We catch up with Stephen Retter from St. Barts Finance in Ashley Cross, Parkstone who have been providing mortgages and finance in the local area since 2009.
Why should you use a mortgage broker over going directly to a bank?
Most people looking for a mortgage (be that for the first time, or for the tenth time) tend to speak to their own bank for their mortgage needs - They generally believe they will get a better deal as their bank ‘knows them’ and has been a loyal customer will unlock advantageous rates.
Like with shopping around for your motor insurance, I would advise anyone looking to buy a property or move home would be to speak to a good mortgage broker. Good brokers will not charge a fee for their first meeting and may be able to access the whole of the market, rather than products from their own brand, or even a restricted panel of lenders - This not only means you will likely get the best deal available to you but also ensure your needs are fully met.
Even if your situation is ‘straight-forward’, seeing a good broker would likely save you time AND money,
What makes a good broker?
A good broker is a specialist in mortgages and so would have up-to-date market knowledge - critical in today’s climate. Criteria, rates, fees, and limits are constantly changing at the moment so it is imperative to speak with someone who has this full-market access. This appointment can be made to fit around your schedule, you would likely be ‘seen’ much sooner too.
Even if your situation is ‘straight-forward’, seeing a good broker would likely save you time AND money, however, if any element of your application is ‘non-standard’ e.g. self-employed, commission-based, adverse credit history, etc then a broker’s specialist knowledge & experience would certainly reap rewards. Each person is different and certainly has very different needs… a broker will be able to collate these needs to the right lender & product.
What will happen to mortgage rates in 2021?
To be perfectly honest, no-one knows what will happen with rates, even in ‘normal’ times. So to predict what will happen now really is ‘best guess. Since the outbreak, we have seen lenders require much larger deposits, and rates have increased across the board. I am sure that something will be put in place in the coming months to help ‘first-time buyers’, and those with smaller deposits, as the housing market is so critical to our economy.
Do you feel the government will look to support the market?
Whether the government will again ‘underwrite’ higher lending loans by way of a mortgage guarantee as they have done previously, or pressure lenders to reduce interest rates remains to be seen, but I feel that something will be introduced/re-introduced to ‘kickstart’ the market post 1st April. We do need to bear in mind of course, that rates are still very low if we compare them to average rates over the last 30 years - in part, we have all become ‘used’ to very low-interest rates.
What is your outlook on the property/mortgage market?
Although currently, the news is generally doom & gloom, I think that as the vaccine(s) become more widespread, we will see a return to something close to ‘normal’ across the industry in the coming months.