We’re well and truly into 2021 now, but we could all be forgiven for having the very real sense that while the number might have changed, not much else has. The pre-Christmas tiered restrictions and now a second full national lockdown after a summer and autumn of fewer measures has left lots of us feeling like we’ve gone backwards rather than forward in how the Covid crisis affects our daily lives. But while lockdown once again leaves businesses in the hospitality and so-called non-essential retail sectors having to either close the doors or move what they can online, the housing market is still very much open and we are very much open too.
As you would expect, agents and prospective buyers need to work within some common-sense parameters to avoid placing themselves, their clients and those viewing properties at risk – and these may well include having stricter-than-normal criteria for how they define a legitimate buyer.
It’s been the case for a while now that some estate agents will want to see tangible evidence that you’re what they describe as ‘proceedable’, which simply means they’re confident you’re not only serious about a purchase but are also able to complete it.
Commonly, that will mean being able to demonstrate one or both of two things:
Your house is on the market
Having your own property on the market is an easy way for an agent to be sure you have a commitment to moving.
In some cases – especially with properties that they know will attract a lot of interest and sell quickly – agents may advise their client to refuse a viewing if your property isn’t also under offer.
You have a mortgage in place
Obviously, you can’t get a mortgage agreed completely before you find the property you want to buy because apart from anything else your lender will want a valuation survey of the specific property they’re lending against.
But most lenders will give a mortgage agreement in principle, which is a formal confirmation of the amount they would be prepared to lend to you based on basic income and expenditure information you give them.
Be aware that this process will also involve a search of your credit file, so before you begin the process it’s a good idea to take steps to pay off or pay down any debt you have.
It’s worth bearing in mind, also, that, normally, multiple searches of your credit history can be risky because they can give the impression you’re desperate for credit.
Current guidelines mean searches by multiple mortgage lenders are treated as a single search, but it’s still wise to be sensible about the number of lenders you approach for a mortgage agreement in principle.
Why using a professional mortgage adviser may be in your best interests
With the end of the stamp duty holiday approaching, meaning housing transactions need to complete by the end of the day on March 31 2021, time is running out for people who want to benefit from savings of up to £15,000 in tax.
If that’s you, then you’re going to need your mortgage application process to be free of any delay.
One benefit of using a professional mortgage adviser is that they may be able to give estate agents the confidence that you are in a good position to complete a purchase. But it can also take the stress out of the application process.
A simple mistake on your application form could mean a critical delay of several days that throws your purchase (or sale, if you’re a vendor in a chain) off-track.
A professional mortgage broker will complete your mortgage application on your behalf, ensuring all the information is correct and presented in such a way as to give you the best possible chance of it being accepted and approved.
Most brokers also know the lenders they work with, so they will be able to help you to identify the mortgage products and lenders that they believe not only best suit your budget and finances now but also reflect your future plans.
And because a reputable broker will know the market inside out and has a detailed understanding of each mortgage provider’s lending criteria, they should be best-placed to resolve any unexpected problems that may crop up.
If you’d like to talk about your priorities in the coming year, come and talk to our friendly team to discover your options. We’re open for business!
Oportfolio Limited is an appointed representative of Primis Mortgage Network, a trading name of First Complete Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
Oportfolio Ltd fees are payable on application. We charge a broker fee for property purchases of £495 and a remortgage/further advance fee of £395. Our product transfer fee is £295.