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.emojis

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.

Stress, rage, anxiety. How could mortgages be this broken?

This vital part of buying a home was difficult, outdated, and completely vulnerable to basic human errors.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?

Cue Habito.

Our journey so far

2014

Dan tries to buy his first house but it nearly falls through. It sparks an idea.

2015

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

2016

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

2017

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

2018

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”

2019

We occupy most of the 5th floor at The Loom

stmungos

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

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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!