Top Tips on Preparing Your Property for Viewing

With Summer coming many will be considering selling their home with a view to moving onto pastures new.

Late Spring and Summer is recognised as a great time to sell, largely because the weather is better, the days are longer, the garden looks brighter and we are all coming out of quasi hibernation, especially this year! As with all things, first impressions count and presenting your home well is so much easier on a sunny spring day.

Here are some other things to consider before placing your house on the market;
  • Undertake a full spring clean! This has several benefits. First of all, it’s amazing how easily we get used to grubby door frames, piles of kids’ toys and broken blinds. Take a full inventory of what needs to be tidied, fixed or refreshed and get to it!
  • Clean your carpets and curtains. This action is worthwhile anyway, but before you present your home to strangers why not give your home a thorough deep clean? If you have pets or smokers in your home then the improvement in odour alone is worthwhile.
  • Make sure to clean all the windows inside and out. Clean windows make a huge difference to the appearance of a place, especially from inside on a sunny day.
  • Tidy the garden, perhaps invest £30 – £50 in some attractive early flowering plants and make sure the lawn is well cut and trimmed. Clean all paths free of moss and make sure the front garden and pathway are tidy and well-presented.
  • If the front door could benefit from a refresh or even redecoration, do it. And perhaps consider investing in an attractive door knocker (if you have a handsome front door).
  • Make sure that oxidation on bathroom taps is no more. Nothing tarnishes a home more than that ‘grubby, lived-in look’.
  • Make sure the kids keep their rooms tidy (OK, maybe that’s too big a task) or at least make sure they help tidy before viewings.
  • The cliche of making bread, boiling coffee and fresh flowers in the entrance hall and living room are cliches for a reason. They help set the scene.
  • Don’t redecorate entirely. Tastes vary too much. But do consider a refresh of doors, door frames and scuffed walls, where needed. Use neutral colours.

So there is a start for you. In addition, make sure to make ready the following;

  • Evidence of the average energy bills – very important since the rise in energy prices
  • The broadband connection speed available where you are
  • The council tax bill
  • Have evidence of what other homes locally have sold for. You might not mention it, but if a potential buyer starts down that route, at least you’re prepared.
  • Get all your paperwork together for the conveyancer. This will include any warranties you might have for work done and for white goods you might be leaving. If you are likely to need a new mortgage then you should be collating all your PAYE information, etc.

If your home has particular features such as an open fire, a large kitchen or a spectacular garden, make sure to present them well. Let the features sell for you.

Common Reasons Why Mortgage Applications Get Rejected

The whole process of applying for a mortgage can be quite stressful and your hopes of getting on the property ladder or purchasing your next home can instantly be ruined by your mortgage application being rejected. The vast majority of people rely on a mortgage in order to purchase a property and whilst there is a range of mortgage products on the market, getting accepted by a lender might end up being more difficult than you anticipated. 

If you’re keen to make your first mortgage application but you’re concerned about getting rejected by mortgage lenders, we have listed some of the most common reasons why people are unable to get the mortgages they’ve applied for. Hopefully, this information can help you to ensure your application is accepted the first time round. 

Errors in the application 

One of the most common and often the most frustrating reasons why mortgage applications are rejected is because there is an error on the application form. It is important to ensure that you’re taking your time and checking that absolutely everything is correct whenever you apply for a mortgage. Even the smallest error, such as an incorrect spelling or house number, could result in your application being rejected and mortgage lenders are really particular when they’re considering your application to prevent any problems in the future. 

Low credit score 

All mortgage lenders use their own credit score to predict how risky you are to lend money to. If you have a really low credit score, this may result in them rejecting your application. Lenders have their own score level which they do not publish when it comes to your application, but it is beneficial to check your credit score before applying. This will provide you with the chance to improve your score  If you do have a low credit score, there are special lenders available to help with poor credit mortgages too. 

Asking to borrow too much 

Whenever you apply for a mortgage, in addition to looking at the Loan to Value ratio you require, you also need to find out how much you’re able to borrow from a mortgage lender. As a very rough guide, most leaders would provide you with a mortgage that is 4.5 times your salary, however, every lender is different and this is something you need to check. Mortgage lenders want to ensure that you’re able to make the repayments on your mortgage if the interest rate increases, so if you apply for a large sum of money but you have a low income, your mortgage is likely to get rejected. 

If you would like to find out how much money you could borrow from a mortgage lender, it is beneficial to speak to a mortgage advisor. They can give you a much better idea of how much you could borrow and, in turn, how much you’re able to spend on a property. 

Self-employed worker 

Unfortunately, when you’re self-employed or on a zero-hour contract, getting a mortgage can be more complicated. You will need to satisfy additional lender checks when making an application.

For example, self-employed applicants will need to provide tax documents and some lenders might want to see twelve months’ proof of income. Some mortgage lenders are more likely to accept your application than others when you’re self-employed too, so do some research or speak to a mortgage advisor to ensure you’re making an application to the right lender for your individual needs. 

Applying to the wrong lender 

Simply put, not all mortgage lenders accept the same applications and depending on their lending criteria, your application might get rejected by one lender but accepted by another. If you don’t know much about the mortgage market, you might be unsure which mortgage lender you should apply to and this can result in you wasting a lot of time applying for unsuitable lenders. To prevent multiple applications from being rejected, which can reduce your credit score and make it even harder to get a mortgage, it is useful to get some tailored advice before you make your first application. 

Looking for a mortgage advisor in Bracknell?

If you’ve had a mortgage application rejected and you would like to get some professional advice before you make another application, don’t hesitate to contact us at BlueQ. Our specialist team of mortgage advisors near Bracknell can provide you with the sound guidance you’re looking for and we have experience advising on all aspects of the mortgage market. As whole of market advisors, we will do all we can to help you find the perfect mortgage products for you at this moment in time. 

Can I Remortgage my property to buy a Second Home?

Yes. Probably.

Equity release is simply a way to realise some of the value in your existing home by increasing and/or extending the existing loan on your existing home and using that loan capital raised for other purposes. This can be used for a variety of reasons and the purchase of a second home is one.

If you increase the loan on your primary home, the mortgage lender will want you to be able to prove that you can afford the larger loan. Your personal circumstances will dictate whether you stay with your existing lender or decide to remortgage the property with another. Remember that this may involve additional costs including valuation and arrangement fees, early redemption fees and legal fees.

The more money you release by way of a remortgage, the more likely that the costs of borrowing will increase. Certainly, over say 60% LTV (Loan to Value) you can expect the new loan to be priced higher to reflect the risk the lender is perceived to be taking.

The next thing to consider, is what sort of property are you buying? If it’s a holiday home the affordability question will be asked again and unless you are buying it entirely from cash, any lender is going to need to see that your personal circumstances are such that you can afford both loans. In most cases, lenders will expect a LTV on your primary residence of 80% or less.

If the property is for investment purposes and you expect to buy to let, then the mortgage lender on the second home will want to know that the rent will cover the mortgage payments in the right ratio. You will also need to declare to the lender that this is a buy to let investment and the terms for lending are likely to be less favourable.

It’s also worth remembering that when buying a second property you will be accruing additional costs such as legal fees, loan arrangement fees and enhanced stamp duty charges. Allow for these costs when making your decisions about how much equity you need to release from your primary home.

Using Equity Release To Buy A Second Home | How Much Do You Need?

Using Equity Release To Buy A Second Home 

Equity release is known for being a brilliant way to release some of the money that is tied up in your home. The lump sum you receive through an equity release plan can be used in several ways, from paying for a luxury holiday to carrying out home improvements and lots of people will use equity release to boost their pension pot as an additional retirement income.

If you’re over 55 years of age and have considerable equity in your home, you may be wondering; ‘can I use equity release to buy a second home?’. The simple answer to this question is yes and equity release can be a great way to get a deposit for a new property. However, there are some things you will need to take into consideration when using equity release to buy a second house and below we have explored this in more detail. 

The amount of equity you need to release 

To make the process of buying a second, perhaps holiday home easier, it may be beneficial to release enough equity in order to buy the new property outright. This can prevent you from having to get another mortgage and, in turn, pay two lots of mortgage repayments every month. Not to mention, mortgages on second properties are often considered higher risk by lenders. So, in order to be able to afford the second home that you’re interested in, you need to make sure that you’re actually able to release enough equity from your existing property.  

If you can’t afford to be a cash buyer and you’re happy to take out another mortgage for your second home, you may not need to release as much equity, but there are still a number of other costs to take into consideration. In addition to paying the deposit required for the new property, you will also need to pay for things like legal fees and enhanced stamp duty charges. People commonly require more equity than they initially realise to buy another property. 

How you’re going to use the second home 

If you will require a mortgage on the second home that you’re buying, how this property is going to be used will be taken into consideration by lenders. For example, if you’re going to use the second property as a personal holiday home and you require a residential mortgage, a lender will question whether you’re able to pay for this new loan as well as your existing mortgage. 

Similarly, if you want to rent your second home, a mortgage lender will want to ensure that the rental income will cover the mortgage repayments. Buy-to-let mortgages can be quite complicated too and the rental income is subject to tax.

The other options for buying a second property

Sometimes, instead of releasing some of the equity in their home with an Equity release mortgage, people will decide to simply remortgage to buy a second house. This can be a great option to consider and it can sometimes be more suitable than equity release, depending on your individual circumstances. However, when you remortgage, you will need to be able to prove that you can afford the larger loan you’re taking out. Remortgage rates are generally lower than equity release interest rates 

Often, the cost of borrowing will increase the more money you want to release by remortgaging too and mortgage lenders will increase the price of the loan to reflect the risk of lending to you. It is also important to remember that remortgaging will generally involve various additional costs, such as; valuation and arrangement fees, legal fees and there may be an early redemption fee to redeem any existing loans.

Speaking to a mortgage advisor about equity release

Should you have any questions about equity release or buying a second property, our team at BlueQ will be happy to assist you. Since being established back in 2001, our mortgage advisors have been providing whole of market advice to customers and we are experienced in all aspects of the mortgage market. We pride ourselves on delivering first-class customer service and we can help to make the process of getting a new mortgage as hassle-free as possible. We look forward to assisting you with all of your mortgage needs. 

Top Tips For Remortgaging Your Home

Once you have been living in your home for a few years, you may want to consider remortgaging. Switching mortgage providers is actually quite common and there are a number of different reasons why people choose to remortgage, such as; their circumstances have changed and they need to reduce their mortgage repayments, their current mortgage is no longer competitive or they’re interested in releasing some of the capital tied up in their home. 

Regardless of your reasons for wanting to remortgage, there are a few things you can do to make the whole process of switching mortgage providers as easy as possible. Below we have put together a list of our top tips for remortgaging your home. 

Work with an experienced mortgage adviser 

There are so many different things to consider when choosing a new mortgage product and finding the right deal isn’t always easy. When you enlist the help of an experienced mortgage broker, you can ensure that you’re opting for a mortgage that meets all of your specific requirements and that has the most competitive terms. 

Ultimately, a mortgage broker can shop around for you, saving you a lot of time and stress, and they can help you get the best new mortgage deal. In addition to providing you with sound and impartial advice, some mortgage brokers may even have access to exclusive schemes which aren’t currently available on the high street. This is undeniably advantageous. From start to finish, a good mortgage broker can make the whole remortgaging process as smooth as possible. 

Always check for penalties you may incur

Whilst you can switch mortgage providers at any time, you may find there are some penalties associated with remortgaging your home at certain times. If you have a fixed rate deal, for example, remortgaging midway through this deal can sometimes be quite costly and you need to take into consideration any additional costs when weighing up your options. Depending on your circumstances, it may be beneficial to wait a little bit longer to switch providers. 

You can generally expect to come across fees such as; Early Repayment Charges, valuation fees, arrangement fees and legal fees, when you’re remortgaging. A mortgage broker will explain all of these extra costs to you and they will help ensure there aren’t any nasty financial surprises when you decide to switch mortgage providers. 

Plan ahead before remortgaging 

When remortgaging, you need to make sure that you’re finding a new mortgage deal far enough in advance. When you currently have a fixed-rate mortgage, if you don’t plan ahead you may be moved to your lenders’ standard variable rate, which will likely increase the cost of your monthly mortgage payments. So, you should ideally start comparing the options on the market three to four months before you plan to switch mortgage providers. 

It’s important to note that when you remortgage, affordability and stress testing will still be undertaken. All of the information that was required when you took your original mortgage will be required again at this time and it’s useful to get prepared. If you’re not sure what a mortgage lender will want to see, a mortgage broker can inform you of standard requests. 

Switching mortgage providers

If you’re interested in remortgaging your home and you’d like some assistance when doing so, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Mortgage Required today. Our team of experienced mortgage brokers will gladly provide you with the guidance you need when switching mortgage providers and you can rely on us to make the whole process as hassle-free as possible. Since 2001, we have been helping clients get the most competitive mortgages available to them and we review the whole market, comparing hundreds of products to ensure you find the right solution for your individual needs. What’s more, our advice is free, so get in touch with our team of experts to find out how we can help you remortgage

What Can Stop You From Getting A Mortgage?

People tend to assume that getting a mortgage as a first-time buyer will be really straightforward and, for the most part, this is true. However, some will find it much more difficult to get mortgage offers from lenders. If you’re looking to buy your first home and you’re wondering what can potentially stop you from getting a good mortgage deal, we have looked into some of the most common factors to be aware of. 

It is worth noting from the outset though that it isn’t necessarily impossible to get a mortgage should you relate to any of the below and the right mortgage advisor can still help you to get on the property ladder.

Bad credit history or a low credit score

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that if you have bad credit history then you may struggle to get a mortgage. There are a number of different things that can negatively affect your credit score and ultimately, every time you make a late payment on financial commitments, such as electricity bills and mobile phone contracts, it can count against your credit score. Thankfully, there are ways that you can improve this score and specialist mortgage advisers can help you get a mortgage on competitive terms with a bad credit history too. 

Zero hours working contracts

Due to the unpredictability of zero hours contracts, they can sometimes make it more difficult for you to get a mortgage offer. Lenders like to have peace of mind that you will make all repayments on your mortgage, but there is a higher risk that you will fall behind on mortgage payments when you’re not guaranteed a set number of hours at work each week/month. You may find that if you have worked for the same employer for a long period of time and your Loan To Value is not too high, you may still be able to get a competitive mortgage.

Asking to borrow too much 

Simply put, Loan to Value is the amount that a lender will consider loaning you as a percentage of the property’s value and if you’re asking to borrow too much, then they won’t provide you with a mortgage. Generally speaking, the larger your deposit, the better when applying for a mortgage as this will reduce the amount that you need to borrow. Typically, most lenders require a deposit of 10%, however, some lenders allow mortgages with as little as a 5% deposit, which can be reduced further when taking advantage of the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme

The term of a mortgage

The term of a mortgage can vary from 5 years up to 40 years. Lenders will take your age into consideration when deciding how long a term they’re willing to offer you and typically, most lenders won’t extend a loan past your retirement age. Unfortunately, this means the older you are, the harder it will be to get a mortgage with a long term on a standard mortgage, although there are more and more mortgages for older applicants coming to market as people are tending to live and work longer. You do of course have the option to accept a mortgage with a shorter term which will mean your monthly payments will increase.

Monthly spending habits 

When deciding whether or not they’re happy to give you a mortgage, there are lots of different aspects of your lifestyle and financial situation that lenders will consider. One of these factors is your monthly outgoings and if you spend too much, you might not get the mortgage you were hoping for. Again, this is due to the fact that lenders like to know you can afford your mortgage payments and they prefer their customers to be sensible. So, simply cutting down your outgoings and living within your means can improve your chances of getting a mortgage. 

Looking for a Mortgage Advisor in Chelmsford?

Should you require the assistance of an experienced mortgage advisor in Bracknell, don’t hesitate to contact us here at BlueQ. We provide a whole of market mortgage service to our customers and our expert mortgage advisors will gladly answer any questions that you may have. We are proud to be our customer’s first choice for all of their mortgage planning needs and we can assure you that you will be in the very best hands when you turn to our team for hassle-free mortgage advice. 

To discuss your mortgage requirements in more detail, book a free consultation with a qualified mortgage adviser today. Simply use the booking calendar on our website to select an appointment type and time that is convenient for you, it couldn’t be easier to get the tailored advice and guidance that you need. 

Securing A Mortgage On A Low Income – How To Approach the Situation?

Getting a foot on the property ladder is becoming more and more difficult for people of all ages. Not only is the price of property in many parts of the UK continuing to rise, but the majority of businesses still only pay their employees minimum wage, so many fear that they will never be able to own their own home. Thankfully, there are lots of different options available to explore if you’re a first-time buyer trying to get a residential mortgage on a low income:   

Look into the different Government schemes available 

There are a few ‘help to buy’ schemes available that are specifically designed to help people get on the property ladder. A new Government scheme was introduced in April this year and it is set to run until March 2023. Simply put, this scheme involves the Government lending buyers up to 20% of the value of their new home, and 40% in London. 

This scheme provides buyers with the opportunity to pay a 5% deposit rather than a 10% deposit, which makes saving for this initial payment much easier when you’re on a low income. With a lack of 95% mortgages available these days, this scheme is really beneficial. 

Opt for a ‘part rent, part buy’ solution  

Another scheme that falls under the help to buy umbrella is shared ownership. For lots of people, this is a great option to consider and simply put, with shared ownership, you will own part of a property and pay rent on the remainder. This significantly reduces the deposit you need to save and also the amount you need to borrow from a lender. 

Commonly, the shares offered in a property are between 25% and 75% of the value, and you often have the ability to buy a larger share in the future; this is known as staircasing. Not to mention, you can also sell back your share later down the line and use this money as a deposit for a new property. 

Consider a family mortgage

Many don’t realise that family mortgages, like the Family Springboard Mortgage from Barclays, exist and they are another brilliant solution for anyone who is on a low income. With this type of mortgage, you won’t need to save for a deposit and instead, a family member will put 10% of the purchase price into a savings account with the lender.  

After a set period of time, which is usually 3 to 5 years, if you have kept up with your mortgage repayments then your family member will get their money back, along with any interest accrued during this time. With a family mortgage, you will still own the property in the same way you do with any other type of mortgage too. 

Ask for a guarantor on the mortgage 

Another option to consider when you’re on a low income is a guarantor mortgage. This is a similar concept to a family mortgage, however, it involves a family member underwriting your mortgage repayments. You will need to save for and put down a deposit as normal on a property when you opt for a guarantor mortgage though. 

The good thing about this type of mortgage is that you will often be able to get a bigger loan when you have a guarantor than you would independently. Due to the fact the guarantor provides the lender with the added comfort that they will always get the mortgage repayments, they’re more likely to offer mortgages with a higher Loan to Value. 

Trying to find a mortgage broker in Essex?

Since being established back in 2001, here at BlueQ we have been providing professional and friendly mortgage advice to our customers. If you’re looking for a Mortgage Adviser in Chelmsford who can help you get a mortgage deal, regardless of your current circumstances, be sure to get in touch with our team and we will do all we can to assist you. Unlike other mortgage brokers, we provide a whole of market service for mortgage deals and we are dedicated to delivering first-class customer service. 

Why not book a free mortgage consultation with a qualified Mortgage Adviser today via our website? You can either meet us in one of our offices or we can arrange a telephone meeting, whichever is more convenient for you. Whether you’re buying your first home or looking to upsize your current home, we look forward to hearing from you. 

How Covid-19 Has Changed What Property Buyers Want

The last 18 months or more have been a strange experience for many of us. Those that have continued to work have had to adjust, in many cases, to a new way of working. This has meant the home being more crowded than usual, especially when the kids aren’t at school and when lockdown was at its strictest.

Perhaps an unexpected by-product of this is that many people have changed their priorities when it comes to ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’ in their dream new home. So, what do buyers want?

Whereas short and easy commutes by road or rail and being close to local amenities were once highly prized, research suggests that this is now a priority for between 14% and 17% of people. Working from home and fast home delivery have, it seems, changed the needs of home buyers.

Additional space for a ‘proper’ home office is also high on the new buyer’s agenda as is a decent outside space or garden. If a nice garden is not available then proximity to green space is desirable. More space seems a common theme. Gardens have greater value now, and many people are will to pay a premium on a larger than average garden.

One can imagine that fast, reliable broadband that enables multi-user streaming services will quickly become a necessity for many, especially if a large part of the workforce continue to work from home at least for part of their work-week.

What is a Property Chain and How Does it Work?

If you’re new to buying a home, you may hear lots of familiar phrases that you don’t fully understand. One of these phrases commonly used is ‘the property chain’. If you’re unsure what this is and why it’s talked about so much, we explain here.

As a first-time buyer, purchasing a new home is relatively straightforward. Once you have your deposit and, perhaps, your government-funded Equity Loan, you just need a valuation for the mortgage and a mortgage offer and your lawyer will do most of the rest. The housebuilder finishes the home and then sells it to you. Simple.

But what about when you are buying a home from someone other than a housebuilder?

Well, in this instance things can get more complicated. In most cases, the person you are buying from is likely to be selling to move to another property and the person they are buying from might be doing the same – and so on. This can sometimes result in a long chain of transactions, each dependent on the completion of the one before.

Most experienced home owners will be wary of long chains, simply because if just one buyer pulls out of their transaction it can cause all the other transactions to stall or even fall through completely. For this reason, buying from a housebuilder or selling to a first-time buyer with no house to sell, can be a very attractive proposition. Cash buyers are also attractive for the same reason, as is selling at auction, although this brings with it its own drawbacks.

For a chain of transactions to work well, it’s important to have a good understanding of everybody else’s needs and desires. For example, one buyer in the chain might be moving conditional upon relocating for a new job, or another might be an investor that must sell before the end of the tax year. If you don’t understand these pinch points, chains can collapse and you may all be left with what is referred to as abortive costs for work undertaken by your conveyancer, solicitor, etc.

In a successful chain, all the people involved in the transaction will understand the needs of each other and will communicate difficulties honestly and promptly. An element of flexibility might also go a long way. Especially on timescale. When everyone is sure they can ‘perform’ as required (in other words, they know they will be in funds for the purchase, etc) they will exchange contracts for the sale or purchase. At this point all the terms are set, including move dates, etc.

It’s unwise to exchange on a contract unless you know you can fulfill its terms, although sometimes it’s necessary to exchange based on the exchange of contracts with another. If at some later stage you cannot fulfill the terms of your contract because of the breach of another contract made with you, there is a route by which you can pursue a claim for damages incurred as a result of these breaches. Hopefully, it never gets to that stage.

What is a Debt Management Plan (DMP) and How to Get One

Debt Management Plan is a mechanism by which you can have a third party negotiate with the people to whom you owe money and set out a plan by which you will make a single, affordable monthly payment each month.

Debts that can be included in a DMT are referred to as non-priority debts and include;

  • Overdrafts
  • Personal loans
  • Bank or building society loans
  • Money borrowed from friends or family
  • Credit card, store card debts or payday loans
  • Catalogue, home credit or in-store credit debts

Unfortunately, some debts can’t be included in a DMT. These include;

  • Court fines
  • TV Licence
  • Council Tax
  • Gas and electricity bills
  • Child support and maintenance
  • Income Tax, National Insurance and VAT
  • Mortgage, rent and any loans secured against your home
  • Hire purchase agreements, if what you’re buying with them is essential.
  • These debts are known as ‘priority debts’.

Whilst a Debt Management Plan is not specifically registered on your credit file, the fact that the implementation of a DMP will almost always be the result of you struggling to maintain (or miss previous payments to creditors) may have an effect on your credit score. However, just because you have a DMP does not necessarily restrict you from obtaining a mortgage as long as your credit history and other factors are still within parameters.

Whilst anyone can set up a Debt Management Plan, if you use a third party business then they must be properly registered with the FCA. The advantage of using a third party is that they do all the negotiating with your creditors, taking away that pain and hassle. You then pay one single agreed payment plus a once-a-month charge to your Debt Manager.

You may qualify for a Debt Management Plan if you have unsecured debt equivalent to between 15% and 39% of your annual income and you’re finding it hard to maintain repayments. It’s also usual to be on a steady income that should allow you to repay the outstanding debts over 5 years or less.

A DMP can take just a few weeks to set up and can give you the flexibility needed to repay your creditors over time.

The Government’s Mortgage Guarantee Scheme Explained

The Budget of 2021 saw the UK Treasury announcing another state-funded scheme aimed at helping to keep the UK housing market fluid. Known as The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, the newly announced initiative launched officially in April 2021.

The scheme offers lenders to both first-time buyers and those that have previously owned a home a government-backed guarantee, meaning that should the home reduce in value and need to be sold, the lenders are effectively insured for any loss. This scheme has resulted in the increased availability of 95% Loan to Value mortgages coming back in the first two quarters of 2021.

This is good news for borrowers with only small deposits. It means that even if you only have a 5% deposit, you may be able to obtain a mortgage on the remaining 95% of the purchase price, up to £600,000.

Several major mortgage lenders are already offering mortgages on this basis, but more are now expected to join the market.

The government plan is to close the scheme in December 2022, so interested parties should get their skates on if they wish to take advantage!

What Does Virtual Freehold Mean?

It’s a little known fact that pretty much all land and property owned in the UK is actually the property of the Crown. Really! But don’t worry, in practical terms, if you own the freehold interest in land or property then for most intents and purposes, you are the ‘owner’ of the property and everything above and below it.

Of course, there are sometimes limitations on even our Freehold ownership. These limitations might take the form of retained rights, such as mineral rights or rights of way (easements) or restrictions, such as positive or negative covenants restricting use or requiring action (such as undertaking maintenance or not using land for specific purposes).

But, if you own the freehold interest, you will own that interest in perpetuity, until you sell it or, if it is mortgaged, the mortgagee repossesses it.

An alternative way to occupy or own an interest in the property is by way of a lease. This can be like a freehold in that you might still enjoy exclusive use of the property and have rights to it. However, leases are time-limited and therefore you will not hold the property into perpetuity. You might also have more restricted rights, such as being required to maintain the property and not allow certain uses, etc. However, you will enjoy specific rights in common law, as a tenant (or lessee).

In some cases, modern statutes have allowed tenants the right to renew their lease on similar terms or even to buy the freehold interest or the freehold interest of the building containing their flat, plus a long lease on their flat.

Of course, a flat can’t be owned freehold in the true sense of the word as this would mean owning the property above and below it, which would mean you also owned flats above and below you, plus any car parking! In order to get over this problem, it’s usual for flats to be sold on long leases of say 99 or 125 years.

In some cases, these leases might even be for say 999 years! These long leases are sometimes referred to as ‘virtual freeholds’. The owner of such a lease might not own the freehold but he does have most of the rights associated with ownership of the freehold, such as the right to exclusive possession and quiet enjoyment. In such circumstances, it is usual for the lessee (the owner of the leasehold interest) to have limited obligations under the lease, other than to perhaps pay ground rent or pay into a sinking fund. Even then, some ground rents are rarely demanded or paid, or could be for something innocuous like one peppercorn per annum.

Can I Remortgage my property to buy a Second Home?

Yes. Probably.

Equity release is simply a way to realise some of the value in your existing home by increasing and/or extending the existing loan on your existing home and using that loan capital raised for other purposes. This can be used for a variety of reasons and the purchase of a second home is one.

If you increase the loan on your primary home, the mortgage lender will want you to be able to prove that you can afford the larger loan. Your personal circumstances will dictate whether you stay with your existing lender or decide to remortgage the property with another. Remember that this may involve additional costs including valuation and arrangement fees, early redemption fees and legal fees.

The more money you release by way of a remortgage, the more likely that the costs of borrowing will increase. Certainly, over say 60% LTV (Loan to Value) you can expect the new loan to be priced higher to reflect the risk the lender is perceived to be taking.

The next thing to consider, is what sort of property are you buying? If it’s a holiday home the affordability question will be asked again and unless you are buying it entirely from cash, any lender is going to need to see that your personal circumstances are such that you can afford both loans. In most cases, lenders will expect a LTV on your primary residence of 80% or less.

If the property is for investment purposes and you expect to buy to let, then the mortgage lender on the second home will want to know that the rent will cover the mortgage payments in the right ratio. You will also need to declare to the lender that this is a buy to let investment and the terms for lending are likely to be less favourable.

It’s also worth remembering that when buying a second property you will be accruing additional costs such as legal fees, loan arrangement fees and enhanced stamp duty charges. Allow for these costs when making your decisions about how much equity you need to release from your primary home.

The New 2021 Help to Buy Scheme Explained

The UK Government’s new ‘Help to Buy’ equity loan scheme allows first-time buyers to purchase a new-build property with just a 5% deposit. The lender will lend up to 75% Loan to Value (LTV) and the Government will chip in the missing 20% as an ‘equity loan’. This equity loan can be up to 40% of the property’s value in London.

Unlike the previous Help to Buy Scheme, this scheme is only open to first-time buyers. A first-time buyer is defined as someone who does not currently own or has never owned a property or residential land, either in the UK or abroad.

The new Help to Buy Scheme also introduces regional price limits, with new buyers not able to use the initiative to purchase a home costing more than 1.5 x the average first-time buyer property price in their region.

These price caps range from £186,100 in the North East to £437,600 in the South East and £600,000 in London.

EGION2021 PRICE CAP
London£600,000
South east£437,600
South west£349,000

The equity loan element is provided by the Government, interest-free for the first five years. Borrowers will only pay a management fee of £1 a month for the life of the loan. Once the first five years are over, interest is charged at an initial rate of 1.75%. This will rise each year by inflation as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, plus 2%.

The loan, which is secured as a second charge against your home, does not have to be repaid until you sell the property, pay off your mortgage or reach the end of your mortgage provider’s loan term. You can even start repaying the loan sooner, but your repayments must be equivalent to at least 10% of the value of your home at that time, with the option to repay 10%, 20% or 30% at a time if you are in London and took out a 40% equity loan. There is also an administration fee.

The equity loan rises and falls in line with your property’s value, so you may have to repay more than you borrowed when you first purchased your home. Of course, the good news in this scenario is that your mortgage has remained the same or reduced in size but your property has gone up by 20% in value, most of which you own after the equity loan and mortgage is deducted.

The Help to Buy Scheme is administered by Help to Buy agents such as BlueQ. The scheme is open until the 1st of April 2023, so if this is of interest, contact us quickly to find out more information.

If you would like any details Contact BlueQ for an initial chat on 01245 218018.

What You Need to Know About Remortgaging

First of all, what is remortgaging? Well, it’s when someone that already owns a home with a mortgage, decides that they want to take advantage of more favourable terms, such as a lower interest rate or to borrow more money. They would find the best deal and a solicitor will draw down the new mortgage and repay the outstanding one.

The mortgage that you secured when buying your property may not be the best deal after a few years, especially if your home has gone up in value, which reduces your percentage loan. This might enable you to negotiate a lower interest rate with your new or even existing lender.

Alternatively, you might have been on a lower fixed rate that is about to come to an end. When this happens, the interest rate you are charged usually changes to the lender’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR) although sometimes the new rate might be directly linked to other variable datums such as LIBOR or the Bank of England’s Base Lending Rate.

You can remortgage at any time but you may incur penalties if your initial mortgage agreement stipulates fees in certain circumstances. Early repayment may well incur a penalty. There may also be costs such as legal, valuation fees and arrangement fees, (although sometimes lenders pay these for you). So it’s important to allow for these costs when evaluating the benefits of remortgaging.

Many people remortgage so that they can extend their property or otherwise improve it, perhaps by installing a new kitchen. Others want to raise some cash for a child’s education or to give them for the deposit on their new home. It is also possible to remortgage so as to consolidate loans, although in such circumstances you really should talk to your mortgage adviser before doing this. A mortgage may be cheaper on the face of it, but a mortgage over 25 years will likely cost you more than an unsecured loan over say 5 years. The legal ramifications of non-payment also differ between secured and unsecured loans.

It’s important to be aware that all the usual information will be required when remortgaging as when you took your original mortgage. Affordability and stress testing will also be undertaken, so make sure that you plan ahead, perhaps 3 or 4 months before you need to remortgage. This will give you time to get all your information together and search the market for the best deal available. This, of course, is where employing a specialist such as Mortgage Required can pay dividends. We can advise you on the best options and make the process smooth and painless.

Contact our remortgage experts today or book a free online appointment.

Tips on Buying a Property with a Tenant in Occupation

There are a few reasons why you might be buying a property with a tenant still in occupation (a sitting tenant). Usually, it’s because you are buying what is known as a ‘Buy to Let’ investment. In these cases, the presence of a tenant has several benefits. You will likely be receiving rent from day one, which will improve your return on capital and internal rate of return. You should also if you’ve done your homework, have a reliable tenant already in-situ.

Firstly, check that your mortgage lender is happy that you are purchasing the property with a tenant in situ, as most prefer the property to be unoccupied on completion.

Of course, if your tenant has been in occupation for a while, he or she may be paying a low rent that should be reviewed. This can involve negotiation and it’s important that you know the terms of the tenancy prior to purchase.

Some tenants may occupy under an old tenancy or a longer lease and in these cases, your rights as the property’s ‘owner’ may be significantly curtailed. You might not be able to gain occupation whilst the tenancy remains in place and you may even have to grant the tenant a new lease in such circumstances. It is critical that you take legal advice.

In any event, make sure that as a bare minimum you undertake the following;

  1. Make sure you and your legal representative have read the lease or tenancy agreement and that you understand all the terms.
  2. Establish whether the landlord or tenant have ever breached any of the terms of the agreement.
  3. In the case of a short tenancy, make sure that any surety deposit is properly held by an authorised third party in accordance with the law and make sure that this is addressed and accounted for when you purchase the property.
  4. Make sure to undertake a full survey and inspection of the premises before the exchange and completion of the purchase and, in the case of furnished property, undertake a detailed inventory.
  5. If possible, speak with the tenant. Establish whether they are happy there and what, if any, problems they know about. This can save you a lot of money post-purchase!
  6. If you expect to increase the rent, it might be worth floating this past the tenant to see their reaction. No-one wants to pay more but if the tenant is reasonable and happy where they are, they may be expecting a rent increase anyway.
  7. If you plan to regain possession, either to live there yourself or to refurbish and re-let or resell, make sure that you are legally entitled to do so and allow for the fact that if the tenant is uncooperative, there may be a delay and a cost implication to build into your figures.
  8. Make sure that the tenant is who they say they are and check that all necessary statutory obligations have been undertaken, such as annual gas safety inspections, electrical inspections, the installation of fire and gas alarms, where required and that any furniture is properly tagged as safe for tenanted accommodation.
  9. Make sure to check that no-one else lives in the property or has acquired rights over the property during the previous ownership. This is usually done through various searches and the completion of a TA6 form that is filled out by the seller.

Last, of all, remember that tenants are people too! It’s amazing what you can agree if you make the deal appealing to their interests. Perhaps in return for you fixing a few taps and replacing a carpet, you can get them to sign a new tenancy or increase the rent on their existing one?

For more information, book a free appointment to speak to one of our specialist buy to let mortgage advisers/

What is a Property Chain and How Does it Work?

If you’re new to buying a home, you may hear lots of familiar phrases that you don’t fully understand. One of these phrases commonly used is ‘the property chain’. If you’re unsure what this is and why it’s talked about so much, we explain here.

As a first-time buyer, purchasing a new home is relatively straightforward. Once you have your deposit and, perhaps, your government-funded Equity Loan, you just need a valuation for the mortgage and a mortgage offer and your lawyer will do most of the rest. The housebuilder finishes the home and then sells it to you. Simple.

But what about when you are buying a home from someone other than a housebuilder?

Well, in this instance things can get more complicated. In most cases, the person you are buying from is likely to be selling to move to another property and the person they are buying from might be doing the same – and so on. This can sometimes result in a long chain of transactions, each dependent on the completion of the one before.

Most experienced home owners will be wary of long chains, simply because if just one buyer pulls out of their transaction it can cause all the other transactions to stall or even fall through completely. For this reason, buying from a housebuilder or selling to a first-time buyer with no house to sell, can be a very attractive proposition. Cash buyers are also attractive for the same reason, as is selling at auction, although this brings with it its own drawbacks.

For a chain of transactions to work well, it’s important to have a good understanding of everybody else’s needs and desires. For example, one buyer in the chain might be moving conditional upon relocating for a new job, or another might be an investor that must sell before the end of the tax year. If you don’t understand these pinch points, chains can collapse and you may all be left with what is referred to as abortive costs for work undertaken by your conveyancer, solicitor, etc.

In a successful chain, all the people involved in the transaction will understand the needs of each other and will communicate difficulties honestly and promptly. An element of flexibility might also go a long way. Especially on timescale. When everyone is sure they can ‘perform’ as required (in other words, they know they will be in funds for the purchase, etc) they will exchange contracts for the sale or purchase. At this point all the terms are set, including move dates, etc.

It’s unwise to exchange on a contract unless you know you can fulfill its terms, although sometimes it’s necessary to exchange based on the exchange of contracts with another. If at some later stage you cannot fulfill the terms of your contract because of the breach of another contract made with you, there is a route by which you can pursue a claim for damages incurred as a result of these breaches. Hopefully, it never gets to that stage.

Jason and James Mortgage advisers

What is a Second Charge Mortgage?

Most of us know that a mortgage is simply a secured loan, usually secured on a property such as a house or flat. If you fail to keep payments or don’t keep to the terms of the mortgage you may incur penalties, the most severe of which might result in the mortgagee (the lender) applying to the courts for a possession order. 

Your mortgagee will have the first claim on the property in such circumstances and they will hold a charge on the property, registered on the deeds or, in most cases these days, on the registered title kept at the Land Registry. This will prevent the property being sold without any mortgage first being paid off.

second mortgage, as the name suggests, is a second loan that is also secured on a property. However, being the second loan, it is normal that the rights enjoyed by the second mortgagee (lender) are subject to the prioritised rights of the first lender. For this reason, second mortgages will usually be more expensive to the borrower in terms of interest rate, although there are other benefits over other funding options such as a remortgage.

For example, if your first mortgage is subject to a significant early redemption fee, it might be cheaper to take a second mortgage, perhaps for a shorter period of time, rather than incur the redemption charges on the first mortgage. Other borrowers apply for 2nd charges when their existing lender cannot offer any further borrowing, for whatever reason.

Any second mortgage will still need to meet the usual tests in relation to affordability, advice and loan to value/equity. In any event, the borrower should check first with the original lender to make sure that they will allow a second charge to be taken on the property. It’s therefore, important to know the terms of the first loan.

It might be worth taking advice on a second mortgage if you’re struggling to get some form of unsecured borrowing, such as a personal loan or because you’re self-employed. Also, if your credit rating has gone down since taking out your first mortgage, remortgaging could mean you end up paying more interest on your entire mortgage. Here, a second mortgage might be a better option.

Second mortgages are regularly used to fund home extensions and home improvements. New kitchens being a favourite! Contact Blue Q about the best course of action for you.

How To Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

With energy prices likely to rise in the long term, it makes sense to consider how you can make your home more efficient. Especially as, under the Government Green Homes Grant scheme, hundreds of thousands of people will be able to access vouchers of up to £5,000 and in some cases £10,000.

The grants, provided in the form of vouchers, can be used to make your home more efficient, thus saving you money in heating and electricity bills.

The Government grant scheme will cover at least two thirds of the cost that homeowners spend on energy efficiency green upgrades, while those on the lowest incomes will not have to pay anything.

So what sort of improvements are worth considering?

INSULATION – A significant proportion of the heat generated to heat your home is lost through drafts and poor insulation. In older properties with solid wall construction, internal dry-lining can help improve insulation in the winter months. Older homes often don’t have under floor insulation either. But the primary and most effective way to stem heat loss and bring down your heating bills is via additional roof space insulation.

DRAUGHT PROOFING – It seems silly, but the addition of some inexpensive draft exclusion strips to doors can make a difference at a relatively small cost.

NEW WINDOWS & DOORS – Single glazing is a great way to lose heat generated in your home! In the winter months, single glazed homes suffer from condensation and dampness, especially in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries where steam and warm air meets cold panes of glass. Replacing windows and doors with double or triple-glazed units can be a very effective way of reducing your heating bills.

NEW BOILERS – Modern boilers are considerably more efficient than older models and it makes sense that if you need to burn less fuel for the same output, you will be doing your bit for the environment. Improving hot water tank insulation, installing smart heating controls and thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves can help you heat different parts of your home only as much as you need. After all, why keep a spare room as warm and toasty as you might your child’s room?

LOW CARBON HEAT SOURCES – Sustainable heat sources such as solar and air and ground pump heat sources are becoming more popular and whilst these options can sometimes be expensive to install, they can save you a lot of money in the longer term.

To qualify for the grant funding, households will need to install at least one ‘primary measure’ Primary measures are defined as; Solid wall, cavity wall, under-floor, loft, flat roof, room in roof, park home or a an air source heat pump, ground source heat pump or solar thermal system.

So long as there is at least one primary measure in the package of works, households will also be able to install secondary measures. Secondary measures can only be subsidised up to the amount of subsidy provided for primary measures. (e.g. if a household receives £1,000 for primary measures, they can only receive a maximum of £1,000 towards secondary measures).

The secondary measures are:

  • Draught proofing
  • Windows and doors: Double/triple glazing (where replacing single glazing), secondary glazing (in addition to single glazing), upgrading to energy efficient doors (where replacing doors installed prior to 2002).
  • Heating controls and insulation: appliance thermostats, hot water tank thermostats, hot water tank insulation, smart heating controls, zone controls, delayed start thermostat, thermostatic radiator valves
    For low-carbon heating to be installed, households will need to have adequate insulation (e.g. wall and loft, where applicable). These can be installed as part of a package – they do not have to already be in situ.

Adding insulation and making your home more energy efficient will add value, as well as reducing your monthly energy bills. When getting your home improved, retain all paperwork as this will be useful when getting your home valued and surveyed, and will mean your EPC is updated too.

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) Explained

SMI or Support for Mortgage Interest is a loan paid by the government to your mortgage lender in order to help qualifying applicants to pay all or part of the interest accruing on their mortgage during times when they are unable to do so.

In order to qualify for SMI, applicants will normally already be in receipt of another qualifying benefit. You can eligible to apply for this loan:

  • from the date you start getting Pension Credit
  • after you’ve had 9 consecutive Universal Credit payments
  • after you’ve claimed any other qualifying benefit for 39 consecutive weeks

You might still be able to get SMI if you apply for one of the qualifying benefits but cannot get it because your income is too high. You’ll then be treated as getting the benefit you applied for.

The interest covered is currently assumed to be 2.61% of the mortgage sum and the interest you will pay on the SMI loan is currently 1.3%. This may vary but will not change more than twice per annum. You’ll need to repay the money you get with interest when you sell or transfer ownership of your home. You can also make voluntary payments beforehand if you wish.

SMI is capped at interest on a sum of £200,000 if you are working or £100,000 for pensioners or you started claiming another qualifying benefit before January 2009.

How to Speed Up Your Buy to Let Mortgage Application

Buying to let requires a specific mortgage product designed for the purpose. But in large part the process is very similar. Mortgage lenders will tend to concentrate on things like the rental income and less on your own earnings, largely because the loan is likely to be supported by the rent generated from the property.

Many buying to let will find themselves competing against buyers with significant cash resources and with cash comes the ability to act swiftly. Something which is appealing to most sellers. Therefore, if you are buying at auction if there is a tight time constraint, arranging an interim bridging loan might be a better short term funding option.

In most cases, the process of obtaining a buy to let loan usually takes between 4 – 6 weeks, although, as with all purchases, there are a variety of steps to the process which will delay or even stall the process.

The Buy to Let Mortgage Process.

  1. First, sit down with us so that we can better understand your situation and be better informed of your needs. We can also give you a general overview of the market, how much you are going to be able to borrow based on property type and rental income and your own circumstances.
  2. Then, we’ll trawl the market and source suitable lenders and rates for your consideration. Each lender has their own strict criteria, so one lender might be perfect for one investment but not be interested in funding another.
  3. Once we have selected the most attractive mortgage lender and product, we will apply for a Decision/Agreement in Principle (AIP) from the chosen lender. This will necessitate us compiling a good deal of information on your behalf.
  4. Once the AIP is agreed, we’ll help you complete the lender application.
  5. Once received, the lender will instruct a valuation on the property. This will confirm the buy to let property’s value, rental income and overall condition of the property.
  6. Once the valuation is complete and satisfactory, the lender can process your application. At this point you will need a solicitor or conveyancer involved to act for you (and probably also the lender) in the conveyance and the mortgage offer.
  7. When the lender is satisfied, they will issue a formal mortgage offer which outlines the terms and conditions of the loan. If happy with the terms, you’ll instruct your solicitors to complete the legal requirements.
  8. Once contracts are exchanged, you can agree on a date for completion and your solicitor will liaise with your lender to arrange for funds to be made available. If you’re remortgaging, your solicitor will request the funds from your lender.
  9. Completion! You are now the legal owner of the property and can get the keys.

For this process to run smoothly, it is important that no problems that might cause delays are ignored. Possible causes of delay include;

  1. Failure to provide all necessary information accurately and promptly, when requested by us. It might seem obvious, but if the lender needs information to make a decision or to issue a mortgage offer, a few days getting information to them can easily cost a week or more.
  2. Inefficient conveyancing! Yes, you heard right. Choosing your advisors wisely will save you time in the long run. Many people stick with who they know. If you don’t know anyone, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family who’ve had good and bad experiences of conveyancers and lawyers. At Mortgage Required we are happy to help.
  3. Poor communication. Especially during the holiday season, it can be very hard juggling between several parties’ diaries. Maintaining good avenues of communication so that delays are not incurred whilst your advisors and perhaps yourself or the seller are away sunning themselves can pay dividends.
  4. Make sure to transfer funds to your solicitor in good time and make sure they have funds for agreed expenses incurred on your behalf.
  5. Make a list of all the information you need to provide and start bringing together the information efficiently. Grabbing P60s, payslips, copies of tenancy agreements, etc can be time consuming and tedious, but it has to be done. We’re here to help you through the process.

To speak to an adviser about buy-to-let mortgages or make an appointment please call us on 01245 218018.

keys to new home

Negotiating Tips When Buying a Property

Surveys have shown that the group of buyers least likely to offer less than the asking price or to enter into negotiations when buying their home are first-time buyers. This is hardly surprising given they have, by definition, no experience in this field.

In contrast, the estate agent is selling property for clients all day, every day. They do this for a living. They also have another huge advantage. It’s not their money, it’s not their decision and it’s not their dream home!

This puts a motivated buyer at a significant disadvantage. This is where being organised, having a plan of attack and doing your best Meryl Streep or Kenneth Brannah-style acting performance can help you!

As with other things in life, being spoilt for choice will enable you to approach the negotiation in a stronger position. If you have three properties that you like you’re going to be a lot better placed to be a tough negotiator. And even if you don’t, if the seller’s agent thinks you do, that can’t hurt!

What can you do to improve your negotiating position? Here are a few simple tips that too many people ignore;

  1. Remember, the agent is acting in the best interests of the seller and the seller pays his fees. The agent is not your friend, and certainly not your confidant. Don’t disclose your budget or your circumstances, unless doing so will benefit your attractiveness as a buyer.
  2. Whilst the agent is not on your side, it does no harm to foster an amicable relationship. Whilst she’s not acting for you, she is keen to make a sale, so sometimes making a good case can help the agent pitch it favourably to her client. An agent is a ‘deal-maker’ after all.
  3. Be prepared. Make sure you can ‘perform’ if your offer is accepted and illustrate this to the agent and to the seller. Offering more than anyone else is one thing, but being a credible buyer is more important. Have your mortgage offer agreed in principle and, if at all possible, have your own property sold or sold subject to contract.
  4. Visit the property several times at different times of the day and on weekdays and weekends so as to properly understand the neighbourhood.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask searching questions of the seller. “What are your neighbours like?” “Is broadband good?” “have you had any structural problems with the roof?” Especially if you have suspicions.
  6. Take time to understand what motivates the seller and his agent. This will enable you to put forward the best offer for their needs. Offering an extra £5,000 might seem sensible, but if the seller is more interested in selling quickly, a few thousand pounds will make little difference. What do they want?
  7. Keep in contact. Between viewings, make sure you keep the agent appraised of your interest. But stay cool. Don’t gush about how much you love the place. But make sure the agent knows you might be in the running. That way, he should contact you if he receives other offers, meaning you won’t miss opportunities.
  8. Make your offer clear and unambiguous. If it is conditional upon anything then state it in the offer (i.e. subject to your house sale) and if you are worried about defects, like the property’s wiring or damp, etc then make sure to mention this. That way, if a home survey highlights a need to do work, you have a credible case for reducing the price later. After all, other buyers will incur the same costs, so you are only reflecting the condition of the property.
  9. Try to circumvent the agent. This is a little controversial. After all, the agent is tasked with selling the property and she’s probably better at negotiating than her client. But, either way, the agent will be paid, so if you are able to build a good relationship with the seller directly, it should pay dividends.
  10. Don’t get too personal. Many people will take a low offer as a personal slight. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Just remember, if you are too cheeky and clearly ‘trying it on’, you might blot your copybook when it comes to later offers. If you are offering low, make sure to have a good case as to why. You’re a cash buyer that can act fast. Whilst you like their home, it has several problems, like no garage, one too few bedrooms, it needs re-wiring. You get the drift. Try to keep things civil and be straight-talking, but considerate of the seller’s pride. It’s their home you’re criticising!
  11. Keep things in perspective. Yes, you might love this place, but there will be plenty more fish in the proverbial sea.
  12. Remember, if you can save £5,000 in a phone call, that’s probably £7,000 to £10,000 you haven’t had to earn. Keep your eye on the prize. And be creative. If you need carpets and curtains, maybe ask for them once you are in the final stages of agreeing on a deal. Or maybe lobby for that fantastic garden shed that was excluded from the sale to be ‘thrown in’. Sometimes the savings to you will exceed the cost to the seller.

Last but not least, remember the old adage, ‘don’t ask and you don’t get’. You’d be amazed at what’s negotiable. Happy house-hunting!