Specialist mortgage advice
Multi award-winning, whole of market mortgage advice tailored to your specific needs
With access to exclusive products from the UK’s leading mortgage lenders, our professional mortgage brokers are here to help you find a mortgage that fits your needs perfectly.
We provide free of charge, no obligation mortgage advice and help to secure you an Agreement in Principle.
Our dedicated team manage every aspect of the mortgage application process through to completion, providing regular updates on the status of your application and a friendly ear for any questions you may have along the way.
We offer face-to-face mortgage advice throughout Essex and the South of England, as well as an online mortgage advisor service via telephone and email, to customers across the UK. What's more, because we know that your time is precious, we're open until late.
Whether you are buying your first property, moving home, remortgaging, buying to let or simply looking for some mortgage advice, we are here to help.
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Getting a mortgage FAQs
Still have a question?
Our friendly advisors are always happy to help with your mortgage enquiries, so call us for a no-obligation chat.
We can even provide you with the advice you need to secure an Agreement in Principle completely free of charge, so you can move one step closer to securing your dream home.Find out more
What is a mortgage?
A mortgage is a loan from a bank or building society that enables you to purchase property. The loan is repaid with interest over a number of years, with the term for doing this dependent on your personal financial circumstances.
A mortgage can be held by an individual or jointly between one or more people, but if you do not keep up your repayments, your home could be repossessed by the lender.
Will I be accepted for a mortgage?
All mortgage lenders have their own criteria. The following factors all play a part in determining their mortgage offer and how much they are willing to lend to you:
- Amount you wish to borrow
- Size of your deposit
- Employment status and income
- Credit rating
- Existing debt
- Your age
- Length of the mortgage term
- Your credit status
- If you are applying solely or jointly
In order to be accepted, you need to convince lenders that you are able to repay your mortgage. To do this, lenders typically use your credit report to check your repayment history. Your credit file will contain current and existing records on items such as credit cards, loans, overdrafts, mortgages, mobile phone/s, some utilities payments and all accounts opened in the past six years. If you have had arrears, defaults, CCJs, debt management plans or previously been made bankrupt, there are mortgage options available which we can help you with.
How does the mortgage application process work?
To get a mortgage, you will need to save a deposit of at least 5%. However, the more you can save, the better your rate will usually be. If you already own your own home, you can use the equity in your property for this. Our expert mortgage advisors can talk you through the benefits and the difference in your monthly payments by increasing your deposit.
Once you have found the property you want to buy, our mortgage brokers will assess your personal needs and circumstances and recommend a mortgage product that is right for you. They will compare hundreds of mortgage quotes, including a number of exclusive products that cannot be found on the high street or comparison sites, and ensure that you get the right deal at a great price.
If you are happy with the mortgage product your advisor recommends, you will then receive an Agreement in Principle (AIP). This will give you an approximate sum of how much the lender is willing to let you borrow, and enable you to put an offer in on your dream home.
If your offer is accepted, you will need to appoint a solicitor to handle searches, surveys and contracts, which we can arrange for you. We handle the entire mortgage application process through to completion, liaising with your solicitor and lender to ensure that your application is a success.
If you are looking to remortgage, then we recommend looking for a new mortgage deal around 3 months before your current deal expires. Starting early will give you plenty of time to compare all the available mortgage products and submit your application. If your mortgage is approved early there’s no need to panic, as we will ensure that the completion date corresponds with your current deal’s end date.
How much can I afford to borrow?
Most mortgage lenders will lend you up to five times your salary. However, this is dependent on a number of factors including your age, number of dependants and current financial commitments. Lenders generally work out how much they will lend you based on what you can realistically afford each month after you have paid your bills, credit cards, loans etc.
Our mortgage advisers can help you understand how much you can realistically borrow before an application or credit search is completed, by assessing your individual needs and circumstances. If you choose to proceed with an application, then our advisers will know which mortgage lenders to approach to ensure you get the required loan amount.
How much deposit will I need?
To buy a home with a mortgage, you will need to save a deposit of at least 5%. The more you can save, the better your mortgage rate will be. There are a few exceptions to this however as follows:
- If you already own a home, you can use the equity from your property for the deposit
- If you are a council tenant and are looking to buy your current home under the right to buy scheme, most mortgage lenders will now accept your right to buy discount as a deposit.
With property prices increasing, first time buyers are struggling to save enough money to buy a home. The government has therefore introduced help to buy to enable first time buyers to get on the property ladder.
Our professional mortgage advisors are experts on all the various mortgage deals available and can help you decide which mortgage deal best fits your needs.
What are the associated costs with buying a house?
When buying a home, you will need to not only have enough money saved for your mortgage deposit, but also your mortgage fees, moving costs and legal expenses. We have compiled a handy list below of all the possible purchase and moving expenses you may have to pay, to help you with your budgeting. The exact fees and amount you will pay, is dependent on the value of the property you are buying and your chosen mortgage lender.
Mortgage booking fee: Some mortgage lenders will charge this to secure a fixed-rate or tracker deal.
Cost: £99 – £250
Mortgage arrangement fee: Some mortgage products will incur a mortgage arrangement fee, in addition to the mortgage booking fee. This fee is either paid upfront or added to your mortgage debt. If you chose to add it to your mortgage, the cost will increase over the lifetime of your mortgage.
Cost: £1,000 – £2,000
Telegraphic transfer fee: Needs to be paid to the lender to transfer the amount you are borrowing for the mortgage to the seller’s solicitor.
Cost: £25 – £50
Mortgage broker fee: If you use a mortgage advisor to arrange your mortgage for you, you will need to pay a fee or commission, depending on the value of your mortgage.
Cost: £95 – £495. However, this may vary if you need to use a specialist lender
Valuation and survey fees: Charged by the lender to value the property you are buying. The cost varies according to which survey you choose:
Home condition survey: Most basic and cheapest of all the surveys and often used for new-builds.
Homebuyer’s report: More in-depth survey, assessing the inside and outside of the property, and also includes a valuation.
Building survey: A complete survey generally used for older or unconventional properties. Although they are the most expensive, they are certainly worth considering, as it could potentially save you a lot of money if any structural problems are found with the property.
Higher lending charge: Can be charged by lenders if you borrow most of the value of the property.
Cost: Approximately 1.5% of the amount you borrow
Searches: Your solicitor will arrange for the local authority to check whether there are any issues that could affect the property’s value. The local council can charge a fee for carrying out these searches and may also request that a drains search be done at the same time.
Cost: £250 – £300
Legal costs: You will need to instruct a solicitor to carry out the necessary legal work for you.
Cost: £850 – £1,500 plus VAT
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT): Charged on all purchases of UK land and property over £125,000. However, the amount you will pay is dependent on the purchase price of the property you are looking to buy, and whether you have owned a home before as follows:
First home: First-time buyers are exempt from paying SDLT on the first £300,000 of the purchase price of a property up to the value of £500,000. All purchases in excess of £500,000 will pay the standard stamp duty rates as follows:
- £0 – £300,000: 0%
- £300,001 – £500,000: 5%
Next home: If you are currently or have previously been a homeowner, you usually pay SDLT on increasing portions of the property price:
- £0 – £125,000: 0%
- £125,001 – £250,000: 2%
- £250,001 – £925,000: 5%
- £925,001 – £1.5 million: 10%
- £1.5 million+: 12%
Second property: If you are looking to buy an additional property, you usually have to pay 3% on top of the normal SDLT rates as follows:
- Less than £125,000: 3%
- £125,001 – £250,000: 5%
- £250,001 – £925,000: 8%
- £925,001 – £1.5 million: 13%
- £1.5 million+: 15%
For example, if you buy a next home for £275,000 the SDLT you owe is calculated as follows:
0% on the first £125,000 = £0
2% on the next £125,000 = £2,500
5% on the final £25,000 = £1,250
Total SDLT = £3,750
Information correct as of December 2017 – Source: www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax... costs: Paid to the removal firm (if you choose to use one) to pack, transport and deliver your possessions to your new home.
Cost: £300 – £600
What type of mortgage do I need?
For the majority of mortgages, you borrow money from a lender to buy a property and pay interest on the loan until you have paid it back. The only exception are interest-only loans. Here are the different types of mortgages available:
- Fixed rate
- Variable rate
- Discounted rate
- Capped rate
- First time buyers
- Buy to let
Repayment mortgages: Every month you make a payment which is calculated so that you pay off some of the capital you have borrowed, as well as the interest. By the end of your mortgage term, you would have repaid the entire loan.
Interest-only mortgages: Each month you pay only the interest on your mortgage and repay the capital at the end of your mortgage term. This option will not suit everyone, as you will need to guarantee that you can find the money when the time comes. If you don’t, you risk having to sell your property to pay off the mortgage. Lenders can also insist that you provide evidence on how you intend to do this.
Fixed rate mortgages: Popular with first time buyers, as you know exactly how much you’ll be paying each month for a particular length of time.
The disadvantages are that you may have to pay a higher rate if the interest rate falls, and a repayment charge if you either switch or pay off your mortgage before the end of the fixed term.
The lender will also automatically place you on a standard variable rate (SVR), which will probably have a higher interest rate, in which case you will need to apply for another fixed rate deal.
Variable rate mortgages: Also known as a Standard Variable Rate (SVR) and are every lender’s basic mortgage. The interest rate fluctuates, but never above the Bank of England’s base rate and is determined by your mortgage lender.
Tracker mortgages: Vary according to a nominated base rate, normally the Bank of England’s, which you will pay a set interest rate above or below.
Discount rate mortgages: Some of the cheapest mortgages around but, as they are linked to the SVR, the rate will change according to the SVR and are only available for a fixed period of time.
Capped rate mortgages: A variable rate mortgage, but there is a limit on how much your interest rate can rise. However, as mortgage rates are generally low at present, many lenders are not offering them.
Cashback mortgages: Lenders typically give you a percentage of the loan back in cash. However, you need to look at the interest rate and any additional fees, as it is very likely that you will be able to find a better deal without cashback.
Offset mortgages: Combines your savings and mortgage together, by deducting the amount you have in your savings, meaning you only pay interest on the difference between the two. Using your savings to reduce your mortgage interest means you won’t earn any interest on them, but you will also not pay tax, helping higher rate taxpayers.
95% mortgages: Generally for those with only a 5% deposit. However, as there is a risk that you may fall into negative equity if house prices go down, mortgage rates are usually high.
Flexible mortgages: Allow you to overpay when you can afford to. Other mortgages give you this option too, but you can also pay less at particular times or miss a few payments altogether if you have chosen to overpay. This does however come at a cost, as the mortgage rate will generally be higher than other mortgage deals.
Buy to let mortgages: Enables you to purchase additional property for renting purposes only. The amount you can borrow is partially calculated on the rent payments you expect to receive.
First time buyers mortgages: All of the aforementioned mortgages are available to first time buyers, although some are more favourable than others. The government also offers a number of incentives for first time buyers through its help to buy scheme.
How much does a mortgage cost?
The amount you pay each month is dependent on the total cost of your property and the type of mortgage you have. The costs you may need to pay vary but typically include:
Interest: Accrues across the lifetime of the mortgage and is charged as a percentage rate on the amount you owe.
Mortgage fees: A product fee which is charged for taking out the mortgage.
Application fees: Charged on application, regardless of whether you take out the mortgage.
Valuation fees: Can be charged by lenders for calculating how much your home is worth.
Higher lending charges: Can be applied to mortgages that have a small deposit.
Telegraphic transfer fees: Charged by the bank for arranging to transfer the money they are lending you (usually to your solicitor).
Broker fees: Often charged if you use a broker to arrange your mortgage.
If you have previously had a mortgage, you may also need to pay fees on this:
Early repayment charges: Can be charged if you repay your mortgage before the end of the agreed term.
Exit fees: Lenders can charge these if you move to a new lender.
Missed payments: These can be charged by your lender if you fail to keep up your repayments, which can increase the total amount you owe.
Can I get a mortgage with bad credit?
If you have a history of bad credit including; arrears, defaults, county court judgements (CCJs), debt management plans or bankruptcy, there are still mortgage options available. Your choice of mortgage lender and type of mortgage will however be limited, and the rate of interest will be higher than someone who has a good credit rating. Our expert mortgage brokers are in regular contact with adverse mortgage lenders and are well placed to advise you on all your available options.
How long does it take to get a mortgage?
Getting a mortgage application approved is dependent on you, your mortgage broker, solicitor and lender. At CLS, we handle the entire process for you through to completion, communicating with your solicitor and lender, to remove the stress and hassle from you and ensure that your application is a success. Having all the relevant mortgage documentation to hand ready for your mortgage advisor, will also help speed up the process.