It really has been an unreal year – in February we agreed terms on our new office and we really were desperate for the space and after a period of getting the works done we are so proud to have been able to occupy these premises in July. Initially the additional space was to be able to be able to have private meeting room space for our clients – little did I realise that we would actually be using this space to allow us all to keep safe and socially distance at work – but we are here and extremely proud to be.
The market took off immediately after lockdown with the pent up frustration of either living at home with parents, the requirement for that extra space allowing home working, the want for a garden or indeed the change of circumstance for some families – we set to work keeping pace with the market as it moved and bringing staff back at a rate of knots – many of the staff here have children, dogs, families and our phones were going crazy without the lenders really offering any level of support in the background at the higher loan to values and obviously having the same issues themselves in terms of staffing their offices in a safe manner.
What it has meant is that lenders are particularly stretched but more than that they have a very serious fear of being left with homes and clients slipping into negative equity at the higher loan to values – what I mean by this is that if for example they lent at the 90% mark to a client whom perhaps was sadly made redundant and due to high levels of redundancy the housing market did dip then those 90% loans could suddenly become 100% loan to value and if repossessions happened they would struggle themselves to recoup their interest or potentially even the money they had lent in the first place – so all in all reasonably understandable, but sadly not helpful.
With this said we have seen some lenders being brave in the 90% space and this money has been gobbled up by brokers across the country but it has become a complete lottery with lenders asking us to book funds from a daily allocation or products being released for a day and then withdrawn again.
As a business we are totally independent, which means we have the WHOLE mortgage market at our disposal – unlike a Whole of market mortgage broker offering – but what does that actually mean – well under FCA regulation you can use the term ‘Whole of Market’ if the products you offer represent the whole of the market and what this means in real terms is as little as ten to twelve lenders! I do find this incredible to be honest because the FCA tell us to be clear, fair and not misleading and that essentially is exactly what this comment is being – a client may feel that they are obtaining a product from the WHOLE market when in truth they simply aren’t!
Not here though, being independent allows us to literally search the UK’s lending institutions to find the cheapest money available to our customers and we do this every time!
It has meant that we were and are able to offer every 90% offering at the time it came up and even had bespoke lenders letting us wholesale out their money at this Loan to value which has been an absolute god send!
I have also worked for many years to try and get to the point where we could offer our clients a fee free service – we never charged very much anyway making a charge of £250 up to £300k loan size but we wanted to offer all of our clients the chance to get the best advice without the fear of being charged for it – the lenders do pay all brokers for the introduction of a client so really it never felt right to me to then charge on top.
I am extremely proud to have been able to deliver this during lockdown and am proud to say we are now FEE FREE for our residential mortgage advice!
In terms of products we are still seeing some incredible interest rates being made available in both the first charge purchase and re-mortgage market but also within the second charge market which is proving extremely popular with people building garden offices or extending their homes to accommodate our new world of work and home life.
The obvious huge saving currently is with stamp duty and there is no doubt that is has given the desired affect to the market by stimulating activity with buyers from all walks of life – there will no doubt be a rush to push completions through before March 2021 but what a brilliant incentive from the government to keep the market stimulated.
Essentially….. the sale is now on!