Meet Katie Chown, a 34-year-old online marketer, who defied the property odds and bought her first home two years ago.
I’m a pretty independent person, a fair balance of common sense versus intelligence, so previously I’ve always done my own research, compared the figures I’d found and worked out what to do for the best without paying someone else to do it for me. It was a palaver and more stressful than it needed to be. Getting a mortgage felt like it was harder work than the renovations I was going to make!
Unlike the two million people in the UK who are on the wrong mortgage, Katie knew that when her two-year fixed rate deal ended her monthly payments would change. Unfortunately, the new payments were much more than she was able to pay, so she needed to remortgage, fast.
Finding the needle in the haystack
Katie’s circumstances had changed since she first got her mortgage. She had a couple of new contracted outgoings, which meant her cashflow wasn’t as attractive on paper as before, and her situation was now more complicated. Despite handling it all herself the first time around, she had to ‘admit defeat’ this time, as she couldn’t figure out the best deal for her unique circumstances.
I’d done my best and applied for what I thought was the right deal, and my mortgage offer was half the amount I needed. I couldn’t keep making applications and leaving a large footprint on my credit record – I needed someone who was ‘in the know’.
Googling local mortgage advisors gave me a list of ‘experts’, all generally sat in the local estate agents, working off commission. It felt a bit like choosing any one of them would be biasing my outcome and had no idea how to choose between them.
She spotted an online ad for habito and, despite being skeptical of online companies promising fast and easy results, she liked the fact there was a certain amount of detachment: I’d much rather send an email than pick up the phone.
Taking the plunge
Habito was built with people like Katie in mind. Free, online and available 24/7 on your mobile or tablet.
Once online reviews and third-party endorsements had tempered her doubts, Katie signed up to habito (from the comfort of her house). An online broker was on hand via live chat to answer any questions throughout, but in minutes her details were filled and a call booked to verify the finer points.
The process was comparably instant. I had a short and friendly conversation with Patrick who answered my questions about how habito works and assured me he’d have my ideal solution by the end of the day.
A few hours later, Katie had a mortgage product offer and an agreement in principle.
If I had had the appropriate paperwork to hand, he could have had the mortgage offer done and dusted that same day!
Once the application was filed, Katie knew the status at every step of the way. That’s the beauty of online consultancy.
I could check the progress whenever I liked – if you wake up sweating in the middle of the night, you’ve got that reassurance in black and white, right there in front of you. And Patrick answered my emails so efficiently I began to wonder if I was his favourite customer (which I’m sure I was!)
In the UK, over two million people are on the wrong mortgage, normally for one of two reasons: 1) They don’t know their rate, or 2) they’ve been so scarred by the process they cannot face switching. Thankfully for her, Katie is not prototypical. She’s now on a better monthly rate and has more financial freedom to continue her home renovations.
I’ve taken on a big project and getting this deal done quickly at no cost has meant a lot less stress, a lot less expenditure and a much happier Katie.
Mortgages don’t have to be terrifying. And a remortgage is the easiest way to give yourself a well-deserved pay rise.