You may already have found yourself suffering problems because of the credit crunch. Perhaps you have seen a house you wanted to buy and found you couldn’t get a mortgage. Or you may have already been offered a mortgage and had it withdrawn.
On the other hand, you may be worrying about problems you may have if you take a particular course of action. For instance, perhaps you feel the need to remortgage because your payments are getting too high. You may need to move to a larger or smaller property. Or perhaps you are nearing the end of a fixed mortgage deal and are wondering what to do next.
These are very uncertain times, and the one thing you feel in need of is mortgage advice. The good news is that mortgage advice is available to help in all these situations, and more. So how can you get hold of this advice, and how can you be sure it will help?
• First and foremost, look for a “whole of market” mortgage broker. This is vastly preferable to going to the person at your bank or building society who has the job title “mortgage adviser” – this person is there to sell you the products of their own company. The broker can provide impartial mortgage advice and access the best deals from right across the market.
• If you are coming to the end of a fixed-rate mortgage, you may be concerned that your payments are going to escalate. But you don’t have to settle for your lender’s SVR (standard variable rate) which they will put you on automatically if you don’t take action.. You need mortgage advice to help you shop around for a better deal, and also help you get the best possible rates on the product you find. For instance, when a product is selected, ask for two mortgage illustrations, one with an arrangement fee and one without. You may well find that a slightly higher interest rate with no arrangement fee is cheaper overall than a lower rate with a large up-front fee. Also, if you are in a position to make overpayments, try to find products where this is possible as it will shorten the term.
• If you are a first-time buyer, it’s especially important to obtain mortgage advice – and listen to it. The adviser should look very carefully at your financial situation to establish what you can afford. Sometimes first-time buyers have unrealistic expectations of the type of property they can aspire to, and this is often a reason for mortgage problems. There are mortgages available, but if you have no savings, and/or poor credit, your options are more limited. The mortgage adviser can identify with you exactly what your options are.
• On the other hand you may not be a first-time buyer but need to move house. It could be easier for you to move your mortgage because of the equity in your property. Look for mortgage advice to help you shop around – you shouldn’t need to stay with your current provider unless they can offer the best deal.
It’s easy to feel discouraged or apprehensive at a time like this, when the news seems to get gloomier every day. But don’t forget that life has to go on – people still need to buy and sell houses for all sorts of reasons. And there are lots of mortgage lenders out there who need to lend you money in order to stay in business. So if you are perplexed as to what to do, your first step should be to find a broker who can give you expert mortgage advice. This will help you decide on your next step.