Get to know our mortgage expert: Kala from Habito
We've teamed up with Kala Sreedharan from online mortgage broker Habito to bring you all of her insider insight and expert tips on all things mortgages
Whether it's your first or your 5th mortgage there are so many things to think about and big decisions to be made that understanding how to get a good deal can be tricky.
So to cut through the jargon and bring you the best insider tips on getting a mortgage, we've decided to team up with an expert.
Meet Kala VP of Operations at online mortgage broker Habito. She started off as a Trainee Mortgage Adviser and now heads up Habito's team of expert mortgage advisors and case managers. So not only does she know all about the ins and outs of mortgages, but she knows exactly what your biggest problems are and how to help you overcome them.
Hi Kala, thanks for chatting with us. Getting a mortgage is one of the most important financial steps in many of our user's lives, yet it can be one of the most confusing. Why do you think this is?
Traditionally, the whole process of getting a mortgage can be pretty painful. It often feels like you're just jumping through hoop after hoop with no one really stopping to explain exactly why you need to be doing these things.
There's also so much jargon surrounding mortgages: you've got your LTV, your APR, your AIP, and that's just the acronyms. In reality, while some of these are complicated, actually lots of them aren't. But the sheer amount of technical terms floating around can be really off-putting and overwhelming.
It can often be tempting to just let your broker or lender sort everything out without really trying to understand it yourself, but why is it so important to try to get to grips with the ins and outs of mortgages?
Getting advice from the pros is typically always going to be the best option, but ultimately you're the one that has to pay the thing! This means it's really important to try to get to grips with how mortgages work yourself. That way you'll know exactly what you're agreeing to and won't have to deal with any surprises down the line.
It will also help you get into the lender's head and better understand what they are looking for when it comes to your mortgage application. This means you can take the necessary steps to make sure you're in the best place to get a good deal. This includes understanding the importance of your credit score, how the size of your deposit affects your mortgage and how the interest rates work.
If you could only pick one thing, what do you wish everyone knew about getting a mortgage?
That getting a mortgage doesn't have to be a string of rejections and disappointments.
There are nearly 100 lenders and 20,000 different mortgage products available in the UK. Whether you are on a steady salary, self-employed, on a zero-hour contract, a recent arrival in the country or a combination of all these, buying a 16th-century cottage in Wales or a new build flat in Manchester, chances are that there is a product out there that is right for you.
In most cases, you would almost certainly be better off using a mortgage broker to go through the options with you. They have access to information you don’t; lender credit, property criteria, income and affordability criteria. A good broker should help match you to the right deal. And it doesn't have to cost you a penny, there are plenty of fee-free mortgage brokers out there.
Your team of mortgage experts are chatting with people every day - what are the most common questions you're getting asked and how do you answer them?
We get a huge range of people chatting to us. Our customers come from all over the country and cover a variety of buyer-types, from first-time buyers to home movers, remortgages, and buy-to-let landlords. In fact, our first mortgage customer was a 60-year old from Hull, not someone you would expect to be an early adopter of our services. So we've got a really good sense of what's tripping people up the most when it comes to their mortgages. From our conversations with customers, a common theme that emerges is that (especially with first-time-buyers) there is a certain fear around the whole process.
But across the board the most common question is without a doubt "how much can I/we borrow?" or "what's my budget for buying a house?" I think this is always going to be a key question on people's minds as it can essentially determine where you live and what house you buy. It's great that people are asking these big questions early on.
Then because we operate completely online we do get lots of questions about that too. We've found that customers really appreciate the flexibility that the online route offers over more traditional broker options. We learn a lot from the people we talk to and it's made us realise how much we want to keep pushing to make the industry work a bit better for everyone.
Hannah is currently studying for a Master's in Comparative Cultural Analysis. She knows all about personal finance, but as a student, she's an expert in money saving tips and tricks.