One of the results of the challenges of the last couple of years has been that many people are reassessing what they want from both their jobs and their homes.
It may be that the pandemic has lit a fire under them, pushing them to pursue a new career in a new town, city or even country. Others may be looking for a change of a different kind, looking for a new job that allows them to embrace a more sustainable work-life balance. A key aspect of making that change could well mean moving to a new property, which offers a more convenient commute, the extra space they crave or even downsizing.
However, moving somewhere new, whether for your job or simply because you need more from a property, doesn’t automatically mean that you want to give up your existing property.
There are all sorts of different reasons why retaining ownership of that current home and letting it out, rather than simply looking to sell up, will appeal to those making a change in their lives. Yet all too often these homeowners can find it unexpectedly difficult to do so, in large part down to the attitude of lenders.
One of the biggest frustrations that we often hear from our intermediary partners is that lenders can be a little too prescriptive, a little too regimented when it comes to assessing a case. Sadly it’s far too common that this ‘computer says no’ approach only leads to disappointment for brokers and borrowers alike as a perfectly good case is declined for what appears to be little reason other than to manage the lenders’ processes.
At Mansfield we pride ourselves on working differently, and on focusing on a personal, common sense approach. We really don’t mind getting under the bonnet of a case, so that we truly understand the position of the client and what they are looking to achieve.
Lenders who work in this way end up in a far more informed position about the case than simply focusing on the headline details, and are therefore better equipped to say yes.
What does the client need?
This is particularly important when it comes to let to buy, when so often clients are required to show proof of an onward purchase. However that simply isn’t always appropriate.
We had a case recently of a borrower who had been promoted, and wanted to move closer to their new workplace. Understandably however, the borrower was in no rush to buy as they were not familiar with the new area, and equally didn’t want to simply sell up their existing home and leave the housing ladder entirely.
We were able to help the client move to a consumer buy-to-let deal on their existing property, since we cater for these deals without an onward purchase. Other lenders, who perhaps take a more prescriptive approach to this area, may not have been able to do so.
Ultimately this just comes down to taking the time to really understand this market, and the individuals it can serve. By digging into their stories, lenders can get a better idea of the case and what the client really needs. A case may appear to be complex on the surface, but that personal approach can help you find a straightforward solution.
This approach has led to us expanding into expat consumer buy-to-let, for example, recognising that there are plenty of British workers who have opted to move and work overseas, but who want to retain their main residence back in the UK.
Muddying the waters
It’s also worth recognising the fact that lenders need to do a better job in even highlighting the possibilities of Consumer Buy-to-let. There’s little argument that brokers were traditionally more comfortable with let to buy as a concept, yet the introduction of dedicated consumer buy-to-let – with the regulation that has come with it – has somewhat muddied the waters and left some advisers uneasy about handling these deals.
That is more than regrettable, as it means that swathes of borrowers who could benefit from these products are instead taking a different path. Lenders who want to operate in this market need to take note of that adviser unease, and do a better job of providing brokers with the assistance they need in order to make recommending consumer buy-to-let as straightforward as other types of mortgage.
Delivering a better service
The best brokers employ a personal approach with their clients. Asking questions about a client’s situation, from their income to their attitude to risk, is not simply about finding the right mortgage product in the quickest possible time, it’s about understanding that client and where they want to go.
It means that the broker can deliver a better service and experience, and increases the chances of the client coming back for all of their future advice needs.
It’s important for lenders to do the same where possible, and endeavour to develop a greater understanding of individual clients and their circumstances, rather than simply adopting a tickbox approach.
Tom Denman-Molloy is intermediary sales manager at Mansfield Building Society