Without professional guidance, choosing the right mortgage can prove a rather tricky exercise. With the advances of the internet, finding the lowest rates is a comparatively easy task. In fact, type into Google 'lowest mortgage rates' and you will get around 28,200,000 results of sites competing for your business. Is this enough to make an informed choice? Well no. There are many other important factors to consider other than rate. You must consider set up fees, early repayment charges, the reversion rate after your initial deal runs out, does the lender in question have a history of offering you a new deal when your current one runs out, is the mortgage portable, will you fit the lender's criteria? These are just a few of the questions you have to consider when choosing the right mortgage. That's why getting mortgage advice from a suitably CeMAP qualified mortgage advisor is more important than ever. Keystone's fully independent, whole of market mortgage advisors will regularly meet with mortgage lenders to discuss their specific criteria so that when we discuss mortgages with you we really know what we are talking about.
Also known as a decision in principle, DIP for short, an agreement in principle is a credit score/credit search to pre-approve the mortgage subject to finding a property, property valuation and providing the lender with any supporting documentation such as payslips. We encourage people to obtain an 'AIP' before they have found a property as it highlights any problems to the client and advisor which neither may have been aware of i.e. a low credit score or something on your credit file. It's usually best to obtain an agreement in principle before you offer on a property to save any unwanted surprises later on. An agreement in principle doesn't cost anything and doesn't obligate you to take out a mortgage with that particular lender or to arrange a mortgage through us however too many credit checks in a short space of time can have a detrimental effect on your overall ability to obtain credit and each credit check will leave a footprint on your credit file.
Once you've had a chat with one of our advisors to discuss the different types of mortgages and obtained an agreement in principle you are ready to offer on the property you wish to purchase. Offering on a property you wish to purchase can be tricky. There's no exact science for achieving the best possible price but always remember it's difficult to negotiate downwards. Also don't be fooled by 'offers in excess of' on a set of property details from an estate agent. The agent works for the seller not you.
It's important that you feel that you can speak to your solicitor and call them whenever you need to. Cost can also vary dramatically from one solicitor to another so we advise you get a few quotes before you make up your mind. One thing to check is that the firm you choose has at least two partners as some lenders will not deal with a solicitor that is a sole practitioner. Having been arranging mortgages for over a decade we have plenty of experience with different solicitors and conveyancers and are happy to help you find the right one for your budget and situation.
You are now ready to instruct us to apply for your mortgage on your behalf. This is the point where we will finalise the research to make sure the product and lender are suitable for your circumstances, complete all of the relevant application forms, certify and send off any supporting documents, set up the administration process to keep on top of the lender's application process to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible and contact the estate agents and your solicitor/conveyancer to let them know the application has been completed. Most applications are completed online and can therefore potentially be received by the lender the same day your offer is accepted. All documentation is securely saved to your client file for future use or reference if required.
At this point we will have an idea of what other supporting documentation the lender will need and will arrange sending, emailing or faxing these to the lender's processing department. It's important that you get this part right as sending the wrong documentation or delays in sending can lead to lengthy delays in the processing of your application.
Your mortgage lender will insist that a basic mortgage valuation is carried out by one of their suitably qualified surveyors. A basic mortgage valuation is primarily for the lender's benefit but the cost of this is usually paid for by you on application. It doesn't go into too much detail but will highlight any major defects, comment on the general condition of the property and confirm whether the property is worth what you are proposing to pay for it and if it is suitable security for lending purposes. Check out Which survey do I need? for help with the different survey options available.
Once the lender's underwriter has assessed your mortgage application, the survey report and all the supporting documentation to their satisfaction they will issue you with a mortgage offer. This is usually sent to you, your solicitor and us. Your mortgage offer should be checked to make sure the terms and conditions are what you were expecting when you applied for the mortgage.
Once you have your mortgage offer and the solicitor has completed all the legal work required you will be in a position to exchange contracts. Exchange of contracts is the point when you are legally bound to purchase the property and therefore is considered the point when you can arrange removals etc as it is extremely unlikely that the move will fall through. It's at this point that you may be asked to put down a deposit and a date for completion is set. On exchange of contracts you are responsible for the property so it is important that any buildings insurance is started on this date as well as any mortgage protection policies. On completion the property is officially yours. You receive the keys and the mortgage starts.
I'm afraid it doesn't stop there. A typical mortgage is over 25 years and can often be in excess of 30 years. It is vital therefore that you continue to review your current mortgage well into the future as you circumstances change and as the mortgage industry changes. We diarise mortgage reviews for all of our clients so that you can forget about your mortgage until we call you for a review.