The ideal mortgage process

On introducing me as the new Property Finance Consultant at Armstrong Watson, a member of staff started to explain how much trouble they had securing a mortgage for the new property they had recently bought.

They said it took absolutely ages to sort out, as they had to approach four or five different lenders before getting an offer that they felt was right for them. It wasn’t a great experience and just increased the stress that everyone feels when making such a huge commitment.

Imagine how different the experience was for a client of ours, who recently dropped off bottles of wine to colleagues in our Leeds office to thank them for the way they handled their mortgage application after they used our mortgage service.

So what was the difference?

The first case involved buying a new build house, but the process went awry due to various lender requirements arising late in the underwriting process, resulting in delays and hassles that cost the customer both time and money. Each lender has their own processes and only a few are common to all of them, so the customer had no idea until late in the process that there were any issues.

The second scenario was much different. Our staff carefully examined the market place and using their experience, selected a lender they knew would be able to process the application with the minimum of fuss. The application sailed through the underwriting process and the mortgage completed quickly.

So with these cases in mind I thought it might be a good idea to look at what the ideal mortgage process looks like and give some tips to getting your mortgage application through in good time.

  1. Have a plan. Start off with a clear idea of your monthly budget, available deposit and how much you are willing to pay for up front costs such as surveys, etc.
  2. Be clear about the property type you want to buy. Is it a new build, a flat above a shop or a thatched cottage? All of these things will be important to the lender. 
  3. Make sure you have the right documentation. Are you on the voters roll at your current address? Does your driving licence show the correct address? Have you got your most recent payslips/accounts/P60 etc. All of these will help prove both your income and your identity.
  4. Be clear on timescales. Give yourself enough time to arrange the mortgage. The average timescale for buying a property in England is 8-10 weeks, so make sure your application goes in nice and early.
  5. Check your own credit file. This is good practice for everyone to do at least once a year. You will be surprised how many companies have searched your file and left a “footprint” on it. Most of these will happen after you have used a comparison website to search for car or home insurance and are of no real interest to the lender. However mistakes can be made, for example, there may be incorrectly recorded missed or late payments. Getting these rectified prior to any mortgage application make be the difference between being accepted or declined.

Whilst this is not an exhaustive list it will certainly help with any future mortgage application, but for extra peace of mind using the right mortgage broker can make all the difference.

Steve Hardaker, Property Finance Consultant

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