If you're looking to remortgage , finding a new deal is becoming increasingly difficult as house prices continue to slide. But it's not all doom and gloom if you take the right steps.
A year or so ago, finding the right remortgage deal was as easy as changing your mobile phone supplier. It is essentially no different today - all you have to do is shop around for the best deal as lenders are continually launching increasingly good offers to ensure they secure your business.
With house prices experiencing falls after a period of prolonged house price growth, the mortgage landscape has altered slightly. Unsurprisingly, lenders are being more prudent in these times of market uncertainty and are looking to borrowers who can place a larger deposit in their mortgage. However, this is not the be all and end all of securing the deal which is right for you. Some experts are now saying that we're reaching the bottom of the curve and that the housing market is beginning to stablise. According to the Halifax, the number of mortgages approved to finance house purchase was broadly unchanged in September 2008 for a third successive month, at a seasonally adjusted 33,000 compared to 32,000 in August 2008. And meanwhile, there are great remortgage deals currently available - if you take the right steps to find them.
Step One: Spend time on research
Lenders are refreshing products on a continual basis so deals sometimes don't last for long in the current market. You need to cast the net wide and explore all the options. It's not enough to just click on a few comparison websites, as some deals can only be bought directly from the banks and building societies. Some lenders do offer exclusive mortgage deals so this is definitely worth checking with the lender. With so many products out there, you may decide it's worth consulting an independent mortgage specialist to help you search - bear in mind that they may charge you for their time but their advice can be crucial in making the right decision for you.
Step Two: Be decisive
Whilst it's a good idea to start early with your research, if you find a good deal, don't hang around. Once you get your remortgage offer confirmed it can remain valid for up to six months - so you can agree a deal a good time in advance of the date you need to remortgage.
Step Three: Check out the deals from your existing lender
It definitely makes sense to shop around, but make sure to include deals from your existing lender. They will almost certainly want to keep you as a customer and may even offer product transfers to current customers. This could mean less hassle and costs involved as on some deals you won't have to pay any additional costs to set these up.
Step Four: Try and pay off some of the debt
The most competitive remortgage deals on offer tend to be available to consumers who have larger amounts of equity in their property (known in the business as a lower loan to value ratio). If you have some spare cash saved, it might be worth considering paying off more of your current mortgage before looking for a remortgage deal, however, consider all options before making this decision. This might mean you have a better choice of deals available to you. If you're thinking of doing this check the terms and conditions of your existing mortgage deal as you may find these have restrictions in relation to overpayments.
Step Five: Keep your credit score clean
As banks and building societies have a responsibility to lend prudently, the quality of your credit history is an important factor in their decision making process. Relatively small things like forgetting to pay your credit card bill can count against you. So take care to make all your regular payments on time. The main credit scoring companies are Experian, Equifax or CallCredit and for a small fee, all of them allow you to see a copy of your credit report online. Check to make sure it's accurate and write to them to adjust anything that's incorrect. Other simple ways to improve your credit score include writing your landline phone number on the application rather than your mobile one and making sure you are registered on the electoral roll.
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