Get the best out of your BTL mortgage

Many fixed mortgage deals will be approaching the end of their term this October, so it’s a good idea to review your buy-to-let mortgage. With interest rates still at low levels and demand for rental properties increasing around the country, investing in a buy-to-let (BTL) is a popular choice for many. Buy to let basics […]

Turning ‘generation rent’ into ‘generation buy’ – New 95% mortgage scheme to help first-time buyers

Lenders are now offering a government-backed 95% mortgage scheme to help more first-time buyers onto the property ladder. The government is hoping to turn ‘generation rent’ into ‘generation buy’ with the help of a 5% mortgage deposit scheme launched on 19 April. Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, many lenders withdrew low-deposit mortgages. In […]

How do I prove my income for a mortgage?

With Covid-19 rules changing almost daily, extensions to furloughs and local and national lockdowns many are facing money worries this winter. If you’re trying to get a mortgage and want to push your property transaction through before the Stamp Duty holiday ends, how do you prove your income – especially if it has temporarily been […]

Get to know your SVR

As a nation, we aren’t great with our financial acronyms and terminology. Life is busy and our heads are often full of important things to get done to make it through the week, without having to worry whether we know our LTV from our ERC! You’re certainly not alone if you’re feeling financially flustered. Recent […]

What you need to know about self-build mortgages

If you’re thinking of building your own home, financing the project may be high on your list of priorities. Self-build mortgages are different from normal mortgages. They release funds at stages during the building work, rather than in one lump sum when you complete a property purchase. Some lenders also extend a loan to help […]

20 Reasons Why You Should Consider Switching Mortgages RIGHT NOW!

In 2020 we’ll have been in business for 20 years! To celebrate, each month we’re sharing 20 top tips about topics that are closest to our heart. Our aim is always to provide you with the best possible information so you can make informed financial decisions. This month we’re talking about how you can save […]

‘Mortgage prisoners’ may be able to remortgage

You may have heard the term ‘mortgage prisoners’ but not know exactly what it is. Mortgage prisoners are those who are trapped in their current mortgage deal and are unable to remortgage or move. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has estimated around 150,000 borrowers are stuck as ‘mortgage prisoners’. Some of the main reasons are […]

More hope for first time buyers with the Help to Buy Extension

Since it was launched in 2013, the popular Help to Buy scheme has enabled almost 170,000 households to buy homes; who may not otherwise have been able to. An extension to the successful scheme was announced in the Autumn 2018 budget, now making it available until 2023 for first time buyers only ‘to ensure future […]

Borrowing options in your later years

Retirement is an exciting time; the start of a new chapter in life. Whilst we will have worked, saved and prepared for this moment for a long time, many of us will find we don’t quite have enough money to fund all the things we planned to do. Luckily, there are an increasing number of […]

Standard Variable Rate

The average homeowner moving from a specific mortgage deal onto their mortgage provider’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR) could save more than £2,500 a year in interest payments simply by re-mortgaging. SVR is the type of mortgage you’re most likely to revert to at the end of an introductory, fixed rate, discount or tracker deal. The […]

Major changes in taxation for owners of buy to let properties

Major changes in taxation for owners of buy to let properties started being phased in over four years from April 2017. If you own buy to let properties, it’s important to take a look at how these gradual changes may affect you in order to avoid any nasty surprises. Of course, every individual situation is […]

Coming to the end of your interest-free equity loan period

The government launched its Help to Buy equity loan in April 2013 and since then 210,964 properties have been bought under the scheme. First-time buyers and people moving to a new-build home worth up to £600,000 have benefited from the scheme, which provides an equity loan of up to 20% of the cost of the […]

Considerations for first-time buyers

Being a first-time buyer can be daunting. Not only are you about to make one of the biggest financial decisions in your life, but you’ll probably also have family members and friends offering their ideas on the right house, mortgage lender, conveyancer and even removal company for you. We’ve put together some ideas to try […]

Practical Ideas for Downsizers

Getting fed up of everyone coming around to yours for Christmas? Or are you rattling round a large house because your kids have grown up and flown the nest? Or perhaps you’ve found a lovely little property in a part of the country you’ve always wanted to live? Whatever your reason for downsizing we’ve got […]

Why you should get mortgage advice

Taking out a mortgage could be one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll need to make in life, so it’s important to get it right. You could ‘go direct’ to find the right mortgage for your circumstances, as long as you’re prepared to spend time and effort scouring a very competitive market for the lender […]

My journey as a first-time buyer

Being a First Time Buyer was daunting to start with, but once I got in touch with an Openwork Adviser, they settled all my nerves and made the process of buying a place to call home incredibly easy. The big decision Before I could look at houses and house prices, I needed to know what […]

Need help to buy?

Do you aspire to own a new-build home? Are you looking to move home, but lack sufficient funds to afford the repayments on a low-deposit mortgage? You may find it easier to join, or move up the property ladder, thanks to the government-backed Help to Buy scheme. There are several schemes currently: Shared Ownership This […]

Do you have a repayment plan for your mortgage in place?

Thousands of people with interest-only mortgages expiring this year do not have a repayment plan – putting their homes at serious risk of repossession.  An estimated 81,400 mortgages will come to an end in 2019, totalling around £9.2bn in value, according to the Financial Conduct Authority. A further 82,100 mortgages worth £9.7bn will mature in 2020. […]

Reviewing your mortgage deal could save you money

On Thursday 2 August 2018 the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) raised interest rates by 0.25 from 0.50% to 0.75%. It’s important to regularly review your mortgage, as it can often make sense to transfer to a new deal – or even a different lender. Your decision to transfer will of course depend […]

What’s the point of a property survey?

You’re not bound by law to have a survey done on a property you’re buying, but while it may feel like an unnecessary expense given all the other costs involved in home-buying, it could actually save money and stress in the longer-term. A survey is basically a health check on a property. If the property […]

Is your Help to Buy deal ending?

Since its launch in April 2013 more than 145,000 properties have been bought using the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme. Five years on and the interest-free element of the loan is due to end, with homeowners potentially facing expensive fees. The Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme was aimed at helping more first-time buyers […]

Changing Rooms

When it comes to selling your house first impressions count, and that starts with kerbside appeal. Start with free Before spending any money, have a look around your property to see what improvements you can make that won’t cost a penny. If you have a garden, plants, or hedges, make sure they’re mown/clipped, and any […]

Need help to buy?

2018 began with a surprising pick-up in house price growth, up 0.6% month-on-month with January seeing a ten-month high increase of 3.2 percent. Even with the wider economy and Brexit developments, the housing market activity is only expected to slow a modest amount. This is great news for those already enjoying the benefits of home-ownership, […]

Is now the right time to fix?

November 2017 saw the Bank of England raise interest rates for the first time in a decade, from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent, causing a number of lenders to increase their mortgage rates. The Bank of England has indicated there could be further rate rises, so if you’re on a Standard Variable Rate […]

Going, going, gone to the auction!

If you think property auctions are only for professional property developers or investors think again. They can be a great place to pick up a family home. In 2017, some £3,190 million worth of UK residential property was sold at auction, accounting for 21,024 properties. Even though this is just a drop in the ocean […]

Major changes in taxation for owners of buy to let properties

Major changes in taxation for owners of buy to let properties are being phased in over the four years starting April 2017. If you own buy to let properties, it’s important to take a look at how these gradual changes may affect you over the next few years in order to avoid any nasty surprises. […]

Freehold or Leasehold – the ins and outs

When buying a property, you can do so either on a leasehold or freehold basis and there are important differences to be aware of before you sign on the dotted line. With a leasehold property you own the property and its land for a fixed period, depending on the agreement you have with the landlord. […]

Interest Rate Rise

In 2007 Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union, Lewis Hamilton got his first drive in Formula 1 partnering with Fernando Alonso at McLaren, the final book in the Harry Potter series was published and England played their first match at the new Wembley Stadium. It was also the year in which the Bank of […]

How To Choose a Good Conveyancer

Conveyancing is an important part of the home buying process, and it’s important to note it’s required when both buying and selling a property. So, what should you consider when choosing a property solicitor to carry out your conveyancing? It’s important to use a qualified property solicitor who’ll be able to take care of a […]

Thinking of Fixing Your Mortgage?

If you think an increase in your mortgage repayments could have a negative impact on your lifestyle or financial wellbeing, you may want to consider fixing your mortgage. With a fixed rate mortgage, your payments are set at a certain level for an agreed period, regardless of whether your lender changes its Standard Variable Rate […]

The Ninth Largest Lender

34% of first-time buyers relied on their parents for financial help, making the bank of mum and dad’, the equivalent of the UK’s ninth largest lender in 2017. If you’re trying to get on the housing ladder, you’ll know how hard it can be: The average price of a first home is over £200,000 in […]

Buy to Let Mortgage Market Changes

The UK’s Buy to Let market is in a state of flux, with an extra 3% Stamp Duty on the purchase of additional properties and changes to the way a landlord’s income is taxed. Landlords used to be able to deduct all finance costs from their rental income, with net profits taxed at their marginal […]

The Value of Mortgage Advice

With so many mortgage lenders offering their products on the high street and online, it can be tempting to cut out the middleman and ‘go direct’. When you’re making such a huge financial commitment, the guidance you can get from a qualified mortgage adviser can be invaluable. Here are five reasons we can make a […]

First-Time Savers

The news is always full of stats about first-time buyers In 2016 there were an estimated 335,750 first-time buyers – the highest figure since 359,900 in 2007 The average first-time deposit has more than doubled since 2007 to more than £32,000 • the average price of a first home broke through the £200,000 barrier for […]

The Downside of Downsizing

The decision to sell up and move to a smaller property could come as a result of children flying the nest, the need to free up cash, or both. Whatever the reason, there are costs to downsizing that are important to know about before you make the move. The ‘hidden’ fees Research from online estate […]

Tax changes impacting Buy to Let landlords

The way landlords can claim tax relief on their mortgage finance costs has changed. Up until 5 April 2017, landlords could deduct mortgage interest from their rental income before calculating how much tax they   should pay. Now, however, tax relief on Buy to Let mortgage interest will gradually be reduced. The restrictions will be phased […]

The Value of Mortgage Advice

With so many mortgage lenders offering their products on the high street and online, it can be tempting to cut out the middleman and ‘go direct’. But when you’re making such a huge financial commitment, the guidance you can get from a qualified mortgage adviser can be invaluable. Here are five ways we can make […]

Achieving Your Financial Goals

We lead complex lives in an increasingly complex world. As your financial adviser we can help you better understand your financial challenges, goals and needs, and help you find appropriate ways to meet them. Even a seemingly straightforward financial goal can involve numerous decisions and a lot of time and effort getting it right. Whether […]

What Makes a Good Buy to Let Investment?

With property prices continuing to rise, Buy to Let can be an attractive way to invest. But whether buying your first Buy to Let property, or adding to your portfolio, it’s important to consider what’s involved. Being a landlord As well as the obvious duties of finding tenants and making sure they pay their rent […]

Buying for the first time?

For first-time buyers, getting onto the property ladder may seem a daunting process, but there’s more help available than you might think. With supply and demand at an imbalance, the average UK house price has been pushed beyond the reach of many first-time buyers. August data from Land Registry shows an annual price increase of […]

Britain’s Happiest Places

Leigh-on-Sea tops Rightmove’s Happy at Home Index, with Harrogate dropping to third. Rightmove’s annual study asks 24,000 people across England, Wales and Scotland to rank where they live against 12 factors relating to their local area. The factors range from neighbourliness and how much there is to do in the area, to how safe people […]

What’s your repayment plan?

Thousands of people with interest-only mortgages expiring this year do not have a repayment plan, putting their homes at serious risk of repossession. 40,000 interest-only mortgages are set to mature in 2016, but experts suggest that only half of these homeowners have the capital in place to repay the loan. And according to the charity […]

Pack Up Your Troubles

Moving home can be stressful, especially if you’re new to the property ladder. But, by following a few simple tips, you can help ensure your move goes as smoothly as possible. Seek mortgage advice Try and get a mortgage offer in place before you start the buying process. It can be tempting to cut out […]

Are you considering remortgaging?

With continuing low interest rates, you may be considering remortgaging to save money. Even if your mortgage provider has recently reduced its Standard Variable Rate (SVR), moving to a new mortgage deal could save you money. But before you’re tempted by an attractive introductory rate, it’s worth considering the bigger picture. Should I stay or […]

Bank of Mum and Dad

With rising house prices outpacing income an increasing number of young people will borrow from parents and family in order to get onto the property ladder. The 10th largest mortgage lender The combined amount which parents and grandparents will be prepared to gift or loan their children to help them buy their first home is […]

Have you found your forever home?

When you think about your dream home – the one you can see yourself growing old in – what do you imagine it looks like? A modern architectural masterpiece built of glass and metal, or something more old-fashioned and cosy? If you asked your friends and family what their ideal ‘forever’ home looks like they […]

Interest-Only Mortgages

Thousands of people with interest-only mortgages expiring this year do not have a repayment plan – putting their homes at serious risk of repossession. 40,000 interest-only mortgages are set to mature in 2016, but experts suggest that only half of these homeowners have the capital in place to repay the loan. And according to the […]

The Accidental Landlord

European legislation introduced in March 2016 created a new category of Buy to Let lending: Consumer Buy to Let. Its principal aim is to distinguish borrowers who become landlords by accident and therefore require consumer protection, from experienced landlords operating Buy to Let as a business. Unlike an investment Buy to Let, where the landlord […]

European Legislation Hits The UK Mortgage

European legislation hits the UK mortgage market Back in March 2011 the European Commission proposed a new directive on credit agreements for consumers secured on property, referred to as the European Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD). The new rules came into force on 21 March 2016, but what do they mean for you? Protecting consumers MCD […]

Taxation Changes Impacting Buy To Let Landlords

In last year’s Summer Budget, George Osborne announced changes to the way landlords can claim tax relief on their mortgage finance costs. In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor then announced proposed changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax on properties purchased for Buy to Let purposes. Tax relief on interest costs Landlords can currently deduct mortgage […]

1.75m Homeowners Unprepared For Mortgage Increase

The Bank of England (BoE) last increased the base rate in July 2007 and interest rates hit rock bottom in March 2009. This has meant over 1.75 million UK homeowners have never faced a rise in the BoE base rate. Mortgage payments around 18% of income During 2014 these first time buyers were spending, on […]

Raise Money: Downsize To A Smaller Property

Your current home may well be the place where some of your happiest memories were created. Realistically, however, downsizing may be an excellent way of financing many more. Here are some points you should consider on the topic. Why should I downsize my home? Home may be where the heart is, but property has a […]

Why Are Mortgage Approvals At 6 Month High

The Mortgage Market Review, which took effect in 2014, imposed “affordability criteria” on lenders. In simple terms it aimed to rein in high-risk mortgages. Like any change it triggered speculation about its potential effects. Almost a year later, mortgage approvals remain high, while house prices are currently holding fairly steady. So what does this […]

So You’ve Found The House, How Soon Can You Move In?

While having an offer on a house accepted may be a cause for celebration, it is actually a fairly early point in the procedure for buying a property. Here is a summary of the steps to complete before you pick up your keys. Organize a Solicitor You may be able to find a solicitor before […]

Mortgage Options for Pensioners

The concept of making mortgage payments after retirement age may be a new reality for some people. When looking at this situation, be aware that you can always get advice from a professional financial adviser to help you find the solution that’s right for you. Decide Whether You Are Ready to Downsize There was a […]

How to Repay Your Mortgage Early

Given that a mortgage is usually a long-term commitment, sometimes a significant one, paying it off can be a major financial (and personal) milestone.  For some people it may even be worth considering taking steps to repay a mortgage early. The practicalities of overpaying a mortgage There are essentially two parts to a mortgage.  The […]

What First Time Buyers Need to Know

Buying your first home can be an experience you’ll never forget.  While the actual process of house-buying only starts once you have found a property that you might wish to call home, planning ahead can give you a huge advantage when it comes to getting the home you really want.  In particular it is hard […]

Remortgaging Benefits and Pitfalls

According to a survey carried out by Ipsos Mori for Panorama, 31% of people who rent or have a mortgage find that payments take up more than a third of their total household income.  Even if your mortgage payments are below this level, if they are a significant part of your budget then getting the […]

Offset Mortgages

Buying a home is generally one of life’s most significant events, even for those who have been through the process before.  This being so, getting the right mortgage can have a major impact on the family finance. What Kinds of Mortgage Are Available? With a repayment mortgage, the monthly payment covers both the capital sum […]

Is Now The Time To Review Your Mortgage?

While the favourite topic of conversation in the UK may be the weather, the housing market must certainly be hot on its heels.  Whether it’s house prices, the level of deposit needed, or the ins and outs of mortgages; there’s always something to discuss.  Right now all eyes are on the residential-mortgage-lending market and those […]