Guide to Mortgage Advice
Taking out a mortgage is a big commitment and not a decision to be taken lightly. But most people are not experts on homeloans and, let’s face it, they can be complex.
When it comes to arranging a mortgage you have two options. Firstly, you could go direct to a mortgage lender, either by visiting them in a branch, phoning them or dealing with them online.
Of course, a lender will only be able to offer you their own products so you may need to visit quite a few to get a good idea of your options. But if you are confident about your mortgage knowledge this could be suitable for you.
If you need a bit more help choosing a mortgage, a qualified mortgage broker can help guide you through the process, from choosing the right deal for your needs to chasing the lender on your behalf to get the deal done as quickly as possible.
Brokers have always been a hugely important part of the mortgage market, with the majority of borrowers choosing them to help find the perfect homeloan. And in the current climate they are more important than ever, because the mortgage sector has changed beyond measure in the last few years.
A different market
The credit crunch and subsequent recession dealt a major blow to the UK mortgage industry. Many lenders temporarily stopped offering mortgages while others shut up shop completely, in addition to the bailouts of some of the UK’s major financial institutions.
The sector contracted massively in terms of the number of lenders, the amount of money they had to lend and the number of deals on offer. Even in 2010 lending volumes were only around half the level they were at the peak of the market in 2007.
With limited funds, lenders have become far stricter about what they will lend and to whom. The high street lenders in particular have tightened up their criteria
and in the current climate they can afford to be choosy, rejecting those who fall slightly outside their narrow one-size-fits-all boxes.
A new breed
Luckily a new breed of lenders has begun catering
for such borrowers, who are solvent and able to repay their mortgages, but have certain circumstances that mean they cannot get a mortgage on the high street.
Such borrowers probably had no problem getting a mortgage on the high street a few years ago but changing conditions mean they will now struggle – for example the newly self-employed will find it hard to get a high street homeloan without three years’ audited accounts. If you have only recently set up your business you won’t have this, no matter how successful you are.
Specialist lenders understand that just because your circumstances do not fit the box doesn’t mean that you do not present a good lending risk. They understand that by manually underwriting mortgage loans, rather than using a computer system, they can look at your complete financial situation and better assess whether or not to lend to you.
Importantly, these lenders operate through mortgage brokers, not on the high street, so you cannot buy their mortgages direct. They appreciate that a qualified and authorised mortgage adviser is best placed to help you find the right deal for your specific needs and they know you will have received full and personal advice about your mortgage choice.
Getting access to intermediary-only lenders such as Kensington, who design mortgages with real people in mind, is only one of many reasons why borrowers choose a mortgage broker, as we explain throughout this guide.
Experience and expertise
Basically a mortgage broker is your own expert, on hand to chat to you at your convenience, face to face, over the phone or via email. They will search through the hundreds of products on the market to find one to meet your specific needs and help with all the form filling to make sure your application goes through smoothly and quickly.
It is little wonder then that the majority of borrowers rely on the expertise of a mortgage broker to help them through the mortgage maze, according to the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
Although the mortgage market is slowly improving, it is a long road, with a chronic lack of mortgage availability still impeding many buyers or those looking to refinance.
These consumers need help and support, and a mortgage broker can give it to them.
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