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Category: Mortgage

Buying your first home
December 6, 2017

Top tips for buying your first home

First Time Buyers / Help to Buy / Mortgage / Right to Buy

Getting your first home

Buying your first home is one of the most exciting things you’ll do. To make sure you enjoy the experience, we have compiled our top tips to help you get the home of your dreams!

Every penny counts!

To get a mortgage for your first home, you’ll need a minimum deposit of 5%. However, the more you save, the better your mortgage rate will be. A 10% deposit is therefore advisable, as you’ll be able to get a far more favourable rate.

Don’t forget to also budget for your; Stamp Duty Land Tax, valuation, legal and moving fees! See our associated costs with buying a home guide for further information on how much you can expect to pay.

Consider government initiatives

If you are struggling to raise a large enough deposit, there are a number of Government initiatives which could help you to get on the property ladder:

  • Help to Buy: There are two parts to the scheme, Shared Ownership and Equity Loan. Shared Ownership enables you to buy a share (between 25% and 75%) of a new or existing property, whereas an Equity Loan enables you to borrow up to 20% towards the purchase cost, meaning you only need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage, to buy your new home.
  • Right to Buy: If you have been living in social housing for 3 years or more, you may be eligible to buy your home at a discounted price from your local council.

Do your sums

Getting a mortgage is a big financial commitment, so you need to make sure that you can afford it! As expert mortgage advisers, we can help you assess your personal circumstances and talk you through all of your options, so you can get a good idea of how much you can afford to borrow.

Get a mortgage in principal

In order to make an offer on a property, your estate agent will want to see an Agreement in Principle from your lender, containing an approximate sum of how much they are willing to let you borrow, which we can secure for you completely free of charge and without obligation!

Keep a look out

When viewing property, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to check all the essential details. Luckily, we have compiled a few handy tips to help you with your search!

  • Always book viewings for the daytime
  • Take your own photos
  • Check the condition of the building; cracks in the walls, leaks and any signs of damp
  • Look at how busy the road is and how much parking is available
  • Take note of how well kept nearby homes are.

Check nearby sold prices

When you’ve found a property you love, compare the asking price against other homes that have recently sold in the local area, using a free online house price tool such as Rightmove or Zoopla’s.

Always negotiate!

As a first time buyer, you’re in a strong position when it comes to buying property, so it’s certainly worth negotiating down the price – the extra cash would certainly come in handy too!

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5 tips to get the best remortgage deal
November 27, 2017

5 tips to get the best remortgage deal

Mortgage / Remortgage

5 tips to help you get the best remortgage deal

If your current mortgage deal is coming to an end, or you want to switch to a new mortgage deal to either help you make some long awaited home improvements, purchase additional property or reduce your current mortgage term, then there are a few things you should consider to ensure you get the best remortgage deal.

Here’s our top 5 tips for remortgaging your home:

Get organised

When your current mortgage expires, your lender will automatically move you to a new deal, which will likely be a higher rate and therefore more expensive, unless you shop around!

Ensure yours remains competitive by searching for a new deal around 3 months before your current mortgage is due to expire. This will give you plenty of time to see what’s on offer when remortgaging your home.

Look at all your options

When looking for the best mortgage deal, speak to your current lender to see what they are prepared to offer you. But, make sure you also look at what else is on offer, or you could miss out!

As a whole of market mortgage broker, we can help you compare thousands of exclusive deals from the UK’s leading mortgage lenders, which can’t be found on either the high street or comparison sites, to ensure you get the right product for your needs.

Consider the costs

If you are currently tied into a mortgage, you will need to check whether repaying your mortgage before the end of the agreed term will incur an exit fee and/or early repayment charge.

Your new lender may also charge a fee for arranging your mortgage, valuation and legal fees, so it’s important to check whether a new mortgage deal would be the best option, which we can take care of for you.

Explore the benefits of remortgaging

If you’re looking for a more flexible mortgage that will allow you to make overpayments when you can afford to, or a deal that enables you to use your savings to reduce your mortgage interest, then seeking expert advice will ensure that you get a mortgage that works for you. Again, we can guide you throughout the entire process to make sure you’re 100% happy with your new mortgage deal.

Speak to an expert

Our mortgage advisers are experts in their field and offer personalised remortgaging advice, regardless of your circumstances. They will help you work out how much you can afford to borrow and talk you through all your available options, to ensure that you get the right remortgage product for your needs.

If you choose to proceed with your application, we will also handle everything for you; completing all the necessary paperwork and liaising with the related parties, to remove the stress and hassle from you!

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Raising a mortgage deposit
August 8, 2017

Getting on the property ladder

First Time Buyers / Mortgage

Help with getting onto the property ladder

With increasing numbers of people struggling with raising a mortgage deposit to purchase their own homes, many are having to turn to their parents, relatives or close friends, to help get them onto the property ladder. If you are thinking of accepting financial help from a family member or close friend to help fund your home purchase, there are a number of ways in which they can help, which we have handily compiled for you below.

Receiving monetary gifts

You can receive a sum of money to form all or part of your mortgage deposit. However, to improve your chances of being accepted, mortgage lenders prefer it to be an outright gift from a family member, with no requirement for future repayment – but watch out for inheritance tax!

An individual can give away £3,000 per year tax free, and carry over any of their leftover annual exemption from one tax year to the next, up to the value of £6,000. However, if you are due to be married, you can also give receive an additional; £5,000 if you are the giver’s child, £2,500 if you are their grandchild or great-grandchild, and £1,000 for anything else.

Borrowing money

If your family member or close friend has a few pounds tucked away, there are a number of ways in which they can help you and benefit at the same time!

  • Family Springboard Mortgage: A popular option with families, enabling a relative to provide 10% of the purchase price as security. But, if you keep up your mortgage repayments, they will receive their money back with interest!
  • Joint Mortgage: Your family member or close friend legally own a share of the property and are jointly liable for the mortgage repayments.

Getting a guarantor

To help improve your chance of being accepted for a mortgage, a relative or close friend can either guarantee a proportion of / or your entire mortgage debt. In order to do so, they will need to:

  • Be able to cover any of your missed mortgage repayments
  • Pay their own mortgage
  • Have a number of years left in employment

However, if they are already a homeowner, acting as guarantor for your mortgage could result in you having to pay an additional 3% in Stamp Duty Land Tax!

Buying from family or friends

If you want to buy a property belonging to a relative or close friend, they can sell it to you at a discounted rate from the market value. This is known as a concessionary purchase, and many mortgage lenders will accept this and either base the value of the property on the agreed purchase price, or accept the discount as the buyer’s deposit.

Need help?

As expert mortgage advisors, we can help talk you through all of your available options and ensure that you get the right mortgage deal for your mortgage deposit type. We will also complete all the necessary paperwork for you, and liaise with your lender, estate agent and solicitors to ensure that your application is a complete success!

Bridging loans for homes
August 5, 2017

Bridging loans for homes

Bad Credit / Bridging Loans / Buy to Let / Moving Home

Bridging finance

Bridging finance provides a speedy, short-term solution for individuals looking to quickly complete the purchase of a property. Bridging loans are unsurprisingly popular with landlords and property developers looking to either fund a property investment, buy to let or development. But, they are also becoming increasing popular with homebuyers wanting to unblock property chains and secure their dream homes.

What are the advantages to bridging loans?

There are a number of potential benefits to using bridging finance for your short-term finance needs including:

  • No credit checks
  • Quick turnaround time (often arranged within 24 hours)
  • Daily interest rate
  • No early repayment charges (on some schemes)

Lenders will however require:

  • A completed application form
  • Proof of address and identification
  • A copy of your buildings insurance policy schedule – We can of course arrange all of this for you!

Is there an alternative to bridging finance?

If you decide that a bridging loan isn’t the right choice for you, then there are other alternatives:

  • High LTV Mortgage: A High loan to Value Mortgage with no early redemption charges, should enable you to make a large repayment without incurring a penalty.
  • Let to Buy Mortgage: If you have found your dream home but can’t wait to sell your current property, or are struggling to get the price you want for it, a Let to Buy Mortgage will allow you to buy your new home, whilst you’re waiting to sell your existing one.

Where can I get a bridging loan?

If you are considering a bridging loan, make sure you have a clear repayment strategy in place first, which might include; getting a residential or buy to let mortgage or selling the property altogether.

As expert mortgage brokers we can help advise you whether a bridging loan is the right solution for your individual needs and circumstances, or if an alternative finance option would be more suitable.

Some of these products are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

Student Mortgages
June 16, 2017

Mortgages for students

Buy to Let / First Time Buyers / Mortgage

Student mortgages

Are you are an undergraduate or parent trying to avoid paying a fortune for poor student accommodation? Some mortgage lenders are now looking at university students as potential customers, which could help you to get onto the property ladder and earn whilst you learn through renting out your spare rooms!

It may seem unrealistic, but with today’s high rental prices and relatively stable housing market, many are finding properties with mortgage repayments are costing less than monthly rental rates, making it a more feasible option.

A sound investment?

Many students choose to arrange a mortgage in partnership with their parents, so that both parties can benefit from the venture. But, which mortgage is best suited to your needs?

Student Mortgages

With a Buy for Uni Mortgage, students aged 18 and over living in England and Wales, can borrow 100% of a property’s value up to £300,000 to purchase a home within 10 miles of their place of study. However, if you borrow more than 80% of the value of the property, you will need to consider the following:

  • A parent or close family member will have to act as Guarantor
  • You will likely have to pay a higher interest rate initially. However, if you keep up your repayments, you should be able to move to a standard mortgage, once your deal comes to an end.

If your parents already own their own home, they can also save by not having to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on the purchase of additional property, as it will be in your name!

Family Buy to Let Mortgages

If you are a parent who either pays or is looking to cover the cost of your child’s accommodation, you could benefit from investing in a property for them to live in instead. You will need a Regulated Buy to Let Mortgage, which can be difficult to find on the high street. But, we can help you find a mortgage deal that suits your needs perfectly! – Remember, if you buy a larger property and rent it out to other students in addition to your own child, you will also need a Houses in Multiple Occupation licence!

Want to learn more?

Our expert mortgage advisers can talk you through all of your available options and compare a range of student mortgage deals, to ensure that you get the right mortgage product for your investment plans and individual circumstances, completely free of charge and obligation!

Free mortgage quote

Mortgages for teachers
June 1, 2017

Getting a mortgage as a teacher

Bad Credit / First Time Buyers / Mortgage

Mortgages for teachers

When newly qualified, part time or supply teachers, apply for a mortgage through their local banks or building societies, they are often overlooked, due to the lenders’ strict lending criteria and lack of consideration for the individual’s personal circumstances. Proving a regular income on a fixed or part-time contract can be difficult, which can automatically make you unattractive to many high street lenders. But, your chances of getting a mortgage are just as good as anyone’s and here’s how.

Use all your income

As a teacher you may undertake additional paid work such as tutoring in the evening or test marking in the school holidays, which can all be used to support your application.

Let your partner take the lead

If you plan to apply for a joint mortgage and your partner works full time, consider adding them as the first name on your mortgage application. It could improve the chances of getting your application approved, as lenders will favour them for their regular income.

Consider government initiatives

If you are struggling to raise a large deposit, there are a number of government initiatives available which could help to get you on the property ladder:

Shared Ownership: Part of the Help to Buy scheme and enables you to buy a share (between 25% and 75%) of a new or existing property.

Equity Loan: The government lends up to 20% towards the purchase cost, meaning you only need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to buy your home. If you are looking to buy a property in London, the percentage the government will lend you increases to 40%. However, the property must cost no more than £600,000.

History of bad credit?

If you have had credit issues including; arrears, defaults, County Court Judgements (CCJs), debt management plans or been made bankrupt in the past 6 years, there are still lenders who will consider your application. Our advisors regularly work with adverse mortgage lenders and are well placed to advise you on all your available options.

Get expert advice

Our mortgage advisors are experts in teacher mortgages and can help advise you on how much you can afford to borrow and source the best teacher mortgage deals to suit your individual needs, in order to maximise your chances of being approved first time. They will also complete all the relevant paperwork, and liaise with your lender, estate agent and solicitors to ensure that your application is a success!

Becoming a landlord
May 15, 2017

Top things to do before becoming a landlord

Buy to Let / Mortgage

What to do before becoming a landlord

You’ve bought your first buy to let property and are now preparing for your first tenants, but what needs to be done? You’ll need to make a few big decisions about how you are going to manage your property, and ensure that a number of items are in place before you tenants move in. Luckily, we have compiled a handy list to help ensure that your buy-to-let investment is a complete success!

Safety first

As a Landlord, you have a duty of care to your tenants, so make sure your property is protected by arranging the following checks and installations:

  • Smoke alarm fitted on every floor of the property, where there is a room that will be used as living space
  • Carbon monoxide detector installed in every room with a solid fuel-burning appliance
  • A valid Gas Safety and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Get covered

When renting property accidents will happen, which can prove costly if you do not have the right level of cover in place! Landlord Insurance provides the specialist level of cover you need to protect both the structure and rental income of your investment.

As expert mortgage and protection advisors, we can ensure that you get the right level of cover for your personal requirements, so you can be rest assured that your investment is safe.

Do your homework!

Finding the right tenants is often the most complex part of the letting process. It’s important to know who you are letting your property to, and a letting agency can help you with this.

Letting agencies can help mitigate any potential risks by conducting in-depth tenant references, which typically include employment details, addresses, bank statements and references from their current landlord (if applicable). They will also carry out the necessary checks to ensure that that your tenants are legally able to rent in the UK, so you can be rest assured that everything is above board.

Arrange a tenancy agreement

Once you have found the right tenants, you will need to provide them with a tenancy agreement. An Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) contract is generally used for this purpose, and contains the proposed dates and duration of the tenancy, a breakdown of the rent payments and the required notice period, if the tenancy is terminated by either party.

Protect your tenants’ deposits

As a landlord, you must ensure that your tenants’ deposits are kept in a government approved tenancy deposit scheme, such as the Deposit Protection Service, who will intervene should a dispute about your tenants’ deposit arise at the end of the tenancy.

Set the bar

Before your tenants move in, it’s important to set out how you expect your property to be maintained, particularly if you decide to let is as a part or fully furnished let. Conducting an inventory before and after a tenancy, will help you to keep check of your assets and their condition, and reduce the chances of a potential dispute – Using a letting agent or independent inventory clerk to make sure this is done correctly, is certainly worthwhile!

Need a letting agent?

Working full-time and being a landlord can be demanding! But, using a letting agent can help to reduce the burden. They can manage all the necessary advertising, viewings, screenings, inspections, repairs and rental income for you. If you favour a more hands on approach, most agencies will also offer a tailored service, so they can help out where needed.

Teaching children to save
May 4, 2017

How to teach children to save


Teaching children to save

With an increasing number of first-time buyers relying on the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ to help them get on the property ladder, teaching children to save and understand the value of money from an early age has never been more important. No matter how young or old your children may be, we have put together a number of handy tips that will help make them savvy savers in no time!

Handling cash

Letting young children see and handle coins and notes regularly is the best way to get them used to money being a part of their everyday lives. To help them learn to understand the value of money, raid your money box and stack piles of coins next to each other, using the various coin denominations, until each one equals £1. Once you have completed this, take the piles down and ask your child to rebuild them.

If you want something, you’ve got to pay for it!

Plan a family day out and list all the things you’ll be doing including food and transport. Work out a realistic budget for this and withdraw the cash. Let your child count and hand over the money whenever you do an activity that requires money – If they want to do something that you haven’t planned for, explain to them that there may not be enough money to do this, as well as the other things you have planned.

The £1 challenge

Give your child a £1 to spend on whatever they choose in a local shop. Ask them what they want to buy and if they can afford it. If they are struggling, take them to an area in the shop where you know they will be able to buy something for this amount, and ask them what they think.

Save, spend, save again

The best way to get children to understand the true value of money, is to let them save and spend their own cash. Work out a reasonable amount to give them each week, maybe get them to help you out around the home to earn this, and let them decide how they spend it.

Buying them a moneybox or opening a bank account will also give them somewhere to store their savings and teach them that money needs to be looked after and kept safe – For teenagers, gradually increase their allowance so that they can learn to budget for their toiletries, clothes and social activities.

Planning for success! 

Talk to your child about saving for something they really want and help them work out how long it would take to buy it. If it’s a fairly expensive item, why not agree to pay a certain amount towards it, if they save the rest?

Planning and budgeting is particularly effective for older children. Getting them to plan an event from start to finish, detailing everything involved including; activities, food, drink and transportation, and working out how much it’s going to cost, can help them realise if it’s affordable and if anything can be done cheaper.

‘Just put it on your card’

If paying on a debit and/or credit card is your family’s preferred method of payment, it’s important to familiarise your children with how this works also, so that they learn that money isn’t free! The best way to do this is to let them see you paying for something on your card and then showing them your bank statement after, so that they can see the money leaving your account and your remaining balance after.

Becoming a landlord
April 20, 2017

5 step guide to becoming a successful landlord

Buy to Let / Mortgage

5 steps to become a successful landlord

Becoming a landlord can be an exciting and rewarding prospect; from selecting a property with a potential profitable return, to taking care of your tenants. If you are planning on investing or are simply interested in learning more, here’s our top 5 steps to consider for a successful buy-to-let investment.

Do your research!

When deciding on an area to buy your buy to let property, choose an area that prospective tenants would like to live in with attractive selling points such as; good transport links, schools and / or entertainment facilities – Use property websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla to help you with this!

When you have decided on an area, be sure to also speak to a local letting agent who can help you understand which properties are in demand and how much they rent for.

Hands-on or stress free?

Being a landlord comes with a lot of responsibility! If you choose to buy near to home, you will be close by should anything go wrong. But, if you choose to look further afield, using a lettings agency could be a wise decision!

Letting agents can help reduce the burden, by managing all the necessary advertising, viewings, screenings, inspections, repairs and rental income for you, and the cost for their services varies from a months’ rent for letting only, to an ongoing yearly fee of around 10% of your rental income for full-time management.

Which mortgage?

When you buy a second property for rental purposes, you need to take out a Buy to Let mortgage. Buy to Let mortgages are very similar to standard residential mortgages, but there are some important differences to note:

  • You will need a minimum deposit of 25%, but the more you can put down, the better your interest rate will be!
  • The amount you can borrow is calculated on the potential rental income of the property you are looking to purchase, rather than your own income
  • Your annual rental income be at least 125% of the annual mortgage interest payments, to help you during tenant vacancy periods.

As expert buy to let mortgage brokers, we can tell you how much you can afford to borrow, and find you the best buy to let mortgage deal to suit your individual circumstances. When you’re ready to move ahead with your mortgage application, our dedicated support team will even handle this for you through to completion, to ensure that your application is a complete success!

What tax will I pay?

As with every property purchase, there are various taxes you will need to pay at some point in the buy to let property sales and purchase process:

Rental income tax: Any rent you receive is taxable and the rate of tax you will pay is charged in accordance to your income – 20% for basic rate taxpayers, 40% for higher rate and 45% for additional rate.

Allowances: You can minimise the amount of tax you’ll have to pay by deducting certain expenses (detailed below) from your taxable rental income up to 20%.

  • Letting agency fees
  • Buildings and contents insurance
  • Council tax
  • Utility bills (if you pay them on behalf of the tenant)
  • Essential maintenance such as a roof repair or new boiler

Capital Gains Tax: If you choose to sell your buy to let property you will have to pay Capital Gains Tax on any profit you make from the sale, which varies between 18% and 28%, depending on your tax bracket.

Allowances: For the 2017/18 tax year, the first £11,300 profit you make is Capital Gains Tax free.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT): When you buy an additional property that is not your main residence, you have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on it, dependent on the purchase price of the property shown below:

  • 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%

Get covered!

As a landlord, you will probably have invested a lot of your money into your property, so it makes senses to protect it! Landlord Insurance provides you with the specialist level of cover you need to protect both the structure and rental income of your investment. But, not having the right level of cover can be disastrous – that’s where we can help!

Our mortgage and protection advisors will assess your personal requirements and tailor your cover accordingly, so you can be rest assured that both your investment and income are protected.

Single parent mortgage
April 4, 2017

Getting a mortgage as a single parent

Help to Buy / Mortgage / Right to Buy

Getting a single parent mortgage

Managing day to day life as a single parent often involves balancing work and home, getting the kids to school, making their meals and staying on top of the chores, which can be difficult. Getting a mortgage by yourself may also not be easy, but it’s certainly not impossible when you take our advice!

Use your benefits to your advantage

Being a lone parent often means your income is low, which can have a significant impact on the amount mortgage lenders are prepared to let you borrow. You need to demonstrate that you are able to keep up your mortgage repayments and your benefits can help you with this.

Child Benefit, Tax Credits and Maintenance Fees, will all be taken into account by the lender when they calculate the amount they will allow you to borrow – Make sure you keep proof of these payments in a safe place, as the lender will need to see these!

Consider Government initiatives

There are a number of Government initiatives available to help people who are struggling to buy a home get on the property ladder:

Shared Ownership: Part of the Help to Buy scheme and enables you to buy a share (between 25% and 75%) of a new or existing property.

Right to Buy: If you have been living in social housing for more than 3 years, then you could be eligible to buy your home at a discounted price from your local council.

Bank of Mum and Dad

If you are struggling to raise a large enough deposit, a close family member may be able to help you:

Guarantor mortgages: A parent or close family member guarantees either a proportion or the entire mortgage debt and are ultimately liable for any repayments that are missed. Your Guarantor will however need to be able to either cover their mortgage and their agreed share of yours or have the majority of their mortgage paid off, and have a good few years left in employment ahead of them.

Family Springboard mortgages: A more popular option that enables a member of your family to provide 10% of the purchase price as security. If you keep up your repayments, they will receive their money back with interest.

Get specialist advice

As award winning mortgage advisors, we can talk you through all your available options and tell you how much you can afford to borrow at no cost or obligation to you, so get in touch!