About Sussex Mortgages

A Mortgage Broker in Brighton

What drove you to get into this line of work?

Many don’t fully understand how mortgages work or what all the rules are. What drives me to do this is… I like helping people get the right mortgage that suits their lifestyle, because there are so many different kinds of mortgages and so many different rules around them. I’m like a guide, really. I take people by the hand and say, “Hey, let’s find the right mortgage for you, that suits exactly how you need it to be,” which you don’t really get when you go online and you search on the kind of money saving supermarket type websites. They’ll just tell you an interest rate and how much it’s going to cost. There’s so many other subtleties in a mortgage, that I think that’s where a mortgage broker really comes in. They can just sculpt it exactly as you need it to be.

How many lenders are there?

We were part of a big network and we have access to a comprehensive list of lenders. Many of these are very specialised. Sometimes people might have bad credit, or just recently become self-employed, and haven’t got a lot of accounts to show. There are lenders that will lend to people with those circumstances, but they’re as I say very specialised. That’s not the kind of help you would get if you just went into your local bank branch. I spend a lot of my time helping people with quite unusual situations, trying to get the right mortgage for them from a lender that best suits their circumstances.

Should I look for the lowest Interest Rate?

Although looking for the right interest rate is important, it’s not the only thing to consider. You can find an offer of say 1.5% and think it is the cheapest option, but once you add on various fees, it may have been more cost effective to go with a different option altogether. That’s where talking to me would help, I can delve deeper into the details of the offer and provide advice on the right fit for you.

How long does the mortgage application take?

We’re not going to give you hundreds of different choices. Part of the service is to understand your situation, get as much information as I can from you, and then tailor that around you. Typically I would say, “Here’s a two-year fixed and a five-year fixed deal with Barclays, which would  you like.” That’s usually the kind of variance that we offer. “Do you want just a short-term, and then come back into the market in two years time and maybe get a different deal, or do you want long-term certainty, then a five-year fixed deal is often best.” It is possible to go even further. You can get 10-year deals, but the longer you fix for, the higher the interest rate is, so most people usually want the cheapest interest rate. So, we won’t say  “Here are 20 different mortgages, pick one,” because that’s what you get online, I think, when you go and search on the money-saving supermarket type websites. You get just pages and pages of mortgages and you go, “I don’t know which one’s right.”

What if things change in the future?

I think that’s a really good point. You do need to think far ahead, or as far ahead as you can. A lot of the mortgages today are very portable, you can take them with you if you move house. Lots of them offer options to overpay up to 10% every year if you have say an inheritance or a bonus, and you just want to pay your mortgage down a bit. So, a lot of mortgages are a lot more flexible than they used to be years ago.

What happens when a fixed mortgage period comes to an end?

I would hope that the relationship with your mortgage broker is for life. That once we start working with you, we’ll put a note in our diary to contact you in a few months, just before your current deal ends, so that we make sure you’re on the next best deal when your old deal ends. It surprises me when people end up on their lender’s standard variable rate without fixing a new mortgage rate. This means they end up paying double the interest that they could be paying if they were on the fixed rate. Even more so when they have been on this rate for years. With me that will never happen again, because we will know exactly when your mortgage is up, and we will contact you about three months before, and get you a whole new deal sorted out for you, so you never go on your lender’s standard variable rate ever again. The SVR can sometimes be three times, what some of the fixed rates are. I did a mortgage the other day for 0.84%, with Barclays, and Barclays variable rate is I think about 3.74%. So that was four and half times less, that we got him. It is very important to pay attention to your mortgage, which of course, most of us are too busy to do that, so that is part of the service we provide.

Can you shorten the term of the mortgage, if there’s such a massive difference in interest rates?

This is a good point. I think most people think a mortgage is just 25 years, that’s it, it’s a fixed amount. But there’s a lot of variability in there. We can make it short-term, it could be a 10-year mortgage, if you can afford to pay a little bit more. So, hence you’ll pay the mortgage off quicker and obviously save money. You won’t be paying interest for 25 years, only for 10. But also the other way, if this is the first home you have bought, and say you’re in your late 20s or early 30s, then we can go up to a 40-year term, which will make it cheaper in the short-term. But then obviously in some years’ time, when hopefully you’re earning a bit more money, you can change the term and make it shorter. It comes down to the advantages of using a broker. We know the lay of the land, and can lead you through it. Because the difference of a 0.1% here and a 0.2% there over your lifetime, can be tens of thousands of pounds. So it’s a pretty significant thing to get, right, and can cost you a lot of money if you get it wrong. I do get pleasure out of saving money for my clients. I did one recently, which was for what we call an equity release lifetime mortgage. This is for someone over the age of 55, where you can borrow some of the equity in your house, and you don’t have to pay the interest, it just gets added to the loan. And then when you die, they sell it and they get their money. It worked out we saved one client recently about 70,000 pounds if he lived another 15 years, which based on his health profile, was a quite reasonable estimate. Yeah, £70,000 is a lot of money to either pass on in your estate to your children, or for you to spend, on whenever you want. Yeah, it is quite a crucial part of one’s life to get this right.

Do you charge for an initial chat?

Oh no, absolutely not. We don’t charge anything to talk about mortgages. We do charge a fee once you’re sure you want to go ahead with the mortgage, and we’ve got all of your paperwork ready, and we’ve found your mortgage, and we’re ready to apply. Then we charge the £399 fee.  That fee covers the work we do to pull together all the application, the paperwork, and all the documents. Make sure it’s all in the correct format, which is quite a key thing with mortgage companies, they are very fussy that every little tick box and checkbox is in the right place. That’s part of what we do, we make sure everything is exactly correct so that when the application goes in, it’s got a good chance of going through.

What if I’ve been declined a mortgage in the past?

Give us a call, and we’ll have a chat. I’ll have an honest conversation with you. If I think I can get you a mortgage, then I will say so, and if I think I can’t, I won’t waste your time. Very happy to chat about mortgages at any time.

What do I need to do to get myself in a position to be ready to start applying for a mortgage?

We’ve been helping quite a lot of first-time buyers just understand the landscape so that they can get everything right. I mean, sometimes it’s like your credit report, maybe a couple of years ago, you didn’t pay a mobile phone bill for a month or two. It’s like, we’re just going to sort that out. Or, maybe even your date of birth is wrong on Experian or one of those credits sites, and that can mess you up. And it can take a few months sometimes to sort these things out. So sometimes you’ve just got to get your ducks in a row and make sure everything is correct. Give the mortgage company no excuse to reject you. I think the biggest thing for first-time buyers is making sure the deposit is strong, a minimum of 5%, preferably more, like 10% is best. Income is the real challenge, I think for a lot of first-time buyers, they need about 4.5 times their income to make up the rest of the mortgage. So, if you earn £20,000 a year, then lenders will only let you borrow £90,000. So then you would need a bigger deposit. That can be a challenge for a lot of younger borrowers.  Their income is usually lower but, we do have some specialist mortgages for that, where your parents can guarantee part of the mortgage for you. They’re called guarantor mortgages, funnily enough. Again, it’s quite a large landscape of options out there, so it’s probably best just to give me a call, and we can have a chat about it.

Can parents potentially gift a deposit through equity release?

Yes, that is possible. There are products called guarantor mortgages where they can basically put a deposit down and it gets ring-fenced and protected. Just in case you are worried that your children might not use your deposit to buy a house! They can protect it and your children will pay you back the deposit over a five-year period. And you even earn interest on it. I think it’s about 2.5% at the moment. So that’s great news for a lot of parents that they can help their kids, but also protect themselves as well.

Should I use a mortgage calculator?

Yes, mortgage calculators can be helpful but sometimes it just feels like a bunch of numbers. A mortgage really is more than just an interest rate. There’s a whole bunch of other stuff around it as well, and as you say, planning for the future, and creating as much flexibility for yourself – having a strategy. You can set the mortgage up so you pay less in the first few years when you’re just getting going, and then you can pay more later on by changing the mortgage. I think a mortgage is a full-life journey. You can have it all the way right up until you die, these days. There are all sorts of mortgages you can get in later life as well, once you’ve retired, called RIOs, which stands for Retirement Interest Only. That’s where a broker can really help you navigate through that stuff.

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