Mortgage Broker Kent

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Paul Holland from Henchurch Lane Financial Services based in Kent, talks us through the services offered by a mortgage broker.

What exactly does a mortgage broker do?

There’s a big difference between going to a bank and talking to a whole of market broker like ourselves – and that’s the products on offer. If you visit a local branch, generally speaking they’re only allowed to recommend products from a small list of their own. In addition they are not qualified to give detailed financial advice based on your specific situation.

Meanwhile, brokers like ourselves have access to products from banks, building societies and mortgage providers that aren’t necessarily on the high street. Generally speaking, that means you’re more likely to get a more competitive deal and thorough advice on the whole process of buying a home.

What are the differences between going to a mortgage broker and your local high street bank?

From the moment you sit down with a broker, we will be looking to see what your circumstances are and what’s important to you so that we can tailor a proposal for you.

We don’t just look at what works for you now – we look ahead to the future as well. Is this your first home? Are you going to want to upsize in the near future, or are you looking for your forever home? As a broker we always look at the bigger picture.

What services do you offer as a mortgage broker?

There’s a lot more to what we do than liaising with lenders and arranging a suitable mortgage. We’re regularly in contact with everyone else involved: solicitors, estate agents and even people’s accountants. We deal with a lot of self-employed people who are busy working – and we speak to their accountants to chase up documents and other information.

That’s part and parcel of what we do. We’re here to make it as easy as possible for the buyer, home mover or remortgager to achieve their goals.

It’s because of that we have great retention rates with our clients. Often we set up a fixed rate or discounted deal for a client that will eventually expire. Near the end of the deal we’ll contact the client to discuss their follow up options – whether to stay with their current lender, remortgage to a new lender or they might have bigger plans. We’re there to help with the next step.

Can you organise mortgage protection too?

All three brokers here at Henchurch Lane originated from a protection-based company in Tunbridge Wells about 10 years ago. We were all protection specialists and did that for many years.

All three of us have since branched into the mortgage industry. Once your mortgage is arranged we will discuss protection options with you. You’re effectively taking out the biggest debt that you’ll ever have, so it’s important to make sure you can keep your home should one of the people in the mortgage unfortunately pass away, or be unable to work due to an accident or an illness.

We’ll recommend the most effective options based on your situation – it’s all part of the service.

When should I see a mortgage broker – at what stage in the process?

Everyone’s different, so there’s no standard answer. Some people really benefit from speaking to us two or three years in advance of buying a property.

If, for example, there were a credit issue, we could give them a plan to get into a stronger position. The same is true if you need to remortgage.

If your situation is straightforward and you’re employed rather than self-employed, we recommend talking to us around three months before you start viewing properties. You need to make sure you can achieve the purchase price you’re aiming for. You need to have your documentation and bank statements ready and preempt any surprises on your credit record.

It’s much better to come to us and get your finances sorted in advance than be disappointed.

You’re based in Kent – but can you help somebody if they’re based elsewhere in the country?

We’ve arranged mortgages for people in Scotland, Wales and all over the UK. As long as you are UK-based there’s no reason why we can’t help you.

We can do everything remotely. Our systems connect to everyone, everywhere, but naturally a lot of our business does come from the South East.

Why is Kent a popular location to live in and buy property?

Kent is called the Garden of England and is a great place to live – it’s close to London, it’s got accessible transport links to the rest of the country and there’s some fabulous places to visit.

Generally house prices are at the higher end of average but it’s great to be able to live in a green part of the country and have quick access into the city.

We’re based in Medway – Rochester, Gillingham, Chatham, Maidstone – that sort of area of Kent. On a fast train line it would take us about 13 minutes to get into London. So for people that work in the city but can’t necessarily afford city house prices, it allows them to commute to within 30 to 60 minutes and buy a property for much less. It’s the best of both worlds.

Tell us more about Henchurch Lane?

I completed all my mortgage qualifications in 2015, and the company was founded in a similar timeframe. We rebranded to Henchurch Lane in 2019, and that’s when the three of us that had previously worked together, plus our support staff, came on board. We grew the brand from there.

We’re still relatively young as a company but have a lot of experience in giving our clients great service.

Does it cost for an initial consultation with you?

Every broker tends to take a slightly different approach to the way that they charge fees. There are brokers online that predominantly do all their business over the phone, and offer a fee-free service.

Some High Street brokers charge you for an initial consultation and then later again on the completion of the transaction. Others just charge you when they actually get you a mortgage offer – so it really does depend who you go to.

The way that we operate is with a charge on completion. If we were to discuss your scenario with you, make a recommendation, submit the application and get you a mortgage offer but it were to fall through, then you would not pay a fee. The way we always phrase it is that we charge the broker fee at the point where you pick up the keys to your new property.

If you’re remortgaging, you would pay once the remortgage completes.

We are always transparent. We are very clear about the level of service we offer and the amount you will pay in the first conversation we have with you.

The fee can vary on a case-by-case basis depending on how much work we anticipate will be involved. Our fees start from £95 for a very simple transaction, such as a product transfer where you stay with your existing lender, all the way up to £1,000 if it’s a very complicated case with multiple different revenue streams or bad credit. A more typical fee is around £395. But the first conversation won’t cost you a thing, so get in touch to see how we can help you.

Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up with your mortgage repayments.