Credit scores

Credit scores: the good, the bad and the average

Over the past year we have released numerous articles about credit scores, detailing what a credit score is, what a bad credit score looks like, how to check your score and how to improve it. But did you know you actually have several credit scores?

There are multiple credit referencing agencies in the UK, each providing you with a report of your credit history and each coming with their own methods or scale on which to score you. Most of us have heard of “bad” and “good” credit, but the lesser spoken about “average credit” still exists, and if that’s where you are, you might be curious to know where you fit on the scale.

As there are several agencies that provide credit scores, it also means there’s no such thing as a universal average credit score. However, within each credit agency’s scoring matrix there is a general truth – the higher the number, the better – and a higher number often comes with better chances of getting a mortgage approval (furthermore- better rates).

Even so, it’s still important to note that a good score from a credit reference agency is no guarantee your application will be successful as the lender takes many other factors into account- such as affordability and conduct of your bank account.

Is there an average credit score?

Your credit score is the number that tells lenders how reliable you are when it comes to repaying debt. However, as mentioned above – there isn’t just one universal credit score. There are three main credit reference agencies in the UK that lenders use to check your credit report, all of which have different score ranges. As such, there is an average score for each agency, but not an average credit score overall.

How is a credit score calculated?

Each credit reference agency has their own method, scale and criteria when it comes to calculating your credit score, but generally there are multiple factors;

  • The number of accounts – as with many things, less is more. A few, well managed accounts often trump many open credit accounts.
  • Types of accounts
  • The use of your available credit – this refers to your credit limit and how much you are using. If you’re using most of or maxing out your credit limit, this could lower your score.
  • The length of your history – if you’ve never taken out credit, there will be little data on how you manage repayments, and therefore little data to score on. A longer history gives more information, providing a more accurate calculation that reflects your borrowing habits.
  • Your payment history – how you’ve handled your repayments over time. If you’ve kept your account payments up to date and kept an eye on your finances, then your credit score should reflect this. Late or missed payments, and the marks that follow if not resolved, will also appear and could reduce your score.

The information each reference agency might have about you can vary as lenders/account providers may only report to one, two or none of the agencies.

The main credit reference agencies are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, and it’s worth checking all three if you’re looking to get the most in-depth picture of what potential lenders might see.

Equifax Credit Score:

The Equifax scale ranges from 0 to 1000 with the average rate being around 380*.

Equifax credit score range:

  • Poor: 0-438
  • Fair: 439-530
  • Good: 531-670
  • Very Good: 671-810
  • Excellent: 811-1000
equifax-credit2

Average rate was based on the old score of 700

Experian Credit Score:

The maximum Experian credit score is 999 and the average score among its customers is 759 – which is rated as a ‘fair’ credit score.

Experian credit score range:

  • Very Poor: 0-560
  • Poor: 561-720
  • Fair: 721-880
  • Good: 881-960
  • Excellent: 961-999
Exp-credit

TransUnion Credit Score:

TransUnion rate your credit score out of 710 and the average score amongst their customers is 610.

TransUnion credit score range:

  • Very Poor: 0-550
  • Poor: 551-565
  • Fair: 566-603
  • Good: 604-627
  • Excellent: 628-710
trans-credit

Average UK scores:

Experian (who score out of 999) released the average credit scores by location.

Sheffield – 773
Peterborough – 755
Newcastle  – 761
Nottingham  – 745
Cambridge  – 836
Cardiff  – 770
Bristol – 833
Oxford – 811
Glasgow – 767

You can find out what the average credit score is for where you live by heading over here.

What do lenders class as a ‘good’ score?

Taking the wide variety of scoring systems and the vast difference in maximum scores for each reference agency into account, you can see why a universal average would be so difficult to calculate. As such, lenders often take information from all of the referencing agencies, and blend it to get the data they need to make their decision.

Each agency has their own definition of a “good” score:

Equifax – 531 + 
Experian – 881+
TransUnion – 604 + 

Out of all three major credit referencing agencies, only TransUnion has their average score in the ‘good credit’ category, with Equifax finding their average as ‘poor’ and Experian’s average being ‘fair’.

Clever Mortgages are specialists in finding mortgages for clients with a low credit score, and for those who have struggled financially in the past. We can offer a free credit report -which won’t affect your score- to help them to find the best lender for your financial situation.

How can I improve my credit score?

Regardless of where you are on your journey to applying for a mortgage and securing a home, it’s worth taking steps to improve your credit score. This will improve your chances of being approved for a better mortgage, as well as other financial products in the future.

Ways to improve your credit score include:

  • Pay your bills and accounts on time, create a budgeting plan if needed and set up direct debits to keep things punctual
  • Keep your credit card balances below 30% of your total credit limit. Even better, keep them below 10%
  • Close any unused accounts
  • Make sure you are registered on the electoral roll
  • If your credit score is low or you have a limited credit history, it could be worth looking into a well-managed credit card or phone contract to help boost your score
  • Avoid making several credit applications in a short span of time- hard searches can impact your score.

If you are looking for a lender, soft searches can be done by our brokers at Clever Mortgages to get an idea of which lenders will be most likely to accept your application before you submit it

Time heals all, and the same goes with your credit- marks usually drop off after 6 years, and the more time that passes since said marks, the better a lender views it. If you keep up with your repayments, keep an eye on your credit reports and work to maintain your financial health you’ll see vast improvements in your score.

If you’ve just started searching for properties or have found your dream home but are struggling to find a mortgage, let the team at Clever Mortgages guide you through the process. You can start your journey by visiting www.clever-mortgages.co.uk or give us a call today on 0800 197 0504.

Things-to-consider-when-buying-a-property

Things to consider when buying a property

There are many things to consider when buying and viewing properties to live in — such as location, price, condition, chain size.

Below we will cover some of the basics.

1. Location and what matters the most.

For some clients it’s all about the ‘location, location, location’ over size of property, while both can be crucial factors the one more important to you can determine your specific needs. Below we look at some factors that come in to the Top 10 of client’s location needs.

  • Schools
    If you have children or plan on having children, it’s worth considering your school needs for the next ten years.  The Infant school may be great but is there a preferred, junior or secondary and will your location possibly impact the chance of falling into that catchment area?
  • Amenities
    What parks, pools, gyms, supermarkets and other retailers are nearby? Could you drive, use public transport, cycle, or walk to these?

    Are you looking for a local pub or other entertainment venues to be nearby?
  • Commuting
    Will you work from home (and need an office space), travel to work or a combination of the two? Do you need to be able to get to a main road quickly? Do you need to be near a train or bus route? Could you cycle or even skate!
  • Pet-friendliness
    Do you need space for animals, is your plan to have a small holding for those fresh breakfast eggs, if so, it is worth checking neighbourhood restrictions and any potential conflicts with neighbouring houses?
  • Neighbours
    When buying a house, you are not just looking for things, but also people that will suit you.

    Your neighbours are the people you will be around probably for a long time. Therefore, it only makes sense to pay a lot of attention to your future neighbourhood. Drive or walk round your possible new location a couple of times to inspect the noise levels or general activity. Make sure to visit the street during different parts of the day on different days, in order to get the real picture.

2. Size of property

First, identify the core values and lifestyle most important to you. Perhaps you want a walkable, quiet, rural country life, you could be striving for a low-maintenance setup that’s conducive to frequent travel or a busy city location with an active social life and close to work.

Imagine your ideal lifestyle, both today and a decade into the future, and use this as the basis for choosing the features you’d like in your home. Think about your ideal day-to-day life with regards to commuting and running errands, and imagine how you want to spend your weekends and holidays.

  • Do you plan lots of visitors – how’s the parking?
  • How many vehicles will you own?
  • Do you plan on having a big/bigger family?
  • Does one of you work from home?
  • Do you want family to be able to come and stay?

The answers to questions like these will impact your home preferences. Here are several qualities in a new home you should consider.

  • Bedrooms
    Consider the number of bedrooms that you may need and may need. Do you plan to add to your family?

    Might an older relative need to come and stay. You may also want to buy a house with bedrooms that you use for other purposes. For example, you may also want space for an office or home gym.

    Assuming you already own some furniture, think about whether it will fit in the rooms you are viewing. Sometimes empty rooms tend to seem bigger than they really are. Only when you start putting your furniture in do you see that the original size was just an optical illusion. That is why the size of the rooms is one of the most important things to look for when buying a house.  Take a tape measure and have measurements of your furniture ready.

  • Bathrooms
    Consider how many bathroom you will want.  If you have a family with older children, would you be happy the bathroom is taken at peak times! Would you be happy if your bathroom was on the ground floor once you start a family?  Is your dream to have an ensuite for one or more bedrooms? If you have lots of visitors do you want people going upstairs to the toilet or do you want a cloakroom?
  • Storage
    Consider how much space you need. Do you need a two-car garage, or might a car-port suffice?
  • Efficiency
    Consider how much monthly budget you can allocate for utilities. Your estate agent could ask the seller for copies of utility bills from the past 12 months. These bills should offer an idea of the costs of heating the home.  Make sure you also review the EPC (Energy Performance Certificates) rating within the property details supplied by the estate agent.

    Features such as low ceilings, new windows and a smaller footprint tend to keep heating bills low. High ceilings and a larger footprint can cost significantly more in utilities.

    Terraced, semi detached houses and flats can be somewhat insulated by the properties around them.

How much could you borrow?

Ever wondered borrow?How much can you Find out nowHouse £0£100£1,100£10,000£50,000£100,000£125,000House £125,000£0£0£5,000£10,000£30,000IncomeMortgage £105,000Deposit£0£20,000£10,000£5,000You could borrow between£105,000 £135,000to

Wondering how much you could potentially borrow and how much a mortgage might cost you?*

Use our free interactive mortgage form to tell you.

Our mortgage advisors will then speak to you in more detail for a free, no obligation mortgage quote.

3. The outside space.

  • Size
    Would you prefer to maximize your space or minimize your maintenance? A large garden could give you enough space to play with children, let your dog’s run off the lead, or install a shed in the future. A smaller garden, however, is less expensive and easier to manage.
  • Shade
    Do you want a garden that is a blaze with sun? If you are a sun worshipper, make sure the garden is south, south-west facing.  If you are a gardener and plan on growing some vegetables make sure its compatible with your plans. Some plants, like tomatoes, require abundant sunlight, while others, like mint, thrive in shade and part-sun conditions.
  • Features
    Would you like a deck, patio, summer house, hot tub or other outdoor feature? These features can make a home life more enjoyable, but they also require significant upkeep. Hot tubs need regular cleaning and maintenance.
  • Neighbouring Gardens
    How much privacy would you like?  Spend time in the garden to listen to noise from any neighbouring building or look for any neighbouring properties where windows overlook into your garden.  Also look at plans on who owns the fences, are there any large trees that are on the neighbouring properties that could cause you issues.

4. Renovations and Repairs

When buying a house, it is crucial to look for any immediate or future work that will need to be done on it. How much repair and maintenance work would you like to handle? Everyone’s answer will be different. One person’s fixer-upper is another’s worst nightmare.

While there are definitely some pros of renovation there are also as many cons. If you are planning to do a lot of structural work, you may need to be ready to spend some serious cash. These types of renovations can be very expensive. As with everything else, being prepared is the key to success. Figure out your budget and if you can, try to do all of your renovation before moving into your new place. However, whether you renovate before or after your move, you will have some serious cleaning up to do after it`s all done. 

Your Mortgage Broker can let you know the different types of property surveys and depending on the age and condition of the property, you may what a full survey.

Here are some maintenance areas of a property to consider:

  • Fascia, soffits and gutters:
    Fascia are the long boards that run along a roof’s lower edge. Gutters are typically attached to the fascia. The soffits are tucked underneath. These are prime places to check for rot or signs of water damage.
  • Roof:
    How old is the roof, and what’s the average life expectancy of the roofing material? If the roof tends toward the end of an expected lifespan, you may have to replace sections soon after moving in. A good survey should pick up on any issues with the roof. Any flat roofs need looking into, as generally they are replaced more often.
  • Electrical:
    Older homes may have older electrical features some of which could pose safety hazards. If you aren’t experienced with updating a home’s electric or don’t have a potentially large budget for a fix, you may want to consider if you can handle an older house with potential electric issues.

5. Separating needs from wants

There are a lot of things you can compromise on when buying a house. Whether that`s the paint job, the number of bedrooms, the tiles in the bathrooms or the location – it is all up to you. However, every person has some things they are not ready to compromise on. You can save yourself a lot of time if you make it clear in your mind`s eye exactly what those things are. Therefore, arm yourself with a list of things you are sure you do and don`t want your new home to have

There you have it – some of most important things to look for when looking a house.

However, there is no point in looking at these properties if they are outside your affordability – so before you start looking, speak to us to obtain a decision in principle.  This could save a lot of upset if you finally find that dream home but find out you can’t get the mortgages.

For more details on buying and to look at our affordability calculator visit us at www.clever-mortgages.co.uk or call us today on 0800 197 0504.

Can I get a mortgage with a low credit score?

Is your credit score lower than you’d like it to be? Perhaps you’ve got a default, CCJ or IVA lingering on your credit report, and are worried that you won’t be able to get a mortgage until it’s been wiped clear? Perhaps you’ve not had any or much credit in the past and therefore are showing a low score?

Don’t worry. Finding a mortgage to purchase a new home or remortgage your current home, with a low credit score isn’t just possible, it’s also quite straightforward – all you need to do is find the right lender.

Getting a mortgage with a low credit score

When looking for a mortgage, your first instinct is probably go to the more popular lenders, such as the big high-street banks. Whilst those lenders might offer a mortgage to someone with a low credit score, you may find you don’t quite make the mark, as their ‘low’ is not quite as low as needed.

This doesn’t mean you can’t still get a mortgage and find a good deal though.

By working with a broker, you can access a range of great mortgage options that have been designed specifically for people with a low credit score (and even a bad credit score). These are more specialists lenders who often work exclusively with mortgage brokers to give people who don’t have the best credit scores the chance to own their own home or remortgage the current one.

The rates offered by these lenders aren’t always as good as the ones you could get with a high credit score, of course. But what low credit score lenders do offer are fair, affordable and good value mortgage rates that allow you to get the property you want now.  These lenders look at your case more individually and are prepared to lend to those with a low credit score.

Will applying for a mortgage harm my credit score?

This depends entirely on who you go to.

It’s true that sometimes applying for any credit, be that a credit card, personal loan or a mortgage can impact your credit score. If you apply for finance and are rejected, this can lower your score, which in turn might make it harder for you to get accepted for mortgages in the future. As you can imagine, this can be very damaging to your credit score if you’re rejected for more than one mortgage.  You start to build a profile of declined lending, which makes other lenders more cautious.

At Clever Mortgages, we like to do things a little differently.

With us, we can help by doing something called a soft credit check. This means that we’ll look at your information and let you know if you’re likely to be accepted for a mortgage before you apply for it.

This not only protects your credit score from being damaged, but also saves you time and effort by removing the mortgages that you aren’t going to be accepted for, and instead only showing you the ones that you could get.

How did I get a low credit score in the first place?

There are generally two reasons for having a low credit score, the first is that you’ve missed payments on credit in the past and this is normally classed as having a poor or bad credit score, which can then lead to a low score.  The other reason is that you’ve not had any or very little credit before and therefore a lender isn’t able to assess the risk of lending to you, as there is no or little proof of you paying a debt back.  Whilst the latter isn’t bad credit, you have a low score.

Its often said that taking out a credit card with a small limit and paying for everyday items like shopping and petrol, then clearing the balance in full will start to build a credit profile. 

We would always urge you to think carefully about taking out a credit card, ensure you get the best rate possible, hopefully 0% interest for a period and then clearing the balance, In FULL, each month.

Will my credit score improve over time?

In short, the answer is yes, if you ensure that you make your debt repayments in full when they are due.  If you take out further credit this can impact your score, but as soon as you start repaying it, it does show a commitment to pay, which is a positive.

If you’ve never had credit before, then you’ll need to show a commitment to pay, by doing as mentioned above with a credit card.

If you’re looking to get a mortgage as you’re reading this, then this presents you with a choice; wait until your credit score has improved enough to get a mortgage from the big high-street lender, or consider using a mortgage broker to get approval now and a good deal whilst you are at it. For many people, waiting before finally applying for a mortgage just isn’t a realistic option, especially if you’ve got a young family or want to move into your first home.

There’s no harm in finding out what options and deals could be out there for you. Remember, with us we can perform a soft credit search for you, allowing you to see what mortgages are available and at what interest rate with no negative effect on your credit score – so why not give Clever a call today and see how we could help you?

To discover a range of fair, affordable mortgage deals today from our trusted panel of lenders, give us a call on 0800 197 0504, or arrange a call back at a time that suits you.

Mortgage broker

Why use a mortgage broker?

Buying a new house is a really exciting time and one of the most important decisions you will make, there are so many things to sort out, that it can often be overwhelming – especially when trying to secure a mortgage.

There are thousands of mortgages out there with different rates, terms – and from an increasing number of lenders. But how do you know the mortgage deal you go for is the best one for you? That’s when a mortgage broker can help.

How much could you borrow?

Ever wondered borrow?How much can you Find out nowHouse £0£100£1,100£10,000£50,000£100,000£125,000House £125,000£0£0£5,000£10,000£30,000IncomeMortgage £105,000Deposit£0£20,000£10,000£5,000You could borrow between£105,000 £135,000to

Wondering how much you could potentially borrow and how much a mortgage might cost you?*

Use our free interactive mortgage form to tell you.

Our mortgage advisors will then speak to you in more detail for a free, no obligation mortgage quote.

What is a broker?

A mortgage broker is a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)-regulated professional who specialises in finding mortgages for people. Mortgage brokers don’t work for a specific lender meaning they will only recommend the most suitable mortgage deal based on your individual circumstances.

What does a mortgage broker do?

A mortgage broker scours the market for the most suitable mortgage deal based on your financial situation. They do not work for any lender directly so will approach the most appropriate one based on their market knowledge. They will also deal with lenders on your behalf and make sure you get the best possible rate and that your application runs as smoothly as possible.

Why should I use a mortgage broker?

Mortgage brokers often have access to mortgage deals, which aren’t directly available to the public. They have a deep understanding of the market and know which lenders are most likely to consider your application. Mortgage brokers also remove a lot of the paperwork and hassle of getting a mortgage. Let them do the hard work for you!

What are the benefits of using a mortgage broker?

Mortgage brokers will search the market to find the most suitable mortgage deal on the market for you. Even if you have a less than perfect credit score, for example – and even been refused a mortgage by a high street bank – a broker could still be able to find you a deal.

Using a broker also protects you against filling in paperwork incorrectly, which is actually something that happens often due to the fact that the paperwork involved with buying a house can be quite confusing at times.

Can a mortgage broker help me even if I have bad credit?

Believe it or not, there are mortgage deals available for people with a wide range of financial situations. Even if you have a less than perfect credit score – have missed previous payments or been in a debt management plan – there could still be a deal that works for you. The best thing about using a mortgage broker is that they know which lenders should be able to help – and will only recommend the mortgage that’s best suited for you.

How do I find a mortgage broker?

Here at Clever Mortgages, we have a team of expert mortgage brokers, who will take the time to learn every detail about your situation and find the best deal for you. We work with hundreds of lenders and have access to thousands of different mortgage products and can help people even with the most unusual financial circumstances.

About Clever Mortgages

We specialise in assessing an individual’s situation, and finding the right mortgage solution for them. We can help:

  • With remortgages, buy-to-let, and first-time buyers mortgages. We have experts who cover these areas
  • Even if you’ve got bad credit – we help people every day with a variety of credit histories to find the right mortgage
  • With applications, as we’ll take the hassle away. We require your details once and we’ll know the best lenders for your circumstance
  • Our team know the lenders that are most likely to say ‘yes’, and give you the best rates

What should I do next?

  • You enquire online with us today or request a call back
    Our simple form takes a couple of minutes to fill in, this gets the ball rolling
  • One of our experts will give you a call to find out more about your situation
    We have experts in remortgaging, who focus solely on helping customers save money
  • We do all the hard work for you
    We search the market for the trusted lender that’s right for you
  • Our expert will get back in touch
    We can guide you every step of the way, and we’ll always keep you up-to-date with progress

Speak to a broker

Laura Connor

Laura is a specialist mortgage broker, whose been working for Clever Mortgages for 7 years and has over 13 years experience in Financial Services.

Call us on: 0800 197 0504

See our FAQ page

Beat the Stamp Duty rush and save money with a bridging loan

We’re currently seeing one of the busiest housing markets in over a decade as people rush to beat the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) deadline.  It’s not too late to take advantage of the incentive though, with other lending options available, which could get your property purchase over the line before the end of the SDLT holiday.

On average, house prices have increased by 3.5% over the past 12 months, and the first quarter of 2021 is set to record a property uplift of 100,000 additional sales before the end of March. Nottingham, Manchester and Leeds appear to be the most buoyant cities, with house prices increasing over the past year by 5.3%, 5.2% an 4.9% respectively.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, these figures show now is perhaps one of the best periods in recent times to move home.

The current SDLT incentive means you don’t have to pay any Stamp Duty when you buy a new main residential property as long as it’s valued under £500,000, allowing you to potentially save thousands in fees when buying a new property.

Different rates apply to investment properties, such as Buy to Let or additional homes, but there are still savings to be made.

This period isn’t going to last for much longer though. The current holiday on Stamp Duty is scheduled to end on 31st March 2021, so if you’re thinking about moving home it’s best to do it sooner rather than later.

In fact, it’s estimated that only half of the mortgages applied for in January will be completed before the deadline, making it even more vital to get things moving now. This is due to the large increases the market is seeing in both demand and volume of moves.

So what happens if you want to move home but are seeing a delay, stuck in a chain that’s not moving, or lost a buyer and worried about missing the SDLT deadline?

How a Bridging loan can help

Bridging loans can provide quick funds to bridge the gap whilst you’re waiting for your transaction to complete. They work by allowing you to borrow funds to buy the new property, before selling your current one (you can read more here).  This could allow you to buy your new property, save the stamp duty and then transfer your mortgage to a more traditional one once you’ve sold.

Kevin Blount, Director at Clever Mortgages, said: “Beating the deadline on Stamp Duty could save you thousands of pounds, so if you’re considering moving then it really is a smart move to do so before the deadline of 31st March of next year.

“A bridging loan can help you by offering short-term finance that drastically speeds up the process and allows you to move to offer more quickly. This is opposed to moving home the traditional way, which could take months to complete due to the boom in demand we’re seeing.

“As such, we’d advise anyone thinking about moving to seriously consider a bridging loan in order to beat the Stamp Duty deadline and to get in touch with us if this is something you’re interested in.”

To find out more about how a bridging loan could help save you money on your move, give us a call on 0800 187 0504 or arrange a call back at a time that suits you.

*Data taken from Hometrack’s UK House Price Index Report for October 2020

Why now is a great time to move home

Why now is a great time to move home

Recent industry figures have shown that 1.09 million people with adverse credit scores might be looking to buy a new property in the next 12 months. This is a decrease of around 250,000 compared to the 1.34m people with bad credit scores who said they were looking to move in February, prior to the UK’s first lockdown*. 

Of those looking to move, seven out of ten of them are worried that their credit score might hold them back because it’ll cause their mortgage application to be declined – is this something you’re concerned about too?

If it is, then don’t worry – even with a bad credit score there are a wide range of competitive options available, meaning you can still realise your dream move or remortgage your current property at a rate that’s fair and affordable. What’s more, now is a great time to move!

Kevin Blount, Director at Clever Mortgages, said: “There are a few reasons as to why the current period is a good time to move home.

“The property market is really buoyant at the moment, and many people are taking advantage of the fact that there’s no Stamp Duty to pay if you move home before 31 March 2021, representing a fantastic saving to the consumer.

“This means that now could actually be an opportune moment to move home, even if you have got an adverse credit score.”

Sophie Attwood
Thank you so much to Laura at Clever Mortgages
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I can't thank Laura at Clever Mortgages enough for everything she's done. We were so worried that we weren't eligible for a mortgage having been told 'no' by numerous mortgage brokers. Laura had so much positivity and I trusted her from the word go. We were able to achieve a great mortgage with a great interest rate and secure our dream house. We couldn't have done this without Clever Mortgages - that's a fact.

As a specialist mortgage broker, Clever Mortgages is an expert in helping people with bad or adverse credit get access to competitive rates on mortgage deals. By going through a broker, you actually get access to better, more competitive rates that potential buyers miss out on when choosing to go direct to their mortgage provider.

When you combine these competitive rates with the current Stamp Duty holiday and burgeoning housing market, the result is a fantastic environment in which to apply for a mortgage.

Kevin said: “Whatever the reason for your adverse credit score, whether it be due to things like arrears, CCJs or missed payments in the past, there will always be options available to you at Clever Mortgages.

“You don’t need to worry about your application being declined at the first instance either – we’re happy to discuss your personal circumstances first before you make an application.

“This helps us to understand your situation, and lets us know what options are available to you before you apply for anything.

“I’d urge anyone considering getting a new mortgage or remortgaging to get in touch – now is a great time to move, so don’t let your credit score hold you back!”

Clever Mortgages has access to over 100 different lenders who specialise in lending to people with adverse credit scores, and 1000s of different mortgage products. This means that regardless of your credit score, you’ll still be able to find a competitive mortgage that suits your situation, so why give Clever a call to see what your choices are? 

To find out more about what mortgage options might be available to you, simply call the Clever Mortgages team on 0800 197 0504 or arrange a call back at a time that suits you.

*According to research from Pepper Money Adverse Credit Study Autumn 2020

Shared ownership

Shared ownership

Shared ownership is a government-aided initiative to help first-time homebuyers and existing homeowners purchase a new property by helping towards the deposit. This scheme aims to help buyers who cannot afford the mortgage on 100 percent of an existing or new-build home, and is available to people with an income of less than £80,000.

Through shared ownership, you may be able to overcome the problem of high deposits and acquire a home that might be out of reach under other forms of financing.

Key changes to shared ownership

From April 2021, shared ownership will become even more affordable. These are the key changes to the scheme which the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government released and will operate in 2021 under the Government’s new Affordable Homes Programme. The changes include:

  • Fees for buying additional shares will be reduced
  • Landlords will pay the costs of repairs and maintenance for the first 10 years of ownership
  • You must be a first-time buyer with an annual household income of less than £80,000 (£90,000 in London)
  • The minimum additional share will be reduced from 25 to 10 percent
  • Homeowners can purchase additional shares in 1 percent instalments, down from 5 or 10 percent
  • The rules on selling the property will change

Easier to increase your share, plus smaller first stakes

The minimum share reduction represents a helpful change to shared ownership, and makes entry into the initiative easier if you’ve been struggling to get together enough for your deposit.

Getting together the finance for a home valued at £120,000, for example, means you will only have to find £12,000 rather than £30,000. You will also be able to pay a subsidised rent to the owners of the property as well as annual ground rent and service charges as your home will be a leasehold property.

If you want to increase your ownership of the property gradually, you can buy additional shares of just 1 percent at a time. This process is known as ‘staircasing.’ Using the example of the £120,000 property, you could pay as little as £1,200 for an additional 1 percent share, rather than £6,000 or £12,000 for 5 or 10 percent under the current rules. This allows you to gradually build up ownership in a more affordable manner.

You will also need to pay a deposit (usually at least 5%) on your share and then get a mortgage to cover the rest.

It’s worth remembering that the amount you pay for the additional share may change, as it will be based on the value of the property at the time you make the increase, not the original price. Also, due to the current Covid-19 pandemic there may be less lenders willing to accept lower shares due to the current economic climate, but there are still some who will, so don’t let this discourage you.

Bottom Line

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, the details and technicalities of owning your own home can be overwhelming.

At Clever Mortgages we make things simple, easy and straightforward. Not only do we have years of experience in helping first-time buyers get on the property ladder, we’ve also got a team of experts who can help you with every step of the home-buying process – including the shared ownership process.

What’s more, we’ve got an array of options if you’ve got poor or bad credit, with the Help to Buy scheme often proving a fantastic option to help people with bad credit scores buy their first home.

If you’re ready to become a homeowner, give us a call today on 0800 197 0504 or visit our website to arrange a callback at a time that suits you.

Move or Improve

To move or improve?

One of the many side-effects of lockdown is that many people are re-evaluating the amount of space they need in their house and garden.

With working from home becoming the norm, and trips to the pub now often forgoed in place of a couple of drinks in the back garden (if you’ve got one) lots of Brits are now grappling with a dilemma; move to a new home entirely, or improve their current home? Common home improvements include:

  • Loft conversions
  • Single or double extensions
  • Garage to room conversions
  • Reconfiguration of the existing layout for more space
  • Outdoor cabin as a playroom, home office or a place to relax

Many people are simply taking advantage of the current stamp duty holiday and low interest rates and moving homes altogether. However, if you want to stay put for family, friends or schools, you can look at improving your current home.

Further Advances

Most clients’ first thought when they are looking to do home improvements is raising additional funds from their existing mortgage provider. However, there are various pros and cons to this, and some lenders don’t offer it.

Many lenders are becoming more stringent about lending at the moment due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, especially if your personal circumstances have changed this year to the extent that you’ve sustained a drop in income, which could affect your application.

You may also be restricted by a maximum ‘loan to value’ with your existing lender, that being the amount you can borrow against your property’s value.

Remortgage

A remortgage involves switching your entire mortgage balance to a new lender and, if necessary, borrowing the additional funds from that lender. A remortgage to another lender will also involve a new application. This will be subject to a valuation of the property and a solicitor to transfer the property deeds to a new lender.

Some lenders offer incentives which includes either one or both the valuation and legal services for free, whereas with others you will have to pay them yourself.

If you have a discounted or fixed rate deal on your main mortgage you may also be ‘tied-in’ with your current lender. This means that there may be early repayment charges (ERCs) due if you pay off your main mortgage with the current lender.

You could also have an interest only mortgage which you wish to retain, and a new lender may need the whole or more of the main mortgage balance to be taken on a repayment basis, which will cost you more per month.

As with the case of Further Advances you may be restricted by lenders criteria and maximum Loan to Value allowance.

There are other options available that could not only see you get the money you need to redesign your garden, or build that additional room required for working from home.

Second Mortgage or sometimes called a Secured Homeowner Loan

Opting for a second mortgage (also known as a second charge or secured homeowner loan) allows you to take out a second charge against your home. This is separate from the mortgage you’ll currently have secured against your property – if you choose to do this, you’ll carry on making repayments on your current mortgage and retain the current terms and interest rate. You’ll then make separate payments towards your new second mortgage.

Secured loans are usually easier to get approved if you have had poor credit in the past or no credit history. Secured Lenders have also tightened their criterial since COVID-19 but they are more likely to accept an application where higher Loan to Values (LTV’s) are required.

At some point in the future after taking out a secured loan, you might be in a position to bring it all under one mortgage again. This often happens when the mortgage product on the first mortgage comes to an end, the property has increased in value, your income may have increased or credit score has got better.

This means that in addition to getting the finance you need to build an extension, conservatory or home office, you’ll also be able to get a more competitive rate on your mortgage repayments down the line if you can find the right deal – why not get in contact and find out what’s available?

Mortgages with bad credit

Worried about your credit score affecting your remortgage or second mortgage rate?

As specialist mortgage brokers, we’re experts in finding the very best deals available for people with low or bad credit scores and have access to thousands of mortgage products that just aren’t available to people who choose to go direct.

We work with over a hundred different lenders, and can use our relationships with them to get you the best deal possible for your circumstances – so if you’re considering a home improvement, why not give us a call and see what options are out there?

You can speak to one of our specialist team by calling 0800 197 0504 or arranging a call back at a time that suits you. Our opening hours are 9am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

Exiting a fixed rate early

We’ve put together this guide to answer any questions you might have on fixed-rate mortgages and
what happens when you leave one early.

What is a fixed rate mortgage and how do they work?

A fixed-rate mortgage is a deal offered on a mortgage wherein the interest rate you pay remains the
same for a fixed period of time, usually 2-10 years – but this often varies between lenders. The most frequent fixed-rate mortgage products on the market span a 2-5 year period.
This means that your mortgage repayments should remain the same month-to-month during the term of your fixed-rate, which households often find useful when it comes to budgeting and calculating expenditures.

What happens when my fixed rate period ends?

When your mortgage comes to the end of its fixed rate period, your interest rate will most likely be
moved onto your lenders standard variable rate (SVR). The SVR is often higher than the majority of
fixed-rate deals as it’s determined by each individual lender and can be subject to change.

Can I leave a fixed rate mortgage early?

You can usually leave a fixed rate mortgage early – however, lenders usually require an early
repayment charge and an exit fee.

What happens if I leave a fixed rate mortgage early?

There will likely be a pre-agreed span of time on your mortgage where if you decide to repay your
mortgage early, you will also need to pay an early repayment fee. There is also often an exit or
closure fee when you repay or exit your mortgage.

How much will my early repayment charge be?

The total sum of your early repayment charge will vary based on your mortgage agreement and
lenders terms, but will usually be 1-5% of the value of your mortgage.
So, if you had a £200,000 mortgage with a 3% early repayment charge, you would pay £6000.

Is it worth leaving my fixed rate mortgage early?

This depends on what you’re paying now, how much your early repayment charge would be and what mortgage products you could potentially be approved for.

If you’ve worked it out and the cost of the early repayment fee still results in a cheaper mortgage
over time, or you need to raise cash by remortgaging for an emergency, then it could be well worth seeking to leave your fixed rate early, but on the other hand the early repayment fee might make
the cost of finding a new mortgage unviable, or you could already be on the best rate you can access. With all these factors in play, specialist brokers can be incredibly useful when it comes to
navigating the market and providing accurate information and guidance. Brokers, like the ones at
Clever Mortgages, have access to a wide range of lenders, products and exclusive deals. Our brokers
can help you understand which lenders are likely to approve you, advise on the right mortgage
product for you and help you find it. Request a call back?

Speak with one of our experts about exiting a fixed rate early

Speak to our expert brokers on all types of mortgages, remortgages, even if you have bad credit. One of our expert brokers will be able to review your current situation and advise on the best way of moving forward with our knowledge and access to over 100 lenders. The initial advice is free, there is only a cost if you proceed with a mortgage.

Can I get a fixed-rate mortgage without an early repayment charge?

In theory, yes- however mortgage products vary and it’s unlikely you’ll find a fixed-rate mortgage without an early repayment penalty, that’s not to say they don’t exist though.

When lenders provide you with a mortgage they are making an investment in you and your home, this investment is made viable in the interest that you pay over the term of your mortgage, so the early repayment charge is often there to ensure the loan you are taking is viable for the lender.

Can I renew my fixed rate early?

Some lenders will allow you to seek a product transfer before the end of your fixed rate, but this
would usually be just before the fixed-rate ends and you would still be with the same lender, just a
different mortgage product. Otherwise, changing mortgage product will usually see you pay an early
repayment fee.

Can I leave my fixed rate mortgage early for a cheaper one?

Your fixed-rate mortgage may not be the best deal you can get, and sometimes the cost of an early repayment charge will be cheaper than continuing with your current mortgage product if there’s a better one you could be eligible for, either with your current lender or a different one. It’s often worth seeking specialist advice before committing to a mortgage or finding a new product. Our team at Clever Mortgages are happy to help.

Can I leave my fixed rate mortgage early to remortgage and raise money?

You can leave your fixed rate mortgage early to remortgage, but again you’ll still need to pay the early repayment charge.

If you’ve got a large amount of equity in your home or have seen a rise in your property’s value and want to remortgage to raise money, then it’s likely you can remortgage and afford to pay the early repayment fee. If you’re remortgaging to raise money but have very little equity in your home, this could prevent a remortgage being financially viable due to the additional cost of the early repayment- however this all depends on each individual financial situation, which is why specialist advice is so helpful when deciding what to do with your mortgage.

Can I raise money without leaving my current mortgage?

Yes, assuming you are pass affordability criteria, you could apply for a second-charge mortgage. This
would allow you to borrow money while leaving your current mortgage intact and avoiding an early
repayment charge by borrowing money against your home in the form of another mortgage. You’d
need to have sufficient equity built up in your property to do so, but if you’d like to inquire about a second charge mortgage, request a call from one of our expert advisors.

How do I leave my fixed rate mortgage early?

To leave your current fixed rate mortgage early it’ll need to be paid in full- including any early repayment and exit charges. You can do this by transferring to another product, remortgaging with a
new lender or if you’ve had a windfall of cash, paying the mortgage off.

If you’re looking for advice, or help finding your perfect mortgage- get in touch! 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.

If you are not ready to exit early, why not schedule a callback with us closer to the time of your fixed rate ending. let us take care of it for you

Speak with one of our experts about exiting a fixed rate early

Speak to our expert brokers on all types of mortgages, remortgages, even if you have bad credit. One of our expert brokers will be able to review your current situation and advise on the best way of moving forward with our knowledge and access to over 100 lenders. The initial advice is free, there is only a cost if you proceed with a mortgage.

Article from ‘Christie Buck’ Mortgage Specialist

A common question I get nearly every day is whether clients must use the Estate Agents or Builders Mortgage Broker.

The short answer is ‘no’.

For a couple of reasons, Estate Agents and Builders are often keen to get you to use their in-house mortgage broker.

They may have targets to achieve and will receive an income if the mortgage is kept with them.

Also, the Estate Agent has a duty of care to their vendors to ensure that anyone proposing an offer is eligible to buy that property, this may just be the case of proving you have a Decision In Principle for a mortgage and that you have proof of deposit.  A Builder will want to ensure you can afford to purchase the property you want.

At Clever Mortgages, after an initial conversation, we can supply you with a Decision in Principle letter that will provide the details the Estate Agent or Builders needs.  We can also check your deposit source and confirm the acceptance with a lender.  This will save you time, if say you are registered with multiple Estate Agents, of which each wants you to have an appointment with their Mortgage Broker.

That said, even if you do speak to the Estate Agents or Builders broker there is no obligation to go with them.

A lot of Estate Agents and Builders don’t look at the whole of the market when it comes to mortgages and you may not get the best deal for your circumstances or be told there aren’t any lenders for you.  As bad credit specialists, Clever Mortgages have the knowledge to cover all areas of lending.

As with most things in life it is worth finding someone who can shop about and search the market for that Mortgage which is tailored to your needs. Especially since COVID has affected the lenders processing times, criteria and Loan to Values have become stricter.

A Mortgage Specialist, such as ourselves, with access to 100s of lenders, is able to look at each bank and building societies lending criteria but we also have built good relationships with the underwriting managers so we know where lending criteria can also be flexed.

Clients often come to us before they even start looking for a property, this way we can let them know how much they can borrow, if that amount is affordable and also what is the best mortgage deal for your circumstances at that time.  In order to assist you with your property search we can issue you with a Decision in Principle this way once you start offering on the properties you will be able to show a copy of the letter to the Estate Agency or Builders.

Once you have secured an offer on the property of your choice, we will ensure that the lender who made the Decision in Principle still meets your needs and there haven’t been any better deals since.

After placing your mortgage our administration team will be on hand to help you all through the journey, we will liaise with your solicitor, lenders, estate agents/builders and yourself to ensure everything goes smoothly until the day you get your keys.

Your journey doesn’t end with us then, we will be in touch prior to the end of any fixed/discounted rate to ensure we keep exploring the market to get you the best deal.

We ensure all our team give you a personal level of service as we rely on word of mouth for recommendations and are pleased to say we have been rated very highly by our clients on Trust Pilot

How COV-ID 19 impacted mortgage products and the market

The coronavirus pandemic has changed many aspects of our daily lives, with everyone taking steps and precautions to work together to prevent the spread.

In uncertain times, banks and lenders are examining their products and the level of risk involved. A number of mortgage products have been withdrawn from the market, mainly those with a high loan to value (LTV), that being the percentage of the property’s value that you need as a mortgage.

Mortgages with a high (LTV)- for example a 95% LTV mortgage where you provide 5% of the property’s value and your lender loans the other 95% – are often considered a bigger risk to the lender and would most definitely require a valuation of the property. As these need more human interaction and intervention than mortgages with lower LTVs, making it difficult for lenders to find a risk-free way of continuing these products.

Many lenders found that, with in-person valuations being made impossible with the initial lockdown rules, offering high LTV mortgages became a much higher risk and providing them was less feasible in the current climate. Lots of mortgage deals with an LTV of over 70% offered through many major banks, such as Halifax and Barclays, were temporarily withdrawn. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get a higher LTV mortgage, it just means less are being offered and the criteria will most likely be stricter so the lenders can efficiently manage risk and valuation requirements. Not all lenders have chosen to do this so dramatically though, with Nationwide only limiting the cap to 85% LTV for first-time buyers and remortgages. With different lenders taking different approaches to managing the changes presented due to the pandemic, more than ever mortgage brokers are a valuable tool for those seeking to purchase a home, keeping constant track of the different LTV ratios for each lender and helping customers navigate a rapidly changing market.

Improving your chances of getting a mortgage after Covid 19

With the housing market back open – under strict social-distancing guidelines – and valuations able to re-commence, some higher LTV mortgages are beginning to return. With estate agents able to reopen, buyers have been able to look towards viewing properties, removal firms have been able to resume work and the housing market is starting to flow again – however it’s important to remember that social distancing and following guidelines is essential to ensure the purchase and sale of property can be done safely.

It’s been reported by Rightmove that the interest for “home-mover visits” hit 5.2 million, up 4% from the same day last year. Miles Shipside, Rightmove director, said the figures show “clear signs of returning momentum” which means those who have been thinking forward and looking to move home are not alone. With many of us looking to life post-lockdown and making plans for the future, it makes sense that there’s an increase in people wanting to own their own home. Click here to read the article.

If you want to increase your chances of getting a mortgage, luckily there’s plenty you can do to help prepare your application and prove you can be a responsible borrower- even with bad credit.

Also, read our article on the first steps of easing lockdown

Income

Having a stable income is important when applying for a mortgage. Lenders will want to know you’ll be able to meet repayments, and your income is usually how you’ll do this. It’s usually best to have been working in the same job or field for at least 3-6 months before applying for a mortgage, but some lenders can be more flexible. Even with furloughed income, a lender will consider this on a case by case basis.

Electoral Roll

Registering to vote on the electoral role is the simplest, yet one of the most vital steps in preparing your application. Lenders will use data from the electoral roll to verify your identity, making sure your address on your application matches the one you’re registered to vote at.

You can register here:  – and it only usually takes around 5 minutes.

Paperwork

Get your paperwork in order. This could be things like:

  • Proof of income – this could be payslips or your accounts
  • Expenditures – your lender will want to know you can afford your repayments. Any regular outgoings need to be accounted for, check your bank statements for any outgoings that you don’t need and could possibly cancel?
  • Identity – you’ll need to authenticate your identity so make sure you have the relevant documents, usually a passport or driving licence, but other documents can be used.
  • Proof of deposit – you’ll need to verify your deposit, but this can usually be done fairly easily – for example through savings accounts statements
  • Proof of address – e.g. utility bills, council tax statements

Credit Score

Your credit report is how a lender can see if you’re a responsible borrower and plays an important part in your mortgage application. You could still get a mortgage with bad credit (or even no previous credit), but if you’re looking to prepare an application, taking a look at your credit report and working to improve it will increase your chances of being accepted.

  • Use of available credit – the amount of credit available to you and the amount your utilising will have an impact on your credit score. Make sure you’re borrowing responsibly and don’t take out credit you don’t need.
  • Close old and inactive accounts.
  • Check for irregularities – if there’s something you don’t recognise or disagree with you can raise a dispute with the lender or the company providing your credit report.
  • Make sure you pay your bills and any credit repayments on time. Missed payments appear on your credit report and can impact a mortgage application.

If you’ve had to take a payment holiday as a result of financial impacts from the coronavirus epidemic, provided the payment holiday was agreed with your lender this shouldn’t impact your credit score or prevent you from taking out credit in the future. This includes mortgage payment holidays, car finance payment holidays and even some payday loan repayments. However, it is worth noting that payday loans rarely reflect well on a mortgage application and if you’re looking to apply for one, waiting until payday loan use has dropped off your credit file could boost your application.

Save a deposit

As mentioned above, there aren’t as many 95% LTV mortgages available right now so you might need to save for a larger deposit. You should usually aim to save at least 5% of the property’s value but a larger deposit reduces the risk to the lender which increases your chance of being accepted and could give you access to better rates or deals.

We’ve helped 1,000’s of customers get the perfect mortgage – specialising in helping people with bad credit. Get in touch with one of our advisors to find out more.

How to increase the value in your home

If you’re looking to make your home more valuable, you’re probably wondering where to start. We’ve put together a handy guide to see you through increasing the value in your property.

If you require finance to do the improvements, from a remortgage, equity release or secured loan, speak to an advisor.

Type of building:

First of all, you’ll need to check what type of property you own. If your property is a listed building you might need special permissions to make alterations. A listed building usually has national significance, historical interest or importance and has legal protection within the planning system. There are 3 grades, and any listed building will appear on the National Heritage List for England.

In order of importance, Grade 1 is for buildings of high significance, Grade 2 comes second and then Grade 3. Most listed buildings are Grade 2, and make up 92% of listed buildings. If you live in a listed building and want to make renovations that needs listed building consent, it’s vital you obtain this before carrying out any work.

Price ceiling:

There will be a price ceiling of properties in your area, which is the maximum price a property has sold for. This will give you a good idea how much you need to raise and invest in your property, but it’s important to remember the housing market can fluctuate so your property’s value could go up, or down. Adding substantial value to your home through renovations can make sure your home has selling appeal, and when done properly there’s always a possibility of breaking the price ceiling in your area.

How do I afford home improvements?

There are several ways you can raise the money needed to fund home improvements. Homeowners tend to have a wider range of loans available, especially if you’ve built up equity in your home.

Our expert brokers could help you find a secured loan (also known as a homeowner loan) or remortgage that could let you access cash tied up in your home, allowing you to fund your home improvements and raise the value of your property.

We’ll work with you, taking your current financial situation into account and presenting you with the options you have to make your vision reality.

Structural issues & problems:

Before you look to decorate, it’s important to check your property for structural issues and problems. These could be things such as

  • Damp
  • Cracks in the walls
  • Rotten timbers
  • Leaky roof, missing tiles
  • Sagging roof
  • Woodworm or other insect infestations
  • Leaning walls

If your home has any structural issues, defects or problems it’s advised to get these repaired. Not doing so could depreciate the value of your home and make it difficult to sell. This should be the first port-of-call when looking to renovate your home.

Extension:

Adding an extension is a popular and effective way of adding value to your property, adding up to 23% to the value of your home. In London especially, adding a 50 square foot extension could add £25,000 to the value of your property. (Source)

This can be a costly endeavour so make sure you weigh up sum it will take to build and the return of your investment.

Loft conversion: 15-30%

A loft conversion could see your home’s value increase by 15-30% making this one of the most cost effective renovations you can do.

Whereas this can be pricey, by converting your loft into a bedroom or liveable space, you can add an extra room onto your home and see a substantial return on your investment.

Kitchen makeover:

The kitchen is central for many families, and making sure the kitchen is a clean, inviting space can add real value to your home. On average, a new kitchen can add up to 6% to the value of your home.

  • Paint in clean, neutral colours
  • Replace old worktops
  • Look at investing in energy efficient appliances, many modern families are looking to be more eco-friendly when buying a home
  • Replace old floor tiles or sand and re-varnish dull wooden flooring

Open-Plan living:

One of the most popular renovations for increasing value in the modern market is creating an open plan living space, combining the kitchen and living rooms. This ties in with families finding the kitchen is the heart and hub of the home, so it’s important to bear this in mind when planning your renovation.

Making sure the room has clear zones for cooking, eating, spending time as a family and relaxing can help you decide how you want to lay out your open plan living space, looking at lighting and furniture placement to ensure the zones ‘flow’ to one another. There are countless combinations and open plan spaces can give you the opportunity to be creative with the space, making it a unique selling point and attracting families looking to buy a home.

It’s important to make sure you consult a structural professional before removing any walls, in some cases the walls are load bearing and you’ll need to install supportive steels if you want to open the space.

Plumbing & your bathroom:

If your home hasn’t had it’s plumbing upgraded in a while, looking to this can help increase the value and sale price.

  • Replace old toilets, baths and sinks. Renovating your bathroom can also add value.
  • Check and replace leaky or rattling pipes – consider modernised pipes if they haven’t been replaced in a long time
  • Make sure the drains are maintained, cleaned or replaced as needed.
  • Home water filter systems can be a great selling point, especially in hard water areas

Garage: up to 5%

Building a garage or driveway could add up to 5% to your homes value, so if you have the space it’s definitely worth considering.

Off-street parking is often considered a desirable selling point, although it’s important to ensure any construction adheres to local regulations, including highway regulations if you install a drop kerb.

Exterior:

You’ll want to impress potential buyers from the moment they set eyes on your home, so making sure the exterior is attractive and tidy is vital if you’re trying to sell your home.

  • Repair damaged brickwork
  • Repaint doors and windows, repairing or replacing as needed
  • Adding/replacing house number
  • Clean decking, patio or porch – first impressions count

Be sure to keep in line with permitted development guidelines, or obtain planning permissions if needed.

Decorating:

Walls: check the walls for cracks or peeling paint. Fixing cracks and adding fresh coat of paint can brighten the space and make it far more appealing, neutral colours are often preferred when looking to showcase a home to potential buyers.

Doors: Make sure the doors are clean, and squeak-free. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders here too, making sure you protect the handles etc. Check the handles, latches and locks all work.

Skirting boards: Giving them a quick wipe down, or fresh coat of paint will help your property look clean and tidy.

Flooring: Keep the carpets clean, replacing worn ones as needed. You can hire kits to do this at home, or hire professional cleaners depending on your budget. Wooden floors can be easily revitalised by sanding them down and coating with a varnish.

Lightbulbs: Double check they all work before a viewing. Energy-saving lightbulbs can be a good selling point for your home, especially if you’ve worked to improve the energy efficiency rating.

Electrics & wiring:

Making sure the electrics are up to date and safe can save hassle down the line if you’re looking to sell. Updating the electrics, upgrading the fuse box and making sure sockets are safe can help assure buyers and ensure you pass safety checks.

Garden:

A well-kept, tidy garden space can add value to your home, and make your property more attractive to potential buyers.

  • Mow the lawn(s), feed if needed.
  • Keep overgrown shrubs, hedges and trees in shape
  • Add flowers and planters for appeal
  • Make sure garden is free of weeds
  • Clean any patio space
  • Freshen up and repaint any decking
  • Private gardens are often appealing to prospective buyers, You can raise boundary fences and walls up to 2m without needing planning permission (0.6m on the highway) (https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/20-sure-ways-to-add-value-to-your-home/)

Central heating & your boiler:

Adding or upgrading a central heating system is a sure-fire way to add value to your home. Installing a new boiler and upgrading the radiators can have a huge impact – adding a condensing A rated boiler could reduce the running costs and can come with warranty of up to 10 years. If done hand-in-hand with improving the energy efficiency in your property, you could make a fair profit.

Energy efficiency:

To improve the energy efficiency, make sure you:

  • Replace and seal old windows, making sure they are double glazed. This has the added bonus of reducing noise, especially on main roads. Most houses are expected to have double glazing, unless there’s a listing reason that prevents it so it’s important to bear in mind.
  • Loft insulation – you should install loft insulation that’s at least 270mm thick
  • Wall insulation – insulating your walls can improve your EPC rating and you can sometimes qualify for help with the costs
  • Having a wood burning stove, over something like an open fireplace as a secondary heating system
  • Making sure appliances are energy efficient, such as fridges and washing machines
  • Changing the lightbulbs to LEDs or energy efficient bulbs

Mortgage Payment Holidays extended!

With the announcement from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that banks and building societies can now extend Mortgage Payment Holidays for a further 3 months there is going to be a lot of questions from borrowers on how this is going to impact their potential borrowing in the future.  Also, could there be other options of reducing your mortgage payments that could help?

The difference between independent and bank mortgage advisers

Mortgage advisers in a bank or building society can only offer you advice and mortgage products from the bank or building society they work for.  If they don’t have a lending solution that is right for you, then you’ll have to find an alternative option yourself.

An independent mortgage adviser will search products from across the market, they have a range of lenders and products available to you.  With Clever Mortgages, this also comes with the experience of dealing with applications from those with low or bad credit ratings.  They are able to find the right solution from 100’s of lenders.

Is it time to seek independent advice?

Taking independent advice can make the difference whether you are looking to purchase, remortgage or just want to obtain a better rate.  Speaking to our brokers can ensure you achieve a significantly better deal; they’ll take your individual requirements in to account and could potentially save you thousands of pounds over the mortgage term.

Mortgage Payment Holidays

Mortgage Payment Holidays have given a temporary solution to over 1 in 7 homeowners who have found their income has been affected by COVID 19, but these are not free holidays, they are payment deferrals and will affect your mortgage balance, term and/or monthly payments going forward.  If your income is still affected the further extension may be welcomed, but you must also consider other options, could you make a partial payment each month, could you do a product transfer to lower your rate, could you use any over payments that you have made previously?  These are all options you should consider before looking to extend the holiday.

Read more on payment holidays here.

Remember: A mortgage payment holiday, MUST be agreed with the lender.  Cancelling your direct debit is not a payment holiday and will be counted as a missed payment. You should not cancel your direct debit without agreeing this with the lender first. A missed payment could show up in your credit file and may impact your ability to remortgage.

Why would I not just speak to my current lender, bank or building society?

As mentioned above, your current lender, bank or building society can only talk to you about the products they offer or give generic advice and information, they are not able to offer you products from other lenders, you are potentially missing out on other potential options and what might be a better solution.

Our mortgages advisers are qualified professionals who specialise in finding the most suitable mortgage deal for your circumstances.  They have access to a wide range of lenders from across the market and can make the difference between an application being declined or successful.

Lending criteria and available options available at the moment are changing daily and it is our mortgage advisers’ job to keep on top of the information and to find a solution to your lending requirement.

If you’ve had financial issues in the past, then you have a lot to gain from speaking to a mortgage adviser from Clever Mortgages, their specialisation is getting mortgages for people with bad credit and this requires multiple options from a comprehensive range of lenders.  A mortgage adviser and their supporting administration unit is there to guide you through the process and make sure they maximise your opportunities with the lenders.

If you still feel you need to contact your existing lender for a payment holiday, you can find useful contact information here.

What is a Product Transfer?

Mortgage providers are changing the rules on eligibility for product transfers, allowing homeowners who are on payment holidays or furlough to switch mortgage products at the end of their term. Mortgage holders on payment holidays wouldn’t usually be eligible for a product transfer, but UK Finance have announced that lenders are amending the rules to help those financially impacted by the epidemic. With one in seven mortgages in the UK utilising the support of payment holidays and many workers furloughed, this will potentially impact on mortgage holders’ ability to afford higher interest rates if they’re on a payment holiday at the end of their fixed-term.

Product transfers, even before coronavirus can help reduce your monthly repayments: by switching to a new deal with the same lender you could see a lower interest rate, saving you money. These transfers are usually unavailable to mortgage holders on payment holidays: however, in the current circumstances this has been changed. Homeowners on payment holidays, or who have been furloughed can now transfer products at the end of their term.

It’s worth talking to a mortgage adviser, such as Clever Mortgages, who can assess your options of a product transfer or a remortgage to another lender, this ensures you get the very best solution.

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/press/press-releases/lenders-grant-1-6-million-payment-holidays-to-mortgage-holders

How does a product transfer work?

A product transfer is when you move from your current mortgage deal to a new one with the same lender, usually at the end of a fixed term. After a fixed-term on your mortgage, where the interest rate stays the same, the interest rate will usually switch to the lenders Standard Variable Rate (SVR) which is often higher than the rate of the fixed-term. The process of transferring products is usually quite simple and it’s unlikely you’ll need a valuation on your property.

Many product transfers don’t require affordability assessments as you’re not borrowing more money, as you might with a remortgage for example. It’s simply a case of switching products, meaning homeowners who have been furloughed as a result of the epidemic could transfer products without having to be subject to the usual affordability assessments, fixing the interest rate and preventing them from paying a potentially costly SVR.

Pros:

  • Not usually subject to a full valuation
  • No legal fees
  • Could reduce monthly repayments by going from your lenders SVR to a fixed-rate mortgage
  • Often a quick process

Cons:

  • You might not be getting the best deal, only what your current lender offers you
  • Other providers could offer a better rate or product, saving you money in the long-term
  • You won’t be able to borrow more money if you wanted to carry out home improvements for example.

Why it might not be the best option?

You might not be getting the best deal or product on the market if you transfer product with your current lender. It may be the case that you could lower your repayments further or have more options by remortgaging with a new lender. Our specialist brokers can search to find the best product or deal for you.  Whether through a product transfer or remortgage, they can give you reliable advice for your situation and could save you money. They’ll be able to compare deals from across the market helping you make an informed decision. Get in touch to find out more!

Insurance payment holidays

At Clever Mortgages we understand that these continue to be worrying times, and you’re doing your best to look after yourself, your family and friends.

Mortgage payment holidays have been available some time and you should only consider a payment holiday if you really need it.  We have further guidance on this here.  If you do need to contact your lender, you can find useful links here.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have issued guidance today (14th May 2020) to insurance providers to help policyholders who are experiencing financial difficulty because of the coronavirus.

It’s great to see that some insurance firms have already offered help to customers, but the measures now cover the wider insurance industry and guidance to offer support such as premium reductions, discounts, waiving fees, and payment deferrals.

The measures come into force 18th May 2020 and insurers may look at amendments to cover to reduce premiums or a payment deferral (holiday) if its in the customers best interests to do so.

The payment deferral will initially be granted for 1 to 3 months and requests can be made up to 18th August 2020, being the 3 month window.  If you need to contact your provider, some useful contacts are here.

As a reminder, if you have protection policies in place be that life, critical illness or income protection insurance, accident, sickness and unemployment cover or buildings and contents insurance.  You can keep yourself and family protected by retaining the valuable cover and requesting a payment deferral.

Life, critical illness and income protection insurance is underwritten and confirmed when you start paying for the policy.  This means the insurer will guarantee the cover you have and will not make any amendments due to a change in your health or any new diseases in the population.  This will not be impacted by taking a payment deferral, but would if you cancelled your cover and then re applied at  a later date.

You can read more about the importance of protection cover here.

If you need to talk through your mortgage or protection options, you can contact us

From everyone at Clever Mortgages team, we’d like to wish everyone and their families all the best and pass on our encouragement to keep strong throughout these unparalleled times.