Step 1 - Contact an independent mortgage adviser
Buying a home can be one of the most exciting experiences as well as one of the most daunting. With thousands of fixed, tracker, discount and variable rate mortgage products in the market, and so many different factors to take into consideration, how do you now which is the best mortgage product to meet your needs both now and in the future. Making a mistake can proof to be costly and so seeking professional independent mortgage advice is one of the most important steps you can take.
An independent mortgage adviser will complete a detailed fact find of your current circumstances and future expectations, and will analyse what mortgage products are available based on your income, age, credit history and attitude to risk. This analysis will highlight the most suitable products for which Key Facts illustrations will be provided.
Independent mortgage advice need not cost a fortune either. In most cases a broker fee will be good value for money, and will often be offset by the exclusive rates normally available via brokers. In a growing number of cases, Independent Mortgage Advice is provided free of charge with the mortgage adviser being paid for the introduction by the lender on completion of the mortgage.
Step 2 - Mortgage Promise or Initial Agreement in Principle
Once you have selected the best mortgage deal for your requirements, it is well worth applying for the lenders initial agreement in principle, also known as a mortgage promise. This is something that can be arranged on-line or over the phone by your mortgage adviser, with the lenders acceptance decision being available within minutes of submission. The initial agreement in principle will produce a certificate of confirmation that can be shown to prospective sellers to reassure them that mortgage finance is agreed, and that you are serious about buying.
A mortgage agreement in principle can always be arranged prior to knowing what property you will be purchasing or even before you have decided on the best type of mortgage product. The certificate will normally remain valid for 3 months, and speed up the process later when you make a formal application.
Applying for an initial mortgage agreement from several lenders is absolutely fine, but unless you expect the lender to have a problem in agreeing to the mortgage amount required, you are best advised to restrict the number of credit checks that you authorize to be carried out, as too many credit checks in a short period of time can adversely affect your eventual credit score.
What if your initial application is refused?
Agreements in principle are often declined and in most cases for one of the following reasons.
- An adverse credit history has been picked up when the lender has undertaken their credit checks and credit scoring.
- Lending criteria has rejected the application on the basis of insufficient time in employment or being too old.
When these circumstances arise your mortgage adviser is ideally placed to discuss matters with the lender, and where no resolution can be found, to advise you of other lenders and their products where the criteria does fit.
Step 3 - Complete the mortgage application
Once you have received notification that your mortgage is agreed in principle, the full application can then be submitted. To submit the full application, full details about your circumstances will be required by the lender. These details will include the details of the property, how much you want to borrow and where the rest of the money (your deposit) is coming from. It is important to be as open and honest as possible when completing this form as this will help to avoid delays with your application later on.
There are many benefits of using a mortgage advisers services when submitting the full mortgage application, with the main benefit being that the adviser will have years of experience of the individual lenders underwriting practices, and can advise you of the best way to package and submit the application.
Bear in mind that mortgage advisers frequently have exclusive mortgage rates available to them which can not be obtained direct from the lender.
As well as completing the application form, some documentation will be required to back up the details given. Exactly what, will depend on the type of mortgage applied for and the lender involved. In the case of a self certification mortgage, the documents required can be as little as proof of your identity and proof of residence.
Typically when borrowing 75% - 90% of the property value, the lender will require the following:
- Pay slips (often for the last three months)
- Copies of accounts for the last 2 or 3 years if self employed.
- Bank details for the Direct Debit mandate.
- Proof of identity such as a passport.
- Proof of address such as a recent utilities bill. or bank statement.
- Proof of the last 12 months mortgage payments or a tenancy reference if renting.
Where documentation is required in support of the application, any delay in providing it will delay the lender issuing the mortgage offer. Dealing with an independent mortgage adviser ensures that you will be informed about any documentary requirements quicker than if dealing direct with the lenders.
Step 4 - Instruction of the property valuation
Once the mortgage application is submitted and agreed, the lender will instruct a valuer to inspect the property. The cost of the valuation is born by you unless the mortgage you are applying for includes an incentive such as a free valuation fee.
The mortgage valuation allows the lender to confirm the value of the property and agree to the lending required. In addition to the basic valuation for mortgage purposes, you can ask the lender to carry out a more detailed survey of the property (which is advisable) such as a homebuyer's report.
The homebuyer report is in a standard format and is designed specifically as an economical survey and an effective way to minimize risk. The homebuyer report ensures that any defects or problems that could effect the value of the property, are picked up highlighting any that are urgent. As part of the Homebuyer's report an integrated valuation for mortgage purposes is included, unlike a structural survey.
Step 5 - Instruct a Solicitor
It's the solicitor's job to review the Home Information Pack (HIP) which includes an Energy Performance Certificate, an index of contents, a sale statement, evidence of title, searches and leasehold documents, when you are buying.As well as negotiating and exchanging contracts the solicitor's job is also to receive funds from the lender for transfer to the sellers solicitor as well as updating the title deeds. Once contracts have been signed and returned the solicitor will agree a date for completion. On the day of completion, funds will be exchanged between solicitors at which point keys can be collected to your new home.
If using an independent mortgage adviser, check to see if a fixed legal fee package is available, as this can often save time and money, and can result in using a solicitor where the adviser has some leverage to make things happen quickly.