We caught up with local mortgage expert Ben Leach from Vision Money to get the lowdown on the mortgage market and what might be happening with the rates. Here’s what Ben had to say…
What is the mortgage market like at the moment?
It’s pretty difficult currently but the rates have come down a little from where they were previously and appear to be stabilising and settling. The mortgage lenders are still lending but they have a tighter approach when it comes to affordability. The rates are not actually that bad but in comparison to the rates we’ve had recently but they are higher than previous years historically. You can currently secure a rate of between 4-4.5%. They are currently starting to rise again but will come back down again so I would say now is a good time to be getting a mortgage deal while we have these rates.
Does it help to arrange your mortgage through a broker or is it best to simply do the groundwork yourself?
Always go through a broker. Obviously I’m going to say that but in the current climate, finding the right rate is harder than ever. A broker can help you navigate affordability. There seems to be disparity between different lenders, we know who the best lenders are and where the best rates can be found and have access to deals that general public are unlikely to get.
How much does it cost to use a mortgage broker?
We charge £295 payable on completion, but this is only paid if the mortgage goes ahead so if for any reason we don’t find you the right deal or you change your mind, you don’t pay a thing. The fees covers all of the work – the pre-application knowledge, explaining their affordability, giving them an idea of the cost, drawing up the agreement in principle and processing the application. We are also on hand to deal with their application on their behalf and help with anything they might need. We are available at every stage throughout the experience.
What kind of deal is best to get right now?
When the rates were really high, we were recommending trackers with no tie-in but now the fixed rates are looking more attractive. I would currently advise a 2-year fixed deal at a good rate then in 2 years the rates should start to improve even further. Previously I would recommend a 5-year deal as the rates were better but now the gap has closed between the 2 and the 5 year, it’s more beneficial to opt for 2 so that you have flexibility for when the rates improve in the next couple of years.
How do you work with estate agents?
I work with estate agents to give them confidence in their buyer being able to afford the house – they know that we have done due diligence and that our clients are approved by us personally with all the paperwork prepared in advance – they are ready for purchase. We liaise with the agents all the way through, maintaining regular communication. This is what is particularly good about working with Heather & Lay as we get to speak to a designated sales progressor. Tracey is always efficient and effective at chasing and updating, she’s one of the best in the business!
What is a good rate right now? What should we be looking for?
Anything below 4.5% is a good rate but these are few and far between. Buying to let is tricky because stress testing is harder for this area. My advice would be to get a good deposit and make sure you have a good credit score and importantly, ensure you have good affordability. Are the monthly payments manageable? Mortgage lenders are very hot on this so it’s good to have a handle on it before you apply – we can help with this..
What are your thoughts on what is happening, both in the mortgage market and the property industry, from your perspective?
I think right now a lot of people are holding back, waiting to see what will happen. I believe the mortgage rates will go up but then will start to come back down next year. I think the property market will stagnate, which we have already begun to see but there will always be people wanting to move, so although it might be at a slower pace than previously, houses will always sell – they are essential!
If people want to discuss their mortgage needs and get your assistance and advice, is it you they speak with?
Yes, myself or a member of my team. I have Ronan, Andy and Darren alongside me working as mortgage brokers, Sophie working on mortgage applications, Lisa on follow-up and finance and Chrissy working on administration and social media.
What advice would you give to someone looking to buy a house this year?
Get your finances in order and always make sure you’ve got the best broker and estate agent on your side and listen to their advice. We’ve been doing this a really long time and we know how to find the deals and get you the best rate possible. And likewise, your agent is there to help you find the perfect property. With all of us working together you’ll be able to get a property for the right price with the paperwork in place to achieve it.
Thank you so much Ben for taking the time to talk to us. What an interesting conversation and we agree, it really helps to have a brilliant mortgage broker on your side. We are proud to have a long-standing relationship with the team at Vision Money and can recommend them for getting a great mortgage deal. For further information on Vision Money, visit www.visionmoney.co.uk or www.instagram.com/visionmoney.co.uk