Over half of Buy-to-Let landlords want to keep or add to their investments

With the buy-to-let market showing signs of slowing down in the UK, new research by Octopus Choice has revealed that Britain’s landlords are in two minds about whether to continue investing into property or to sell up for a lump sum.

We Brits still have our continuous love affair with bricks and mortar and the data shows that 56% of buy-to-let investors want to keep or purchase more properties and continue investing. The remaining 44% intend on selling up and leaving the market.

Despite these stats, a substantial 22% of landlords are likely to sell their property within the next 12 months according to new research by The Mortgage Works – this is a 3% rise on the first quarter. And the rate of buy-to-let landlords planning to buy another property in the next 12 months has remained flat at 15%.

These figures suggest no one is entirely sure what the future may hold for buy-to-let as uncertainty continues to prevail, and landlords re-assess their investment options following a raft of recent changes.

If you are a buy-to-let landlord and want to discuss all of the options available to you, whatever your plans may be, contact one of our advisers today.

Getting the maximum from your income protection

Insurers pay out a whopping £13.9 million per day in income protection, critical illness cover and life assurance according to figures released by the Association of British Insurers and Group Risk Development.

But are you getting the income protection cover that’s most suited to your needs? Your income changes throughout your life and your source of income changes too – whether that’s through bonuses, commission, overtime or any other form of income.

The maximum benefit payable to you will depend primarily on your income, but not all types of income will be used by providers in their calculations. Understanding the maximum benefit providers will pay is important and that is not as straightforward as you might assume.

Some providers don’t base their maximum benefit on a fixed percentage of earnings. Instead they have a stepped system. For example, some lenders may cover up to 60% of the first £20,000 of earnings, 50% of the next £20,000 and 40% of the rest. This means that different providers will offer better levels of cover depending on the client’s amount of earnings.

With different providers considering different forms of income as well as the tiered system that some of them use it is important to find the best income protection for your needs. But as well as this, certain providers offer protection with other elements that can add value to make your cover more important – and this is where an adviser can help.

Payment Protection Insurance is optional. There are other providers of Payment Protection Insurance and other products designed to protect you against loss of income.

If you want to talk to your adviser to discuss your options and find out which provider will be more beneficial for you, please get in touch today!

Older homeowners are entering retirement but still struggling with debt

Entering retirement should come with a feeling of relief. No more work, you’re entering a relaxed, stress free period of your life, right? For many of us, that’s not quite the case.

Entering retirement in debt is never ideal. Nobody wants to still be paying off mortgages, loans and credit cards in their retirement days. We all wish to have a relaxed retirement, without the worries of financial debt.

However, for many of us, this won’t be possible. It will take more than three and a half years for the average retiree to be debt free, according to research by Prudential. This is going to cost on average £285 a month.

For many this is a substantial amount, especially as some pensions continue to drastically underperform and retiree’s savings are dwindling. But, there are options for older homeowners struggling with debt.

Many lenders are now offering different avenues for retirees and older homeowners ranging from increased maximum ages on mortgages to equity release.

If you’re entering retirement in debt or simply want to discuss your options for older homeowners, contact one of our advisers today!

Do your loved ones need a helping hand onto the property ladder?

Compared with a decade ago, today’s first time buyers are older, more likely to buy with a partner and more likely to have dependent children. This highlights how it is becoming increasingly hard for younger borrowers to get on the property ladder. But, lenders are always introducing new propositions to ensure there are solutions in place to help prospective homeowners buy their first property. It could be you that helps them!

Past and present
The 1980s, perhaps best known for its music and the invention of Super Mario. But it was also a time when the average house price was £22,676 and the average deposit was £3000. Fast forward to 2018 and we see a completely different picture, the average house price is £224,353 and the average deposit costing you £34,000. This shows a whopping growth of around 890% in house prices! However, wage growth hasn’t seen the same hike and so it comes as no surprise borrowers are continuously finding it harder.

For many, the Bank of Mum and Dad seems like the only option. According to the Social Mobility Commission, over 30% of UK households with dependent children hold assets that could be used towards a deposit for the purchase of a home. This could lead to an increase in the number of first time buyers turning to help from their family. The Social Mobility Commission’s research suggests this could rise to nearly 40% by 2039/40. Do you hold assets that could provide the gift of a life time for your loved ones?

How can I help my loved one get on the property ladder?
Improving affordability
Joint borrower, sole proprietor mortgages are one solution that may help. They’re aimed at bridging the gap between salaries and house prices and geared towards helping close family members get onto the property ladder or move home.

Lend a helping hand to your children’s plans of purchasing their first home! Joint borrower, sole proprietor mortgages allow you to support your family by adding your name to the mortgage, essentially increasing income and increasing the maximum loan available to them. Your name will only be on the mortgage and not the deeds so you will therefore be exempt from the 3% stamp duty surcharge for second properties.

Raising a deposit
Affordability is not the only challenge to first time buyers and joint borrower, sole proprietor mortgages may not be the best solution for everyone, so there are other options you may want to consider. If your loved ones cannot raise a deposit, you can still help. You can use your property or savings as security for their mortgage, as opposed to gifting them a deposit. Many lenders are offering these types of products.

So if you want to talk about how you can take your first steps onto the property ladder, or to discuss your options, call one of our advisers today.

Warren & Co appears in The Parliamentary Review

An important event in the diaries of both politicians and business leaders, the September release of The Parliamentary Review sees the documents highlight the best practice of organisations across the private and public sectors. The document shares some of the most exciting and forward-thinking work that has occurred in the country over the last year, and is edited by former minister The Rt Hon David Curry.

Based in Gloucester, Warren & Co is a firm providing free mortgage advice and complete financial solutions with guidance in the domains of investment, protection, pensions, and – most commonly – the mortgage market. Julie Kennedy, their director, describes in The Review fuller details of the business and their workings, as well as the challenges the sector faces as a whole.

The financial services sector has seen its fair share of uncertainty over the past couple of years, but it nonetheless remains stalwart and robust. In this year’s edition of The Parliamentary Review, notable firms from within the industry discuss GDPR, new financial legislation and the move towards leaving the European Union.

The long-time editor of The Review David Curry has expressed his excitement that the upcoming edition is due to be one of the most interesting and insightful yet. “I can say with confidence that there is no other forum in Britain that can successfully combine the thoughts and ideas of such a group of extraordinary organisations and deliver them to the people that need to hear them, whether that be in Westminster or out in the country.”

Writing in The Review, the prime minister says that “British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review.”

Warren & Co’s article can be viewed here:

Be-your-own-boss Britain

There are over four and a half million self-employed workers across the UK accounting for 15.6% of the UK workforce, according to the latest Office of National Statistics figures. The self-employed sector has seen a huge growth in the last decade with the UK well and truly catching the be-your-own-boss-bug.

People of all ages are starting their own businesses in the hope of achieving greater independence, flexibility and a more positive work-life balance. This however, comes with greater responsibility and it may be the first time people have had to consider their protection needs.

Is anyone safe?
No age group seems to be immune from the be-your-own-boss bug! The number of over 65s turning to self employment nearly tripled between 2001 and 2016, rising to 469,000. And the youngest group – 16 – 24 year olds – also saw a self-employed surge, with more than 80,000 becoming their own bosses during the same period.

These figures suggest that the oldest working generation are keen to branch out on their own, relying on the skills and expertise they’ve gained from their employment, while the youngest are eager and confident enough to launch their own businesses.

For the would-be entrepreneurs living in be-your-own-boss Britain, launching their own business may be the first time they’ve had to consider their protection needs. The support of an adviser at this time is crucial.

Help! I’m confused!
There are many protection needs that must be met when starting your own business and it may seem quite daunting. There’s income protection, business protection, and key person insurance just to name a few. For businesses though, it is essential that workers and the workplace are adequately insured.

Self-employed workers have historically faced challenges when sourcing mortgages and protection products due to a number of factors like the irregularities of their income streams, payment amounts and work patterns.

However, with such a large number of the UK now being their own bosses, it is vital that all borrowers are made aware of the importance of protection, as well as the various benefits and options available in the market.

So whether you’ve been caught by the be-your-own-boss-bug, or just want to talk about your protection needs, contact your adviser today.

Brits spend over £40bn making their house a home

Over the last five years homeowners have spent a hefty total of £41bn doing up their homes – an average of £1,875 each, according to NAEA Propertymark. There is a growing trend for home owners to improve their current homes instead of climbing up the property ladder.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of all homeowners have done work to their homes in the last five years. The most popular improvements were redecorating (73%), over half landscaped the garden (54%), over one third added new flooring (39%) and nearly one in three refreshed the bathroom (31%).

This doer-upper era has come from growing house prices making it increasingly difficult to move up the ladder – one in 10 homeowners making improvements do so because the price of moving is too expensive. Homeowners, instead, are looking to add value to what is already theirs.

With a conservatory typically costing £4,310 and extending into the loft or basement costing around £3,244, home improvements can be a lower cost alternative to moving house. The majority of those who have made improvements did so to improve the look of their home while a quarter did so as an investment to add value.

Should I remortgage my property to make home improvements?
Remortgaging could be a good option for you if you wish to capital raise to make your home improvements. Renovating, extending or converting your home can add value for when you decide to sell up and move on. According to Barclays an average of £14,000 return on investment can be made by building a 30 square metre extension in the UK. If you were to do this in London, this would be a staggering average return investment of £156,000.

So, if you have some equity in your home and are considering making changes to your property, then remortgaging to raise capital could be an option for you. But, it is important to seek advice from your adviser before making a decision so you can assess if this decision is right for you.

So, what to do next? If you have made major home improvements, it is likely that the value of your home will have increased. This means it is a great time to remortgage to get a better mortgage deal that could reduce your monthly mortgage payments.

Is climbing the ladder really too expensive?
Despite the upwards trend of homeowners making improvements instead of trying to move up the property ladder there are many options available to help you keep on climbing.

So whether you’re ready to take the next step, or just want to find out more about what options are open to you, contact your adviser today to arrange a meeting.

A beginner’s guide to home insurance


It’s natural to want to insure your property. After all, it’s more than just bricks and mortar; it’s also your home.

When you buy a house, buildings cover is typically one of the conditions of the mortgage. But a surprising amount of people don’t take out contents insurance at the same time, leaving a big hole in their future financial security.

The key differences between buildings and contents
The main thing a buildings policy covers is the physical property itself, as well as all the permanent fixtures such as fitted kitchens. You can also include cover for outbuildings such as greenhouses, garages and sheds. Typically a buildings policy will cover damage caused by flood, fire, subsidence, theft, storms or malicious damage.

Contents insurance is the sister product and is often taken up alongside buildings cover. This protects against damage and loss of valuable possessions. Roughly speaking, these are the items you would take with you if you moved, such as furniture, goods, equipment, electrical items, and personal expensive items.

It’s easy to underestimate the value of your contents
Your house may be the most expensive purchase you ever make, which makes it easy to assume that it is the only thing worth protecting. But it is common to underestimate how much you have accumulated in your home. Without contents insurance, you might find out exactly how much when it is already too late.

Some people categorised by providers as high net worth, might not necessarily label themselves as such. But when we sit down and work through exactly what you have to protect, we find people are often surprised. Whether you have fine art, large luxury goods, or small but equally expensive items such as jewellery, we will be able to find a policy that works for you.

Working with landlords
There are plenty of options for landlords when it comes to home insurance. Whether you are just looking for buildings cover or wish to ensure the contents of your property are protected as well, we will be able to help you find the right cover. As well as accidental damage cover and legal expenses, landlords also have the option of rent protection and emergency cover.

Staying flexible
No matter your circumstances, our providers have a range of building and contents products that can be tailored to work for you. You can choose to add options such as alternative accommodation, accidental damage, personal possessions cover, home emergency cover, or legal expenses cover.

We can work with you on choosing the right extras and features that fit not just your circumstances, but your budget as well. We will help ensure you only pay for the cover you need!


How can you improve your EPC rating?

With new standards on rental properties now in effect, landlords are working hard to ensure theirs are meeting the regulations on self contained flats and houses.

Those that do not could face fines of up to £5,000, unless their property meets the new minimum requirements on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs).

What exactly are EPCs?
Energy Performance Certificates, better known as EPCs, let you know how energy efficient a property is. These are colour coded and resemble the sticker you often see attached to appliances such as fridges and freezers. These range from the most efficient “A” rating to the least efficient “G” rating.

EPCs will help a prospective tenant assess the financial running costs of renting a property, including estimates of energy use, fuel costs and CO2 emissions. As of last month, all rental properties must have an EPC rating of “E” or above.

How can landlords make improvements?
If a property is not up to standard, an Energy Assessor will make recommendations to improve the home’s efficiency. EPC ratings only consider permanent fixtures, so although draught excluders will help keep heat in, it won’t count towards your EPC.

Insulation – A really big contributor to a good EPC rating. If your property was built after 1920, it will likely have cavity walls, which means that as well as loft insulation, you may be able to install insulation inside the walls.

Windows – If your property does not have double glazing, this could have a major impact on its EPC rating. Installing double glazing can drastically cut energy bills, by preventing heat lost through windows.

Boilers – Installing a new, energy efficient boiler in the property can greatly affect the EPC rating of a property. This is especially the case if the boiler is over a decade old.

Energy – You may be considering moving to newer, renewable sources of energy for your property. The most common form is solar panels, which can allow the property to store energy, contributing to an improved EPC rating.

Thermal cameras – Some landlords have been using thermal cameras, to see where and how heat is escaping. With new technology available, it is now possible to purchase an attachment for your smart phone to have an instant thermal camera at your fingertips.

Future proofing your property
Landlords who make improvements to their property’s EPC rating could do more than meet the new standards. Having a property with a strong EPC rating will also help it stand out from the crowd, as tenants look to rent an energy efficient home to save costs.

If you are considering making changes to improve your EPC rating, it is always worth seeking professional advice. We work closely with lenders, so we can talk through your plans to make sure the changes do not affect your mortgage in any way.

Review for Tori

“I wanted to drop you a line to provide some feedback for Tori, who’s been helping me throughout my search for my first mortgage!

Tori has been so helpful and accommodating, I have been speaking with her most days throughout the process and her communication has been fantastic. There has been quite of lot of toing and froing during the process due to a number of requests on my side and Tori has consistently responsive and continues to proactively resolve any problems and put my mind at ease.

I look forward to completing the application process with her and she’s made my first mortgage application much more stress free than it could’ve been.”

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