Why Now is When You Need a Mortgage Broker

Many people have been hit as a result of the credit crunch (the reluctance of banks to lend because of their own problems in getting hold of funds).

Among those who have been hit hardest are those with poor credit; those with variable incomes, such as the self-employed; and those with existing mortgages who borrowed more than they could really afford in the good times, and now can’t manage the payments.

In this climate, people are increasingly realising that the expertise of a mortgage broker is essential in any type of mortgage transaction.

• One way a mortgage broker can help you is with remortgaging. If you find that your current mortgage is too much for you, and you are afraid of being repossessed, you should look for a remortgage – and at the earliest possible stage, before you build up arrears and damage your credit rating. But you will be unlikely to get any sympathy from your current lender! They are hardly likely to offer you a new mortgage at lower rates! A mortgage broker can scan the market to find all possible sources for a remortgage. If you have managed to build up some equity in your property, you should find you are in a good position to get a new mortgage, even in the current situation.

• You may find yourself one of an increasing number of people with an impaired credit rating. If so, you are unfortunately among the group who find it hardest to get a mortgage during the credit crunch – lenders are increasingly nervous of borrowers who appear a poor risk. Don’t give up – look for a mortgage broker who specialises in bad credit mortgages. (This will be on their window or in their ad in Yellow Pages – they may call it adverse credit or sub-prime mortgages.) The mortgage broker will know what deals are still available for people in your situation, and will help you to apply in a way that will give you the best chance of being accepted. You must be honest with the broker and disclose everything that might be relevant, otherwise you could end up with a product that isn’t right for you. And remember that rates will be higher, so follow the broker’s guidance and don’t commit yourself to something you can’t afford.

• If you are self-employed or a short-term contract worker, you may be finding it equally difficult to get a mortgage at the moment. Lenders are nervous of anyone whose income varies or who can’t prove exactly what their income is – so you could be turned down even if your income is actually quite high. What you need is a “self-cert mortgage”, where you produce documents to demonstrate your income over a specified period, and these are still available if you know where to look. Your best chance of finding one is with a self-cert mortgage broker. Rates on a self-cert mortgage can be high, reflecting what lenders see as increased risk, but the broker can find you the most competitive deal.

Life is tough for many people just now, and many are feeling lost and confused. If you are one of them, and you are looking for a mortgage product, it doesn’t make sense to try to sort it out on your own. The picture is so complicated and changing day by day. A mortgage broker can give you the advice and guidance you need, and help you make the right decision at the right time.

Sean Horton is a Director of Enhanced Wealth who are a whole of market mortgage broker

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