Looking to buy a house

Are you looking for a mortgage to buy a new house?

When you’re looking for a house, the fun part is trying to find the home to suit you.  However, figuring out where to start when you’re looking at finance options can seem like a daunting task. With so many differing schemes, mortgages and housing options out there, it can be hard to narrow down exactly where you should start if you want to buy a property.  To help you on your path, we’ve put together this guide to give you an idea of where to begin and what to do when you’re looking to buy a home.

Look at your finances:

urchasing a home and taking on a mortgage is primarily a financial endeavour, so you might want to begin by looking at your financial situation and find out what costs come with buying a house. You might be expecting mortgage repayments to be a factor, but what else do you need to do? This again can seem daunting, so we’ve broken it down into questions you might want to look at to get a better understanding of your finances, and what steps you can take to make affording your dream home a reality.

How much do you have saved?

To get a mortgage on a property, you’ll usually need to put down a deposit. Some mortgages are available with as little as 5% deposit (5% of the total value of the home you wish to purchase) but due to the financial impact of coronavirus, lenders have temporarily withdrawn many 95% mortgages, meaning you’ll likely have to look towards saving a deposit of 10% or more. There’s a chance that 95% mortgages will still return to the market, but saving a larger deposit usually results in lower mortgages repayments (as you are borrowing less, which also results in lower interest repayments as opposed to borrowing a larger percentage of the value of the property) and access to better deals and rates -lenders view larger deposits as a less risky lending decision and are more likely to offer the better available deals.

What are the other fees that come with purchasing a property?

You’ll also need to consider the other costs that come with buying a property, such as;

  • Booking and arrangement fees
  • Valuation and survey fees
  • Legal fees
  • Stamp Duty
  • Land registry
  • Furniture transportation

Read more about the costs of moving house here.

Look at your finances outside of savings:

To understand what you need to look at, you should understand how a lender views approval on a mortgage. The lender is taking a risk when they decide to lend to you and want to be sure that they’re making a safe lending decision when granting you approval for a mortgage.

It’s a common misconception that lenders only look at your credit history when making a lending decision. This can be a factor, but lenders are taking a far more flexible approach in their decision making — looking at several factors surrounding a potential borrowers financial situation and not just the credit report.

Credit report

Your credit report will show your borrowing history, which will include things like credit cards, personal loans, payday loans, catalogue accounts and most forms of credit agreements registered against your name. It will also display any missed payments, defaults, CCJ’s, bankruptcy and so on. However, some of these will drop off your credit record after 6 years.

As well as your credit limit (which isn’t the amount of credit you have taken, it’s the amount that is available to you) and the amount of open accounts you have, your credit report shows lenders what your borrowing history is and how likely you are to repay.

Typical High Street lenders often look adversely on a bad credit history: however specialist lenders — like the ones our brokers at Clever Mortgages have access to — consider a variety of credit histories, understanding that we can’t always control a bad-credit situation and considering applicants from a different perspective.

It’s often said that it’s better to have a few, well managed credit accounts than many, poorly used accounts. Closing any unused accounts could help boost your score and make you a more attractive borrowing prospect.

Income and expenditures:

If you want to take out a mortgage, you need to be sure you have the regular income available to take on that credit commitment. Again, another misconception is that only applicants in full-time employment can get a mortgage, but with modern lenders recognising the increase in self-employed, freelance and contract workers they have adapted to this change and offer more products for a changing market. This means that as long as you can prove you’ve got a consistent taxable income to meet the lending requirements and any other criteria, it’s likely there’s a mortgage product suited to you.

Your income will dictate how much you can borrow for your mortgage. Lenders often place a cap of around 4-4½ times your annual guaranteed income, but they may also take into account any bonuses, commissions or Government benefits you receive. Your credit history might play a part in deciding how much you can borrow, and any other expenditures will be accounted for and considered when determining affordability.  When making a mortgage application you’ll need proof of income, through wage slips (if employed, accounts if self-employed) and bank statements so it might be worth considering collecting this documentation as you prepare for buying a home.

You need to be living within your means to be a viable prospect to a lender. This means your income should cover your outgoings with a surplus. This is because a lender will need to be sure you can afford a mortgage now and to continue long term, even if rate increase.

Expenditures are any regular outgoings that you pay; this includes your utility bills, rent or current mortgage payments, child maintenance, credit card repayments, loan or debt repayments and any other consistent payments. Collectively, your income and expenditures make up your budget and what you can afford to spend, but more importantly in the eyes of a lender — how much you can afford to repay over the term of your mortgage.

What kind of mortgage?

Mortgage products come in different forms, and one product or deal might not be the best option for one borrower but perfect for another- and vice versa. Mortgage products come in various forms, suited to different financial situations. Again, this can be another point of confusion: with all the different lenders, products, deals and rates available, how do you know you’re getting the best mortgage for you? Mortgage brokers can help you search the market and understand the mortgage options you have available, helping you to make sense of what can be a confusing market.

  • Fixed rate mortgage – A fixed rate mortgage is where your interest rate and monthly repayment stays the same for a set time period (usually between 2-5 years).
  • Variable rate mortgage – Every lender will have their own standard variable rate (SVR), which is considered their basic mortgage rate. This interest rate goes up and down, usually in line with the Bank of England’s interest rates but sitting a few percentage points higher.
  • Discount mortgage – A discount mortgage is when a reduction is applied to the lenders Standard Variable Rate (SVR) for a certain length of time (typically 2-3 years).
  • Tracker mortgage – A tracker mortgage is a type of variable rate mortgage. What makes them different from other variable rate mortgages is that they track movements of another rate, the most common rate that is tracked is the Bank of England Base Rate.
  • Offset mortgage – Offset mortgages can be linked to a savings account as well as your current account. Your savings will be ‘offset’ against the value of your mortgage, and you’ll only pay interest on your mortgage balance minus your savings balance.

Read more on mortgage types here.

If you have little spare money but want to get a mortgage, you could consider taking out a mortgage over a longer term, risking paying more in interest but perhaps lowering the monthly repayment. Comparatively, if you have a larger amount of disposable income you could consider taking a shorter mortgage term, paying more per month but paying less interest (than on a longer term) and clearing the loan faster.

If you’re an essential worker (including NHS Clinicians Paramedics & Nurses; Teachers Armed Forces Personnel; Army, Navy, Royal Air Force; Firefighters; Police) you could be eligible for the Hero’s Mortgage Range. Click here to find out more.

Decision in Principle

A decision in principle (DIP) is an informal, but often credit checked, quote on how much a lender might be willing to lend you. It’s not an approved mortgage application, nor is it a guarantee that the lender will lend you that amount-but it’s a rough guideline that can help you figure out the price bracket of houses you can bid for.  Getting a DIP can make it easier to work out what you’re likely to be able to borrow and can back up a proposed bid on a property, increasing your chances of being accepted by prospective sellers.

Find a property, or get an idea of what kind of home you’d like to live in:
If you’ve got your deposit saved and received a decision in principle, you should have a rough idea of what you can afford to borrow. This means you can start to peruse houses and take a serious look at where you would like to live.  It’s likely you’ve already taken a look at the properties in the area you wish to move to or live in, but now you can look towards finding one you want to buy and making a bid.

Can I get help with buying my first home?
If you’re a first-time buyer, you might be wondering if there’s any support available to help you purchase your dream home. Luckily, there are several schemes and programmes designed to help prospective buyers get a boost onto the property ladder.

Help to Buy

Help to Buy is a UK Government-funded project, designed to help people with lower incomes get onto the property ladder. There are several schemes within Help to Buy, focussing on different aspects of the buying process and all created to help as many people as possible secure their own homes.

Read more on Help to Buy mortgages.

Help to Buy – Equity Loan

The Help to Buy equity loan scheme gives you the chance to purchase your home with a small deposit by boosting the amount you’ve saved. You would initially be expected to save up a minimum 5% of your deposit, then using the Help to Buy equity loan, the Government would grant you a loan of up to 20% (of the property’s value) — giving you a 25% deposit and access to far more mortgages and better deals.

The Help to Buy equity loan is available to first-time buyers and current homeowners.  However, the property must be a new-build and can’t exceed the value of £600,000. The Government also provides a slightly altered scheme in London for prospective buyers, offering an equity loan up to 40% of the property’s value, reflecting the increased property costs that London dwellers face.

If you have more than 5% saved, don’t worry! You can save up to 65% of your deposit and still be eligible for this scheme — if you use a minimum of 10% Help to Buy equity loan and a minimum 25% mortgage.

Another huge benefit of this initiative is the interest — or lack-of. You won’t be charged any interest for the first five years of taking out your equity loan. After that you’ll only be charged a fixed fee of 1.75%, which rises each year following the increase of the Retail Price Index, plus 1%.

The Help to Buy equity loan scheme has been extended to 2023, meaning there is still time to save up a 5% deposit and take advantage of this offer, However the scheme is being amended from 2021. This scheme is available in England – and although there Help to Buy opportunities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the terms are slightly different, so it’s worth looking this up if you want to buy a house in any of these areas.

It’s important to be aware that you can’t use the Help to Buy scheme to buy a second home or property to let.

Help to Buy – ISA

Unfortunately, the Help to Buy ISA scheme ceased accepting new applicants November 2019, if you’re eligible you can still apply for a Lifetime ISA.

Help to Buy – Shared Ownership

The Help to Buy shared ownership scheme is, a combination of buying and renting. Often aimed at first-time buyers and low-income households, this initiative allows you to buy a share, usually around 25% — 75%, of a resale or new-build home. You would own some of the house and pay a reduced rent for the rest.

This allows prospective buyers on a lower income to access the property ladder, as your deposit would be a percentage of the share being purchased as opposed to the overall cost of the property, meaning you would need a much smaller deposit and mortgage than with full ownership.

Shared Ownership properties are always leasehold, meaning you’d own the properly for a pre-agreed span of time but not the land. It’s possible to renew leases. You do have the right to buy additional shares in the property, if your share reaches 100% equity, the property would no longer be shared ownership. It’s important to check if there’s a cap on the number of shares you can purchase in the property as this may hinder those who aspire to full ownership.

Right to Buy

Right to Buy is a Government initiative aimed at helping local authority tenants to buy their council homes with a substantial discount.

The discount you get is based on the:

  • Market value of the property
  • Type of property, for example house, flat
  • Amount of time you’ve rented and lived in the property

There is a limit on the discount you can receive but the savings are still substantial, making this a great solution for council tenants to get onto the property ladder. If you’re purchasing a property with a Right to Buy mortgage and you’ve lived in the property for 3-5 years, you could be granted a discount of 35%. After that the discount increases 1% for each additional year you’ve been a council tenant.

To qualify, you must have been a council tenant for a minimum of 3 years. This doesn’t have to be a consecutive 3 years, so, if you had a spell of renting privately in between living in a council home, then you could still be accepted.

You’ll still have to provide a deposit and take out a mortgage with the Right to Buy scheme, but if you’re struggling to save enough for a deposit, some lenders may allow you to put your discount towards the purchase price, meaning you wouldn’t need the initial lump sum.

If you were renting a council home before it transferred to another landlord (such as a housing association), you might still be eligible to buy your home with the Preserved Right to Buy scheme.

Read more on Right to Buy here.

Lifetime ISA

A Lifetime ISA is a savings account designed to help people aged between 18-39 buy their first home or save up for retirement. Using a Lifetime ISA, you can put in up to £4,000 per tax year, which leads on to one of the most attractive features — the bonus.

The Government will pay a 25% bonus into your Lifetime ISA account, up to a maximum of £1,000 per tax year. This bonus would be paid in monthly so you’d benefit from compound growth — plus, any interest you earn on what you save would be tax-free.

So, if you save £2,000 in a tax year, the Government would pay you a bonus of £500.

It’s important to remember that you can’t just withdraw the money from your ISA to spend on whatever you like without facing a penalty — unless it’s to help buy your first home. After you turn 60, the money can be used as you like to support your pension. If you withdraw any before you’re 60 though, you could face a 25% penalty on the total amount in your account.

At Clever Mortgages, we have access to a wide range of mortgage solutions. Get in touch now and let’s discuss your lending requirements.

How can we help?
Clever Mortgages could help you find your perfect mortgage, specialising in helping people with bad credit. With access to over 100 lenders and 1000s of products, we could help find the right mortgage solution for your financial situation. Get in touch with one of our expert brokers and get the ball rolling on moving into your dream home!

A Guide to Separation, Divorce, Dissolution and what to do with your mortgage

Dealing with a separation, dissolution or divorce is difficult, and figuring out what to do with your home, mortgage and shared belongings can be confusing, especially when children could be involved. We’ve put together this guide to help give you some guidance on what options are available for your mortgage and home following a separation.

Although a break-down of a relationship can be a hard time, it’s vital you keep up repayments on your mortgage until you, your ex-partner and your lender have come to an agreement on how you are going to manage the family home and mortgage. Contact your mortgage lender as soon as possible and ensure all mortgage repayments are paid on time, failure to meet repayments could risk damaging your credit report and accruing mortgage arrears. They might be able to offer you help if needed.

What happens to the home if you are not married or in a civil partnership?

If you and your ex-partner jointly own the home, it can be divided in several ways- but each situation will have its own unique requirements and approach to a solution.

You could sell the property and both move out:
If you sell the home, you can pay off any remaining mortgage and divide any money left over from the sale appropriately. Money gained from the sale could be used to put down a deposit on a new property.  If the mortgage value is greater than the property sale value then you’ll have to come to an agreement to pay off the amount owed.

Remember you must maintain payments whilst a selling the property or risk bad credit and even repossession.

One buys the other out:

If you or you ex-partner have a joint mortgage and one wishes to buy the other out of the property, you’ll need to work out the fair percentage of the property each of you own. This can be done by agreement between yourself and your ex-partner, or by mediation through a court if you’re struggling to reach a mutual agreement. Once you’ve figured this out, whoever wishes to keep the property would ‘buy’ the other out of property and assume full ownership. The mortgage lender will need to be satisfied that the person remaining in the property will be able to keep up mortgage repayments with their sole income. Usually, the lender would agree to allowing one of the partners to have a sole mortgage but if affordability is an issue the partner keeping the home could look at seeking a guarantor mortgage- where a suitable relative agrees to make repayments if you are unable.

If you’re looking to remortgage to raise money to buy your ex-partner out of your current property, we could help. Get in touch with one of our expert mortgage advisors.

Keep the home and not change ownership:
You could choose to continue living in the home and not change ownership. This could be an option if you have children under 18 or still in school however isn’t always financially viable, as yourself or your ex-partner might have to seek a new home and the expenses that come with it. It would also rely on you maintaining a good relationship with your ex-partner and repayments must be made on time and as usual. If seeking a new mortgage, please speak to us at Clever Mortgages to discuss lenders criteria and affordability.

Retain a stake in the property:

You could transfer part of the value of the home, meaning that one of you would own most of the home but the partner who gave up some of their share of the property would still retain a stake in the home- so that when the property is sold, they would still get a percentage of its value. This can make sure your children have a place to live until they turn 18 or leave home.

Pay off the mortgage:

If you have very little left to pay on your mortgage it might be simplest to continue paying the mortgage, this means you could sell the home and divide the full proceeds.

What if we have a joint mortgage and are breaking up?

If you have a joint mortgage, or any joint-credit with your ex-partner, your credit files will be linked. Most couples choose to separate the mortgage and remove the financial ties. If one of you chooses to stay in the property, it would mean the partner who stays in the house doesn’t have to rely on their ex-partner for the mortgage. The partner who leaves the home should be able to borrow more for a new property with their name removed from the joint mortgage, as that would provide more free income.

If you have children?

It’s often recommended that the primary caregiver remains in the family home with the children until they turn 18 or leave home, however all families are different, and this can’t always be the case. As an unmarried couple, you won’t have any legal requirement to financially support each other after your split, but you’ll both be expected to pay towards your children, and to prioritise their needs when deciding how to divide the family home and assets.

If the home is in your ex-partners name only:

You might be able to make a claim for a share of the properties value if you’ve paid towards the mortgage or financed home improvements that have raised the value. This isn’t guaranteed and financial contributions don’t automatically give you a share of the property, however you can make a claim if you feel as though your contributions were substantial enough to entitle you to a share of the properties value.

You can make a claim without any formal legal document declaring your entitlement to shares in the property, but it can be a complicated area of the law and it’s important to seek legal advice.

What happens to the home if you’re divorcing or dissolving your civil partnership?

If you and your ex-partner lived together in the family home, it would be considered a joint asset. This means you both have a legal right over the home until the divorce is finalised, regardless of whose name is on the deed and nobody can be forced to leave the home without legal intervention. If the family home is in your ex-partners name and you’re trying you preserve the right to stay in the home, or prevent it from being sold by your ex-partner while you still occupy the home- you can register your ‘home rights’ with HM Land Registry, you can only do this if they are the sole owner.

You move out and sell the property:

If you sell the home, you can pay off any remaining mortgage arrears and divide any money left over from the sale appropriately. Money gained from the sale could be used to put down a deposit on a new property.

You can buy your ex out of the property:

If you or your ex-partner have a joint mortgage and one wishes to buy the other out of the property, you’ll need to work out the fair percentage of the property each of you own. This can be done by agreement between yourself and your ex-partner, or by mediation through a court if you’re struggling to reach a mutual agreement. Once you’ve figured this out, whoever wishes to keep the property would ‘buy’ the other out of property and assume full ownership. The mortgage lender will need to be satisfied that the person remaining in the property will be able to keep up mortgage repayments. Usually, the lender would agree to allowing one of the partners to have a sole mortgage but if affordability is an issue the partner keeping the home could look at seeking a guarantor mortgage- where a suitable relative agrees to make repayments if you are unable.

If you’re looking to remortgage to raise money to buy your ex-partner out of your current property, we could help. Get in touch with one of our expert mortgage advisors.

Leave the home and mortgage as is:

You could choose to continue living in the home and not change ownership. This could be an option if you have children under 18 or still in school however isn’t always financially viable, as yourself or your ex-partner might have to seek a new home and the expenses that come with it. It would also rely on you maintaining a good relationship with your ex-partner and repayments must be made on time and as usual.

One of you could retain a stake in the property:

You could transfer part of the value of the home, meaning that one of you would own most of the home but the partner who gave up some of their share of the property would still retain a stake in the home- so that when the property is sold, they would still get a percentage of its value. This can make sure your children have a place to live until they turn 18 or leave home.

You could finish paying off the mortgage:

If you have very little left to pay on your mortgage it might be simplest to continue paying the mortgage, this means you could sell the home once the mortgage is paid and divide the full proceeds.

What if we have a joint mortgage and are separating?

If you have a joint mortgage, or any joint-credit with your ex-partner, your credit files will be linked. Most couples choose to separate the mortgage and remove the financial ties. If one of you chooses to stay in the property, it would mean the partner who stays in the house doesn’t have to rely on their ex-partner for the mortgage. The partner who leaves the home should be able to borrow more for a new property with their name removed from the joint mortgage, as that would provide more free income.

If you have children and are divorcing or dissolving a civil partnership?

If you and your ex-partner have children together, you’ll need to prioritise their needs. It’s often the case that the primary caregiver of the children remains in the family home after a divorce or dissolution with the children, at least until they turn 18 or leave home. This isn’t always affordable or viable though, and each family is different so there’s no set path of managing a separation, but if you’re struggling to come to an agreement you could consider mediation.

Keeping in touch with your lender:

It is absolutely vital that you keep up all mortgage repayments until you’ve come to an agreement on what will happen with the family home. Make sure you inform your lender that you’re going through a separation and keep in touch. You’ll need to check with your lender and have their agreement before transferring any ownership if one of you decides to stay in the property as your lender will probably have their own affordability checks they will want to carry out.

Court and disagreements?

If you’re still unable to come to an agreement after mediation and your separation isn’t proving to be amicable, you might be considering going to court. The courts will take into consideration both of your circumstances when ruling on what will happen with your family home. If there are children involved, then the safety and well-being of the children will be the priority concern of the courts when making a decision.

When court seems likely, it’s usually recommended to seek legal advice to support you through the court proceedings.

Mesher and Martin orders:

You could have the option of taking out a Mesher or Martin order if you live in England or Wales:

Mesher order

A Mesher order is a family court order that stops the home being sold for a set period of time, usually because there are children still living in the home.

If you take out a Mesher order, one of you can stay in the property with the children until the set period end, usually when the youngest child turns 18 or finishes education. The property stays in both owners’ names for this time, even if only one person is currently living in the property.

Martin order

A Martin order is similar to a Mesher order, but children aren’t often involved. In this case, one of you could stay in the property for the rest of your life – and the home would not be sold until that person moves out, remarries or passes away.

This is so long as the other partner does not immediately need the money.

What if my house is in negative equity?

If your home is in negative equity, it can make the separation process slightly more difficult, but not unmanageable. A property being in negative equity means that the current value of the home is less than the value outstanding on the mortgage loan. As the sale of your house won’t be enough to pay off the mortgage in full, both yourself and your ex-partner will need to decide what to do.

You can sell the house and split the remaining mortgage debt, or continue making mortgage payments and see if market conditions improve. There are ways to increase the value of your property which could help boost the equity in your home.

What are my mortgage options?

Staying in the family home?

If you want to separate your joint mortgage and stay in the family home and are worried about affording the mortgage by yourself, we could help you find a more affordable mortgage and even raise some money to buy your ex-partner out the property.

If you have children and you’re receiving child maintenance payments from your ex-partner, some lenders are willing to consider this when looking at your income, even more so if the payments have been regular for some time or are court ordered.

Looking to buy a new property?

If you are looking to buy a new home after a divorce, some people choose to use the money raised from the sale of their family property, or obtained through being bought-out of the home, to put towards a deposit for a new property and mortgage. If you’re looking for a new mortgage, get in touch with one of our expert brokers!

Why use a broker?

Mortgage brokers have a wealth of experience helping customers in difficult financial situations or complicated mortgages. They have access to a wide range of lenders, meaning that a mortgage broker could find a product or deal that your current lender might not offer, and often have access to exclusive deals that aren’t available directly. Our expert brokers can help you navigate a confusing period and find the best outcome for your personal situation.

How we can help?

It’s surprisingly common for the turmoil associated with a separation or divorce to cause financial issues, sometimes impacting your credit report. If you’re looking for a mortgage after a divorce or separation and worried about your credit report harming your chances of being accepted, we could help. Our brokers are specialists in bad credit situations, working with lenders who specialise in adverse credit situations and helping 1000s of customers find their perfect mortgage. We understand that things aren’t always easy, and we work with our customers to understand how we can help and give the best advice to get you back on track.

Mortgage Myths

TRUTH: You don’t actually apply for a mortgage until you’ve made an accepted bid on a home, but you should look for a mortgage before then and have a good idea of how much you’re likely to be able to borrow. A mortgage broker can help your scour the market for the lenders most likely to accept your application and even get a ‘decision in principle’,  an unofficial guideline of how much the mortgage provider could be willing to let you borrow.

TRUTH: Your parents can gift a deposit and help you get on the property ladder, but that’s not the only way your parents can help. If your parents are homeowners, they can act as a guarantor on your mortgage, meaning they would cover any repayments should you fail to meet them.  However it’s worth noting this could put their own property at risk, so be sure you can afford to meet repayments before applying.

TRUTH: Mortgages can work out cheaper than rent payments, depending on the type of home and prices in the area. It’s also worth noting that mortgage payments go towards you owning the home, whereas rent payments grant you the right to live in a property owned by someone else. The size of your mortgage repayments with largely depend on the amount you wish to borrow, and the term you wish to borrow it over.

TRUTH: You can get a mortgage with bad credit; it’s not impossible-just slightly harder. Mortgage brokers like Clever Mortgages have access to specialist lenders who consider more than just your credit history when making a mortgage decision.

TRUTH: You might be able to get a mortgage from your bank, but there are many lenders on the market, some of which might be able to offer better deals or rates so it’s often wise to look around before settling on a mortgage.

TRUTH: The interest rate will play a part in the calculation of your mortgage repayments, but a lower interest rate doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the best deal. If you have a tracker mortgage, the interest rates could be subject to rise and fall with the market, so what is a low interest rate now could potentially increase, and vice versa. Additionally, a fixed rate term will eventually end, at which point you’ll automatically be transferred onto your lenders standard variable rate (SVR) which could see your mortgage payments rise. It’s also worth looking at the fees and whether the mortgage product offers any additional features, like free survey or discounted fees. If you’re struggling, a mortgage advisor would be happy to help-just get in touch!

TRUTH: When it comes to taking out a mortgage, or any credit, affordability is key. If you have a regular income — whether through full-time, part-time, freelance, contract work and so forth — then as long as you can prove your ability to meet repayments there should be lenders that will consider you.

TRUTH: Many lenders are taking a far more flexible approach to borrowing and consider ages far higher than they may have done in the past. There is no maximum age for applying for a mortgage: some lenders do have their own minimum and maximum age limits, but as long as you have the regular income to pay the mortgage repayments over the full-term of the mortgage — and meet other affordability criteria — there are most likely mortgage options available to you.

TRUTH: There are many resources available to support first time buyers regardless of age, and some government schemes like Help to Buy and Lifetime ISA’s which can help with building a deposit. The misconception that young people can’t get on the property ladder or get a mortgage isn’t true-mortgage lenders will likely have a minimum age for lending but that is usually between 18-21.

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Payment holidays: what will the impact be on you?

Payment holidays have been widely used as a way of relieving the strain put on UK households as a result of the widespread financial impact of coronavirus, with 1 in 6* mortgages now utilising payment holidays.

In times of great uncertainty, payment holidays provided a much-needed ‘break’ from repayments for some households, but with many of the initial 3 month repayment holidays drawing to a close, the FCA have announced that mortgage holders can apply to have their holidays extended for another 3 months. Read more here.

With these announcements, it’s important to consider the potential long-term impacts of payment holidays.

At present (5/06/2020) the extension only covers mortgage products, and the FCA’s statement confirms that:

  • Mortgage holders who have not yet applied for a payment holiday and experience financial strain, may still do so up until 31st October 2020
  • The ban on lenders repossessing homes during the crisis has been extended to 31st October
  • Lenders must contact customers who have had payment holidays and discuss what to do going forward. If repayments can continue, then that option is advised but payment holiday extensions should be available to those who need them. The option of full or part payment holidays should also be available.

What is a payment holiday?

A payment holiday is a pre-agreed break, or ‘holiday’ from making repayments on a loan you owe, such as a mortgage. The holiday must be approved by your lender for it to be official, not making payments with lender agreement would be considered a ‘missed payment’ and could harm your credit report.

Since the payment holidays were introduced in March by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as a method of offering support to homeowners struggling financially during lockdown, UK Finance figures show 1.86 million* customers have taken a payment holiday since the start of the crisis.

How will a payment holiday impact my credit?

Following the initial announcement of payment holidays being utilised Equifax, Experian and TransUnion offered more support to those being impacted, by preventing authorised payment holidays from having a negative impact on credit scores. This protected the credit scores of homeowners in financial difficulty that needed to take a break from repayments.

However, it’s important to remember that your credit report isn’t the only source of information lenders use to determine approval for credit applications. Whereas your credit report won’t indicate a payment holiday has been taken, Open Banking and other affordability assessments that allow lenders to view bank statements would likely show a repayment holiday and could impact creditworthiness when lenders determine risk.

An FCA spokesperson said: “Credit files are an important tool, along with other checks, for making sure that credit is affordable. To minimise the impact of the coronavirus crisis, we have made sure that there is no negative impact on the credit file of consumers who have been granted a payment deferral. Credit files will show that consumers have been up to date with mortgage payments for the duration of the payment holiday”.

Repayments

When a payment holiday is approved and repayments temporarily cease, you’ll still be charged interest on the sum you owe. You won’t need to pay it back all at once and the method of repayment varies between lenders, but lenders will usually seek repayment by:

  • Increasing monthly repayments after your payment holiday has ended to spread cost
  • Extending the term of your mortgage — keeping your monthly repayments the same but adding more time to your payment term

Christopher Woolard, Interim Chief Executive at the FCA, said: ‘It is important that if a consumer can afford to re-start mortgage payments, it is in their best interests to do so. Customers should talk to their firm about the best option available for them.’

Making sure you can afford potentially increased mortgage repayments after taking a payment holiday is an important factor to consider when deciding whether to take one.

How we can help:

There are a variety of alternatives to payment holidays, and our mortgage advisors specialise in finding the most suitable solution for your personal circumstances.

If you’re on your lenders standard variable rate (SVR) or are approaching the end of your fixed term you might be eligible for a product transfer. Your current lender, bank or building society can only talk to you about the products they offer, they are not able to offer you products from other lenders and you are potentially missing out on better options.

Even if you’re concerned with how a payment holiday could have impacted your creditworthiness, our advisors specialise in helping with all kinds of credit situations, from debt consolidation to getting a mortgage after bankruptcy.

 

*Source: UK Finance as of 28 May 2020 (https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/press/press-releases/lenders-commit-to-ongoing-support-for-mortgage-borrowers)

 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the stamp duty threshold has been raised to £500,000.

What is Stamp Duty?

Stamp duty is a tax paid when buying a property in England or Northern Ireland. Also known as Stamp Duty Land Tax, there are several rate bands that dictate the overall cost of stamp duty. Until 8th July 2020, homebuyers would be expected to pay stamp duty on properties bought for more than £125,000, with further relief offered to first-time buyers up to £300,000.

In Scotland, Land and Building Transaction tax is paid and in Wales it’s Land Transaction Tax.

What has changed?

Previously, buyers would expect to pay no stamp duty on a property valued up to £125,000, or £300,000 for first-time purchases- but Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that this has been raised to £500,000.

This change will be temporary but will take effect immediately, applying from 8th July 2020 and will last until 31st March 2021. This temporary holiday on stamp duty is to support buyers that have been financially impacted by the pandemic, boosting the property market and giving more people the opportunity to afford their first home.

This means if you buy a main property for up to the value of £500,000- you won’t need to pay stamp duty. Any properties above this value will be subject to stamp duty, but at the rate relative to the value of the home.

Property or lease premium or transfer value SDLT rate
Up to £500,000 Zero
The next £425,000 (the portion from £500,001 to £925,000) 5%
The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million) 10%
The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)

 

Sunak announced during the Summer Economic Update that: “The average stamp duty bill will fall by £4,500. And nearly nine out of 10 people buying a main home this year, will pay no stamp duty at all.”

Second home owners and buyers looking to purchase buy-to-let properties will also see benefits from the stamp duty holiday, but will still need to pay the additional 3% stamp duty.

Property or lease premium or transfer value SDLT rate
Up to £500,000 3%
The next £425,000 (the portion from £500,001 to £925,000) 8%
The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million) 13%
The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million) 15%

 

If you’re looking to purchase a home and want some expert advice on getting a mortgage, why not get in touch? Our brokers will be happy to help you find your perfect mortgage!

Help our Heroes

For every completed Heroes mortgage or remortgage*, we will gift £100 to the NHS to support the vital work they are doing to keep us all safe in this time of uncertainty.

Everyone here at Clever Mortgages appreciates the efforts of the essential workers that are working relentlessly to reduce the impact of COV-ID 19. As such, we are going to donate £100 to the NHS for every completed Heroes mortgage or remortgage*.

Our brokers have a wide range of access to mortgage products on the market, including The Heroes Mortgage range introduced by a specialist lender. The product range includes mortgages for first time buyers, home movers and those looking to remortgage. These specialist mortgage products are designed for the Heroes among us, the essential workers that provide vital community services:

  • NHS Clinicians (including Paramedics & Nurses)
  • Teachers
  • Armed Forces Personnel (Army, Navy, Royal Air Force)
  • Firefighters
  • Police

This mortgage range recognises and understands that these roles rarely take on a 9-5 outlook and treats each case individually. With flexible lending criteria, the Heroes mortgage range is designed to help make our essential workers homeowners.

  • Mortgage loans of up to 5x income, subject to affordability
  • Overtime and second job income included in overall income
  • Limited credit history considered
  • Bad credit accepted
  • Debt Management Plans (DMPs) considered

Clever Mortgages say:

Mortgages for heroes are specifically tailored for borrowers currently employed in essential public sector roles. With the lenders approach, they understand that certain professions require real people to underwrite their case, and not rely on credit scores and system generated responses.

How can we help?

If you’re an essential worker and would like to enquire about getting a Heroes mortgage or remortgage, our expert advisors will be happy to help! Just get in touch and we might be able to set you on track to finding your perfect mortgage!

*see our full terms and conditions here

We’ve helped 1000s of customers, and still counting!

We’ve made it our mission to help as many people as possible find their perfect mortgage, specialising in helping people with a bad credit history or previous credit issues – we think everyone deserves a chance to remortgage or own their dream home!

Difference between going direct to a lender and seeking the advice of a mortgage broker:

Going direct to a lender: This means you go directly to a lender to seek a mortgage, such as a bank or building society. They’ll probably have a range of products and eligibility checks will decide what products and deals you could access; however, you’re limited to what that lender has to offer.

Using a mortgage broker:

A mortgage broker is fully trained and versed in finding the best deal on the market, our brokers, for example, are all experts in bad credit mortgages and work with over 100 lenders. This means they have access to a huge variety of products that you could be eligible for, as each lender will have different approval criteria- and sometimes brokers can even find deals not advertised openly on the market. Your broker will make it clear which lenders are likely to accept your application and can help you prepare so you have the best chances of approval.

Our expert brokers come with a wealth of experience and work with over 100 lenders who consider all applications, even with a bad credit history.

We could help you secure a…

First-time buyer mortgage:
As a first-time buyer, buying your first home is a really exciting time – but it’s a daunting one too. At Clever Mortgages we’re here to help. Your dedicated adviser will talk you through every step, to make sure that you get the right mortgage to match your specific needs.

Remortgage:
There are many reasons to consider remortgaging, whether to save money on monthly repayments, get on a fixed rate to help you budget, consolidate debt or raise cash tied up in equity for improvements(link to home improvements blog)– whatever your need, we have access to a wide range of products and could help to secure you finance no matter what your circumstances.

Debt Consolidation mortgage:
A debt consolidation remortgage can help you combine all or some of your debt into one consolidated loan, allowing you to close multiple accounts you may have and only deal with one monthly repayment. You can use a debt consolidation mortgage to consolidate both secured and unsecured debt, and could help you save money on several costly interest rates. Our specialist advisors could help you find the right debt consolidation mortgage for your financial situation, even with bad credit.

Secured loan, or a homeowners loan:
A secured loan allows you to take out a second mortgage on your property while keeping your primary mortgage intact. If you’re struggling to find a remortgage, or if you just want to keep your current mortgage while accessing cash tied up in your home, a secured loan could be the solution for you.

Help-to-Buy mortgages:
The Help-to-Buy scheme means you only need to put down 5% of a home’s value for a deposit. The Government will then boost this amount with an equity loan of up to 20% (40% in London). At Clever Mortgages we work with many lenders who could offer you a Help-to-Buy mortgage whether you’re a first-time buyer or purchasing a new home.

Shared-ownership mortgages:
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or home mover, we could help you buy a share of between 25-75% of a property and then pay rent on the remaining share. Sometimes it’s hard to save up a full deposit, a shared ownership mortgage could help you move into your dream home!

Right-to-Buy mortgages:
Right-to-Buy allows tenants of council properties, and some housing associations, the legal right to buy, at a large discount, the council house they are living in. If you’re a council tenant, we could help you to buy the property at a significant discount through the Right-to-Buy scheme.

Buy-to-Let mortgages
Having a buy to let property could be an investment for yourself or your family.  You may benefit from additional monthly income and capital gains in the value. Our expert brokers can help you purchase or refinance a buy-to-let, even with bad credit.

Self-build mortgage
If you’re planning on building a property you might want to consider a self-build mortgage. Whether you have built several properties before or if you’re planning your first self-build, we could help secure a mortgage that’s right for you.

Second-home mortgage
If you already own a home but are looking to purchase a second property, we could help find the right mortgage for you. With a second mortgage application, there could be more challenges to overcome than with your first mortgage, but Clever Mortgages can support you through the process so you can successfully buy your second home.

Professional mortgage:
Some careers can make it harder to find a mortgage. Perhaps you’re self-employed, or work in contract-based roles, maybe you’re a company director – we can help guide you and our expert brokers can help you find the best mortgage to suit you.

Our advisors and brokers are all fully trained in bad credit situations and work with over 100 lenders, covering almost all financial situations and giving us the ability to help people who might be struggling to find a mortgage elsewhere. We understand that bad credit can happen to anyone, for a variety of reasons but believe everyone deserves a chance to own their dream home and find a mortgage to get back on track.

We could help you get your perfect mortgage, even if you’ve experienced:

Here’s how we helped one couple save £485 a month

Debt consolidation remortgage, even with bad credit Secured a 5 year fixed rate of 2.10%
Consolidated to one monthly payment Credit score repairing

At Clever Mortgages we don’t believe that people should suffer due to a bad credit history. Mr H had been in an IVA and Mrs H was in a Debt Management Plan. They wanted to consolidate their secured loan, plus three other debts, into a new mortgage product – hoping that this would bring down their monthly repayments.

Mr and Mrs H were paying £1,582 and are now paying £1,097 per month.  Clever Mortgages we were pleased to be able to help them make a real difference to their lives, which is also helping them to improve their credit score.

 BalancePaymentRateProductTerm
Previous Mortgage£61,000£4901.25%Tracker12 Years
Previous Secured Loan £43,000£43610%Standard Variable Rate12 Years
Previous Unsecured debts£44,320£657VariousVariousVarious
New Mortgage£150,00£10972.10%5 Year Fixed13 Years

Previous Mortgage

Balance£61,000
Payment£490
Rate1.25%
Term12 Years

Previous Secured Loan

Balance£43,000
Payment£436
Rate10%
Term12 Years

Previous Unsecured Debts

Balance£44,320
Payment£657
RateVarious
Term13 Years

New Mortgage

Balance£150,000
Payment£1097.67
Rate2.10%
Term13 Years

How does taking a payment holiday due to COV-ID 19 affect my mortgage?

Due to the COV-ID 19 outbreak, many people are finding themselves furloughed and on a reduced income or have fallen ill and must take time to recover and rest. This can result in a loss of income for some households, making it difficult to meet mortgage repayments. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on the 17th March that lenders would be able to offer three-month mortgage payment holidays for those who are having difficulty making repayments. This allows people to have an effective ‘break’ on their payment and feel safe in their homes while following Government guidance on social distancing.

A payment holiday is a pre-arranged agreement between yourself and your lender with your lender allowing you to postpone one, or more of your monthly repayments. If you were accepted for a payment holiday, you’d be able to postpone a pre-set amount of monthly repayments, but it’s important to remember you would still owe the money and accrue interest on it, you just would take a break from paying it back. Payment holidays have been around for years, sometimes offered as a feature of some loans or mortgages, but not all lenders offered them, and they were often subject to a strict criteria. For these unprecedented times, payment holidays are being used as a method of easing financial strain some households may be facing due to the Government measures put in place to ease the spread of coronavirus, making them far more accessible for those who qualify.

How do I apply?

Contact your mortgage provider, either online or via telephone to set up a payment holiday. Payment holidays will be given at the discretion of your lender. You can see our handy list of lenders here

How long will my mortgage holiday last?

The Government has announced that lenders can offer payment holidays up to three months.

How do I pay it back?

When your payment holiday ends, your mortgage repayments will increase to reflect the money owed over the term of the holiday, including accrued interest. Your lender should tell you how much your monthly repayments should increase after the holiday term ends when they contact you to confirm the approval of your payment holiday, or when you apply.

Does it affect my credit rating?

Equifax, Experian and Transunion have announced that credit scores won’t be affected by repayment holidays during the pandemic, with an emergency payment freeze. This means that if you take a repayment holiday, you won’t have missed or late payments flagged up on your credit report and your score should stay unaffected. This is great news for those who have worked on building a healthy credit report and have been financially impacted by COV-ID 19.

It’s important to remember this only applies to payment holidays that have been approved. Ceasing payments without an agreement with your lender will have a negative impact on your credit score and not all lenders will offer payment holidays.

Things to consider:

  • Eligibility is decided by the lender, and it’s intended for those who are truly struggling to meet repayments and have been seriously impacted financially by the effects of coronavirus. Check the criteria for a payment holiday with your lender to find out if you’re eligible.
  • Interest will still be due on your mortgage during a payment holiday, and as the balance won’t be decreasing monthly as it usually would on a repayment mortgage, you could end up with a higher balance and more to pay over the originally agreed mortgage term.
  • When the payment holiday ends, your mortgage balance and repayments will have increased as you will still need to repay the money owed. Lenders will have different methods for repayment so it’s important to contact them and find out how the repayments would be made after the holiday before applying. You might be able to extend the term of your mortgage, but this would be at the discretion of your lender.
  • If you have a tracked mortgage, where the interest rate matches the Bank of England’s base rate, usually at a few percent higher, it’s likely your monthly repayments will have gone down as the Bank of England’s base rate is at an all-time low of 0.1%. This could allow enough of a saving to continue to meet your repayments. https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/boeapps/database/Bank-Rate.asp.
  • Mortgages that have the interest calculated at the lenders standard variable rate would see little to no change in the interest rate, and it may be worth looking into remortgaging onto a fixed-rate mortgage with a better rate or deal before taking a payment holiday, as you might end up paying more per month after the holiday ends. If you’re struggling for money and have equity in your home, remortgaging could also be a way of accessing the money tied up in your home and offer some relief. Get in touch with one of our specialist advisors to find out more.
  • Equally, if you’re on a fixed-rate mortgage, you might not be getting the best deal or rates on the market, and if you’re struggling to meet repayments, remortgaging could free up equity to give a financial cushion, or lower your monthly repayments making it easier to meet them.

Mortgage, rent and protection options during the Coronavirus pandemic

Updated: 12 May 2020

Following the announcement from the Government, we wanted to reassure you that the team at Clever Mortgages are here to support you with any mortgage or protection advice needs.

We want to make sure you’re kept up-to-date with what’s going on regarding mortgages, protection, support available for businesses and your finances in general. This page includes a hub of official guidance, which may be worth bookmarking so all information is easily available.

We’re here to talk to you about your mortgage and protection options – and discuss any concerns you may have. There’s lot of information out there about mortgage holidays, rental payments and the support available for businesses and self-employed workers.

Regular updates are being made regarding the measures that are being put in place to reduce the impact Coronavirus will have on people and businesses. Below are links to official websites which provide the most up-to-date information regarding:

You may also be wondering about the protection options available surrounding Coronavirus, such as:

  • Why life insurance is important and how it should cover coronavirus
  • Why Income Protection (PHI) is important and how it should cover coronavirus
  • Why critical illness is important and how it’s unlikely it will cover coronavirus

Read our latest guidance on protection 

Whatever your query, just get in touch and we’ll discuss all available solutions based on your circumstances.

Most importantly though, ensure you and your household keep safe and well. Full NHS guidelines, including how to stop the spread and symptoms to look out for can be found here.

We’re here to support all our customers and their families during this challenging period.