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The Easter holidays and the enforced suspension of Parliamentary business gave us all a welcome break from the wall-to-wall coverage of the ongoing Brexit saga – but with return of MPs to Westminster came the return of the uncertainty that has dogged the process for much of the past year. Lack of certainty is always unsettling and is always more likely to provoke stagnation than it is growth. When questions arise over the future of a football club’s manager or its star player, the history books suggest form dips and nervousness prevails until the situation is resolved. The same is true in politics, and the unsettling effect of the protracted Brexit talks across all sectors from business to leisure and travel to finance has been well-documented as 'business as usual' has spiralled into a holding pattern while we wait for some clarity. The same is true in the housing market. Latest analysis from Which? suggests that house price growth has declined slightly since a period of stagnation immediately after the Referendum. Transactions, though, were slightly up in February of this year than in 2018. Somewhat simplistically, what that means is that right now housing is a buyer’s market, with the increase in transactions suggesting there’s a level of opportunism at play in a falling market. To what extent, though, can the state of the UK property market in 2019 be attributed to the uncertainty created by Brexit? The answer is undoubtedly that it has played a part. Many property professionals and market commentators, including the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, believe the ongoing deadlock in Parliament is dragging the housing market into a slump, but there are also those who believe some of the trends we’re seeing are a product of the market undergoing a long-overdue correction. If true, then that could have the beneficial side-effect of serving to make property ownership more accessible to first time buyers – something that has been a concern to many people for some time. It’s certainly true that many people are playing a ‘wait and see’ game and it’s likely that this is more to do with the terms of our departure – in other words, whether Britain leaves Europe with or without a deal – and how interest rates might be affected by that. The Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, has previously warned that a no-deal Brexit will have a significant negative impact on the UK economy, so it’s hardly surprising that potential house buyers might be cautious about taking the plunge until there’s confidence around the stability of interest rates. But that’s not to say there aren’t deals to be had in the market or that buying a house would necessarily be a rash move at this stage. Clearly, affordability looks different for everyone and regardless of the political climate we’d always advise would-be buyers to consider carefully the potential consequences of what is, for most people, the most expensive purchase they’ll ever make. But for those who do enjoy the confidence of being able to buy, there are some good fixed rate mortgage deals out there – many of them for 5 years or longer – which would offer some insulation against any initial rise in interest rates as a result of leaving the EU. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would argue the Brexit process has been a good thing, but although it’s left a mark on the housing market, there are still good deals to be done for many people who are looking to move. If you’re one of them, why not come and talk to us about how our award-winning mortgage advice could help to see you into your dream home this summer? Want to know how other clients felt about working with Oportfolio? Watch Gus and Selena’s video story!      To find out more about our friendly and professional mortgage service, fees and what we can do to help make sure you’re not paying over the odds for your mortgage, why not visit www.oportfolio.co.uk or give us a call on 020 7371 5063. 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.  

by  -  3 May 2019

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If you search on the web for advice on the things you should do when choosing a mortgage, you’ll get a lot of information back. Some of it’s good, some of it not so good. But as important, if not more so, is what you should avoid doing. Here’s our guide to the mistakes you’d do well to avoid making. Don’t approach your hunt for a mortgage in the same way you would if you were buying a washing machine We know that sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at the almost laissez-faire way a good many people approach the business of securing the finance to buy their home. Put simply, buying a home is a huge investment – and almost certainly the largest single purchase you’ll have made in your life at that point. It’s fine to buy a washing machine from Amazon or another online retailer. If it doesn’t work, you send it back. If you realise there was a better model you could have bought, it’s not a calamitous financial mistake to have to live with. Choose the wrong mortgage provider or product, however, and you could be paying for it – literally – for years. Don’t obsess about the interest rate We’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. If the only thing you’re looking at is the interest rate, then the chances are you’re missing a trick. Yes, how much you’re going to pay each month is important and so that means the rate is a factor in your decision – but it’s not the only factor. Is the rate fixed or variable? If it’s fixed, how long is it fixed for? Are there early exit fees? Is there an arrangement fee? Will you be able to overpay if you want to, and if so, by how much? Just as importantly, is the mortgage provider reputable and do you believe you’ll get good support and care during the lifetime of the loan? The days of personal 121 contact with an account manager may be over, but your relationship with your lender remains just as important today as it always did. Don’t chase lower rates at the expense of lender reputation  Even if you do put a lot of store by the interest rates on offer from lenders, they don’t always tell the whole story. If you saw what looked like two very similar cars on offer from two different dealers, and one was significantly cheaper than the other, you might be tempted to buy the cheaper of the two. But it’s always worth taking pause for thought. There could be legitimate reasons for two apparently identical mortgages being offered at different rates of interest. It could be that one lender is squeezing as much margin out of the loan as possible to maximise profit. Equally, it might be that they’re a bigger, more well-established and reputable lender, with bigger overheads and a better overall service. Don’t take a mortgage from an unregulated lender  If you do nothing else (and we hope you’ll do a lot more than this), don’t take a mortgage with an unregulated lender, because when things go wrong, you have no easy recourse to get them put right. Unregulated lenders aren’t subject to the same lending standards as regulated banks and building societies and don’t offer the same protection. Do your homework and ensure your lender is reputable and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. If you’re in any doubt at all, hit the pause button and reconsider. Use a professional mortgage broker  If you only follow this final – and, we’d obviously argue, most important - rule, you’ll also avoid making the first four mistakes, too. A good, professional mortgage broker will also be regulated – giving you protection against bad advice – and will know the market inside out. They’ll know what deals are available, what products will best suit your circumstances (not just today, but in the longer term, based on your priorities and ambitions) and the lenders who can offer you the best options for buying your home. At Oportfolio, we’re mortgage experts regulated by FCA and with years of success behind us – so if you’re ready to take the next step in your property journey, we’re ready to help you.   Want to know how other clients felt about working with Oportfolio? Watch Gus and Selena’s video story!     To find out more about our friendly and professional mortgage service, fees and what we can do to help make sure you’re not paying over the odds for your mortgage, why not visit www.oportfolio.co.uk or give us a call on 020 7371 5063. 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.

by Oliver Whitehead  -  11 April 2019

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What size deposit do I need to be able to get a mortgage? It’s a question we hear asked a lot, especially from people who haven’t been through a mortgage application process in a good while and who worry that lenders have changed their policies around what percentage of a property’s value they’re prepared to lend against (the loan to value, or LTV). The simple answer to the question, rather unhelpfully, is that it depends. Following the financial crisis of 2008, lenders – both banks and building societies – were forced by regulators and by the Bank of England to tighten their lending criteria to ensure customers were able to afford to repay the loans they were offered. What that meant in practice was that the majority of mortgage lenders became more risk averse. The days of widespread large multiple lending, for example – where mortgage providers were offering loans calculated at four to six times annual salary – certainly became as rare as hen’s teeth. The previously common 100% mortgage – where a lender would stump up a mortgage to the full purchase price of the property – also became harder to come by (though they have made something of a comeback in the early part of 2019). And, inevitably, there was also an effect on the way lenders viewed the deposits that customers were able to make. But this was less about the amount involved and more about how the level of impact the deposit had on the lending risk concerned. It doesn’t take a degree in economics to be able to understand that a customer who can put down 40% of the value of the property they want to buy is a more attractive proposition than someone who can only get a deposit for 5%. But having a small deposit certainly doesn’t mean there’ll be a problem getting your mortgage application approved. Far from it, in fact. Having any sort of deposit sends a positive message to the mortgage provider that you’re prepared to share the financial risk and that you’ve thought and planned ahead for this moment. That said, some lenders will have limits on the LTV they will accept and so to that extent, there may well be a minimum deposit a lender would expect to see for any given mortgage product. However, assuming you’ve cleared any LTV hurdle, of far more interest to a lender in determining whether your application is approved or not will be your ability to afford the resulting repayments. Remember, too, that the more you’re able to put down, the less you’ll be borrowing and the lower your repayments will be (or, depending on your priorities, the shorter the mortgage term will be). If you already own your home, then the equity in it will probably make up all or part of any deposit you intend to put down. But remember, you’re likely to also have to find money to pay Stamp Duty, legal fees, surveyor fees and any other costs associated with your move. And if you plan to do any renovation work on your new home, you’ll need to consider how you’ll be paying for that, too. Talking to a professional mortgage broker like Oportfolio can be really useful in helping you to plan how to arrange your move from a financial point of view. So if you’re looking at a move during 2019, why not get in touch and have a chat with one of our friendly team? Want to know how other people feel about working with Oportfolio to buy their dream property? Watch Gus and Selena’s video story!     To find out more about our friendly and professional mortgage service, fees and what we can do to help make sure you’re not paying over the odds for your mortgage, why not visit www.oportfolio.co.uk or give us a call on 020 7371 5063. 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.

by Oliver Whitehead  -  4 April 2019

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There’s barely a single area of our increasingly busy lives where we don’t have the option to do things for ourselves at home in front of a laptop, and the process of choosing a mortgage product is no different. From online grocery shopping to switching your car insurance or energy supplier, increased competition for business has put control of just about everything in life within one click of a mouse or swipe of a finger. But is that a good thing? As with most things, the answer is yes … and no. When it comes to having your groceries or that last minute Christmas present delivered, it’s very difficult to argue against the convenience that’s to be had from doing your shopping online. Pick and pay for it one day, have it delivered the next – and if you happen to forget an urgent item, there’s usually always the option to go out to a real shop to get it. But for the more important things in life, a little caution is healthy. This is especially true when it comes to mortgages. Whilst there’s no harm in using price comparison websites to get a feel for what might be available in the market, limiting your search just to those products you’ll find on comparison sites may risk missing out on a product that’s better-suited to you. Here, then, are 5 good reasons why it might pay to look beyond the online ‘high street’ to finance your property. You won’t have access to all the products that are available The simple truth is that as comprehensive as the price comparison or lender sites might look, they may not include every product you might want to consider. At Oportfolio, for example, we work with a wide range of lenders with whom we have long-standing relationships, and because we are Appointed Representatives of PRIMIS Mortgage Network we often have access to mortgage products you simply wouldn’t know about if you searched for your mortgage yourself. From attractive fixed rates and fixed term mortgages, to incentivised products that offer you a saving in the overall cost of your mortgage, a professional mortgage broker will be able to properly assess your needs and then find suitable products to review with you. You probably don’t have the market knowledge to make the best choice Unless you’ve worked in the mortgage industry there’s a very good chance you won’t have the expertise or knowledge to lead you to the right product. There’s also a danger that you might overlook future opportunities and/or risks in your own life that will – or should – influence or shape your decision. We’ve helped hundreds of people to find the right finance to buy or improve their dream home and we know the right questions to ask – not just of prospective lenders, but also of you – to ensure your mortgage will be fit for purpose today and in the years to come. DIY mortgages can be stressful There’s no doubt that applying for a mortgage can be a tense and stressful time – it’s not by accident that making an application, together with the actual practical process of moving house – is recognised as one of the most stressful events in life. If you decide to go it alone, you’ll be dealing with your prospective lender yourself, which takes time, and will have the added burden of having to follow up on your application and check on its progress. Stringent affordability criteria that lenders must observe also means you’ll need more detailed personal and financial information than was the case before the financial crisis of 2008. In fact, if you’ve not applied for a new mortgage or additional borrowing since then, you’ll find the landscape has changed significantly. By contrast, working with a professional mortgage broker like Oportfolio will take the guesswork out of what information is needed and we certainly work with all our clients to fill out their application with them. That means we’re as sure as we can be when we submit the information that everything the lender needs to know is included. Your broker should then manage the process from start to finish, so you can get on with the important things in life whilst you wait for the lender’s decision. You’re at the mercy of your own knowledge Reputable mortgage brokers are trained, qualified and regulated, which means there’s a certain level of reassurance for you that the advice you’re given and the products they recommend are the result of expert knowledge. By contrast, if you choose the DIY route, you’re only as good as the information you have and the things you don’t know that you don’t know. If you apply for and agree a mortgage that later proves to be the wrong product for you or doesn’t offer the same benefits as you might otherwise have had, you’ll have less recourse to resolve things. It takes time you probably don’t have Mortgages are the lifeblood of a professional mortgage broker’s business. That’s what they do all day, every day. You, on the other hand, probably have a job, family and other demands to juggle – and unlike applying for some credit cards, applying for a mortgage isn’t something you can just do when you have ten minutes to spare. You’ll spend time rooting out information you need, time filling out the application, time on the phone with the lender going through the application and time chasing the application once it’s complete – even if you get a decision in principle reasonably quickly. There are lots of things in life that make sense to do yourself but applying for a mortgage isn’t necessarily one of them. For a stress- and hassle-free experience that is more likely to give you the mortgage product that’s most suitable for you, it pays to have expert help from a professional mortgage broker like Oportfolio that can manage the whole process from end to end. If you’d like to talk to us about how our expert and friendly advisers can help you achieve success with your mortgage application, call us for a no-obligation chat.   To find out more about our friendly and professional mortgage service, fees and what we can do to help make sure you’re not paying over the odds for your mortgage, why not visit www.oportfolio.co.uk or give us a call on 020 7371 5063. 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.

by Oliver Whitehead  -  4 February 2019
Disclaimer

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 of £395.
Our Product Transfer fee is £295.

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By submitting this information you have given your agreement to receive verbal contact from us to discuss your mortgage requirements.
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