The sheer number of people trying to complete on property purchase before the end of the stamp duty holiday in a few weeks has profoundly affected mortgage lenders and solicitors up and down the country. Reports massive processing delays are widespread, and some lenders are taking weeks to look at documents and make offers.
We are regularly involved in transactions which need to happen very fast for many reasons – to solve a problem, break a chain, rescue a transaction, or create liquidity fast for an opportunity.
Here are some tips to achieve the finance you need in the timescales.
There are a vast number of mortgage lenders in the UK. The big names, local building societies, niche lenders and private banks, to name a few. Each one has their process and criteria to follow, and everyone works differently.
Some lenders have a very detailed and formulaic underwriting process; some instruct valuations early some at the end, some lend on a personal basis rather than an algorithm. The time taken from application to mortgage application to mortgage offer is also hugely influenced by how busy the lender is at the time of application.
We often show our clients several options and time or complexity to get an offer is always one of our considerations. We know which banks are inundated with applications, which will fast track our applications and take a long time due to their processes and criteria.
If you have all the time in the world choose the cheapest option, however, if you are in a rush, or inpatient or need certainty, it can be worth paying a little more interest in the short term to get the mortgage you need in the time frames you are working in.
Lenders application forms are usually deeply unpleasant documents and ask for loads of information that will leave you scrabbling around for the information needed to complete it unless you are super organised.
There may be a tendency to miss out a box if you do not think is pertinent, guestimate an answer or think that you can answer later.
This, however, is the wrong approach and is one of the things which always leads to delays—the data you put in the application more often than not passes through some software. The information then gets cross-referenced; it can't complete the processes until it is full or asks a human to get involved.
Even if there isn't a computer involved, credit applications are heavily underwritten, and the quality of the decision is always a function of the information put in.
If you want a fast mortgage approval, take the time to be precise with the information requested by the lender.
Mortgages only ever get approved once the file is complete – and that means all the documents requested having been supplied. If the lender asks for three payslips, 900 years bank statements and an answer to the meaning of life assemble all that information, put it together neatly and send it to them in the way they ask and in one go.
Sending documents one by one, sending the wrong ones or hoping they won't notice that you have missed your 1967 P60 out will cause requests, delays and frustration.
In nearly 20 years of arranging mortgages and having overseas offices, Enness apply for thousands of mortgages on behalf of our clients, I have never seen this happen:
Lender – please send me three months bank statements.
Client – "I can't" / "I don't want to" / "I bank with you" / "you have this info" / "this request is ludicrous" / "I’ll take my business elsewhere!"
Lender – you are right, I am sorry, I didn't really need this, I was joking. Let me type up your mortgage offer now and I'll drop it to your lawyer on my way home!!!
Simply put – the lender is lending you money because you ask them to. If they need to see something, then the choice is to give it to them or start a new mortgage application elsewhere. I have never seen a lender decide to change their mind on a document request and arguing will only lead to delays and time wasted.
The surveyor for a mortgage valuation is not your friend. You pay for the valuation, but it's done on behalf of the bank and for the bank.
Suppose you are in a hurry and you need to ask the lender to instruct the valuation early in the process. As you are paying for it, they often do so long as you will confirm that you understand that if the lender declines to offer you a mortgage and you have paid for the valuation, you may lose that money.
A mortgage valuation is a subjective art – if you need a firm valuation or a property nearby dragging values down, prepare a document to show your arguments. Include local comparable and details of what you have spent so to make the job easy for the surveyor to return the report to the lender faster. You can also sometimes have your estate agent call the surveyor company as soon as they are instructed to arrange a quick visit to the property.
Then – nag the lender to chase the surveyor to return the report as fast as possible (but do not nag the surveyor directly)!
The solicitor acting for you is your friend and is very much on your side. If you need to move fast find one you trust and pay the money for a good one – it will make all the difference.
You will need to read things, sign things, get things and do things before you complete – and some of these things will be outside of your control or experience. On that basis, instruct your solicitor as early as possible in the process and get on top of the things you need to do before.
At Enness we don't just find the cheapest mortgage and then apply for it.
We advise you, using our experience, reputation, and range, on the best possible course of action to achieve the plan you have. If that needs a fast mortgage offer, we will tell you your options and make a recommendation – even if that comes with a higher interest rate.
We will then place ourselves firmly in the middle of the whole transaction and work with everyone to deliver the plan. We have seen everything, can see problems coming a mile off and know how to get things done.
The lenders we work with prioritise our client's application because they know that we put the right client with the right bank then apply clearly, accurately, and precisely.
We also forward plan, make sure all parties are working as they should be and communicating clearly.
We deliver plans effectively, effortlessly, and most importantly, on time.
If you need a fast mortgage, bespoke mortgage lenders are often our preference. Having a human on WhatsApp who is invested in your plan and can be proactive, responsive, and flexible can make all the difference.
By contrast, there is very little that can be done to influence how long a high street mortgage application will take – there is a process that must be followed. There is very little flexibility or prioritisation available.
Bridging finance is a fast solution to a present problem and can fill the gap between when you need to complete a transaction and when your traditional finance is available. Bridging finance lenders have similar processes to banks, and as a result, underwriting and function can be involved – here you are paying a premium for underwriting flexibility rather than pace. Not all bridging finance lenders are the same – some are rapid, and some can be if you manage the application correctly. This will always add more cost to a transaction which needs to be considered fully.
Fast liquidity can be arranged on assets other than property speedily – loans against liquid assets such as shares, or portfolios can be placed in a matter of days and without the same level of underwriting rigour expected with a mortgage.
There is a growing level of private money which can be utilised in the short term to solve a problem – we have access to vast numbers of individuals who may lend in certain circumstances. This is all unregulated and is very subjective but can be used to significant effect.
Needing a mortgage "fast" really depends on the context, and "fast" means different things to different people.
One thing is for sure though – if you need liquidity fast for any reason Enness will show you all the options – then deliver the most appropriate one in the time needed.