How does Equity work?

The concept of equity is quite simple and in practice is a great way to see a return from an investment.

Whether you are purchasing a family home or a buy to let property for rental purposes, the location and aesthetics of the property are crucial for its potential.   

E.g

2016
Purchase Price £220,000 
Mortgage Attained £198,000 (10% Deposit)
4 Bed property bought just outside of the M25 
Walking distance from station
Local supermarkets not far
Good school catchment area
En-suite Bathroom

2020
The same house sells for £300,000
The Mortgage balance has been decreasing repayment after repayment for the last 4 year
Mortgage Balance (guesstimate) £188,000 (Dependent on interest rate)

This means that on the property you bought for £220,000 in 2016, you have made £80,000 as the value has gone up by this much across the 4 years.

When you sell the property for £300,000 you will clear the remaining Mortgage balance of £188,000 and be left with £112,000

You will then have other fees like solicitor fees, capital gains tax (on the *gain, not the sale price) and if you sold your property before the fee free period on the Mortgage product you are locked in to, you may have to pay an exit fee.

*The gain here is £80,000

All in all, worse case scenario you are left with £90,000. That is a profit of £68,000 when you take away the £22,000 deposit you initial invested for the property.

This is why many people buy properties well outside of London, fix them up and then sell them on. The money that can be made is mind blowing. However, that is only possible if you get it right!

Next week I will be speaking about what questions to ask and what to look out for when you go for a house viewing.

The Enemy: Japanese Knotweed

What is Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is a weed that spreads rapidly. In winter the plant dies back to ground level but by early summer the bamboo-like stems emerge from rhizomes deep underground to shoot to over 7ft, suppressing all other plant growth.

Why having Japanese Knotweed at a property is a no go…

It’s pretty self explanatory, but from a Mortgage perspective, most surveyors will note Japanese Knotweed as a negative find at a property and will deem a property unsuitable for Mortgage purposes due to the aggressiveness of it. However other surveyors will note Japanese Knotweed as a problem and insist that it is seen to and removed by a specialist before giving the property a value.

Loopholes

Not all home owners know that their property has Japanese Knotweed, which means potential buyers won’t know either and if not noticed when a survey is done on the property, good news, you’ve got away with it. However when you decide to move on and the weed has grown out of control and is noticeable, you may find it very costly and difficult to get the property off of your hands.

It’s not a good idea to hide the presence of knotweed

Whilst it may make the sale easier, the TA6 form now has a specific question about knotweed.  Concealing the presence of knotweed could prove to be an expensive mistake, as the buyer may have a case for misrepresentation and against the seller and report the acting agent to the authorities for breach of CPR regulations. 

What can be done… 

Removal

  1. The two main knotweed removal methods are herbicide treatment and physical removal. 
  • Herbicide Treatment is lower in cost but takes at least one growing season, often more. It’s the least disruptive method, but not suitable where there are plans that result in substantial disturbance of the the ground e.g. construction or landscaping works.
  • Physical Removal such as Environet’s Resi-dig-out™. This eco-innovative removal method can be completed any time of the year, and takes a matter of days. 

2. Don’t buy that property if Japanese Knotweed is present. Do your due diligence.

Mortgage Payment Holidays: What happens after the 3 months are up…

Mortgage Payment Holidays – You do not get to miss 3 months worth of Mortgage Payments and then continue with your usual payments there after. 

The Mortgage payments that you miss during the holiday period are added to the overall balance of your Mortgage. 

Once the holiday period is over, your new monthly Mortgage payments are higher as your Mortgage balance would have increased due to the 3 months of missed payments being added. 

Your new monthly payments will increase by £10 – £100 or so. This is dependent on your current monthly payment amounts, current interest rate and overall outstanding mortgage balance. 

Find out the facts. Know how much your monthly payments will increase by before committing to a Mortgage payment Holiday… 

The 3 month break is great, especially if you’ve lost your job, have been placed on furlough or are going through financial difficulty, however once that time has passed, your monthly outgoings will increase and won’t be what they once were. 

Some people have panicked and taken a Mortgage holiday because the option is there, it was all over the news and they thought, “why not?”. However in 3 months time, these people will be less pleased when their monthly payments increase by £80 and disrupt their monthly outgoings. 

During the holiday period, save as much as you can so that you are prepared for any further rainy days.

Alternatively, if you can, plough on, cut back a little and avoid the payment holiday all together. 

Financial Hack: Turn £100 in to £21,600 – Your 18 Year Old dependent will thank you!

The most daunting thing is the creation of life and the responsibility to lead, teach and grow the little human you’ve brought in to the world. 

They never chose to be here. That was down to us and our significant other. Now that they are here, we have to ensure that we set them up for success and entrench some core values. 

Many people are broken and make warped adult decisions due to a fragile childhood, non existent good examples and lack of nurturing. 

Financial Hack: Turn £100 in to £21,600

As 2 parents, you can both individually set aside £50 a month for your child – Or £100 as a single parent.

Over 12 months this £100 equates to £1,200

Over 18 years this £100 a month totals to £21,600

Once your child hits their 18th birthday they’ve already been given a head start. You can give them these funds, but also teach them financial intelligence. They can continue what you started 18 years ago and build on the funds (£100 per month), purchase a car or invest in their education. 

The options are limitless, but the important thing is that you’ve led the way, given them a booster and your dependent will most definitely thank you for this!

Does having bad credit mean that I can’t get a Mortgage to assist in the purchase of a property?

No.

Great news. Bad credit doesn’t mean that you can’t obtain a mortgage, nor does it mean that you won’t be accepted for a loan or credit card. 

However, what it does mean is that you will be hit by higher interest rates and less favourable products. 

What is a product and an interest rate?

Interest rate – this is the rate a bank or other lender charges to borrow its money. The current Bank of England base rate is 0.75%

The Bank of England base rate is the UK’s most influential interest rate and its official borrowing rate. It is currently 0.75% – a historically low figure. The base rate impacts all other interest rates. When the rate is low, it costs you less to borrow money, however lenders are free to make their rates as high or low (no lower than 0.75% otherwise they will not make profit – just break even) as they see fit.

Product – lenders bundle their interest rates and incentives in to something called a product. For example a product for a first time buyer with Halifax could mean a 1.68% interest rate over a 2 year fixed period with a 2% early repayment charge and £500 cash back to assist with legal fees. Products vary and can be packaged with multiple or no incentives.

Expanding on the above example, this means that over the 2 year fixed period, your monthly payments will reflect the 1.68% interest rate. If you decide to Remortgage or sell your property earlier than when the 2 year fixed period ends, you will have to pay a 1%+ fee (% depends on the terms) of your remaining mortgage to do so. 

Interest Rates & Products – These are things you need to take in to consideration. Some people would rather go with a lender that has a product with a slightly higher interest rate which allows them to exit the deal early without a penalty. 

These kind of products are good for those that are Remortgaging due to their current product expiring, but wanting to keep their options open and not be fixed in to a lengthy deal as they have the intentions of selling/moving in the near future – within the year or so. 

Does having bad credit mean that I can’t get a Mortgage to assist in the purchase of a property?

No.

Having good credit means that your options are limitless. You can get favourable deals from high street lenders with low interest rates and great package deals.

Having bad credit, defaults and missed payments means your options are limited. You are limited to specialist lenders who lend to people with a less favourable credit file. Due to this, the interest rates are high, come with a product fee and little, but mostly, no incentives. An example of this kind of Lender is Pepper Money.

Someone with “bad credit” will be offered a Mortgage with a 5% interest rate at a specialist lender opposed to someone with “good credit” who has more options and can get a Mortgage from a high street lender with an interest rate as low as 1.42%.

Why do specialist lenders have such high interest rates?

This is because they’re offering something that you can’t get anywhere else – they can take advantage. Having “Bad credit”, you are also a liability. How do they know you are going to pay? How do they know that you aren’t going to continue with the same behaviour pattern seen on your credit file? Interest rates that are 3x higher than their high street competitors mean that a specialist lender reclaims like for like funds 3x quicker than said high street lender. Remember the Bank of Englands base rate is 0.75%. Most lenders have accounts with the Bank of England so benefit from a low base rate whilst also benefiting from the profits of a high interest rate when lending to others.

Bad Credit: County Court Judgement, missed payment, default, settlement of unpaid debt within the last 6 years etc.

Good Credit: Active credit card with less than 20% limit in use, none of the above.

Exception: Sometimes a high street lender will want an explanation for a negative marker on your credit file.

For example, “Why did Mr X miss a payment on his mobile phone bill 2 years ago twice?”

Reasonable explanation would be: There was confusion with the Direct Debit dates and account the funds should be retrieved from. This was resolved with the mobile phone company and won’t happen again.

Be responsible with your credit. Your future house buying self will thank you.

My property has been valued at £0 because of Cladding – HELP!

Stay away from flats with ACM material and/or flammable cladding.

Think with me: If you are having difficulty obtaining a Mortgage to buy it, you will have difficulty Remortgaging and selling it!

You can usually spot the flats that may cause you issues with a naked eye. 

A flat with cladding

If the surveyor that goes round to value your property is cautious of the material on the exterior of the building, this hesitance alone causes a delay for you. 

This delay is caused as you will be required to prove that the material on the exterior of the flat is not flammable. This is in the form of a fire report that the Estate Agent, Managing Agent or vendor should have. 

Valuers have become increasingly concerned, because Advice Note 14 means the owner has to say the building’s material is fully safe, which is very difficult to do while the building waits for inspection results and while everyone waits for the government’s cladding test outcomes.

Surveyors and mortgage lenders are requiring building owners to demonstrate that cladding meets Advice Note 14’s criteria. If they can’t, the properties are valued at zero.

Most building owners cannot immediately provide these assurances, so they are having to get trained professional engineers to carry out lengthy and costly checks, holding up sales, purchases and Remortgages.

If you’re currently suffering this issue as a Home Owner Remortgaging your property, then the best person to speak to regarding this kind of report is the leaseholder/the managing agent. If the building hasn’t undergone a fire and risk assessment since the Grenfell tragedy, then this is probably currently in the works and you will not be able to do much until you have the results of this report back.

Grenfell Tower

It is extremely inconvenient and disheartening, however you have to understand that there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of buildings nationwide that have to adhere to this new advice note since the multiple lives lost in the Grenfell fire due to the deadly flammable materials used on the block of flats. 

As you can imagine, a surveyor is not going to deem your property as suitable security for a Mortgage if they cannot prove that it adheres to relevant legal requirements. 

Advice to those wanting to Remortgage a property with cladding issues Stay with your current lender and do a rate switch. This is simple, you choose a new product from their latest Mortgage product range and avoid going on the variable rate. A valuation is not required for this. You can make this kind of switch in branch, over the phone and sometimes online.

Advice for those wanting to Buy a property with cladding issues
Avoid avoid avoid. Don’t do it. Walk away. 

Do HMO and Buy-To-Let properties require different Mortgages? | Q&A Series

Reading Time: 2 mins

Yes. 

Whether you go directly to a Bank or use a Mortgage Brokers, something many Buy-to-Let property owners will find challenging is having a HMO.

What is a HMO?

A Household in multiple occupation. 

This means that a property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from 1 ‘household’ (for example a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. It’s sometimes called a ‘house share’. … You must have a licence if you’re renting out a large HMO in England or Wales.

REMORTGAGE

Before your Mortgage Broker approaches or advises that you submit an application with a particular lender, it is important that you understand that lenders policy. This is because you could go through the credit search, application process and find out that your application is rejected once the valuation is carried out. This would be down to the fact that the surveyor has observed that your property isn’t a conventional BTL property, but a HMO.

PURCHASE

Ideally you would of applied to your local council for a HMO licence during the negotiation/Purchase Offer stage as the licence can take a while to come through. 

Featured Image source: Google

What is the difference between using a Mortgage Broker vs. Going direct to the Bank? | Q&A Series

fullsizeoutput_9

Reading Time: 7mins

In 2015 my mother gave me some great advice. She knew that I had the desire to get my foot on the property ladder and as I had no idea where to start, she advised me to go to the Bank with my then fiancé and see what we were “worth”.

As my fiancé worked for HSBC at the time, we booked an appointment with a Mortgage Advisor, disclosed our salaries, savings, commitments etc and based on our situation she gave us a flat maximum amount that we’d be able to borrow.

This meant that regardless of what property we found, that’s the maximum Mortgage amount that we qualified for.

I can’t remember what that max lend was, but let’s just say for arguments sake that it was £300,000. This means that even if there were mortgage deals at HSBC where you could get a 90% Mortgage with a 10% deposit and the property we sought after was £450,00, we would have to cough up £150,000 and not the simple 10% deposit of £45,000 that the product suggests. This is due to what we were “worth” and the maximum HSBC was happy to lend to us based on our salaries, credit score etc.

I hope this makes sense.

Here’s where Mortgage Brokers come in to play…

There are numerous High Street Lenders, and I suppose my finance and I could of gone up and down the streets from various bank to the next getting a rough idea of what they’d lend us, but this is extremely tedious and time consuming.

Our next point of contact was a Mortgage Broker which my finance found on Google – Alexander Hall.

We got in touch with a Mortgage Broker who was amazing! He offered an amazing service and until this day, I still remember his name.

The Mortgage Broker took more or less the same information we provided to HSBC and sourced which lender would give us what we were looking for.

“Source” the phrase used to describe the action taken on a system similar to Google for lenders. Most lenders are on this system and the great thing is that some Mortgage Brokers get exclusive rates and deals from lenders. For example the lowest rate at TSB if you were to walk in to a High Street Bank could be say 2.04% however with a broker, they have access to exclusive interest rates like 1.69% for TSB opposed to the 2.04% High Street rate. That’s a huge difference!

To cut a long story short, the Broker found us a lender that was willing to lend us way more than HSBC and we were able to then look for an affordable property, make an Offer and secure a Mortgage.

Round up.

The 3 Major difference between a High Street lender and a Mortgage Broker are:

1. Time

High Street Lender

They tend to have a 2 week wait for you to be able to secure an appointment with a Mortgage Advisor.

Application to Mortgage Offer can take anything from 1 Month – 6 Months.

Broker

For many no appointment is needed. You can get in touch with your Mortgage Broker over the phone/on email with the option to book in a face to face meeting if that’s your preference. However some brokers require face to face interaction like Capricorn Financial and Alexander Hall due to verification etc.

You also have the option to do everything online and through a chat window. Convenient and no need for any face to face interaction or time consuming meetings. Brokerages like Habito and Mojo operate in this kind of manner.

Application to Offer can take anything from 3 working days to 21 days. (I’ve seen case where a full Mortgage Application was submitted and an Offer followed immediately after due to the lender being able to verify the applicants electronically and carrying out a desktop valuation) – rare but possible.

2. Interest Rates

High Street Lender
What you see is what you get.

Dependent on the Bank of England base rate.

Not many options

Broker
Options galore.

You can play with the term length and Mortgage features (E.g cash back, free legal representation, split terms, payment holidays)

The Broker will be aware of when new rates are going to be introduced/when old rates are going to be pulled off of the market.

3. Convenience

High Street Lender
They will require hard copies of documentation

Proof of ID

Proof of Address

Bank Statements etc.

Broker
Hard copies of documentation not required

PDF copies acceptable

The convenience of being able to email across any additional information required from you.

Some people don’t like the idea of using unpopular lenders like “The Mortgage Works” or “Atom”, but if getting value for your money is important to you, I highly suggest using a Mortgage Broker.