Monday, May 22, 2017

What You Really Need To Know About Mortgage Advisers

Can't live with one, can't live without one. The only statement that really sums up what your relationship with a mortgage adviser of any kind will be. They'll provide you with seriously invaluable information that you would literally die without being a first time home buyer, but you do have to remember that they're working off commission, and they'll say anything to get you signing on the dotted lines. 

First time buyers are easy, fresh meat for mortgage advisers as they know that you probably know nothing, or very little. Well I didn't at least. As my house buying process happened so quickly, I ended up choosing a mortgage adviser out of ease that was the in house one at the estate agents. Luckily, she was incredibly nice and we got on really well, but it was certainly an eye opener and I learnt a lot along the way.

First time buying is scary and you do need an advocate to be there for you, it's just something you can't do alone, especially the first time. If I was back to square one again, I would definitely have liked to know these bits about a mortgage adviser and I'm sure some of you will find really helpful, and help to save you time and money!

What Is A Mortgage Adviser?

Imagine a mortgage adviser as being your right hand man. They provide completely free advice before you choose them to write your mortgage for your chosen property at which stage they will start charging fees for both writing your mortgage and on the day that you exchange.

A mortgage adviser is a well of information, they'll discuss all your incoming and out going money each month and give you an idea of how much money you can borrow on a house. They'll give you lots of handy packs of information in the early stages to help you save and know how to prepare yourself.

When you get to the stage of applying for a mortgage, they'll do your mortgage in principle for you (this is needed when you put an offer in on a house) and they'll find the best deal for you, most mortgage advisers also claim to have 'special' deals with certain banks that can't be obtained elsewhere.

Once you've applied for your mortgage you can sit back and (nervously) wait for the response whilst your mortgage adviser will do all the running around and chasing the lender for you. 

Having a mortgage adviser will not only help to guide you through the whole buying process start to finish, they'll seal the deal for you in finding the right mortgage for you and they'll fight your corner if your case is a little tricky. 

How Much Do They Cost

This is probably the most varying aspect of a mortgage adviser as I'm sure their services are more expensive in certain parts of the country, and independent advisers are probably going to be cheaper than those that work in house.

I had a mortgage adviser who worked for Countrywide, I think they offer set rates around the country, all together mine came to £400. This included the fee for writing the mortgage and on exchanging the mortgage. I *think* this is probably average, I didn't do any real research beforehand as again it all happened so quickly that I just took the easiest option at the time which was the in house mortgage adviser at the agents who were selling the property I bought.

As I've said before, their advice before you start making them put your mortgage together is completely free. If you have the time before you begin looking at houses I would recommend seeing a few different ones from different agencies, this will give you an idea of the difference in what they charge. I think it's also a big factor that you get on well with them, so it's worth scoping them out before you buy!

Do You Need One?

No. If you have the know-how, a little bit of spare time and know what you're looking for then you can fix your own mortgage up without having to spare another £400 + of money, why wouldn't you?

As a first time buyer, the whole mortgage process was incredibly daunting, and without her advice I would have been an even more stressed/nervous wreck, if that's possible! As my mortgage became a bit trickier as details of the property unfolded, I needed her guidance and the ability for her to back my corner. Albeit, I also had to spend a lot of time researching the lending issues surrounding the property and rang round a lot of banks myself, but if it wasn't without her help I probably wouldn't have got a mortgage for my dream property.

Remember that a mortgage advisers advice is completely FREE up until they start writing the mortgage, so use them for their information and do it by yourself if you have the spare time to do further research and arrange the whole process directly with the bank. Plenty of people do it by themselves and now that I know what I'm doing I will 100% be doing it by myself when I purchase another property or remortgage in 2 years time.

What To Watch Out For

I was naive in thinking that a mortgage adviser, literally is just a mortgage adviser. But, No. Once they've got you in hook, line and sinker, they'll also start pushing contents insurance, critical illness, redundancy etc at you. If you're anything like me they'll see you coming and they can guarantee you'll say yes to the £20 plus insurance x 3 because it's the easiest option, they set it all up for you. 

I reluctantly went for it because I didn't want to faff around researching all the add ons when it could be done so simply for me. It wasn't until afterwards that I did a quick comparison online that I found I was paying over the odds for all of my policies, sometimes £10 more a month. In hindsight I should have taken the extra time to research, but when everything happened so quickly I literally wanted the easiest option. Luckily, these policies are a 12 month contract so I can change my provider in 12 months time to a much cheaper option, hurrah! I've definitely learnt my lesson from it and wouldn't want anyone else to be caught out by being a little bit lazy like me!

But don't do the opposite and not get insured on anything, home contents, house insurance, illness and redundancy cover are so important, hopefully you never need to use it, but it's nice having that peace of mind that there is protection there if you need to use it.

I hope this helps anyone who is about to embark their house buying journey, if you have any other questions about mortgage advisers just drop me a tweet or comment below and I'll get back to you! 

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

OOTD | Sucker For A Slogan

Top - H&M
Mom Jeans - Topshop
Mules - Office (similar from Primark)
Sunglasses - Primark
Belt - Topshop
Bag* - Boohoo

Slogan Tees. Braids. Sunshine. Brunch. Friends. Family. Dirty Pastel Walls. Cute Dogs. Just a few things that made me happy on Saturday, and my own little take on my current read '14,000 Things To Be Happy About'.

Since I've moved out, my mindset on life in general and happiness has already started to change. Life seems to be throwing all sorts of life situations at me at the moment and I can do one of two things. Sit, worry and focus my efforts on nothing but, or to put or to remember life is too short, stop worrying (it isn't getting me anywhere) and to simply find a little dash of happiness even when I don't think its possible. 

We (I) spend so much time worrying about what others think, not sticking up or saying what I believe in with fear of upsetting others. But what does that make me? Miserable. If you know you're a good person, you're respectful and make the right decisions then DO what you believe in, DO it for you and DO what makes you happy.

And if that's wearing hot pink in every outfit, never missing an opportunity to pick up a slogan tee or speaking out about something that YOU know is the right thing to do, then so be it. Just because you can. Start doing YOU, be more selfish, because you're number 1.

Yep, for me that is wearing six shades of pink in every single outfit and not giving a damn what people think. Life really is better in pink though, right?

What do you think of this outfit? What made you happy this weekend?

*Products marked with an asterix (*) have been sent to me for review. However, all opinions in this post are 100% my own
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

6 Things To Help You Save For A House Deposit

Okay, so I may have lied a bit when I said I'd be back to normal blogging as soon as I got my broadband fitted, oooops. Life is just happening, but I also still have this urge to write so whilst I'm still waiting for an aerial to be fitted outside, TV-less, I thought I'd get cracking on more house buying/homeowner posts. My life has changed since I moved out and my life is probably consumed by about 80% home things at the moment, so there's that.

So many people have been asking me questions about the whole process, I'm by no means an expert but it's crazy to think how much I have learnt during the whole process and I wish I had something like this to read, with real, relatable advice from someone young who has actually done it. From house deposits, to getting a mortgage, I'll try to cover the less exciting bits BUT things you just have to know before you enter the buying process.

Buying a house is stressful and hard, but also exciting, but the house deposit really is that pivotal part that will hold it up, and gosh it isn't easy, but it's definitely doable with the right mindset and know how. I managed to get my deposit together pretty swiftly in just under 2 years, albeit it rather rushed in the last 6 months! Hopefully these 6 things I learnt along the way will also help you to get that house deposit together quicker than you thought...

1. Help To Buy ISA

GET ONE, GET ONE, GET ONE! If you don't already have one, why not? It's totally FREE money from the government. Despite the scaremongering news articles last year that claimed you didn't get the money from the government towards your deposit, it really was a load of BS. I received just over £1,000 from the government completely free towards my deposit, pretty amazing, huh?!

If you don't already know, the Help To Buy ISA was created to help first time buyers get onto the property ladder. Most banks offer this ISA, but I took mine out with Nationwide who were also offering a pretty desirable interest rate at the time, and I'm not talking about the standard 0.05% you get on your standard bank account. KA-CHING.

The account can be opened with an initial deposit of £1,200, you must then make further contributions to it of £200 each calendar month. As long as you stick to the rules which is pretty easy, you can claim 25% of your closing balance, I think it works out at £50 for every £200 you put in. The final sum is then claimed from your solicitors, it cost £50 for the account to be closed by my solicitor, so basically one months payment from the government. 

This additional money was an absolute godsend and its FREE, there's no catches so it's 100% worth doing. Who knows how long the scheme will be around for, so it's worth enrolling in it now even if you're not thinking of buying for a few years. £200 a month isn't a massive commitment, but it will slowly build up. Take a look at the Nationwide Help To Buy Isa page for more info!

2. Monthly Savings

There's no beating it around the bush. Saving for a house deposit isn't easy, neither is it a quick thing, unless you win the lottery, and if you do I'm v v jealous. The only way to start saving quickly is putting back chunks of money each month. It really is the only way to do it if you're serious about getting X amount together in a certain time frame.

The amount you can put back each month is dependent on your income and your current living situation, but it needs to be a good chunk if you want to move somewhere fast. But even if it is the £200 monthly direct debit to your ISA to start with then that is something. If you make regular payments each month you'll start to see the money go up, and this was the motivation that I needed to start putting even more back each month. 

You do have to be strict to yourself, but you also need to remember to live. I never sacrificed my social life in the process, but those weekly ASOS ordered certainly stopped, it's only a temporary thing though, and ASOS isn't going anywhere!

3. Live At Home

Unfortunately this isn't something that is possible for everyone. But living at home is 100% the main reason I could save so much money in a short period of time. I was very grateful to be able to do so, it meant I wasn't paying out £400 + rent money each month and could devote that to my savings instead, it definitely helped to keep me focused.

Even if it means having to move back home for a few months, a lot of people have to do this and it's nothing to be ashamed about. Living is so expensive nowadays, and the reality is that having a mortgage works out at a fraction of the price that your rent would, so despite the initial upfront cost, it does get better!

4. Buy With Someone

So it's no secret that buying with someone will help you to get the money together twice as fast! Whether it's a partner, friend or family member, sometimes it's the only way to do it. It means the costs are all spread and a problem shared is a problem halved, right? 

It's a huge commitment to buy a property with someone so despite having this huge upside, you have to be realistic about it and not rush into something that isn't ready.

5. Visit A Mortgage Adviser

I would still recommend starting to save before you get to this stage, but visiting a mortgage adviser and using one was one of the best things I did. It's a must have place to go for free information if you literally don't have a clue. I didn't.

Visiting one started to make everything feel real, it gives you an idea as to how much money you can borrow, what you might need to save for a deposit, and they'll even help you to budget each month. 

I don't know what I would have done without mine at the start as the world of house buying is so scary and new when you've never done it before. I used Countrywide for mine, but there are soo many available with different agents and independent advisers so it's worth looking around to find one that suits your situation. I'll definitely be writing a full post about mortgage advisers and what you need to know in the next couple of weeks!


6. Have An End Goal

You may not know how much you can borrow yet, but as a general rule of thumb most properties need at least a 10% deposit, however I have heard of 5% deposits on new builds and even 7% deposits. 

Unfortunately I got dealt the card that I had to put down at least a 15% deposit as it was classed as a new build, despite being in a 200 year old house... That really did throw everything off. The moral is you really don't know until you start getting into the process sometimes. I always think it's better to save more than you need for a deposit anyway, as you still have legal fees, furniture and other fees to think about. 

Having an end figure is something to work towards and I set myself targets for the end of the year to reach and it definitely gives you a sense of achievement when you do hit them as saving for a house deposit certainly is no easy feat, especially if you're doing it by yourself!

Take a look at my tips on surviving a spending ban for more motivation! Do you have any other tips? Are you in the process of buying or have you just bought a property?

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

OOTD | Learning To Enjoy The Little Things In Life

Dress - New Look
Rucksack - Zara
Sunglasses - Primark
Jumpin Palm Print Sneakers* - Rocket Dog

Broadband is finally gracing the walls of my new home and that means that my blogging can finally resume schedule, well almost. If I've learnt anything since I've moved out it's that I cannot do anything. Shocker, right? For so long I've been trying to basically do everything, I thought I even had it sussed after writing about how I juggle working full time and writing a blog, but since I've moved out it's upset the apple cart so to speak.

I'm going through a phase again when I'm finding blogging a chore, and with everything piling up I'm still trying to make headway through it even if I'm exhausted, feeling ill or literally have no time. I'm always like MORE, WHAT'S NEXT? Why do we never seem satisfied with what we have and just simply take the time to take a step back and appreciate the little things in our life, that are often the most special moments.

I'm still very much trying to enjoy the little things in life, and I think moving out has been the kick I needed to start  looking after myself properly and realise that i can't do everything. Well, the dishwasher for a start has been a godsend as has getting my food shopping delivered to my home, BUT now it's about making time for myself, grabbing a coffee by myself, appreciating how close I am to the sea, having a walk in the evening and NOT worrying about what my to do list looks like for the weekend or having to rush to the supermarket because I have no food left for the week. 

As I'm beginning to learn, life is too short, and I don't want to look back on it realising that I wished every week away for the weekend, and stressed over whether I'd done a blog for the week or not, I'm just not about this anymore, and the worst bit? I put this pressure on myself, no one else - so this summer is going to be the best summer of my life. I'm determined to make more memories than ever, have less screen time and simply enjoy the company of myself and being with other people. Life is too short for conforming to my own expectations when there's plenty of adventures waiting to be had.


What do you think of this outfit? How do you make more time to stop and enjoy the little things in life?


*Products marked with an asterix (*) have been sent to me for review. However, all opinions in this post are 100% my own

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