In addition to a large increase in First Time Buyer enquiries recently, we have also seen a vast increase in customers looking to consolidate debt or even look at debt management plans. Both can sometimes cause issues. If you consolidate unsecured credit in to your mortgage, although your monthly payments may be lower, you may be paying more for your debt over a longer term.
A mortgage is the biggest debt you’re ever likely to take on, so do your homework and shop around, as you would for you weekly shopping! We are always surprised that someone will announce to the world that they saved £30 off the price of, say, a fridge or cooker, yet fail to apply the same research into their mortgage! The number of mortgages available is rising on a daily basis and rates are incredibly competitive. But even whilst shopping around for a new mortgage, be wary that many ‘institutions’ are likely to carry out a credit search on you. Make sure you stipulate at the outset of any mortgage conversation that you do not authorise any credit searches, until you agree you are happy to proceed with a specific product or lender. Too many credit searches in a short amount of time could be detrimental to your credit score. If you have not reviewed your credit search before, get it for free (30day trial period) from Credit Expert (see www.atomltd.co.uk for a link). It’s well worth a review and a good insight on how attractive you may, or may not, look to a lender.
With debt management plans (DMP), or Individual Voluntary Arrangements(IVA), again, the lower monthly payments may help in the short term, but you may well find it hard to gain an approval from a lender to refinance at a later date. Lenders tend to shy away from DMPs and may not assist anyone who has been in an IVA unless it has been discharged, normally, for more than three to four years. Advice should always be sort before entering in to these types of arrangements.