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Friday, 4 January 2013

Getting a mortgage - part 1

You don't know how out of touch you are until it is thrust in your face.  We knew lots of friends who had trouble getting mortgages, because of one of the myriad new rules that have been erected since the financial crash.  We knew it was more difficult than it had been when we last bought a house (this one, pictured right), but we thought that because Kenny had a permanent contract, and we'd always been good previously, and because the day had a 'y' in it, we'd be OK.

Kenny had gone online and checked what mortgage we'd be able to get with his salary before we had started looking for a house, so we felt sure we weren't being silly, and everything would be fine.  So when we put the reservation deposit on the house we're hoping to buy, and agreed to get straight on with arranging a mortgage, we thought that it would take a few days at most.  Surely?

Like I say, you don't know how out of touch you are until it is thrust in your face.  

We thought about going to a financial advisor, but didn't want to take more time over it than was necessary.  Last time we bought a house (it was in Suffolk - can you tell?  It was actually sunny there), our financial advisor recommended a mortgage with Nationwide, and they had been fine, so we thought we might just go back to them, so long as they could give us a mortgage we liked the sound of.  Better the devil you know and all that.  So, Kenny picked up the phone and called them.  He had a lovely conversation with a woman with a ridiculous name that made her sound like either a fairy or a lapdancer.  She sent us an agreement in principle for the mortgage we needed.  All we needed to do to get the proper mortgage offer would be to send in copies of a P60, and some wage slips.  She said she would send us an envelope and checklist so we could get it all sorted.  She also arranged for someone to go and look at the house for a valuation.  That happened just a few days later.  Fabulous.  All ticking along nicely.

So we waited for the package.

And waited.  

Christmas cards, and packages were arriving, but nothing from Nationwide.  

After a week we called them up.  What has happened?  We were assured the pack had gone out to us straight away.  We should see it any moment, no doubt it had got held up in the Christmas post.

We were coming up to the end of term now, with Christmas just around the corner, and our solicitor was advising us that if we didn't get the mortgage arranged soon we would not be able to get things into motion before the end of our reservation period on the property.  This was Christmas Eve, which is a ridiculous date to expect anything which doesn't involve fat men in red suits happening.

When it still hadn't turned up a couple of days later Kenny got on the 'phone again, to find out how we could speed things up.  Nationwide agreed that I could take the documents in to a reasonably local branch (only a 44 mile 'round trip), where they would fax it over to the department that needed them.  I couldn't drive over for a couple of days, but then I went, with the little girl, and we spent a diverting hour or so in the branch, looking at pictures on leaflets, while a flustered but lovely woman called Pauline made sure everything was in order, and faxed it across... and checked they'd got it.  They had.  I took the little girl out for a walk (and took a picture, above) and decided to call them that afternoon, to see how things were progressing.  

So, after the drive home, while the little girl was sleeping, I called up Nationwide.  Yes, they said, they had received the documents, and they would need to process them.  That would take up to three days, and then they would give us a formal offer of mortgage, unless it turned out we needed to give them more information.  Either way they would call and let us know on Christmas Eve...  Looked like it would be quite the busy day!

This meant, of course that we certainly would not be any further ahead with the process on Christmas Eve, so while the little girl still slept I called the sellers to see if we could extend the reservation period.  I was feeling pretty frazzled by this point, but the sellers said not to worry, and she would send out the paperwork.  We extended our reservation to mid-January.  No doubt Christmas Eve would see everything come together perfectly and we would have peace on earth and goodwill to all mortgage brokers.


  1. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)