60 Seconds with… Accord Mortgages

Mortgage Advisors
Mike Houston

As part of a new interview series to highlight some of the lenders we work with, Hawke FS spoke to Mike Houston, Business Development Manager at Accord Mortgages…  

Can you give us some background into Accord Mortgages and your role within the company?

Accord is the intermediary arm of the Yorkshire Building Society, so we are part of the UK’s second largest building society, which not many people know; we are a high street lender. At Accord we don’t really have a typical customer as we offer a full range of products, from straightforward house purchases to remortgages, to help to buy properties. For example, we allow 90% loan-to-value borrowing on new build flats, which is quite unique.

My role as a BDM is to support my panel of brokers with up-to-date information on the Accord brand and proposition. I am also here to support the broker and the client through their mortgage journey with us.

What is Accord Mortgages’ biggest selling point for any potential customer?

Service – someone always being on the end of the phone to help and guide. We also have a ‘common sense’ approach to lending. We appreciate that not every case will fit our criteria, so we offer the broker a service whereby they can get pre-approval from an underwriter. This common sense approach is something Accord prides itself on. We also enable mortgage advisors to talk directly to our underwriters – a rare occurrence nowadays but one which ensures the broker has direct contact from day one of the application. We have found this hugely helps our service offering and improves our turnaround time to get the offer out to the client

How important is it to work alongside brokers?  

The BDM role is to support and educate where Accord can help a broker’s clients. With firms such as Hawke FS, I will visit at least once a month to catch up with the team and update them on changes within Accord as well as discussing the current marketplace.

Hawke really are a fantastic firm to work with. An example of working alongside Hawke’s brokers was when we had a case that one of the brokers was struggling to place at 95% LTV. The client in question had been with their current firm for two years and their income was made up of a number of allowances. Other lenders were looking to use only a percentage of this, but due to the client’s type of work and their consistency, Accord was happy to use at 100%, which allowed them to trigger our higher income multiple. This was made possible by the close working relationship we had with the broker, and the broker’s close working relationship with the client. It enabled us to chat the case through with an underwriter before the Decision in Principle was run.

In your opinion what has had the biggest impact on the mortgage market in the past 12 months?

The volume of business coming to lenders from mortgage brokers. This highlights that there is a demand for quality advice and bespoke client services.

How do you think the mortgage market will change over the next five years?

Technology advances will afford lenders and advisors more time to look at their client’s circumstances in more depth, and to help more clients. This is a part of the industry that is evolving from all different areas of the market, both within broker firms and lenders.

In an ideal world, is there anything you would like to see done differently in the mortgage sector?

The time it takes to complete a mortgage after the case has been offered. Technology could potentially help conveyancing firms to speed up the process moving forward, and this would support the advancements in the lending market.

Bridge To Let Finance – a viable option for those looking to add value

Since 2010, there has been a 50 per cent increase in bridging finance market-wide. This can be put down to a number of reasons, including the more flexible underwriting used by bridging lenders and the speed at which the finance can be arranged. Indeed, as banks have tightened up their lending criteria, bridging loans have proved a popular choice for customers looking to take out short-term finance – particularly useful for renovations, expansions and restorations and, of course, auction properties or those with long and complicated chains.

There are some negatives, such as having to pay two lots of fees for two separate finances (the bridge and the exit finance), but bridging loans remain a popular option, particularly among the landlord community.

This is where bridge-to-let finance comes in. For clients looking to diversify their portfolios, a bridge-to-let loan could be ideal. Bridge-to-lets basically enable a bridging loan which then rolls into a traditional buy-to-let mortgage. The benefits are that the customer gets a direct and streamlined route to their exit finance – some lenders only require one application to be submitted and therefore only one underwrite need be carried out – and only one set of legal fees needs to be paid. Two valuations would need to be carried out – an initial valuation, as is the case with all mortgages, and a subsequent re-inspection of the property before the bridge transforms into the buy-to-let mortgage. The lender would also require a full schedule of works, as is to be expected. But this is a very viable option for those purchasers looking to keep hold of a property that needs some refurbishment or restoration work in the interim.

Although mostly utilised by limited companies looking to raise finance, bridge-to-lets are available to individuals too.

So how does the finance stack up? The majority of bridge-to-let lenders will provide an initial loan of up to 75%, although some may go higher in certain circumstances. The arrangement fees are comparable with what you’d expect to see in most bridging pricing. An arrangement fee would be payable – this could be up to 2% of the loan but certain lenders offer a competitive 0.75%, and there would be a second arrangement fee payable when the customer moves onto their buy-to-let rate. In terms of these rates, customers of bridge-to-let loans would generally exit on to a sub-5% rate, which is comparable for a traditional limited company mortgages.

It’s important to point out that the bridge part of these loans are limited to a six month period, but that no early repayment charges are payable as long as the loan is transferred during this period. And as an added bonus, customers can move up to an 80% loan to value of the enhanced value of the property so could potentially get a sum released to them when the finance is transferred. What makes bridge-to-let finance particularly appealing is that unlike standard mortgage products, bridge to let lenders will offer loans based on the property’s gross development value, which takes into account how much the property will be worth once all works have been completed. So customers can borrow more money to ensure improvements are made properly.

Bridge-to-let lenders will examine certain additional factors in an application, such as whether the customer has renovated a property before and the plan for the property once it has been refurbished. Other assets can also come into play, but this type of finance certainly offers a welcome lifeline to those looking to boost value but who perhaps don’t have a perfect credit score or who are able to prove their exit strategy before they borrow.

If this sounds like a good option for you, or you would like to find out more, contact one of our specialist bridging and commercial brokers today on 020 8660 8613 or email gary@hawkefs.com or john@hawkefs.com.

Buying a Residential Property

Mortgage Advisors

Buying a residential property is a huge step for many people. Find out everything you need to know about purchasing a property and some common FAQs, here:

What is the Minimum Deposit I Need to Buy a Property?

Purchasing a home has had a stigma for a number of years that it is impossible to achieve unless you have a large amount of money to put down as a deposit. This is not the case, the minimum deposit that you will need to put towards the purchase is 5.00% of the property value/purchase price; the remaining 95.00% would be provided by a Bank or Building Society in the form of a mortgage. The loan amount is dictated by a number of factors; the main points are the income you earn and the maximum income multiple which a lender will allow. However, the Bank or Building Society take in to account any debt you have; which can impact the loan amount you can achieve.

Can My Family Help Me Buy a Property?

When you are exploring the world of purchasing your own home, I can almost guarantee you will hear someone mention “Bank of Mum & Dad”. What this refers to is family members helping their Sons, Daughters, Grandchildren, Nieces & Nephews get on the property ladder. Some people are fortunate enough to have family members willing to “Gift” a deposit to their relations in order for them to get on the property ladder and purchase a property which would not be obtainable based on their income and original deposit. For example, John is looking to buy a property on his own; he is 28, debt free, employed full time earning £30,000.00 per annum and has a £20,000.00 Deposit (Legal Fees and Any Stamp Duty are separately). Based on Johns income and situation, it is likely his maximum loan would be £142,500.00 and when adding his deposit on; the maximum value of a property he could purchase is £162,500.00. John is looking to by near to his work in Wimbledon and there are no properties in his price range. His parents have decided they would like to help and gift John £50,000.00 towards his deposit. John now can look at properties up to £212,500.00 and can now purchase a property in that area. Mortgage providers constitute a true gift as a sum of money which is non-refundable, non-interest bearing and the giftee does not have any financial interest in the property.

How Much Can I Borrow?

The most common question I will be asked when speaking to someone will be, “How much can I borrow” as this will be the driving force behind everything. All Banks & Building Societies have a maximum income multiple which in turn dictates the loan amount you can achieve. Income multiples vary from 4.5 times annual salary up to 5.5 times your annual salary, dependant on your circumstances. The reason I specified “annual salary” above as different lenders take in to account different percentages of additional income on top of your annual salary like commission, overtime, bonuses etc. Depending on the lender some can look at using 100% of your additional income, but others will cap this additional income and only take 65% of this. If you receive a large amount of additional monthly income like overtime or commission, a majority of lenders will look at taking a 3-month average of the additional income and annualising this; which can increase your maximum achievable loan amount substantially.

What Costs Can I Expect When Buying a Residential Property?

When purchasing a property, it is key you set out an accurate budget as you never want to be caught short when you are in the middle of the process. The main costs you need to think of during a purchase transaction are:

Stamp Duty Land Tax

This is dependant on the property value & property ownership status

Conveyancing Costs

This will depend on the type of purchase and tenure of the property (freehold or leasehold)

Removal Fees

Survey Fees

The cost will depend on the type of survey carried out. These include:

Basic Mortgage Valuation

Home Buyers Report

Full Structural Survey

Estate Agents Fees (if you are selling your property via an estate agent)

The overall cost will either be based on a percentage of the sale price or a flat fee upon instruction.
When you have taken all of the above costs in to account, I would always recommend having an amount of savings remaining for after you move in; this is because you never want to move in to a property without having funds for a rainy day.

Buy a Property Today

If you want to buy a residential property, our expert team can help! Get in touch today to find out more.

Will Help to Buy Help YOU? – It’s All in the Detail

Here at Hawke Financial, the beginning of the year has seen an influx of enquiries from young and old alike as the ‘B’ word has not stopped the sun from rising in the morning…the dream to purchase a property very much remains in the current financial climate.

We have supported many clients in establishing how to best purchase a property via a variety of approaches including shared ownership and Help to Buy.

One of the reasons the Help to Buy scheme is mentioned in a lot of these enquiries is the sheer number of opportunities to buy via this method, as a result of the number of new build properties being erected. The Help to Buy Equity Scheme aids clients that are looking to purchase a new build property where they are the first persons to reside in this dwelling. This gives the true blank canvas to be able to make your house a home.

How Do Help To Buy Mortgages Work?

HTB should allow you to buy more of each brick of your home per month. Here is how…

Example One

Buying outright: your house purchase price is £300,000. With a deposit of £30,000 and a loan to value of 90%, your monthly payments are £1,044.50. The capital part of your mortgage payment is £523.58, whereas the interest part is £520.92. Your balance after 5-years is £237,062.

Example Two

Help to buy: your house purchase price is £300,000. With a deposit of £15,000 and an equity loan, and a loan to value of 75%, your monthly payments are £833.90. The capital part of your mortgage payment is £459.42, whereas the interest part is £374.50. Your balance after 5-years is £196,289.

…as HTB enables you to have a lower loan to value – and subsequently have a lower interest rate – the capital element of your mortgage payment is greater than the level of interest you are repaying to the lender. 55% of your mortgage payment towards owning more of your home rather than 50% (based on the first years mortgage payments).
If you have a house hold income of circa £60,000 and a deposit of circa £15,000- £30,000 the above scenarios are achievable. Deciding which method of purchase is best is for your consideration and based on the detail:

Will your salary increase at a rate for you to look to repay your equity loan from a potential remortgage?
Do you want to have cash funds available when you move into the property to furnish your new home?
Are your aspirations to build a portfolio before you have repaid your HTB equity loan?

The above examples go onto show is that the level of equity you have created is fairly similar in comparison as with HTB the loan amount decreases by 12.76% and with buying outright a 12.20% decrease. So although you are buying more of each brick for the first five years and managing cash flow once you factor in repaying the equity loan via sale of your home, savings or remortgaging and raising funds your HTB experience has provided value only in getting a foot on the ladder at a reasonable cost per month.

Secure Your Help To Buy Mortgage Today

At Hawke we would take the time through your initial enquiry to break down options in this level of detail to establish which method of purchase is BEST for YOU. Speak to our consultants today to find out more.

Everything You Need To Know About Remortgages

A remortgage is where you take out a new mortgage on a property you already own – either to replace your existing mortgage, or to borrow money against your property.
For most people, their mortgage is their biggest financial commitment. And it follows that streamlining the largest debt can produce the largest saving – sometimes £1,000s each year. The main reason that you might want to remortgage is to save money.
Many of the best mortgages only last a short time – often two to five years – the typical length of time offered on a fixed rate, tracker or discount mortgage.
When it comes to an end, your lender will put you on its bog standard variable rate (SVR). It’s likely to be higher than your old interest rate and higher than the best buys available. If so, you want to be ready to remortgage to a cheaper rate. Talk to us around 14 weeks before your rate ends.
If you are tied into an initial deal then you might have to pay an early repayment charge which can be huge, often 2-5% of your outstanding loan. Plus, there is usually a small exit fee (it might call it an ‘admin fee’ or a ‘deeds release fee’) when you repay any mortgage.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it as the savings can be big (especially if you have a large amount of mortgage debt). We can look at the sums before you commit to anything.
If the value of your property has risen rapidly since you took out your mortgage, you may find you’re in a lower loan-to-value band, and therefore eligible for much lower rates. Again, we can do the sums but it’s definitely worth a look.
Perhaps your current lender has said no to lending you extra money or the terms it’s offering aren’t very good. All lenders have different affordability calculations so remortgaging to a new lender might enable you to raise money cheaply on low rates. But remember to take all the fees into account to see if it really is cheaper than other forms of borrowing.
If you are looking at borrowing more, the new lender will ask you what the extra money is for. Surprisingly, it is likely to be more comfortable with you borrowing the money for a new car than for business purposes. Not so surprisingly, it might not want to lend you money to start a new business. The most commonly acceptable reasons to raise money are for home improvements and paying off other debts. Just be prepared for your lender to ask for evidence if you are borrowing a large amount, e.g. builder quotes, or proof that you have paid off the debts.
Maybe you want to be able to miss a payment. Changing jobs, going back into education, going travelling – whatever the reason, there are mortgages which will let you take payment holidays.

Get A Remortgage Today

Whatever flexibility you want in a mortgage, chances are it’s out there.
If it sounds like remortgaging could be the right move for you, discuss your circumstances with us and we will find a lender for you.

The Beginners Guide To Stamp Duty

If you are in the process of buying a property, you will need to think about the additional costs that you will face. As well as having to consider the overall cost of the property, you will need to factor in the cost of Stamp Duty.

Understanding Stamp Duty

If you are buying a residential property in England or Northern Ireland costing more than £125,000, you will need to pay Stamp Duty. Stamp Duty is the legal recognition of the purchase being made and, if the property is costing you more than £125,000, it cannot usually be avoided. Think of it as a tax that you have to pay as part of buying a home. The only buyers who do avoid paying Stamp Duty are first time buyers. If you are a first time property buyer in England or Northern Ireland, you are not required to pay Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 of a property purchase price. If you are buying a second home, Stamp Duty is payable on all properties costing more than £40,000 and an additional 3% is required on top of the standard rate band.

The amount of Stamp Duty that you are liable to pay will depend on the exact cost of the property and the rate band that it falls into. There are a few different Stamp Duty rate bands and it is calculated based on the amount of the property price that falls within each of these bands. As Stamp Duty is calculated as a percentage of the property cost, it’s different for everyone. For example, properties costing between £125,001 and £250,000 fall into the rate band of 3%. Those costing between £250,001 and £925,000 fall into the rate band of 5%, and so on.

How to Calculate Stamp Duty

With so many different rate bands and percentages to consider, calculating Stamp Duty is rarely easy. There are a lot of things to take into account and it’s not always easy to work out what needs to be paid. To help you out, we have created a Stamp Duty calculator. By entering the purchase price of the property, you can find out how much Stamp Duty you will be liable to pay.

To find out more about Stamp Duty and to quickly find out how much you will be paying, use our online Stamp Duty calculator.

The Landlord’s Guide To Insurance

It doesn’t matter whether you have recently bought a property to rent for the first time or you have been working as a landlord for a while, you need to think about landlord insurance. A lot of people underestimate the importance of landlord insurance, but it isn’t something that should be overlooked. Landlord insurance protects you and your property if anything were to go wrong. There are a lot of different options for landlord insurance, but taking out a policy doesn’t need to be daunting or costly. With a little bit of help, you can have landlord insurance set up in no time at all.

Taking Out Landlord Insurance

When you first start looking into landlord insurance, you will see that it is not a legal requirement. As a landlord, you won’t be breaking any laws if you don’t take out landlord insurance. However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t take out a policy. A lot of standard home insurance policies won’t cover you if the property is being rented by tenants, meaning that you are not covered if something were to go wrong. This is why it’s always best to take our specific landlord insurance. If you don’t have landlord insurance, you could end up facing costs and stress that could have been avoided.

Landlord insurance works in the same way that standard home insurance does but it covers the additional issues that having tenants can bring, such as the loss of rent. When you are taking out landlord insurance, most insurers will ask what your tenants do. Though this doesn’t often affect the policy itself, you may be charged more if you are renting to students. This is why it’s always best to seek out a policy that specifically covers everything that you need it to, regardless of what that might be.

Landlord Insurance at Hawke Financial Services

As a landlord, it is your responsibility to provide a safe place for your tenants to live. This includes providing adequate smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If you don’t fulfil this responsibility, you may find that your landlord insurance policy is not valid and that you are not covered for damage caused. When it comes to landlord insurance, there are a lot of different options available. Choosing the best policy can be difficult, but we are here to help. If you need help with taking out landlord insurance or you need professional advice, get in touch. Contact Hawke Financial Services today.

10 Questions To Ask Your Mortgage Broker

Your mortgage advisor is a vital source of support and information when it comes to buying your next home. But how do you make sure you’ve found the right consultant and are getting the most from their services? See below some of our top questions to ask your mortgage broker to ensure you have enough information to navigate the mortgage process smoothly:

Top Things To Ask Your Mortgage Broker:

How Much Can I Expect To Borrow?
It’s important to have a good idea of the amount you can borrow, before your even begin searching for a house. Lending amounts differ between lenders, as they take into account many different factors – particularly if you’re self-employed or own a business. Find out the amount you can borrow before you set your heart on a property out of your price range.

How Much Deposit Will I Need?

Typically mortgage lenders will ask for a 5 – 10% deposit on the house you’re going to buy, but this can differ – in some cases, such as help-to-buy-schemes you may only need a 5% deposit. Your deposit size may also affect your mortgage repayment amounts, so make sure you find this out.

Are There Any Hidden Charges?

When purchasing a house there are often costs that you not have initially thought of, such as agent fees and stamp duty. Ask your mortgage lender if there are other costs you may need to take into account when taking out one of their mortgages.

How Long Does My Interest Rate Last For?

Some mortgage brokers may offer an enticing interest rate to draw you in – find out how long this is valid for and what your interest rate will be after that period of time.

Can I lock In My Interest Rate

Because of the fluctuating nature of the market, interest rates can soar and drop regularly. You may be able to lock in a low rate for a certain period of time and, depending on the length of this lock your mortgage broker may offer a higher or lower interest rate.

How Quickly Can I Expect My Application To Be Approved?

You may be in a hurry to secure your mortgage, particularly if you are wanting to put down an offer on a property you’ve seen. There are many factors that could affect this closing date for your deal – and it’s a good idea to ask your mortgage lender so that you have a rough timeframe to work with when arranging a chain or viewing properties.

Could Anything Delay This?

There are many factors that could delay your application but understanding these in advance (and ensuring none of the delays are down to you) will help you prepare and keep things running as smoothly as possible.

Can I Repay My Mortgage Early?

Find out if there are any penalties for repaying your mortgage early, or what conditions may apply if you wish to accelerate your repayments.

Can I Shop Around For Insurance?

Some mortgage lenders will insist that you take out building insurance through them – but this doesn’t always mean you can get the best deal. Shop around on the market and ensure you have a good understanding of other insurance quotes before signing.

Do You Have Access To Select Lenders Or The Whole Market?

Your mortgage broker may have a list of preferred lenders or may only be using a selection of sampled mortgage lenders. This means they may not have access to all of the best deals across the entire market. Make sure you ask about this before investing with your mortgage broker.

Speak To A Mortgage Broker Today

You can get immediate and trusted advice to help secure your mortgage with the support of our expert financial advisors. Get in touch with our friendly team to begin the process today, by calling us on 020 8660 8613, emailing: info@hawkefs.com or filling out our contact form, here.

Hawke Shortlisted For The National LIS Awards

The team at Hawke Financial Services are delighted to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for the Best Buy To Let Broker at the National LIS Awards!

The National LIS Awards

The National LIS Awards celebrates the excellence and outstanding achievements in the private rented sector for both landlords, property investors and services throughout the buy to let industry. Organised by the National Landlord Investment Show, the awards demonstrate the best of professionalism and results within the industry.

We’re incredibly proud of being shortlisted for the honour, with the nomination being a reflection of the exhaustive work and commitment our specialists have shown to clients within the industry. Our primary business focus is aimed at a customer-centric approach and we work closely with our clients to deliver applications that have a personal touch from start to finish.

Expert Buy To Let Brokers

We’ve been shortlisted in the Buy To Let Broker category, which reflects our buy to let mortgage service offering. Our expert solutions guarantee peace of mind for individuals and businesses looking to invest in property and make good long-term returns. As a priority element of our Buy To Let Mortgage Brokers Service, we are committed to finding the most suitable products to suit clients needs from the thousands available. Each solution is bespoke to the individual, and we pride ourselves on giving clear and transparent advice that will help our clients to make informed decisions and secure the best deal available.

Our mortgage advisors are happy to talk you through the benefits of investing in a Buy To Let mortgage and give honest advice as to whether the solution is one that will suit you. We offer efficient consultancy that will help you decide on the best deal for you, from a range of options including Consumer Buy To Let, HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation), Buy To Let Limited Company and Single Freehold Multi-Unit.

Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed

We’d like to take the opportunity to give a huge thanks to our clients who, without them, we couldn’t have achieved our nomination! Our shortlist is based on the successes we’ve had working in partnership with each and every customer, and the dedication our specialists have shown to finding mortgage solutions for even the most complex cases. Find out more about what our clients say about our services by visiting our review page.

Follow Our Progress

The ceremony takes place this Thursday , November 15, at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London, where our team will be in attendance. The event is a chance to celebrate the achievements of the past year – and we look forward to doing so in style!

The awards night is expected to be a bustling event, bringing together over 400 key players within the residential market. Every aspect of our industry is recognised on the night including landlords/investors, developers, professional services including finance, legal, tax, developers, letting agents, online agents, auction houses, local authorities, landlord insurance, proptech, innovation, landlord associations and more!

You can follow the team’s progress throughout the night by visiting our Facebook, Hawkefs, or the National LIS Awards social media, @landlordinshow.

BTL Mortgages for Expats and Foreign Nationals

Although Expats and Foreign Nationals are different types of clients, the way in which lenders assess the risk is fairly similar. Out of the two, there are more mortgage options for Expats. Recently more lenders have entered the lending for these types of clients and we at Hawke have seen an increase in applications other the last 6 months, despite the Brexit saga.

In board terms the below requirements are needed:


Be able to be found on a UK credit search – either a previous mortgage, bank account, active credit linked to UK address

Many lenders like clients to own at least 1 UK property

Mortgage payment to be by Direct Debit, in Sterling from a UK bank

Countries on sanction lists not acceptable and each country reviewed case by case. The regular countries where we see applications from and acceptable are Hong Kong, Singapore and U.A.E.

Employment in a multi-national company is best place to be however even self employed expats can be considered. Some lenders have a minimum income.

Property type, the simpler the better i.e. if Expat and HMO/ Multi Unit then it adds layer of complexity. We can solve this but especially if 1st BTL then simple is best.

Limited Company lending for Expats – needs to be a UK company as an SPV with the above underwriting based on the Director.

Foreign Nationals

Currently only a handful of lenders will consider pure Foreign National applications

Minimum requirement is a UK bank account

Many have a minimum loan size of £150k or above

Other points which help applications

Active credit in the UK

Income from employed company which can be found online by lenders

Similar to Expat criteria above the country of residence will be considered case by case

Usual property BTL reviewed i.e. property type, rental stress tests etc

Contact Us Today

Any questions on the above or your circumstances as a potential client of Hawke Financial Services please call the team on 0208 660 8613 or email Gary McKenna on gary@hawkefs.com or John Green on john@hawkefs.com