Mortgage Misadventures

Miss Thrifty1 June 16, 2009


I have a bad feeling about the mortgage market. Yes, yes: I know there is a lot of talk right now about budding recoveries, attractive deals and unmissable rates, but I am not comfortable.

As you may recall, I have (or had) a devilish Mortgage Masterplan. We came off our fixed-rate deal in February and since then, I’ve been making overpayments to the tune of £500 per month. If this overpayment could be maintained, we could pay off the entire mortgage in ten years. Since that is unlikely, the real-life plan has been to pay off a hefty chunk of capital before the interest rates go skywards again.

Since then I’ve been getting itchy feet. There is still some equity in the property, which is a good start. However, I have become nervous about what we will do if/when the rates shoot up and we’re suddenly scrambling for a nice, tidy mortgage solution. We both run our own companies, which probably puts us on some kind of bank auto-blacklist.

I decided to look around for a fixed-rate deal, but to date my labours have come to naught. Last week I dragged my husband along for a mortgage consultation at HSBC, after reading that they had launched some tasty deals with delightfully low fixed interest rates. Goodness me, it was a depressing experience! We had to sit in the claustrophobic plastic corner cubicle for a gazillion years, while the banking lady eked out one pointless form after another.

Beforehand I’d been reading posts on online fora, with people complaining that mortgage deals on offer had gone as low as 3.25 x joint annual income. I had calculated that we might – just – be able to raise sufficient finance. As it turned out, however, HSBC would only offer us 2.5 x joint annual income. I was taken aback, as we don’t have any other debts, our businesses are growing and we have pristine credit records, but there you go: it was a waste of time.

So it’s back to our current provider, Abbey. This evening I spent a long time on the telephone, in some sort of intricate telephone holding pattern for hapless remortgagees, waiting to speak to someone. I was on hold for an hour – I had a very cross face by the end of it. A real live person finally came on the line, ten minutes before the call centre closed for the night. I was told to call again tomorrow. Gee, thanks! I wasn’t over the moon. Expecially as all of Abbey’s fixed rates are set to jump  at midnight tonight. (Yes, my timing is pretty borked.)

Grumble grumble grumble. The more I dig into this, the less I like it. Any advice?

Image credit: woodleywonderworks.

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