Tag Archive for: Newcastle mortgage broker

What is your job role?

Director & Mortgage Adviser

What is your favourite meal to cook?

So many to choose from! I am a massive fan of a one-pot dish (limited washing up!) so something like a chicken, ham & leek pie would be up there as a favourite.

If you suddenly had 25 hour days, how would you use your extra time?

See more of my daughter and sleep longer!

If you had to play one album forever, what would it be?

Something upbeat and timeless. Tina Turner would have to be up there for Proud Mary alone.

Of all the places you’ve travelled to, what was your favourite and why?

Lapland with the family. Meeting Santa Claus in his home with my daughter was truly magical.

What is your favourite family tradition?

Watching The Muppets Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve as a family – love it!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Helping dreams come true – to be part of that journey with a client is a real honour.

What is something you find challenging about your work?

Paperwork and lack of time to get it done. Being regulated means there is so much to be done behind the scenes which is often challenging.

A recent survey from Direct Line showed that one in four landlords report not being able to keep up with changing regulations. Therefore, it may be a bit of a shock to many landlords to hear that from 2025, all newly rented properties will require an energy performance certificate rating of C or above, with this deadline extended to 2028 for existing tenancies (please note these dates are subject to change).

Failure to comply will lead to a property becoming unrentable.

Making changes to improve a property’s energy efficiency rating will help to improve the overall energy efficiency of the UK housing stock and to assist the government in meeting the ambitious net-carbon zero targets set out earlier this year.

But on a more direct level, making the improvements ahead of the impending 2025 deadline will ensure that properties remain commercially viable for the short and long term for landlords. Putting off making necessary changes could leave landlords exposed to extended void periods when their property can’t be rented out while works are being completed.

What can be done to improve the EPC rating?

If you’re a landlord, you’ll need to prepare, especially if your rating is at E to G. You can start by making sure that you have done the following to improve your EPC rating.

1. Improve your lighting to LED light bulbs.

2. Insulate the walls and roof.

3. Improve windows with double or triple glazing.

4. Install an energy-efficient boiler.

5. Use a smart meter.

Generally, investing in renewable energy will help to improve your EPC of your rental property, especially using products such as solar panels and ground-source heat pumps.

But beware – analysis from Habito published late 2021 found the average cost of upgrading a property from just an EPC ‘D’ rating to ‘C’ is £6,155.  A cost that, at the moment, the landlord needs to burden. So it is inevitable that more than half (52%) of landlords with properties with an Energy Performance Certificate of D or below are considering selling due to the rules requiring them to improve their rating, according to research from The Mortgage Works (TMW).

Eco-friendly properties could also lower your mortgage costs

A growing number of banks and building societies will offer landlords a lower interest rate if their home is more energy-efficient.

Green mortgages may offer lower interest rates, as they are viewed as more valuable to prospective buyers and renters who would benefit from lower energy bills. But you will usually need an EPC rating of A or B to qualify for a green mortgage.

If you’re looking for an eco-property to let out or are carrying out work to improve a property, reviewing green mortgages could help you get more out of your investment.

Please contact us to discuss your mortgage needs.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

Some buy-to-let mortgages are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Fiona McCulloch

What is your job role?

Mortgage & Protection Assistant

Where is the most beautiful place you’ve visited?

Definitely the Amalfi Coast in Italy! It’s just so picturesque.

If you were a film character, who would you be and why?

Probably Anne Hathaway’s character in The Devil Wears Prada (my favourite film). Who wouldn’t want free designer clothes?!

Can you play any instruments?

Just a few! We’re quite a musical family so I’ve played the cornet, clarinet, piano and guitar. My sister played the tenor horn and violin too, so it was never quiet in our house.

Do you have any regrets?

I don’t really regret anything, because if things hadn’t happened the way they did I wouldn’t be where I am now – with my husband, in my new house and in a job that I love.

What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?

I play board games online with some friends once a week. It started during the pandemic and we’ve just kept going since. We play in person now too.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love helping clients going from the first steps of buying their first/next home to getting the keys in their hand. It’s great to be part of a major life event with clients.

What’s something you find challenging about your work?

Whenever a chain falls through for sales/purchases, it’s always quite sad to hear. I can empathise with our clients as that has happened to me too.

Stuart Rodgers

What is your job role?

Trainee Mortgage & Protection Adviser

If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

I would love to see real life dinosaurs! Wouldn’t want to get too close though. Maybe if Jurassic Park becomes a reality I’ll get my chance.

If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you do with the money?

Fly to Hawaii and spend the next month on the beach sipping cocktails from coconuts, in my floral shirt and hula skirt.

What is the top item on your bucket list?

There are quite a few items left on my list, but skydiving has to be at the top. I am not great with jumping off diving boards though so I might need a push to get out of the plane.

Finish this sentence – On Sunday mornings you can usually find me…

full from breakfast and out walking the dog along the beach or through the park. Usually thinking about what’s for lunch!

Flashback to when you were in primary school – what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was really young I always wanted to be a Power Ranger. Jason the Red Ranger to be exact. I even told people that was my name.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The team I work with. We all get on so well and love to have a laugh. No day is boring and there are always people there to support you when you need help.

What do you find challenging about your work?

In the protection aspect of my role, we have to have some frank conversations with people about death and illness, which isn’t a particularly pleasant thing to think about. But it is all made easier knowing that we have helped to protect those families at the end of it all.
Associate Firm SMP

Co-Navigate is now an Associate Firm with the Society of Mortgage Professionals, we are delighted to announce.

And we are equally excited that Director and Mortgage and Protection Adviser Lyndsey has joined the Personal Finance Society local region committee as an SMP Advocate.

The Society of Mortgage Professionals aims to raise the levels of professional knowledge and technical competence of people who work in the profession.

This announcement is reassurance for our clients that Co-Navigate strives to deliver the most professional, knowledgeable and client-focused service possible.

The SMP offers continuous development to our mortgage team to build on their experience, including research reports, analysis and technical and market articles.

After the successful application, Lyndsey says, “In being accepted, our clients can be assured that our professional standards align with the SMP. This includes voluntarily committing to the eight core principles of being an Associate Firm.”

What is a SMP Associate Firm?

Among the commitments of becoming an Associate Firm includes adopting the SMP’s:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Customer Charters
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Employee Training and Development

Being an Associate Firm also means we must:

  • Comply with the Code and all relevant laws and regulations.
  • Act with the highest ethical standards and integrity.
  • Act in the best interests of each client.
  • Provide a high standard of service.
  • Treat people fairly regardless of age; disability; gender reassignment; pregnancy and maternity; marriage and civil partnership; race; religion and belief; sex; and sexual orientation.

Lyndsey adds, “Through the commitment and adoption of the SMP’s ethical standards and compliance of their Code, our clients can be assured of our obligation to offer a service they can trust.

“We boast a loyal client base thanks to our client-focused service. Becoming an Associate Firm further enhances our reputation as a company that puts the best interests of our clients first.

“I am delighted that I am now an Advocate on the committee too, which is an exciting new chapter in my career. It is also an honour and privilege to serve on the committee and for Co-Navigate to be represented at such a high level.”

For more details about our mortgage service, contact us today.

First-time buyers with 95% LTV mortgage

The first lender to offer 95% loan-to-value mortgages since the start of the pandemic is launching a new deal.

Accord Mortgages has announced its new product will be exclusively available to first-time buyers and that they are not using the government’s mortgage guarantee scheme for this deal, which was announced in the Budget earlier this month.

And the good news is, as an independent mortgage broker, Co-Navigate can offer this deal to qualifying first-time buyers.

Along with the government’s scheme, introducing the 95% LTV mortgages helps first-time buyers get a foot on the property ladder.

What is a 95% LTV mortgage?

A mortgage described as 95% LTV means that the loan is 95% of a property’s price, or value. For example, if you were buying a house worth £200,000 with such a mortgage, you would put down £10,000 of your own money as a deposit and borrow the remaining £190,000.

When the first lockdown of the pandemic was announced almost a year ago, lenders withdrew 95% LTV mortgages. Prior to lockdown there were more than 390 of these mortgage deals available, according to data from Moneyfacts.

If you are a first-time buyer looking for a mortgage, then contact us for a consultation. Although based in Newcastle, we can meet you online no matter where you are, so get in touch today.

Stamp Duty Holiday concept

The current Stamp Duty Holiday comes to an end in a little over two months. And there is a growing call from across the property industry for the Chancellor to extend it.

Removing the property tax from homes under £500,000 has been a shot in the arm for the market. While Covid-19 brought a sudden halt last March, the market was already slowing down ahead of it.

For many people, staying put before the holiday was the only option as the tax over-stretched their finances. Whilst they could afford the mortgage on their new home, and even covering the cost moving, finding the extra cash for Stamp Duty was a stretch too far.

Prior to the holiday, anyone buying a new home over £125,000 had to find funds to pay the treasury to cover the price of moving. The percentage increases at the next threshold of £250,000). Of course, there was a higher threshold for first-time buyers, but it still often put off next-time movers.

The average house price in the UK is £256,000 and these are not exactly vast mansions, but everyday homes for average-sized families. So, the Stamp Duty Holiday gave many of those who were outgrowing their home the chance to move. It is no surprise, therefore, that the market picked up the way it did at the end of 2020.

But with the deadline looming and delays due to Covid-19 and further lockdowns, it means many could miss out! Even if someone has had their mortgage approved and started the buying process in the past few weeks, there is a chance the deal will not meet the deadline.

Throw in the fact that anyone in the chain (including solicitors, surveyors, etc.) may have to self-isolate, it could lead to unexpected delays. As a result, a buyer will have to find extra cash to pay the tax through no fault of their own.

Stamp Duty ‘chaos’?

As TV property expert Phil Spencer said last week, the finite deadline could release ‘chaos’ and ‘mayhem’. With everyone working to the date, he believes it will create major issues if sales are not completed in time.

He said in a radio interview, “It’s great to keep people motivated towards that day. But actually, if they haven’t completed their deals on that date, the chances are that deals will be collapsing left right and centre. It will just be bedlam.”

The last thing anyone wants is to see deals collapse because the knock-on effect in the chain will be devastating. From the first-time buyers at the bottom of the chain to those downsizing at the top.

Sold STC

To help reduce the risk of the market being thrown into chaos, extending the Stamp Duty Holiday for those who have started the buying process would help.

Research by property magazine Property Reporter says there is an ‘overwhelming demand’ and mounting pressure on the government to do this. We would certainly agree!

So many buyers will spend money on legal advice, searches, surveys and arrangement fees over the next couple of months only to find they can’t complete in time. A house currently Sold Subject to Contact (STC) could then end up back on the market on 1 April! That will be emotionally devastating for both buyer and vendor; but the buyer will also end up with less money to spend in future as they have already paid fees.

Buyers are already beginning to retreat, and house builder Persimmon is reporting a slowdown in sales as the deadline gets nearer.

Extension call

A petition calling on the Government to extend the holiday has surpassed the 100,000 signatures. This means the issue will be considered for debate in Parliament.

We would add our support to the debate because we believe an extension is necessary to keep the market moving. Certainly, allowing those who have had offers accepted should qualify for the tax break at the very least.

Like Phil Spencer, we agree that a clear deadline and strict cut-off date is not the answer.

We recognise that this tax adds coffers to the public purse, but it is unfair on all those who are so close to completing having to rethink due to circumstances outside their control.

If you want to talk about your mortgage, contact the mortgage team today.

This year has been like no other and the mortgage market, as expected, has been impacted by the Covid pandemic.

Although house prices climbed to record highs during 2020, the volume of mortgage transactions fell. Lenders also became more risk averse and fewer borrowers withdrew equity from their homes.

So, what are the main changes for the mortgage market?

Fewer mortgages

There was an unprecedented decline in the range of mortgage products available during the lengthy first UK lockdown. Such low numbers have not been seen since the financial crisis of 2007.

In February 2020, deals with a loan to value above 90% represented 10% of the UK’s residential mortgage market. By June, these had fallen to fewer than two per cent. Buyers became sceptical, nervous and unsure about their futures. Unemployment has become a real threat for lots of people and this had an impact on the mortgage market.

Fewer borrowers

The number of mortgages agreed fell significantly during the lockdown crisis; but it is now edging slowly back up. In January this year, the number of people securing a mortgage was 16% higher than in January 2019. But by April, figures were 54% down on the previous month a year earlier. It was picking back up again in June, but still below the trend of previous years.

It is thought that the rebound was due to the increase in demand at the end of lockdown, as the market almost completely froze in the early stages. The lockdown has meant many out-of-town homes with more outside space have become very popular as people worry about future lockdowns. City dwellers appear to be heading out into suburbs and smaller towns and villages.

Remortgaging

The remortgage market wasn’t hit quite as hard as the rest of the mortgage market. The pace of remortgaging certainly took a hit, but figures remain fairly consistent with the patterns of the last five years.

Those remortgaging are typically established homeowners with lots of equity in their properties. This suggests that the market was much kinder to the older generation, but the younger first-time buyers still had a mountain to climb.

What’s next?

There are signs that the market is bouncing back and starting to recover. The second lockdown restrictions are easing a little, and people are regaining some confidence to mix with others. There’s also more economic stability, although many industries and sectors are still at risk of mass job losses. This will become more apparent once the furlough scheme finally ends next year.

Mortgage products have reduced, and costs have continued to rise, so first-time buyers and those with limited savings have fewer options than they did prior to lockdown.

While house prices continue to rise, it remains to be seen what the next six months look like for the mortgage market. Many are expecting to see a boom as restrictions continue to ease, especially in light of news about three potential vaccines becoming available.

Either way, the mortgage market is a fluid landscape at the moment. The mortgage and housing market is always subject to change, but we always scrutinise what is happening so we can give the best advice.

If you need help with your mortgage or remortgage, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Name

Dan Bullen

What is your position at Co-Navigate?

Financial Planning Assistant

When did you start work at Co-Navigate?

July 2017

What was your experience before working here?

I moved to Co-Navigate straight after school after completing my A-levels at Berwick Academy and heard about the job. I started working with Lyndsey in the mortgage side of the business. 

What attracted you to Co-Navigate?

At the time it seemed like the right place. As I was living in Berwick and when you’re from there you can either go to Edinburgh or Newcastle for work as they’re about an hour away. I was looking for an apprenticeship and I met the directors and they seemed really nice.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I get to work with some very interesting people both as colleagues and as clients. You get to hear about all sorts of things: where they have been, what they want to do in the future and being part of that is a fantastic.

Favourite colour

Green

Favourite music

I tend to listen to radio. I usually listen to Radio 1, although I’m a fan of Coldplay.

Hobbies and interests

My big hobby is golf. I’m a 3 handicap and at the moment I play about 5 times a week. It’s pretty much what I do outside of work. I have won 3 times this year, since lockdown. I play in individual events and have been playing for a while. But I have only been playing competitively for just over a year. This summer I was going to start playing in team events and leagues, but because of lockdown that hasn’t happened yet. I’m also a big football fan and support Glasgow Celtic. I used to play but I don’t do that anymore.

If you would like to read about our other team check out our news page. Contact us today and you might even get to talk to Dan.

Lyndsey Stephenson Mortgage Adviser Co-Navigate Newcastle

In our last blog, we met Andy Mathers. Now, we introduce our Mortgage & Protection Adviser, Lyndsey, and discover how helping her Dad as a teenager helped her put her foot on the career ladder of financial services…

Name

Lyndsey Stephenson

What is your position at Co-Navigate?

Mortgage & Protection Adviser and Director

Why did you choose a career in financial services?

My Dad was a Financial Adviser and I grew up knowing finance as a natural part of life. I started at a young age helping out my dad in his business with basic office tasks, etc.  I then went on to help a few other financial advisers in their businesses. By going into a shared office from my teenage years and doing admin tasks for pocket money, such as filing and shredding, I got to know about what goes on behind the scenes in finance. When I went to college, I started working for another adviser as his main administrator part-time. I got used to chasing mortgages and speaking to advisers and everything that goes on, basically everything except advising. Leaving University, it seemed an obvious choice to go into financial services as I already had the background and experience.  

What is your experience?

I became an adviser in 2004 and ultimately, I’d say 5 or 6 years prior to that I was working in the field doing admin work.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The best thing for me is I get to be part of a really important part of people’s lives – their home.  I get to help people move into their dream home and that’s a really powerful thing to be part of. The fun bit is helping people get to where they want to be.  And I get to meet such lovely people every day. 

What key advice would you offer to a potential client to Co-Navigate?

Look at everything with an open mind. A lot of people have a pre-conceived idea about what a financial adviser is or should be. At Co-Navigate, we’re very different to other financial advisers; we want to build relationships with people and help them get to where they want to be rather than being transaction focused.

Favourite colour

Navy blue.

Favourite music

I’m a big fan of 80s music and could listen to it all day long. And I also like 90s pop and rock when I am running. I’m a big fan of easy listening at the weekend.

Hobbies and interests

I am a big fan of keeping fit. My husband is a qualified fitness instructor, so exercise is a big thing for us as a family. I do a lot of running, circuit training and cycling. I love spending time with family and friends, and I have really missed it during lockdown.