Self-Employed May Face Issues with Mortgages Due to Covid19

My self-employed clients have been asked what impact Covid19 may have on their ability to borrow in future. I’ve had a few conversations on that subject and thought it may be of interest to share my thoughts.

The 2020/21 financial year will be an interesting one for self-employed people. Due to Covid19, many will have a blip in profits that will impact on their ability to get a mortgage. This may be a longer term issue for some sectors.

Lenders will need to take a responsible and measured approach to lending otherwise it will be difficult for borrowers to secure mortgages.  Particularly if a lender is using the 2020/21 accounts.

Whilst I think lenders will largely return to normal for self-employed borrower I do believe certain sectors may be subject to more scrutiny post-Covid.

One of the big questions I think will be, how was income earned during the Covid-19 crisis?  And how this will be viewed by lenders in the future. The furlough scheme has been a deal breaker for many businesses. The Bounce Back loan and other schemes to assist businesses in these difficult times are helping to make sure our economy survives as best it can. But will lenders discriminate against businesses that have made use of these?

Already I am seeing lenders ask for more evidence from self-employed borrowers. This includes the last 3 months business bank statements; asking for an accountants reference on the impact of Covid19; referring all self-employed cases to an underwriter; asking for business plans and contingency plans for unforeseen events; asking to see evidence of other funds to make sure that a business is liquid.

This discriminates against the self-employed as they aren’t asking for business bank statements for an employed persons business owner –  even if it is in a sector that may have been impacted by Covid19.

The silver lining is that many self-employed people have kept their business going during this time. Some have even performed better than normal years as there products and services have been in higher demand due to the pandemic. Many have found new ways to make their business leaner and more efficient. So in the longer term, Covid may actually help some self-employed people to do better.

What will happen in the future for the self-employed? I wish I had a crystal ball – I’d be straight down to get a lottery ticket office if I had – but I don’t. But I do have the experience of what happened in the last two crashes to look back on though, along with a good knowledge of the mortgage & property market.

Lending to the self-employed is trickier than for an employed person. We may see an increased use of an accountant’s certificate, which reflects the earnings of the tax year in which the application is being made and who can comment on the viability of the business. But many accountants may refuse to provide an income forecast unless there is a good track record and 9-10 months’ figures available.

Most lenders use 2 years’ accounts or tax returns but there is a strong prospect this may grow to 3 years again to “bridge” the Covid period. More lenders will ask to see copies of business bank statements.

And will they ask if the business made use of any Government backed schemes during Covid and how will this be viewed?

Different lenders have different appetites for self-employed business. A good broker knows who to speak to about self-employed clients.

More now than ever, self-employed clients will benefit from using a broker who can understand their business and how it has been impacted to find the best combination of lender and deal for the client.


#mortgage #self-empolyed #Mortgagebroker #Covid





Later Life Lending Advice Will Save You Money

If customers only go to an equity release specialist then, guess what, they will only get equity release. That can be an expensive mistake. It may also be restrictive.

About a third of clients that I see who want equity release are actually better served with a different type of mortgage. They may then change to equity release at a later stage. Structuring their finance this way can save the customer a lot money and give them more flexibility.

Getting the right advice on later life lending  is important. It is one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make. Choosing an experienced independent, whole of market mortgage broker who specialises in later life lending is vital to ensure you get holistic advice.

This week, one customer had been told by his bank to get equity release to pay off his Interest Only mortgage. Instead of doing this, I have arranged a standard mortgage with another lender as he is still working and plans to until age 70. This could be done on an Interest Only basis if preferred.  Another customer had a good pension income and wanted to service the interest so I have arranged a Retirement Interest Only (RIO) mortgage. Both of these options are cheaper than the lifetime mortgage option that I also researched. They are also more flexible.

Flexibility in later life is important as plans may change. A RIO or standard mortgage are both normally more flexible than a lifetime mortgage

Equity release has significantly increased in popularity in recent years. The normal type of equity release is a lifetime mortgage which is form of mortgage lending based on the value of your property and your age. Funds released from your home can be used for any legal purposes. The commonest ones are to pay off an Interest Only mortgage, to provide an income in retirement, to pay for home repairs, to gift to family, to offset inheritance or care costs, or, as one client described to me “I want some fun money so I can enjoy my retirement”

Malleny Mortgage Solutions are independent, whole of market mortgage brokers and later life lending specialists. We are also members of the Equity Release Council.


First Time Buyer – Top Tips Blog

How much can I borrow? –  This is the most frequently asked question that I am asked. It is different for each individual as we all earn different amounts, have different credit profiles and borrowing. The last case I researched had a difference of £60,000 in the amount that could be borrowed depending on the lender selected. A good independent broker will find you the one that best suits your needs.

Affordability is used by lenders to assess your borrowing power. They will take into account, your income and outgoings to determine what they will lend to a borrower. Outgoings include loans, credit cards, car finance and commitments such as childcare or travel costs.

Previously, lenders would multiply your income to calculate how much you can borrow. This was typically 3-4x income. As a rule of thumb, the max borrowing is normally 4-4.5x income but this can vary depending on what your income is made up of.

The size of deposit also affects the amount you can borrow. A bigger deposit will allow you to borrow more.

Your credit report is very important. I will do the next post on this topic.

Every lender has different criteria and different affordability so use an independent broker to guide you through the maze of buying your first property.

#mortgage #firsttimebuyers #mortgage  #mortgageadvice #mortgagebroke



High Net Worth (HNW) Client wants a mortgage … Why?

Imagine you had loads of money. A lot! And you wanted to buy a house. You don’t need a mortgage do you? No! You have loads of cash and can buy it outright.

But is that the best thing to do?

A wealthy client of mine decided to buy another property in Edinburgh. It’s a big one and while he could buy it cash, he asked me to arrange a mortgage for him. Why I hear you ask?

There are several reasons why a wealthy client would use a mortgage to leverage a property purchase.

Liquidity – Make your money work for you – if all your cash is tied up in property then it isn’t available for other purposes.
For example, you can borrow against funds under investment. This type of finance is called Lombard and is unregulated and can be used for almost any purpose. It is a popular way to borrow for business purposes. And the rates are very low.

ROI – Return On Investment – money in property appreciates at the same rate as that property. Money invested elsewhere could grow faster.

Cost of debt verses ROI – you can typically borrow for about 3% currently, often less. If you invested funds instead of paying for a property in cash then you could get a better return. A client of mine recently was getting 8% yield on his investment portfolio. He wanted to borrow and keep the funds invested. He then made 5% more on the funds.

Leverage – instead of buying one property in cash, leveraging with a mortgage means you can buy many properties. The more you buy the more capital growth and more rental yield you can enjoy. This is the strategy of most landlords.

Risk – a mortgage is low risk, as long as you maintain payments. Also, linking to the last point, if you have multiple properties then it reduces your risk. Eg if you own four rental properties and one is empty then that’s only 1/4 of your portfolio, only 1/4 of your income is affected, and the other 3 help to support this.

Tax – if you have funds invested and you realease them to buy a property then you could face capital gains tax. If you have a debt against a property then this reduces your inheritance tax burden.

The flip side to this is your attitude to risk. Some people prefer to own everything and have no debt. And there is nothing wrong with that but are they making their money work efficiently for them? It is a personal choice at the end of the day.


New Rules on Borrowing for Portfolio Buy-to-Let Investors

Buy to let is now a specialist mortgage area. Many brokers won’t deal with this so it is important to make sure that yours does, and is independent and whole of market to make sure you get the best deal.
The recent tax changes mean that most new buy to let lending is being done via Ltd Companies. For all landlords, especially portfolio landlords, it is important to seek advice from a tax specialist on how these tax changes will impact on you.
In September 2017, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) introduced new rules for landlords with four or more buy-to-let properties. They now have to satisfy different criteria to secure mortgage borrowing, as they are considered as ‘portfolio investors’.
To comply with the new portfolio landlord underwriting standards, lenders are now looking at the total income versus borrowing across all a landlord’s properties, to ensure that any new borrowing doesn’t adversely affect affordability for other properties within the portfolio.
This means more work for lenders, who will have to investigate each mortgaged property held by the landlord in more detail, then apply an Interest Coverage Ratio (ICR) across the portfolio. This ICR will vary, depending on the individual lender and the number of properties owned with a mortgage.
In addition, in some cases, the lender will also take into account the landlord’s individual earned income/salary. This may mean you can borrow more or less if you don’t have income to support voids.
The impact of the increased underwriting resource required to implement these measures meant that some smaller building societies withdrew from buy- to-let mortgages for investors with four properties or more. Specialist buy-to-let lenders are continuing to offer mortgages to both portfolio and non-portfolio landlords. Many of these only offer mortgages via mortgage brokers so talk to your broker when you need to look at this.
Most landlords will not be affected by the new portfolio rules. A survey carried out by the Strategic Society Centre in 2013, showed that 72% of private rented sector (PRS) landlords had just one rental property, with 12% owning three or more. A further survey of 1,071 landlords, carried out by YouGov on behalf of Shelter in mid-2015, found 59% had one buy-to-let, with 32% owning between two and four. This survey also revealed 45% of landlords owned their property/ies outright, with no mortgage borrowing, and a further 40% had a loan to value of 50% or less. As such, it’s unlikely that the buy-to-let sector will experience much disruption as a result of the new rules.
For those who own four or more properties, as well as those who currently have three and plan to buy a fourth, the change is likely to mean a more limited choice of lenders and products when they come to purchase or remortgage. But, realistically, only those who have highly-leveraged properties and are not seeing much cash flow need to be at all concerned.
What do the new rules mean for landlords:
If you already fall into the category of ‘portfolio investor’ or are planning to add to your portfolio and will therefore become one, these are some of the key considerations for you:
1. The application process takes longer – This means planning well ahead and making sure you allow three months or more for lenders to make the checks they need.
2. You may not be able to stay with your current lender when you refinance – Some smaller lenders, particularly building societies, have decided not to continue offering buy-to-let mortgages to portfolio investors in light of the extra work required to satisfy the new rules.
3. Most deals are only available via brokers so use an independent, whole of market broker.
If you have four or more properties, you may wish to contact your broker to find out:
• Where you stand with your current mortgage deals
• What steps you will need to take when you refinance
You will need to provide any new lender with much more detailed information than previously. This includes the following:
• A portfolio overview with details of all properties
• A Business Plan
• An Assets and Liabilities statement
• Personal income
As some of this may take time to secure and could vary slightly from one lender to another, make sure you ask your broker for a complete list of what you will need to provide as early as possible.
So if you have not carried out a buy-to-let portfolio review recently, now is the time to do so. Work with your tax adviser, mortgage adviser and wealth manager, if you have one, to assess your total level of borrowing versus assets and take advice on whether you might need to make any changes in order to reduce the likelihood of running into any difficulties securing mortgage finance in the future.
If you are an ‘accidental landlord’, for example letting only one property due to a change in circumstances, you won’t be affected by the new portfolio legislation, therefore it’s a case of continuing as normal for most.
If you are a portfolio landlord and have any concerns about the potential availability of finance for either a new mortgage or a remortgage, please get in touch with us and one of our advisers will be very happy to talk through your options.


Musings on the Mortgage Market in 2018

What lies ahead for the mortgage market in 2018? Here are some thoughts:
There could be a rate rise later in the year, possibly by summertime. The economy has made a strong start, inflation has fallen and confidence is rising. All point towards a rise.
The home buying process will become more digitalised. Automated Valuation Models (AVM) for property valuations and real-time affordability checks will play a more significant part in buying a home.
Lenders will make further investments in technology to ensure they offer a seamless mortgage application process.
Brokers will continue to play an increasing role as the human touch is important for customers as, for most people, a mortgage is the biggest financial decision that they will ever make. Customers value face-to-face interactions with brokers. People can find a common ground, something computers can never do. Last year approximately 75% of lenders saw an increase in mortgage applications from brokers and the value borrowers place on advice from brokers is growing.
Stamp duty relief will help more first-time buyers get onto the property ladder, but may have a detrimental effect on the private rental sector as more people opt to own rather than rent a home.
April will be an important month for the buy-to-let sector. Landlords may see a greater impact on their net profit as the next stage of the reduction in tax relief is phased in this month. This may also prompt lenders to review their minimum rental cover requirements to ensure landlords can comfortably manage their mortgage payments.
Purchasing new buy-to-let properties through limited companies may become more prevalent amongst landlords serious about either entering the market or building their portfolio.
The landlord market will become increasingly professional as tax changes take effect, new tenancy agreements start to impact, and landlords and letting agents come to terms with the increased regulation of the letting market. The 3% Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) will continue to put off opportunistic new landlords but not those serious about this as a business.


Starting Off

Listen in on the Property Rugby Club Podcast as host Alan Nash is joined by our Managing Director and Mortgage and Protection Consultant, Gregor McMeehan, and Edinburgh Rugby’s Neil Cochrane as they discuss all things rugby and property. The podcast can be found here. (Contains link to external site)