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Mortgage advice and what to ask

Posted 06/07/2016

Taking out a mortgage is the biggest financial commitment most of us will make in our lifetime. We don’t need to go into the decision with trepidation though. By having all the facts in front of you, you can make a better decision on what is just right for you. Here’s our advice on how to get a mortgage that works for you. 

Who can offer the best advice?

Some people will go to their current bank first to see what deals are on the table - and they are often more receptive to long-term customers. The easiest way to figure out all of your options may be with a mortgage broker because they know how different lenders operate and can see the whole picture. We have a team of experts that offer free initial mortgage advice on any questions buyers have and check a comprehensive panel of lenders for the best options. 

How much can I borrow?

Until you know the basics, you won’t know where you should and should not be looking. Scoping out the likely ceiling of what lenders believe you can manage is imperative to preparing for a house purchase. Oftentimes, you will be able to get an agreement in principle, which gives you the peace of mind to search in a price bracket you know you can afford. Take a look at the Preston Baker mortgage calculator for a quick look on how much you might be able to borrow and the likely monthly repayments. 

What determines how much I can borrow?

When a lender gives you an idea of what you can borrow it will be calculated using, amongst other things:

  • Annual Income
  • Deposit Size - this is the best way to boost your chances of being offered a mortgage.
  • Credit Card Balance
  • Monthly Financial Commitments
  • Credit Rating - be sure to check up on this online to see if you can resolve any issues or blips.

Ultimately, it will be based on how much money you have guaranteed coming in and how much of that is going to be able to be used on paying the mortgage repayments. 

Should I take a fixed or tracker-rate mortgage?

As of June 2016, interest rates are at a record low. Fixed rate mortgage gives you peace of mind not just today but for the near/mid future. There are great deals and competitive rates on a fixed rate, however, it is all down to circumstance.

On top of this, you look into any prepayment penalties as well as getting a feel for the annual percentage rate of charge that you can expect to pay. 

What documents will I need to take out a mortgage?

In terms of financial documents you will probably need three to six months of bank statements and payslips, P60s particularly if you are self-employed will be necessary (probably going back two to three years) and sometimes proof of deposit is asked for. 

How much stamp duty is there?

According to the Treasury, homebuyers saved £657 million last year due to the reformation of the stamp duty land tax. The current rules mean that you don’t pay anything up to £125,000, 2% between £125,000 and £250,000 and 5% on everything above £250,000. As an example, a £150,000 house now costs £500 in stamp duty as someone’s main property. 

How long will a mortgage offer take to get approved?

It is generally said that mortgages take between two to four weeks to be accepted and approved. Getting an agreement in principle can be simple but for the lender to sort a full underwritten application and a mortgage offer takes time.

Ready to go ahead and buy your house? Check out our very own guide to the 4 stages to buying a house.

We can help you with your mortgage


Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

* We will charge a broker fee of between £199 and £399, payable on application. The amount we will charge is dependent on the amount of research and administration that is required.

Preston Baker & Associates Ltd introduces to Preston Baker Financial Services Ltd for the provision of mortgage and protection advice. Preston Baker Financial Services Ltd is an Appointed Representative of First Complete Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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