Company Director, Michael Taylor-Brown was included in Vouched For 2020 Guide to the UK’s Top Rated Advisers over the weekend. As a seasoned mortgage adviser Michael and valued team member Michael became a company director in 2019. He specialises in first and next time mortgages. We couldn’t be be more proud that he has been acknowledged as a top adviser. This prestigious status is based on client feedback and independent reviews and the Guide is distributed by The Times
If your house has been on the market for a while or if you are concerned about going on the market during winter months here is our advice for getting your house sale moving.
- Tackle DIY. Everyone has some minor, nagging defects in their home which they are putting off fixing. While you might write them off as a minor nuisance, to a potential buyer they could be quite off putting and cause them to be concerned about what else is wrong with the house. Small defects can give the impression that a house has not been maintained and will costs money to put right.
- Smells good! It might be tempting to make your home seem more attractive by spraying scents but these can be overpowering. Opt instead for subtle scents or use natural smells by baking bread or cookies, vanilla is a very pleasant smell. If you light a candle, make sure you blow it out before potential buyers arrive. Natural smells are the most attractive, synthetic room sprays can also trigger allergic reactions so avoid using these. Likewise don’t be cooking a casserole or have had a fry up in the morning if you know there are viewings that day. Grease and strong meat smells can be offensive.
- Winter warmth. One of the best things about winter is walking in from the cold to be enveloped by warmth. Warm lighting, knitted throws on the sofa and lighting the fire can create the perfect, cosy atmosphere.
- Let there be light! Natural light is scarce in winter. Open blinds & curtains, use lamps to brighten darker spaces. And avoid viewings after sunset. Good lighting will create positive feelings toward the house.
- Tidy the garden. Gardens can get neglected during winter. Buyers are hugely influenced by outdoor space. Tidying the garden will boost the appeal of your property and enable buyers to see its potential. Make sure paths are swept, especially the front path to the door and any debris from treefall is tidied up. Put away garden tools and toys, if it’s a dry day show off your patio furniture highlighting its potential for socialising.
- Man’s best friend (aka Pets). As cute as they may, some people are put off by pets. If possible keep your pets elsewhere during viewings and also vacuum any stray fur or feathers to ensure there’s no risk of triggering a viewer’s allergy.
Contact us to arrange your first or next mortgage. Our advisers will find you the best mortgage to suit your circumstances and have access to products that are not available on the High St or on comparison websites.
It is very common for people to turn to comparison sites to research life cover and home insurances. It’s easy and convenient, but you may be unaware of the consequences of getting the wrong type of cover. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’ll usually be offered fairly generic polices.
If you want a policy that meets your individual circumstances, it is always a sensible idea to seek expert advice. An independent adviser can give you guidance on the products that best suit your needs and discuss options within your budget.
Here are a few reasons why going to an adviser for your protection is a smart decision:
- Understand your options better: Insurers won’t always offer you every type of cover when you go directly to them. Advisers can help point out the types of cover available from the insurers and help you to work out what you need.
- Obtain the correct cover: An adviser will ask you about your personal circumstances to find you the right policy. They will also be able to tell you if you’re already covered by your existing insurance policies so your covers do not overlap, and they will often get you a good deal by comparing prices and product features.
- Receive specialist advice: On comparison sites you might not find cover for an area you need cover for – like income protection – that needs to be tailored to suit your needs, or a critical illness policy if you have a specific medical condition.
- More easily complete the medical underwriting process: Everyone is medically underwritten for insurance. This means that on application you’ll be asked a series of medical questions to determine your health and the level of risk you present to the insurer; and sometimes insurers require further medical evidence in the form of a GP report or a medical exam. This is where having an adviser is useful, as they can guide you on the best provider for you given your disclosures. An adviser can also manage your expectations on time frames and the potential outcome if it is something that may affect what you are offered (an exclusion, or an increased premium for example).
We know that it can be hard to find the extra money every month to save towards your first or next home. We’ve compiled these five tips – some of them a bit easier than others – that you could implement to save money.
- Reduce your food bills – some simple meal planning will help you reduce food and money waste. Spend half an hour every week planning the week ahead and write your shopping list to fulfil that menu. Also consider changing supermarkets to one of the lower cost ones such as Lidl or Aldi for all or part of your shop. Cook from scratch – convenience or ready meals are expensive, a healthy family meal can be made in under half an hour and will save you hundreds of £’s over the course of a year. Reduce your restaurant or takeaway meals so that they are treats – you will appreciate them all the more as will your back pocket! If you can’t resist the pull towards a pub or restaurant sign up to loyalty schemes or emails to take advantage of offers.
- Consider taking in a lodger – if you have a spare room or if your children could share for a short period while you are saving you can earn up to £7500 a year without having to pay tax (sign up to the Rent a Room scheme).
- Take a staycation – we all love to holiday but the average family holiday abroad (according to Expedia) costs £4800 plus £280 per week spending money. Instead of booking a holiday away stay at home, book the time off work and spend days out with the family or as a couple. If your single and saving then take some time off to visit with friends or family you haven’t seen in a while. Explore the area you live in – go for bike rides. If you really need to get away then consider camping, narrow boating or a lower cost holiday cottage in the UK instead of going abroad.
- Review your insurances and utilities – reviewing your insurance and utility contracts annually could save yourself a lot of money, utility and insurance providers rely on us having such busy lives that we don’t review our policies. Price and policy rises can happen unnoticed and before you know it you could be paying a lot more than you realise.
- Manage your money – sounds simple, but if you set yourself a monthly budget and set up some standing orders into separate savings accounts e.g. a holiday fund, house fund, clothing fund that get transferred on pay day you are far less likely to fritter money.
1. Cheaper monthly repayments – the bigger your mortgage deposit, the smaller your loan will be. The smaller your loan is, the cheaper your monthly repayments will be.
2. Better mortgage deals – a larger deposit will also make you less risky for mortgage lenders and they’ll generally offer you lower interest rates.
3. Improved chance of being accepted – lenders calculate if you can afford the mortgage repayments. If you put down a big deposit it’s more likely you will pass as the monthly repayment will be affordable.
4. Less risk –if you own more of your home you are less likely to fall into ‘negative equity’. Being in negative equity can make moving or remortgaging very difficult.
Watch out for our “Tips for saving a deposit” blog coming soon!