Thursday, 20 January 2011


Save Money With Remortgages

We, along with our team of brokers, are here to help you find the best deals from
the remortgage market, whatever your reason for remortgaging we can help.
We also provide the information you need to know before steps are made to
remortgage. Most people will remortgage their home with their current
mortgage holder, usually their bank or building society.

However loyal you may feel towards your bank it may not be the best
place to remortgage your home.


Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Onine Remortgages

Consumers who are looking to remortgage their properties are putting it off until next year, according to one specialist.

The biggest issue to affect the market at present is the low numbers who are looking to remortgage their property, as the number of new buyers has continued to increase, Gary Styles, strategy, risk and economics director at Hometrack, has stated.

Companies have targeted mortgage lending on first-time buyers as the government has set targets for them to reach on the number of products they must give to new customers.

However, the market for people who want to remortgage their property is likely to pick up again once interest rates have risen, Mr Styles believes, although this may not take place until 2011.

His comments follow the statistics published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders which showed that, despite a seasonal dip in November, the number of mortgages given out fell by four per cent compared with the previous month.

In the same period, the number of remortgages fell by six per cent, a 39 per cent drop from the previous year.

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Mortgage approvals hit two-year high

The number of homebuyer mortgages approved by banks rose to a two-year high in December, figures showed today, but a continuing lack of remortgaging activity helped keep total lending down.

The figures from the British Bankers' Association (BBA) showed 45,897 loans were approved for house purchases during the month, slightly more than double the number approved in December 2008. However, the number of remortgages dropped by 63.3% year-on-year to 23,480.

Over the whole of the year, the BBA said its members had approved a total of 980,000 home loans, the lowest figure since records began in 1997 and 27% lower than in 2008.

Total mortgage advances rose by 6% in December, reaching £10.2bn, but the BBA said the figure was inflated by people rushing to complete purchases before the government's stamp duty holiday on properties costing up to £175,000 ended at the start of this year.

The BBA's statistics director, David Dooks, said: "The high street banks continued to lend substantial amounts in the weaker mortgage market of 2009, approving more than 440,000 loans for house purchase.

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"Their share of gross lending went up from a historical level of about two-thirds to three-quarters, due to specialist lenders largely withdrawing from the market and building society finance contracting."

The BBA's figures show that unsecured lending remained subdued in December and, while savings levels bounced back during the month, they remained weak for 2009 as a whole as consumers focused on paying down their debt.

New spending and repayments on credit cards were down by 9.9% and 9.2% respectively over the year, while demand for personal loans was particularly weak, with balances falling by £3.9bn over the course of last year.

Meanwhile, savings deposits increased by £23bn, compared with £25bn in 2008 and £28bn in 2007.


Monday, 2 November 2009

Avoid remortgage pitfalls

Remortgaging accounts for a huge chunk of UK consumer lending. What is it and what are the pitfalls? A leading mortgage expert explains.
All too often people hear the word remortgage and associate it with taking on more debt.

While remortgaging can help people to fund home improvements at cheap interest rates, it is not necessarily about building up a larger loan. It's more about achieving the cheapest mortgage.

Remortgaging simply means that the mortgage is switched from one lender to another, to get a better deal, without moving home.

Why remortgage?

Mortgages are the single biggest financial commitment that most of us face, yet it's often an aspect of our finances we rarely review.

Many of us are old hands at shopping around for the cheapest car cover but the savings are likely to add up to tens of pounds, not the thousands a spring clean of your mortgage could easily yield.

Usually you start out on an attractive rate which will later revert to what is known as the lender's standard variable rate.

Standard variable rates can be around 5.50% from many of the large lenders, although they do vary.

With current two-year mortgage products available well below 4%, switching to a new deal can be extremely lucrative.

For example, if a borrower with a £100,000 interest-only mortgage switched from their existing lender's standard variable rate to a deal 2% lower, they would slash £167 off their monthly mortgage payments - making a saving of £4,000 over two years.

Where should I start?

First, check that remortgaging makes sense for you - you might still be in a good deal or you might be locked in with redemption penalties.

All this can be checked from your original mortgage offer or, failing that, by contacting your existing lender.

Even if you do have a redemption penalty it may still be worth remortgaging as the savings could outweigh the penalty of the remaining lock-in period.

Your existing lender may offer you a better rate than the one that you're already on but make sure you compare this with the best products on the market, as it is unlikely to be the best you can get.

How do I find the best deal?

Shop around to find the best rates - it will not necessarily be the bigger lenders that offer the market-leading deals as products change all the time.

The internet and national newspapers often carry best buy tables of mortgages which can be a useful information resource.

Alternatively, seek the help of a fully independent broker who can advise you on the right type of mortgage for you and search the whole market for the best deal.

What should I look out for?

As well as looking out for costs like redemption penalties that lock you in with you current lender, pay attention to fees that may be attached to the new product, such as arrangement fees - which usually cost around £300.

The lender also needs to value the property to ensure it's adequate security for the new mortgage; and some legal work will be necessary to make the switch.

In addition some brokers may charge you a fee of up to 1% of the mortgage.

In today's competitive market lenders often offer products that cover most or all of these costs to get your business, and some brokers charge nothing for their advice.

It can often work out cheaper to opt for a deal without set-up costs and pay a slightly higher rate, particularly for those with smaller mortgages.

A quick rule of thumb would be that anyone with a mortgage below £100,000 should look for a 'fees-paid' deal.

If you have a bigger mortgage, then crunch the numbers on whether paying fees makes sense.

In addition to watching the costs, make sure that you are not picking a deal that appears extremely cheap at first, only to find the rate increases after a couple of years and you're locked in with heavy penalties, which are known as extended redemption penalties.

How long will it take?

While remortagaging means minimal hassle for the borrower these days (e.g. valuers often don't need access to the property), there's plenty of work going on behind the scenes.

The whole process to completion will take a couple of months, but make sure you provide any required supporting documentation promptly to avoid unnecessary delay.

Once you have completed your new mortgage make a diary note to review the new deal two to three months before it ends, so you can implement a seamless switch to the best deal around at that time.

Moving your mortgage

Thousands of people switch mortgage provider each year, some to save money, others as a means to borrow more cash.
What factors should you bear in mind when switching mortgage providers.

Can remortgaging really save money?

It depends.

It is estimated that more than half of all borrowers are continuing to pay over the odds for their mortgage each month.

Usually these people are paying the lender's standard variable mortgage rate. There will be lower rates available from other providers.

But this is not the whole story.

In recent years, banks and building societies have been hiking mortgage fees to subsidise attractive headline interest rates.

So called mortgage arrangement fees have sky-rocketed as have charges for redeeming a mortgage.

As a result, you have to do the sums to make sure that what you gain through switching provider - a lower rate of interest - is not lost through higher charges.

That sounds very complex, what help is available?

There are financial professionals who can advise you. Some of these are employed by lenders and may only be able to recommend the products of one mortgage provider or a small panel of providers.

A financial adviser may not be the best route to a future mortgage deal.

But there are a host of independent mortgage brokers who are free to advise you from the whole of the mortgage market.

However, be aware that they may take commission from the provider they recommend to you.

You may also have to pay a fee for independent mortgage advice.

It is also wise to do your own research to compare the rates that a lender or broker is offering you.

If I want to do it myself, where do I start?

The first step is to check the terms and conditions of your existing mortgage.

These will tell if you are tied-in to your mortgage deal or if there are any redemption penalties - sometimes phrased as early repayment charges.

If you are locked-in, you must decide if it is worth switching to a different rate or stay put until the penalties have expired.

You may have been with your existing lender for a long time and feel a sense of loyalty towards the company.

However, most lenders do not reward this loyalty with a reduction in rates.

You should therefore expect to shop around and look towards a different lender to get a better deal.

My neighbours have told me that you can borrow more money through remortgaging, is this right?

Yes. Remortgaging is not only about saving money.

As well as reducing your monthly payments, you can also use remortgaging as a way of releasing some equity that has built-up in your property's value.

If you are tempted to release equity, it is still important to be cautious.

Borrowing through your mortgage may be much cheaper than taking out a personal loan, but the debt is secured.

This means that if you can not keep up with additional payments, you could risk losing your home.

Which deal is best for me?

You will face a choice of broadly four types of deal: fixed, capped, discounted and flexible.

Fixed-rate mortgages are ideal for people who want certainty and must be able to regulate how much they will be spending each month.

The rate is usually fixed for between two and five years.

Discounted loans offer a reduction off the standard variable rate for a set period.

If rates fall further, the rate that you will pay will also go down.

However, when rates rise, so will your mortgage payments.

A capped-rate loan will set a limit on the rate you will pay.

If rates rise, your payments will not go above that level. However, if rates fall below the cap so will your repayments.

Flexible mortgages allow you to overpay and underpay when you choose and without penalty.

This is ideal for people who have fluctuating incomes or who want to clear their mortgage early.

An increasing number of fixed, capped and discounted deals have more flexible features as well.

What should I avoid?

Avoid deals with extended redemption penalties.

While these had been phased out in recent years, a number of lenders have reintroduced extended penalties to clamp down on so-called 'rate tarts' who move around frequently to get the best deal.

Extended redemption penalties are often hidden in the small print of a mortgage contract and are sometimes called early repayment penalties or charges.

Before you agree to a mortgage you should be presented with a key facts document. This should outline all the mortgage charges and small print in plain English.

Always read the key facts document thoroughly and if you are unsure of any clauses take advice.

How do I apply?

Obtain a 'redemption statement' from your existing lender.

This will tell you how much you owe.

You must then complete an application form from your new lender, along with details about your income such as bank statements, payslips, a P60 form, mortgage statements and proof of identity.

Your new lender will value your home. This will cost between £200 and £300.

Most lenders will also charge an arrangement fee which can be anything from £200 up to over £1,000.

Some lenders offer dedicated remortgaging services with free legal work and valuations but others will charge for this service.

All in all it can take anything from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand to shift provider.

The golden rule is that the benefits of switching provider must outweigh any charges that are incurred.

How long does it take?

It should take about a month to complete the process.

You will get a mortgage offer of advance, if the lender's surveyor is satisfied with the value and condition of your home.

You new lender will liaise with your existing company.

Once you have received a completion statement from your solicitor or new lender, the process has finished.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Low interest rates are a lid on remortgaging recovery, CML

Lack of demand from remortgaging homeowners is affecting overall lending levels, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Data published by the CML for August revealed that while house purchase lending continues to recover, remortgaging is still on the decline.

According to the data, the number of house purchase loans in August is down 5 per cent compared with July to 53,000. However, this is still 29 per cent higher than August a year ago.

House purchase activity, worth £7.2bn in August, accounted for its largest share of total mortgage activity since 2002, according to the CML.

At £12.3bn, gross mortgage lending - which encapsulates all mortgage lending activity including house purchase, remortgage, and buy-to-let lending - declined 36 per cent from August last year.

Paul Samter, economist for the CML, said: "Remortgaging demand has fallen away in the low interest rate environment and this is dragging down gross lending levels overall."

Paul Hunt, managing director of Phoebus Software, a supplier of software to mortgage lenders, said: "With volumes down from July, these figures just go to show we should not get carried away with some of the good news we have been hearing recently."

Hannah-Mercedes Skenfield, mortgages channel manager for, said the website had seen an increase in the number of people comparing remortgage deals in September.

She said: "The implication in this is that borrowers are being tempted off their standard variable rate if an exceptionally low rate becomes available, but not that they are returning to the market in fear of the base rate increasing just yet."

Will mortgage reforms kill off the recovery?

The City watchdog is set to shake up the UK home loan market. What will this mean for buyers and sellers?

During the property boom earlier this decade, the British mortgage market was infected by fraud and poor lending practices. Brokers and borrowers were exaggerating earnings, while lenders often neglected to make sufficient checks as to whether the person taking the loan could repay it.

Meanwhile, the regulator, the much-criticised Financial Services Authority, is widely regarded as having failed to get a grip until it was far too late.

Now the FSA is set to outline a series of reforms to the industry in a report to be published this week. But what will it mean to you, the consumer? Will it improve the dire situation in the mortgage market or could it halt the house price recovery?

Among the expected reforms, the FSA could put the final nail in the coffin of self-certificated mortgages by establishing a rule that will compel lenders to insist that their customers provide clear proof of income.

“The capital resources of lenders will also be considered, setting new levels to be adhered to,” says Melanie Bien from mortgage broker Savills Private Finance. “It is also possible that the FSA will look to regulate currently unregulated areas, such as buy-to-let and second-charge loans. And the riskiest areas, such as self-cert loans, are likely to disappear.”

These self-cert mortgages, which do not require applicants to prove to the lender how much they earn, were initially marketed to self-employed or contract workers who find it difficult to secure a mortgage because of an irregular income. However, many other borrowers who were rejected on industry standard income multiples were instead offered these mortgages, allowing them to borrow up to five times their income. As a result, these mortgages were labelled “liar loans” and have been blamed for many bad loans at both HBOS and Bradford & Bingley.

Although once a booming part of the mortgage market, the number of self-cert loans has plummeted in the past two years. Back in 2007, 23 per cent of residential mortgages were available through self-certification, according to financial information service Moneyfacts. Now, after the Mortgage Works pulled its remaining self-cert products last weekend, only one high street lender, Platform, part of the Co-operative Bank, continues to write this type of loan.

Despite this, many experts agree that self-certification is not a bad product and could have served some borrowers well if it had been used correctly. If self-cert loans do disappear entirely, some self-employed individuals may find it next to impossible to secure a mortgage. “There would have been a place for self-certification mortgages in the market, but only if the product was prudently assessed for realistic declarations and sold to people whom it was originally designed to assist in the first place,” says Darren Cook from Moneyfacts.

Another potential feature of the FSA’s review could be a recommendation that buy-to-let mortgages are included within its remit. In 2004, when the FSA took over responsibility of mortgage regulation, buy-to-let mortgages were not part of its regulatory scope because they were deemed to be investments.

“Regulating the buy-to-let market is a fair point and something the industry should probably welcome, but I want to see the FSA come out with some sensible rules that will actually help the industry and, more importantly, the client,” says Andrew Montlake from mortgage broker Coreco.

Experts warn against any regulations that are too reactionary because they could pose problems for consumer and lenders alike. There is also hesitation when it comes to the introduction of formalised limits on income multiples and limits on higher loan-to-value (LTV) lending. In March, Lord Turner, the chairman of the FSA, hinted at the possibility of capped LTV ratios but property experts were quick to warn that this would only damage the market further by allowing already reluctant lenders to restrict access to finance for all but the elite borrower.

“Limiting something like income multiples could leave existing borrowers out in the cold. Self-certification is virtually a closed market now and high LTV lending has also disappeared as lenders have focused their best rates on borrowers with big deposits,” says David Hollingworth from mortgage broker London & Country.

Along with the potential for big changes after this week, there is considerable uncertainty about how the property market will shape up over the next few years and how the FSA reforms may affect recovery.

Although some people have predicted an imminent property purchase revival with the number of loans approved for house purchase at 53,000 in August, up 29 per cent on last year’s figures, we are still a sizeable way off the average August figures of 100,000 seen in the seven years before the credit crisis. Moreover, remortgaging activity remains subdued according to figures released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) last week. The number of remortgage loans fell to 32,000 in August, a 22 per cent fall from July and a 57 per cent decrease on August last year. The decline in the remortgaging market is a result of low interest rates, making it cheaper for many homeowners coming to the end of cheap fixed-rate deals to move on to their lender’s standard variable rate, rather than remortgaging. And restrictive lending criteria have resulted in homeowners unable to secure a remortgage because they do not have enough equity in their homes.

“The pendulum has swung and the problem is the lack of available mortgage finance,” says Michael Coogan, the director general of the CML. “Regulatory intervention on mortgages is unlikely to reverse this trend and may accentuate the problem.”