Getting a mortgage? Don’t assume your bank knows best

My fiancé and I are lucky to be in a position to buy an actual house, and even luckier to have had an offer accepted. We’re now quite a way through the process but we weren’t quite lucky enough to buy without a mortgage, so securing one was naturally the next step.

Now we’d already spoken to a broker and had a ‘decision in principle’ agreed. This means that based on the information given in relation to a series of questions from the broker, a lender is likely to give us the desired amount.

Unfortunately however, our situation wasn’t quite straightforward due to an existing mortgage on our current place, that was still within a fixed period. Getting out of it would’ve cost significant amounts – we’re talking several thousand, or for perspective, 3% of the six-figure mortgage.

But following a call to the lender, we found we could port the mortgage across – so essentially take it with us to our new home – then borrow more in both our names (the current mortgage is just in my other half’s), thus saving several thousand – brilliant.

Most of my colleagues know I’m going through this process. Very handy, when between them there’s expertise in all areas of finance, including mortgages. One of them kindly offered a few tips in how we could sort our situation to ensure, because our mortgage would essentially be in two parts, how we could avoid having to sort the deals on them in two stages. We needed a deal on the second part of our mortgage that wasn’t costly to get out of. Simple.

So we booked an appointment with a mortgage adviser at a well-known high street bank. We gathered all the right documents – for interest, you’ll need ID, proof of address, three months’ payslips, three months’ bank statements correlating to the payslips and two years’ P60s – and thought we were set.

I went into the mortgage meeting armed with this, and the info from my colleague. I asked every question I could think of (my fiancé sat next to me, possibly willing me to keep quiet at points). But the adviser said there was nothing we could do except leave them in two parts. After much persistence, I gave in and accepted it. After all, we were talking to a mortgage adviser, who does this day in, day out.

At work the next morning, I was asked how it went. I retold the situation. A few minutes later we were looking at mortgages with the same lender that would have satisfied our criteria. Deals which the adviser failed to mention.

I gave the adviser a call. He hadn’t heard about them but suddenly remembered a deal we could do. All this a few hours before we signed the papers.

Moral of the story? Your adviser doesn’t always know. Don’t go in without knowing what’s out there, even if it’s only a rough idea. Ask friends, family, colleagues that have bought recently and do the research yourself, which is where MSE can help – there are plenty of tips in our Mortgage and Home Buying section.