100% Stamp Duty Paid for First Time Buyers

Halifax has launched a new range of Stamp Duty Special mortgage products, available for a limited time only. They are offering to pay 100% of the stamp duty for first time buyers.

The offer applies to a range of loan-to-value mortgages and will help many types of first time buyer – including those taking advantage of the NewBuy and Affordable Housing schemes.

Halifax’s new incentive will pay 100% of the stamp duty land tax for new buyers purchasing a property within the 1% Stamp Duty bracket (between £125,001 and £250,000). The payment will therefore amount to between £1,250 and £2,500 and will be paid to the conveyancer upon completion.

These products help to show the commitment Halifax Intermediaries have to the housing market, especially when it comes to helping buyers looking for their first home.

For full details of these Halifax products, and for details on all the first time buyer incentives currently available on the market from other lenders, please contact Limetree Financial Services.

Posted in First Time Buyers, Mortgages

Equity Bags Better Rates but Beware Lender Valuations

Since the turn of the year interest rates have started to get a lot more competitive and there are some excellent remortgage deals currently available.

As a rule, the more equity you have in your property, the better rate you will get.

So how do you know how much your property is worth?

Most of us probably think we have a rough idea, but it is always the new lender who makes the final decision. At the moment lenders have a tendency to down value a property just enough so that you don’t quite qualify for the deal you wanted, but they are still prepared to lend at a slightly higher rate. They are in business to make as much profit as possible, after all.

For example, if you think your house is worth £200,000 and you owe £140000, you would qualify for a 70% loan-to-value mortgage. But if the lender decides they think it is only worth £195000, you no longer qualify for that deal.

It is very difficult to contest a valuation that a lender puts on a property. They will usually want comparable proof of a similar property that sold on the same street within the last couple of months. If you can’t provide that evidence, you are stuck with their valuation.

If you are thinking of remortgaging, have a look to see if your property is on the borderline of the required loan-to-value. Although a lender’s surveyor will rarely give you the benefit of the doubt, Limetree Financial Services will do everything it can to get you the best remortgage deal possible.

Posted in Mortgages, Remortgaging

Buy-to-Let For Student Houses

BM Solutions has loosened its criteria once again by agreeing to lend for the first time to landlords who let properties to students.

The buy-to-let lender will now lend to landlords renting to students where there is a maximum number of five tenants on one assured shorthold tenancy agreement, in line with its current lending policy. Previously, it would not lend to these types of landlords.

However, it will not lend on houses in multiple occupation, as was the case before.

BM Solutions are currently one of the two biggest buy to let lenders in the UK, so it is very good news that they are now looking to extend their criteria.

At Limetree, we not only have access to BM Solutions, but many other lenders who will also consider student lets. Some of those lenders will also consider houses of multiple occupation, which BM Solutions presently do not.

With large numbers of students looking for accommodation in Cambridge, the right type of buy to let property could be a very good type of investment.

Posted in Buy-to-let, Mortgages

Don’t Put Off Arranging Life Insurance

How many times have you had to take a huge detour or sit stationary in your car for hours after a road has been closed due to a serious accident?

Although this sort of situation causes us personal inconvenience, we always spare a thought when a family has lost a loved one. Because of my job, I often wonder if the person who has been killed had any life insurance – and hope for the sake of their family that they did.

Hopefully they had. Hopefully they weren’t one of those people who ‘thought it was a good idea’ – but had never got round to arranging it.

There is no easy way to explain the importance of life insurance. It is an unpleasant subject to dwell on. But a lot of people who are young, fit and healthy assume that there is plenty of time to arrange life cover in the future. However, if they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, their dependents could end up facing severe financial hardship for the rest of their lives.

So if you are thinking about getting life insurance, don’t delay. Call Limetree now for independent advice and a competitive quotation.

Posted in Insurance, Life Assurance

Preparation Key when Applying for a Mortgage

In the current mortgage climate there are far fewer banks and building societies actively looking to lend money than there were a few years ago, when the market was more buoyant.

Four or five years ago, mortgages were fairly easy to obtain. As long as the borrower was able to pass the lender’s credit score, very little additional supporting documentation (if any) was required.

However, times have changed, and virtually every mortgage case is now fully underwritten and assessed in great detail by the lender, meaning a long list of supporting documentation will almost always be required.

Lenders will normally require at least 3 month’s payslips and a P60 for an employed person; three years certified income figures from a qualified accountant – or official Inland Revenue income confirmation – for a self employed person. All applicants will usually also be expected to provide the last six bank statements and their recent annual mortgage statement, if applicable.

It is very important to have all of this documentation to hand prior to officially applying for a mortgage. After a lender has given an initial approval in principle on a mortgage, they will usually insist on all supporting  documentation being forwarded to them within a few days.

If the information is not forthcoming in time, it could result in long processing delays, or in some extreme cases, the application being declined.

Because supply of mortgages currently seems to outweigh demand, it is not uncommon for lenders to be weeks behind with processing their mortgage applications. It is imperative that you provide them with absolutely everything they ask for up front, in order to ensure that your application is processed promptly.

As mortgage brokers placing mortgage applications every day, Limetree know exactly what supporting documentation each lender is going to ask for in advance. We  are able to recommend the most suitable lender to meet your individual client circumstances, and ensure that your application is processed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Contact Limetree for mortgage advice.

Posted in Mortgages