Coronavirus: your mortgage questions answered
PUBLISHED: 17:33 15 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:46 15 May 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has altered life as we know it but what does this mean for homeowners?
We spoke to Marcus Robinson, managing director at Bristol-based Mortgage Style Ltd who shares the latest changes to mortgages and what this could mean for you.
Q: Can a mortgage still be completed, and can I move into my new home during lockdown?
In short, yes this is still possible. Most lenders are operating as normal, although the process may take slightly longer during lockdown as many people are working from home. Despite this, with the recent relaxation of restrictions around property, viewings are now able to take place, providing people follow the social distancing guidelines - this makes the buying process much easier.
Removal companies are also still operating and following social distancing guidelines, so moving into a new home is certainly a possibility at the moment.
Q: What can I do if I’m struggling to pay my mortgage?
Something called a payment holiday has been made available to those worried about paying off their residential or commercial mortgage.
Not only is this a lifeline for people whose finances have been affected by coronavirus, but you can also use this as a safety net; even if you can still pay your mortgage, applying for a payment holiday can help you build up some cash reserves.
You can apply for up to three months ‘holiday’, and the missed payments will be added to your mortgage balance for you to pay over the remainder of the term.
So far, there is no end date for this, so you are still able to apply. You can do this through your lender’s website.
Q: Can I re-mortgage my home during coronavirus?
You can still apply to re-mortgage your home or business property, and this is something we would certainly recommend you consider doing.
COVID-19 has resulted in a substantial drop in re-mortgage rates: dependant on the lender they can start from as low as 1.09pc for a variable rate mortgage, and 1.14pc for fixed rate.
A lot of lenders are now able to carry out desktop valuations, meaning they can value your property virtually, rather than having to physically come and see it. However, following the relaxation of certain restrictions, surveyors are now able to visit properties if need be.
In a market that is constantly changing, it’s likely that these low re-mortgage rates won’t stay on the market forever. I would recommend taking advantage of these rates while they’re still available.
Q: Is there anything else you’d recommend?
It’s worth dedicating some of your spare time during lockdown to home improvements.
Even if that’s something small like updating the colour of your kitchen cabinets, it could increase the overall value of your property. This may result in a lower loan to value percentage which could potentially make you eligible for a lower interest rate.
You can usually secure a rate for six months, so even if your current deal doesn’t expire for a while you can still ‘lock in’ a rate and get the wheels in motion.
Q: What can Mortgage Style Ltd do to help?
We are a local, independent, specialist mortgage broker with a team of experts on hand to help match you to the best lender to suit your requirements, whether you’re looking to re-mortgage your current property, or are at the start of your buying process.
We are all working remotely, so it’s just a case of calling or emailing us for impartial advice or help with your mortgage.
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