I am in no doubt that the most crucial factor in buying a house at the current time is getting the mortgage and it is no secret that this is difficult for so many people these days. With experts predicting house prices to continue rising over the next 6 months and lenders still being quite stringent with their borrowing criteria, getting the right mortgage could be an uphill challenge. Here at Sewell & Gardner I sometimes see applicants struggle when they have not had the right advice or taken the right steps to making themselves credible for lenders.
If you are going to be buying a house through us then we want to make sure you are fully prepared and have done everything you need to do to make the purchase as easy as possible and to speed up the process. Our aim is to get you moved into your new home much quicker and I would suggest the following things are worth considering BEFORE you start looking at houses –
Number 1: Seek good, independent advice
This means talking to someone who is not necessarily tied to a bank or building society and, therefore, has access to a much wider range of mortgage products. Finding someone to give you impartial and honest advice is totally worth the initial effort when you start out, rather than just taking the easy route and heading into your bank or building society.
Sewell & Gardner recommend the mortgage expertise of Heron Financial who are based in Church Street, Rickmansworth (just opposite The Feathers public house, so you can grab a drink after your consultation, to mull over your figures!). They are happy to deal with your request over the telephone but ideally they would like to see you in person, so that they can asses your needs on the spot. Sandra Cook from Heron Financial is also based out of our sales office at 2 Station Road, Rickmansworth, so that she is always on-hand and ready to give sound advice to any new applicants, vendors or viewers who call into the office. Please be assured, Sandra is totally independent from Sewell & Gardner and is here solely to be an aid to our customers.
Number 2: Get organised
Believe me, I know about this one, having recently been through this process myself: Where are the payslips, P60s, P11Ds, utility bills, passports kept…?? Make sure that you have all of your paperwork and financial documentation in order and ready to hand over. It is a good idea to have a special file for all of your property search and mortgage paperwork needs. That way you have instant access to it and you won’t need to rummage around looking for things when the broker or lender asks. Make sure you have a good stack of payslips and definitely your last 3 and if you have lost them then ask your employer for duplicates before you start.
Number 3: Get debt free!
You need to limit the opportunities for a lender to pick fault in your situation or financial status. Having been through this myself a few times now I can assure you that getting rid of any large outstanding debts, be it loans or credit cards, will make you more attractive to a lender. Funnily enough though, having a credit card with a small amount on it may help you, so make sure that your payments are kept regular and on-time and it could prove that you are eligible for credit and have a trustworthy payment record. Don’t be tempted to run up loads of credit though!! In addition, staying within your overdraft limit is a good idea, you don’t want any black marks against your name.
Number 4: Try and get a mortgage offered ‘in principle’
This is ideal for first time buyers to show evidence that a lender is ‘in theory’ willing to offer the mortgage (you will still need the mortgage company to assess the property you choose and have a survey & mortgage valuation carried out). Knowing that your finances stack up with the mortgage lender will immediately put you in a better position when negotiating with Sewell & Gardner or any other estate agent at offer stage. Particularly helpful when you are up against a number of other prospective buyers, it may be the one thing that swings the property your way.
Number 5: Get on the electoral role or register
Not many people know this but being on the electoral register helps your credit rating and this is key when trying to secure that mortgage. It will essentially boost your credit rating, and let’s face it, it is your credit rating that determines your chances of getting a mortgage. So if you are back at home with mum and dad after Uni or staying with a friend or relative whilst you look for your next home, get yourself registered and remember it can take quite a few months for the records to be updated, so do it sooner rather than later!
Essentially if you are organised financially and keep on top of any payments, and the multiple numbers work out for you, everything should be fine. However, speaking to an independent adviser is a must in my eyes and it has certainly helped me to secure the best mortgage for my needs recently and in previous years. Therefore, I can thoroughly recommend you to give Sandra from Heron Financial a call in our Rickmansworth Sales Office on 01923 776400 or pop in to see her at 2 Station Road, Rickmansworth – no appointment necessary!
Happy house hunting.
Property Marketing Manager