Stamp Duty suspended for First Time Buyers

Stamp Duty suspended for First Time Buyers

We have just heard in the Budget that Stamp Duty has been suspended for all First Time Buyers up to a purchase price of £300,000 with immediate effect. For those buying above this figure but below £500,000, there will be no Stamp Duty payable on the first £300,000.

This a great news for First Time Buyers offering a saving of up to £5,000.

The HMRC have guidance notes regarding this Stamp Duty relief for First Time Buyers, which can be found here.

Any need to panic?

For most people, the 2007 recession was the beginning of a bumpy road of financial uncertainty.  To help the economy, the Bank of England reduced and kept interest rates at a stable level for 10 years.

On the 2nd November 2017 the Bank of England increased the bank base rate to 0.50%, the first increase in rates since July 2007.  After a decade of low rate economic stimulus, what does the increase mean?  Is there a reason for concern?

Let’s put this into context. In March 2009 the base rate dropped to a historic low of 0.50%, where it remained until August 2016. In the wake of the Brexit vote, the Governor and his team decided the economy needed a bit of a jolt and dropped the rate to 0.25%. Therefore, the current base rate is exactly the same as it has been for the majority of the last 10 years.

Assuming you have some form of tracker or variable rate, you may see your monthly mortgage payment increase by around £12, based on a mortgage of £100,000 over 25 years.

Is there a need to panic? A cool head always prevails. Over the past couple of months lenders have factored in the expected rate rise and we have seen the longer term fixed rates rise—even if that rise is only slight. Conversely, we have seen some lenders actually reduce their fixed rates recently, some by as much as 0.70%.

What should I do?

First and foremost, do not react hastily. If you are thinking of remortgaging, don’t assume that you have missed the boat. We have seen some increases in rates but those are generally quite small and interest rates still remain very low.  If you need to look at your mortgage options, now is the time to explore your options. Make the most of your opportunities in a season of uncertainty.

Feel free to pass this on to friends and family. If you need us to help please contact us on 01245 860866


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Welcome to our new website

We’ve been through a lot together. Thank you for staying with us. Imagine the hours we have spent working together to make your vision a reality. If we may have just two more minutes of your time, you will not regret the investment.

When we close out the year in December, we will look back and recognise that 2017 was a defining year for Easy Switch Mortgages. We celebrated our ten-year anniversary! Imagine that. We started in the recession and grew despite the obstacles.  Most recently we made changes to our senior level of Easyswitch Mortgages with Peter & Ian leading our vision and direction.

We needed the changes to ready ourselves for the times ahead. Following on from the recent rise in interest rates, further increases are a distinct possibility in the not too distant future. With the clock ticking, details of Brexit continue in their back-and-forth negotiations. Whilst maturing remortgages have grown to the value of £133.1bn in the second half of 2017, with an incredible £243bn due to mature during 2018*. So many variables and change pave a rocky path for property owners to navigate.

Given the world of uncertainty we face, our team plans to improve our client engagement with the purpose of inspiring confidence. We created a new website designed for that very purpose. Over time, and with your feedback, our website will provide solutions to the challenges we face—and the opportunities that come with them.

As a valued client, we want to add value to your experience while also easing your mortgage concerns. One way we can do that is to provide information about the mortgage industry and the factors influencing its success.  Our website is your website. If we don’t meet your need, it is no better than a business card you file away and forget. We’d value your feedback. Will you help us out?

  1. Have a look out our new website
  2. Subscribe to our newsletter. Beside a face-to-face or phone call, this will be the best way to stay informed.
  3. Send us some feedback. Let us know what you would like to know more about.

We make the following three promises to you:

  1. We won’t inundate you with loads of pointless posts.
  2. We will listen to you to make sure our content is relevant.
  3. We will work to ensure you have the information you need to make decisions about your mortgage.

In these days of Robo-Advisors, machine learning and market disrupters, we feel there is a still an important place for quality, personal mortgage and human-centred financial advice. As existing clients, you already know this from your experience. We promise to never lose sight of what makes us different.

Easyswitch Mortgages

  • Information provided by Mortgage Solutions magazine 5th September 2017

How do I download my Bank Statements?


We must get asked this question at least a dozen times every week, so you are not alone! You will see below a fairly comprehensive list of Banks and Building Societies, with a brief explanation of what you need to do.

However, please be aware that banks are upgrading their IT systems all the time, so this is subject to change. If you see any errors please, please let us know so that we can update this post and help others.

Top tip!  Some bank accounts don’t give you the option to Save or Download the statement as a PDF. In this situation please try this:

  • If you use Chrome as your browser, once you have your statement on screen, press the Print button and then select “save to PDF”
  • If using Internet Explorer, press the Print Button and then select Microsoft Print to PDF

In both of these scenarios, you can then save the statement to your PC.


If you opened an account online, you can log into your account to view and print a statement at any time. Statements will be sent to you via secure message as PDF files that you can download, save or print.


Log into your bank online where you will then be taken to your homepage displaying your account(s)
Click ‘show my latest transactions’
Once you have clicked this a small window appears showing a few recent transactions, at the bottom of the small window you will be able to see blue words that say ‘view all my transactions’, click this.
You will then be taken to a larger table displaying a larger number of your transactions
On the subheading bar above the list of your transactions, you will be able to see ‘download all pdf’ which is on the right-hand side, select that


Log in to Internet Banking
You can view the last six months or four hundred transactions, whichever is the lesser, for your current and savings accounts within Internet Banking.
You are also able to print a copy of your transactions by selecting the print option in the top right-hand menu.


Log in to your online banking.
Select Statements from the left menu and the required account.
Select a statement number, followed by ‘Print’ at the top.
Now, right-click your statement and choose to save as a PDF.


When viewing statements on your online account, selecting the ‘Print’
option will produce a PDF for you to download


Log in to online banking
View your statements, and select Print at the bottom of the screen.
Enter your dates required (three or six months), and select Print again to open a preview.
You can either change the destination or select PDF software and use ‘Print’ or ‘Save’ as required.


Select the account you need and click Print at the bottom of the screen. When the preview opens,
select Print again.
You will now have the option to Save to PDF.


Log in, then select your account.
Click ‘Previous Statements’ from the left panel, and select a month.
Select Print from the bottom, then Save as PDF


Login to online banking
To view your statements, select ‘View statement’ on the account you want to view from your account homepage.
You can choose to export your statement, print it, or order a paper copy using the options at the bottom of the statement page.


Log in to your online banking and select an account to view.
Download a copy of your latest statement from the top panel, or set dates in the ‘Search Transaction’ and select ‘Print Transactions’ below.


Log in and select your account.
Select ‘Statement’ on the left of the screen, and ‘Archive’.
Your statements will be now be listed and available to view, save and print in PDF.


Log in to online banking
Statements section on left-hand side
Click View, save and print PDF statements and certificates of interest (up to seven years)
Select an account from the list to see available statements.
Select a statement from the list to view
Click view statement at bottom right
Download Statement (PDF)


Log in to Digital Banking
Once you’re logged in, select ‘statements’ from the options on the left of the screen.
Click on ‘view statement PDFs and certificates of interest’
Choose an account from the list
Choose a time period to view
Your full statement from that period will be displayed.
To download it as a PDF, simply click on the ‘Download statement (PDF)’ link at the top left
When prompted, select ‘open’


Log in to online banking to see your Account Summary
Next to each account, there’s an ‘options’ drop-down menu – use this to access all your account management tools and view your statements.


Login to online banking
Click on your account
Click the Statements & Documents link from the left-hand menu.
The Statements & Documents page will display.
Click Go next to the statement you wish to print, your statement will open in a separate window.


Log in to online banking and select the account you wish to view.
Select ‘View your Statements’ from the right panel.
Set the dates you require and access the PDFs from the main window.
Mobile: access PDFs by pulling down on the transaction screen.


Log in, then select your account.
Select Print at the bottom of the screen to open a new window.
Select Print again, and Save as PDF.

What is a Decision in Principle?


A Decision In Principle is an initial agreement from a mortgage provider, giving us a fair accurate idea of the amount they will lend you based upon your income and an assessment of what is ‘affordable’. Our job as your Mortgage Broker is to match you to the right lender or lenders and make that approach on your behalf. For most lenders your don’t need to have found a property at this point although an idea as to whether the property will be Freehold or Leasehold is useful to use as this can affect the lender we may choose for you.

Please be aware that a credit check is made at this time. In most cases this means that a ‘footprint’ will be left on your credit file, which other lenders may be able to see if they carry out checks themselves. This shouldn’t concern you unless you have a lot of credit checks done over a short period of time. We can discuss this with you to make sure you are aware of the facts and answer any concerns you have.

Once we have a positive decision, most lenders provide a letter or certificate which will show that a mortgage has been approved, ready for you to show to an Estate Agent that you can afford to buy a property.

Best Buy Tables


Isn’t it frustrating when you see something that you really want, only to be told you can’t have it?

This is why we don’t offer ‘best buy’ tables or any form of interest rate comparison. Why? Quite simply mortgages are no longer a ‘one size fits all’ product. Lenders criteria and affordability calculations vary widely and we feel that publishing any form of best buy table just lures potential clients under false pretences . The idea of dangling the best mortgage rates in front of you and then snatching them away does not appeal to us, so we don’t and won’t do it.

If you would like to find out which mortgage products are right for your situation, requirements and profile, why not get in touch and speak to us.

Of course if you’d prefer to deal with a robot,………….

How much can I borrow?


That’s not an easy one to answer as all mortgage lenders have different attitudes to risk apply their own affordability calculations. There are many mortgage calculators that can give you an idea, but they are normally not much more than a basic multiple of your annual income, but it really isn’t that simple. Lenders will take into account all of the following when calculating their maximum figure:

  • Your occupation
  • Basic salary
  • Overtime, bonus, commission and whether paid annually, quarterly or monthly
  • Dividend income for limited company directors
  • Credit commitments such as credit cards and loans
  • Student loans
  • If a leasehold property the ground rent and service charges
  • Any ongoing maintenance payments
  • Other mortgage payments
  • The number of years you need to take the mortgage over
  • Whether a tracker rate or longer term fixed rate (yes, some lenders will offer more if you will be applying for a 5 year fixed rate or longer)
  • The amount of deposit you have
  • Do you have a good financial track record?
  • Do you have a poor financial track record?

Believe it or not this is not the entire list. But hopefully it gives you a good idea that there can be quite a lot of variance.

The good news of course, is that this is one of the many reasons to use a mortgage broker such as ourselves. We will find out about you and your plans, do all the hard work for you and then report back with options!


How do I apply for a mortgage?


Well you start with a pen, a piece of paper and a nice cup of of coffee. And then relax as we will be doing most of the work for you!

The initial step is to think about:

  • What kind of home do I want?
  • How much is it likely to cost?
  • What is my monthly budget?

The next step is to talk to us at Easyswitch Mortgages so that we can establish if you are in the right ball park. Although we do try, we can’t work miracles but we do promise to be honest with you. If we think you are stretching yourself too far, we will tell you!

But lets assume all is good here. The next to stage will be to obtain a Decision In Principle for you. Once we have organised this, you should have a nice shiny Mortgage Certificate to waive at the Estate Agent confirming that you have the means to buy to the property.

The ball is very much now in your court. You need to arrange as many viewings as possible to make sure you find your dream home. Be careful not to let your heart completely rule you head (although of course this is part of the fun in buying a home) and if we think you are making a really bad decision we will tell you. Once you have decided on the home for you, you need to agree the price through the Estate Agent.

Now the serious stuff begins and this is where magic happens. Nobody (in their right mind) wants to borrow a large sum of money but unless you have cash to buy it outright, you’ll have no choice. So our job is to do all we can to make the the dream come true. And the dream is to buy your home.

The next stage is to make the full application and instruct your solicitor. Again, we will be dealing with the mortgage application for you so we will need to set some time aside to get the relevant information from. You will also need to get all your paperwork together so that we are completely up to date and prepared. At this point you may need to pay a mortgage valuation fee, but of course we will go through all the fees and terms of the mortgage with you so that there are no nasty surprises.

Once the lender has completed all their checks and the mortgage valuation has been received they will issue the mortgage offer, which will be sent you, ourselves and your solicitor. Thereafter you are very much in the hands of your solicitor who will be carrying all the necessary checks to make sure the property is suitable for you.



What documents will I need


This will vary depending on the type of mortgage you require. For example, the documents we will require for a Buy to Let mortgage can be different from those needed for a residential mortgage. But in general you should look to get the following ready:

We need to prove your income and this will depend on whether you are employed or self-employed

Last 3 months payslips and latest P60. More evidence may be required if relying on bonuses and/or overtime and commission

Generally the last 2 years SA302’s and Tax Year Overviews. Sometimes an accountants reference may suffice

PROOF OF IDENTITY – normally a valid driving licence or passport

PROOF OF ADDRESS – We understand that you may not have Utility Bills if you live at home with parents, but we do need to have evidence of your current address, which could be an original bank statement or your driving licence card. Just make sure your current address is the same on all the bank accounts, credit cards, etc

PROOF OF DEPOSIT – This might be an up to date bank or building society statement. Some lenders also need to see how this has been built up over time. Gifted deposits are also quite common and we will be able to advise you further here as it vary’s

CREDIT REPORT – As part of the mortgage process lenders will carry out a credit check, which will look at whether you have kept up payments on existing commitments, and whether you appear on the Electoral Register. It is vitally important that your personal credit file is accurate and up to date, so we strongly recommend that you set up an account and carefully check your report. We recommend that you use, as this pulls information from all four credit agencies and provides an easy to read report:

From a lenders perspective, a good credit report carries an awful lot of weight in the decisioning process. Conversely, a poor report can have a significant negative impact on your application, so it’s vital that your report is accurate and up to date.