lender award!  We have been awarded ‘Best Residential Mortgage Packager’ by the lender Precise Mortgages, for the fifth year in a row!  It’s rare for lenders to issue awards, so this is really special and great recognition. We have a super team at AToM and this award is real credit to the hard work the staff have put in during the recent tough market conditions.

As a Mortgage Packager, not only do we work with the general public, but nationally too with many Accountants, Mortgage Brokers, Independent Financial Advisers and Estate Agents. With over 8,000 registered introducers on our databases, lenders use AToM to offer their mortgage products seeking quick distribution and marketing to all of the above. This often means that we see exclusive deals, new lenders and product innovations, ahead of the general marketplace.  AToM also collates information for the lenders, obtains employer or accountant references, instructs valuations, obtains mortgage offers and in some cases has the lenders own underwriters in our offices, enabling a quicker turnaround.

With this in mind, actually placing a mortgage with a lender is not normally difficult. The hardest part, in the recent climates, is getting the mortgage through to completion! To assist this, try not to give lenders an excuse to decline your application or refuse to lend to you. Try to pay bills on time, don’t miss payments, and especially not mortgage payments!  Any missed (or sometimes late) payments will be registered on your credit file and this is normally used as the basis of a decision to lend to you, or not!  Ensure you disclose everything upfront as lenders hate surprises!  Remember that lenders can re-credit search/credit score you right throughout the whole mortgage process.

So in short, we are a little bit like Doctor Who’s Tardis. The AToM shop front opens onto a business which has much, much more going on behind the scenes!

12 January 2017

Even the pundits say to 'act fast' to secure a good rate!

There seems to be a lot of talk from various industry pundits regarding the end of the 'good rates' in the mortgage market.  Even Martin Lewis' money saving programme this week suggested that consumers should be quick and secure a competitive rate.

Remember, that fixed rate monies are derived by the money markets, whereas tracker rates follow the Bank of England base rate and lenders decide on their own standard variable rates.

With this in mind, personally, I can't see rates having a significant increase for some time yet.  You might see the odd shift here and there, but with over 11,000 mortgage products now in the market place, this is expected.  To back this up, many lenders fell short of targets last year and with a market that is expected to be similar in overall volume in 2017, compared to 2016,  I can only see competition becoming stronger to fight for the business.

Just in the last few days, we've seen Buckinghamshire Building Society launch a first time buyer mortgage at 95% loan to value (LTV), so just a 5% deposit required.  In addition, the rate is an attractive 3.24% and the product has no product fee and £250 cash back.  This lender also reviews cases manually, rather than a credit score.

Accord Mortgages is giving offset mortgage customers £1,000 when their home loan completes, for a limited time.

Virgin Money has launched new residential and buy-to-let fixed rate loans. The range includes a two year residential fixed rate up to 90% LTV at 2.84% for first time buyers. The loan has no product fee and £1,000 cash back.  Virgin has also introduced a five-year residential fixed rate up to 65% LTV now at 1.89%.  The loan has a £995 fee, £300 cash back for purchases, a free valuation and legal fees for remortgages.

And finally, Bank of Ireland for Intermediaries has increased its maximum loan size to £1.5m for Buy to Lets and increased its upper age limit for Residential customers to 75.

So in short, despite the negative press, no one knows what's going to happen this year and with economists pulling their hair out, you just have to think of number one.  You have no loyalty to stay with your current lender when others will offer better rates.  And only you can decide if you want the certainty of a long term fixed rate, or if you are happy to see what happens with a shorter term tracker rate.  As always, terms and conditions apply and, as Martin Lewis said, speak to a whole of market mortgage broker!

05 January 2017

So, what's in store for 2017?

A Happy New Year to you all! 

In the last 12 months, we've seen many new lenders launch in to the mortgage market in addition to the current batch fighting for business by offering low and attractive rates with freebies including valuations, free legals and even cash backs.

I see 2017 offering a lot more to First Time Buyers including more products aimed at those with smaller deposits.  Shared Ownership opportunities and Right to Buy mortgages will also increase as local authorities push schemes to help get people on the property ladder.

The easy business for the high street lenders is for Home movers and those looking to Remortgage. Simple and straight forward, with some of the best rates available and subject to clients credit scores, these should be all computer decision based.
Without doubt, the most in-demand side will be the more specialist Buy to Lets, Houses of Multiple Occupation, Holiday Lets, Student Lets, basically whatever will bring in the best return for investment.  Despite the Prudential Regulation Authority introducing new rules, and considerable tax changes being implemented over the next three years, this will still be a huge part of the market as returns on savings remain low and people look for other ways to invest and make money. 

But of course as volumes increase, those with credit issues, or adverse may be turned away by the high street.  More and more lenders are launching ways to help this sector.  Nearly anything is acceptable from missed mortgage payments, to bankruptcy, to debt management plans, to payday loans.  Strict terms and conditions apply, but seek specialist advice as these can now go right up to 90% of the property value.

And let's not forget the over 65s.  Lending in to later life is a huge part of the market and more and more lenders are offering products to this age bracket.  Some with unlimited age restrictions.  As long as the loan to value is good and affordability fits, why can't anyone have a mortgage?!