How we started
It's April 2014, and Daniel Hegarty and his partner are about to buy their first home. Their offer has been accepted, and their financing is in order.
But then their broker makes a mistake on the mortgage application form. The broker lists three applicants: Daniel, his partner... and his partner.
Unbelievably, it takes weeks to put this right. At one point the broker ‘corrects’ their mistake by taking Daniel's name off the application altogether. They almost lose the house.
This vital part of buying a home was difficult, outdated, and completely vulnerable to basic human errors.
Getting his first mortgage had cost so much – the time off work submitting and verifying documents, the hours of sleep lost to worrying if everything was going to work out, the eye-watering broker fees – it all left Daniel wondering how an industry worth almost £2 trillion could be this broken.
What would it take to fix it? What would a reimagined mortgage industry look like – rebuilt from the ground up?
Our journey so far
Dan tries to buy his first house but it nearly falls through. It sparks an idea.
The ‘office’ is Dan’s kitchen
Habito originally registered as ‘Mortgage Genius’
Team = 3
Investment = £1.4 million
We move out of Dan’s and get a meeting room in a co-working space
Team = 5
We make a ‘friends and family’ beta for Christmas 2015
We upgrade to an office in a co-working space
We get our brokerage licence from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
23 March: we launch Habito
The night we go live is our last night in the co-working space. Next day we move into our own office on Osborn Street
12th April = first mortgage brokered
Team = 8
The weekly company meeting called ‘Like this but over there’ becomes the Habito All Hands
We are the first mortgage broker to offer Digital Mortgage Advice - regulated mortgage advice via a chatbot
We’re also the first to offer live chat in addition to phone calls to give customers ultimate flexibility
November: we decide that lunch together every day is a good thing. Since then we’ve enjoyed free lunch for everyone, every day
Mortgages sorted = 245
We move to The Loom Building in Whitechapel - this becomes Habito HQ
We launch our first-ever ad campaign on TV and on the tube
We start offering free fortnightly massages for all employees
We win Best Consumer Product and Best Use of Technology in Customer Service at the FS Tech awards
We introduce free life and mental health coaching sessions with Sanctus
Team = 50+
Investment = £25 million
Mortgages sorted = £361 million
We get crafting and make our first lot of branded merch ourselves – hand-made cushions. Professionally-made t-shirts followed soon after
Habito Life Insurance launches, removing the barriers of cost and awkwardness to help people protect their families
We receive our lending licence from the FCA
We sponsor the Sunday Times Best Places to Live
Mortgages sorted = £1 billion (reached mid-year)
Team = 100+
Hell or Habito campaign launches – bright, playful, irreverent, unlike any mortgage (or financial services) ads seen before
Fairer Finance certifies our website as “jargon-free”
We occupy most of the 5th floor at The Loom
We pledge our support to St Mungo’s
We partner with Starling, Money Saving Expert, Property Investment Project, Finder, Money to the Masses and The Move Market
We sponsor the Sunday Times Best Places to Live for a second year
Mortgages sorted = £2billion reached in May
Our Trustpilot score is 9.4 with over 2,500 reviews
Team = 165 and counting!
So far we’ve helped 180,000 people get the mortgage they deserve
And the journey continues!