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5 Year High on Property Fall-throughs

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According to the Intermediary Magazine this morning, Quarter 3 of 2022 saw the highest level of property transactions falling through in 5 years – a trend we have seen and assisted many of our clients through.

According to the magazine, 90,188 transactions are estimated to have fallen through – an increase on 15.6% on a quarterly basis and a 3.6% increase since the same period in 2021.

The rate is attributed to the chaos that followed the political and global events in September 2022, where lenders pulled out of the market, cost of living crisis came to the forefront (increasing the issues around affordability), and increased moving costs (both in the process and also lender product fees as a result of the Bank of England’s rate hikes).

What can you do to protect yourself?

It is in the interest of all parties in a purchase to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. There are so many factors affecting how easily a transaction goes through and ways of protecting yourself in case the worst happens.

  • Get everything ready before you start – Seems obvious, but there is a lot of research to be done before you even get to the point of offering on a property. We will be covering this over on our Facebook Page over the next few days, so make sure you follow us to get the hints and tips!
  • If you haven’t sold your property yet, don’t expect to be taken as seriously as a person with no property to sell – ultimately, until you have sold your property you wont be in a position to proceed (unless you have the cash to progress the purchase without the sale moving forwards) – so pushing anyone other than your selling agent is likely to cause friction.
  • Wait until you are fully confident you can move forward before committing money to a transaction – Until you have the mortgage offer, you simply aren’t in a position to successfully start the process of buying the house you have offered on. We always recommend holding back on paying for searches, additional surveys and other costs until either a verbal “Ok to go” from the lender, or a mortgage offer is in place. Otherwise you could be spending out on things that go to waste if you are unable to proceed (either because of issues with the mortgage itself, or the lenders valuation coming back low or unsuitable for lending)
  • Keep in touch using the right channels – Whilst its tempting to badger everyone involved in the process, there are key people to keep in touch with at different stages.. For example :
    • Until you have your mortgage offer, your main contact should be the Mortgage Broker
    • Once you have your mortgage offer, the solicitors work can start – so they should be your main contact.
    • Once you have the majority of the legal work done (Searches back, enquiries underway or complete), then you can work with the estate agent to get an idea of the completion timescales.
  • Keep Calm – Particularly in long chains, it can be a stressful process. Ultimately, nothing is set in stone until everyone in the chain is ready to exchange.

We will be covering some more detail over on Facebook over the next few weeks, so head over and follow us for more information.

In the meantime, we have two helpful guides to First Time Buyers and lots more info in our guide to the process on our homepage at www.mortgages4u.uk

The Bank of England Base Rate Rise – Don’t panic! Get advice.

It won’t have missed your attention that the Bank of England Base Rate has increased once again (this time another 0.5% taking it up to 3.5%). We take a really quick look at what this means in the grand scheme of things, and why its best not to panic just yet!

So, on the 15th December 2022, the Bank of England base rate rose to 3.5% – The highest level in 14 years. It’s natural to worry, particularly if you already have a mortgage or are looking to source one soon. But, we are seeing a different picture in the world of mortgage brokers.

Those on Fixed Rate Mortgages with a deal coming to an end and looking to limit the increase in payments are still benefitting from fixed rates moving downwards rather than up. As a perfect example, we arranged a fixed rate product transfer for a client back in November to secure a rate in case rates went sky high. Today, we have changed the product as a result of reductions in that particular lenders rates and instead of a rate of 5.44%, we have secured a rate of 4.79% – a drop of over 0.65%. That’s a reduction in their deal greater than todays increase.

For those on variable deals, we are starting to get the responses in from the lenders, and those that have communicated so far are noting that the rates for those clients aren’t going up immediately. Santander (for example) have announced that they will increase their variable rate products (including Alliance and Leicester) by the 0.5%, but at the start of February (which means payments won’t change until March 2023).

For those who haven’t reviewed their mortgage deal, or are due to review within 6 months (particularly if you are on a lenders Standard Variable Rate), now is a really good time to get a review. As always, we don’t charge unless we get you a mortgage.

Head over to our Contact Page or visit our Facebook Page to get in touch and discuss your options.

Protecting your mind – Mental Health – an increasing problem

Protecting your mind. Couple in discussions with a professional

With World Mental Health Day having recently passed on October, and renewed focus in the media on the Britain Get Talking campaign, what better time could there be for each of us to take a moment to assess how we’re feeling. There’s no hiding the fact that we are currently living in uncertain and unpredictable times, and feeling stressed, anxious and overwhelmed is hardly uncommon at the moment as the cost-of-living crisis looms overhead. It’s so important to be aware of your own mental health so that you can know how to take care of yourself. So, what happens if it all gets too much? How do you protect your income and your livelihood if you need to take some time to look after yourself?

We take a look at the options available to you.

Every year, 1 in 4 adults in the UK experience some form of mental health problem – making it one of the most common health issues in the country. With the overall number of reported mental health problems increasing by 20% between 1993 and 2014, this is clearly a problem that people are becoming more aware of. A societal shift in recent years has changed how mental health is viewed and valued. Real progress has been made surrounding the awareness of mental health along with the help available if problems do arise.

So, where does your work life come into it? If you do sufferwith mental health issues at
some point during your working life to a point where you need to take time away from work to focus on your mental wellbeing, what are your options in terms of protecting your income?

Family hugging

Well, there are solutions. With the cost-of-living crisis causing millions of households to worry whether they’ll be able to afford their energy bills this winter, it would be unsurprising if we saw a spike in people suffering with mental health issues – but some may fear they can’t afford to take time away from work.

Income protection insurance can offer you the time you need when you are unable to work due to your mental health. Mental health concerns are among the leading causes for absence from work with sickness, with approximately 15.8 million working days being lost in the UK per year, with 19% of all long-term sickness absence in England being attributed to mental health issues.

Income protection can make sure you get the time you need without having to worry even more about how to afford your day-to-day life. It offers regular payments to ease the blow of being unable to work until you are well enough to return to work. The tax-free income you receive from your policy could be the difference for you being able to cover costs while you take the time you need to recover. Without that protection, you would be missing out on those payments and perhaps wouldn’t feel financially prepared to take the time you needed to fully recover and get back on your feet.

If you would like to discuss the options available, drop us a chat message or head over to our contact page

If you would like to know more about the Britain Get Talking campaign – head over to www.itv.com/britaingettalking/

Value-Added Services – Why should you care?

Many insurance providers want to offer you the most valuable service they can – and added benefits are one way they can do this. Almost all insurance providers will offer various freebies and discounts to customers, and they’re always a great bonus when you’re looking to get protected. It’s always worth checking what you could be entitled to through your policy – and if you don’t have a policy then the value-added services are always worth taking into consideration.

Value-added services may appear gimmicky and a cheap attempt to gain your custom – but that couldn’t be further from the truth! More often than not, protection providers offer you benefits, freebies and discounts that are genuinely worthwhile.

One hugely beneficial and common perk of a protection policy is having access to priority doctor’s services. With NHS waiting lists longer than ever, getting medical advice can be a long and painful process. So, why not check to see if your policy can offer you access to medical professionals without having to wait to see your GP. These services are designed to help you beyond just what the policy provides. Quick and accessible medical advice is hard to come by, so make sure you make the most of your policy and all it has to offer.

Some policies even offer discounts on cinema tickets, vouchers for meals out or gadgets. These added bonuses can help you to enjoy life’s luxuries without paying full price – something that is more valuable than ever. With the current energy crisis and rising mortgage rates, a trip to the movies may well be the first thing to be crossed off from your monthly budget, but why should it? In times of hardship, a little treat once in a while could really help to lift your spirits. Double check your policy to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the benefits available to you.

If you’re yet to take out a protection policy, it’s always worth considering the policy perks when deciding who to go with. Obviously, the priority is making sure you’re getting the best cover for you. But once you’ve found that – the value-added services are worth thinking about.

Some policy providers will offer free subscriptions to streaming services, discounts on meals out and even offer free gadgets like smart watches that track your health! If you and your adviser have identified a handful of providers that offer the perfect policy, the added bonus of discounts or a smart watch could be the reason you make your final decision. So, shop around – make sure you consider all aspects of a policy before committing to one.

Insurers want to make your experience the best it can possibly be – so why not make the most of it? Go back and check what your policy entitles you to and make sure you’re taking advantage. If you’re looking to take out a policy, your adviser will help you find the policy to best suit your needs along with informing you of all the added benefits on offer.

How you can save energy this winter

It’s no secret that this winter is shaping up to be a struggle for so many households in the UK. With rising energy bills on the minds of millions – the cold weather has the potential to ask some difficult questions of us all. When do you put the heating on? When can you afford to? Obviously, there are challenges ahead – but there are also ways to save energy here and there that can add up over the course of a few months. Below are a few tips to help you feel a bit better about the prospect of turning up that thermostat.

Keep out the cold

Although it may be an obvious solution, taking care of the draughty areas in your home can be one of the best ways to save energy. Draughts not only let in the cold, but also allow heat to escape – so it’s no surprise that draught proofing could save you up to £25 per year. A chimney draught excluder could save you an additional £17 per year while also reducing your carbon footprint.

Upgrade your heating controls

Over 50% of your energy bill will go towards providing heating and hot water. Updating your heating controls can be the best way to manage your bills by reducing how frequently you use your heating. Room thermostats, programmers and thermostatic radiator valves can all help to reduce your costs when used efficiently. Maybe you only ever shower in the morning? If that’s the case – you can turn off the hot water for the rest of the day! Heating controls can save you roughly £75 per year.

Insulate your pipes

Pipe insulation can help to prevent heat from being lost from the pipes in your home. This helps to keep your water hotter for longer and therefore reducing how much energy is required to heat it. They’re really easy to install too! You simply place foam tubes around the exposed pipes between your hot water cylinder and your boiler – and doing so can save you around £10 per year.

Radiator Reflection

Radiator reflector panels are a cheap and easy way of saving energy. Instead of letting heat escape through an external wall, the panels reflect heat back into your home – reducing your overall energy consumption. Installing these panels could save you £19 per year.

But wait, there’s more

Maybe it’s time to consider the bigger decisions available to you. Have your kids left home? Do you need all the space you currently have? If not, downsizing to a smaller property to suit your needs could be one of the most effective ways to reduce your energy consumption. Not only that, but downsizing could also see your council tax decrease significantly.
If you think downsizing could be on your radar, or you’d just like to discuss the options available to you, get in touch with your adviser to talk through any queries you may have.

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