Kevin Boyd from Sussex Mortgages takes time to tell us what it is like to be a Mortgage Broker in Sussex.


What is the role of a mortgage broker? What do you actually do for people?

I think the term mortgage adviser is probably a more accurate description. What a Mortgage Adviser will do is understand your situation first of all. They will listen to you and figure out what is the best route through this jungle of mortgage lenders. I can access about 50 different lenders. Each one has got its own quirks, like characters in a play. They are all a bit different, some like some things and some like another.

You can spend an awful lot of time contacting banks and mortgage companies and being rejected just on one very small thing that’s different about you. That’s the advantage of using a mortgage adviser. We know a lot of those quirks. For example, Santander won’t take anybody who’s had the slightest debt problem, even if it’s like a £50 Vodafone bill that you didn’t pay four years ago. They just won’t take it. So if you have any blip in your credit history I wouldn’t waste your time with Santander. I would go to another lender. So that’s part of what we can provide, we are, your guide through the forest of mortgage lenders.

Is it a good idea to use a Mortgage Broker?

We understand the landscape. It’s a bit like going on a foreign holiday to a country you’ve never been to and you hire a local guide to show you around the market and that is what we do. We know the market really well. We know what lenders like what and what they don’t  like and that saves you an awful lot of time and a lot of heartache as well, because I think being turned down by a bank for a mortgage can be very disheartening.

I’m not saying I can get everybody a mortgage, but nearly everybody who does contact me. I find a way through the process and help them.

Is it just high street banks that lend mortgages?

There are a vast range of lenders out there, some you may never have heard of. We deal with all the main lenders that, you know, of: Barclays, Nationwide and Santander as examples. But we also have specialist lenders who will deal with more unusual situations. Such as people with bad credit, self employed, even people who have been declared bankrupt. When you’re dealing with a specialist lender, they may charge a little bit more money for what they do, but it’s better to pay a slightly higher interest rate than not get a mortgage at all.

How do I choose a mortgage broker?

I think that’s a great question. I mean, we’re a small company. There are two of us here, but we’re part of a large network. So we have access to all the lenders and we get special deals. We also have all of the backup, legal protection and access to all the tools we need being part of a large network. So we combine the big with the small. There are mortgage brokers out there that are part of bigger companies and you ring up and you’re going to get a different person each time you call.

So you get a much more personal relationship than you will with a larger firm where, you know, you ring up a week later and they don’t know who you are and what your case is. Many things can go wrong because of that. A lack of joined up thinking. Whereas I follow your case right from the first phone call all the way through to completion of the mortgage. So it is a more tailored service that you get.

When should I seek mortgage advice? How early in the process would you recommend talking to someone about your situation if you're planning to to purchase or move or remortgage?

I think as soon as possible really. The sooner you understand what’s possible, then you know what kind of property to be looking at, what your options are, how much you can afford. 

Some people do go in and they offer on a property and then try to get a mortgage. That’s not always the best way of doing it because you might not be able to borrow as much as you thought. Also, a lot of estate agents will require that you have gone through what they call a ‘decision in principle’ or ‘an agreement in principle’. So they want a certificate to say you can borrow the amount required.

When you are thinking initially ”Can I afford a place?”, “What are my options?”, that’s the time to speak to a mortgage adviser.

What other services does a mortgage adviser provide?

If you’ve suddenly just borrowed several hundred thousand pounds from a bank you need to protect yourself. What happens if something goes wrong? I think this year has shown all of us that, suddenly the world can pivot on a dime. Having some life insurance in place in case you die, means the mortgage gets paid off and your family can continue to live in their home.

Income protection is a great policy as well. What if you do lose your job suddenly and you don’t have any income? How are you going to pay that mortgage?

Critical Illness cover these days is becoming more and more important. There are some very good policies around that can protect your children for just a few pounds a month that will provide an income for you if they get sick and you have to take time off work, for say six months, to look after them. So there’s a lot of options available to protect you from things going wrong.

It’s not as expensive as you might think. We have one policy with an insurance company that is only £15 per month for a £100,000 of life insurance and covers your children if they get sick, that’s very good value for peace of mind.

What do you enjoy about living locally? Can you tell us a little bit about Brighton?

I think Brighton is a very unique town on the south coast. It’s always been a bit unusual. It’s a very creative town. There’s lots of artists here. There’s a lot of culture. We have the Brighton Festival in May every year, which is the second biggest festival in the country next to the Edinburgh Festival. 

Of course, we have the seafront. So that’s wonderful in the summer months. We must have several hundred cafes by now. So if you like cafes, this is a town for you.

It’s very easy to get around and you can easily walk and cycle around the centre of town and they are always improving the cycling in and around Brighton. It’s a very eco-friendly town

Brighton also has a very large student population. It’s got two universities here, Sussex University and Brighton University. There’s lots of students, so it’s very vibrant with lots of colour. Plenty of opportunities if you’re looking to invest in properties.