Protecting your family, your finances and your future



Frequently Asked Questions

What mortgage lenders do we have access to?

We offer a comprehensive range of mortgages from across the market. We also have access to some exclusive products via our network First Complete, which are often not available direct from lenders on the high street. 

How Much of a Deposit do I need?

Some Mortgage deals, currently (February 2017), may have features which will reduce the initial costs you face when arranging a mortgage. Therefore the typical minimum deposit required is 5% but a 10% deposit increases the number of products and lenders available to you. The type of mortgage required also impacts upon the minimum deposit required, so give me a call to discuss.

How lenders may assess what you can afford to borrow?

In the past, mortgage lenders largely based the amount you could borrow on a multiple of your income. For example, if your annual income was £30,000, you might have been able to borrow three to five times this amount, giving you a mortgage of up to £150,000. Now, when you apply for a mortgage, the lender must assess what level of monthly payments you can afford, after taking into account various personal and living expenses including credit & family commitments as well as your income. This is called an affordability assessment.

These changes were reinforced by the Financial Conduct Authority in April 2014 following a comprehensive review of the mortgage market. The lender must also assess your future ability to repay the mortgage & will include a ‘stress test’. This will take into account the effect of potential interest rate rises and potential lifestyle changes, such as redundancy, having a baby or career break. If the lender thinks that you will be unable to afford your mortgage payments in these circumstances, they are likely to limit how much you can borrow.

Do you offer evening or weekend appointment's ?

Yes. This can be arranged if an appointment during working hours is not suitable.

What is an Agreement in Principle' ?

An Agreement in Principle is a document provided by your chosen mortgage lender which confirms they are prepared to consider a mortgage application up to a given sum, based on the information provided by you which will typically include details of your income, outgoings & commitments and the outcome of a credit score undertaken with a credit reference agency. This is a document which we can normally obtain for almost all of our customers and most lenders offer an Agreement in Principle facility. A mortgage agreement in principle does not guarantee that you will get a mortgage as further checks will have to be carried out in order to verify your details, such as proof of income and a property valuation will normally be required for the property you intend to buy or refinance.

Why get a mortgage Agreement in Principle?

Negotiating Power – Once you have selected the property you wish to purchase and are ready to make an offer, it is likely that your estate agent will ask you to produce evidence which should show that you have the funds available to complete the purchase. This will likely take the form of a mortgage agreement in principle and/or bank statements. Once you have provided all the required documentation your estate agent will usually take the property off the market. Having the required documents in place will show the seller that you are serious about the purchase and can give you leverage when negotiating the price.

How long does it take to get an Agreement in Principle' ?

Provided all the necessary documents have been received to process your Agreement in Principle we will aim to submit all Agreement In Principle within 48 hours. Once submitted an instant decision will often be provided.

Do you give advice or simply arrange the mortgage?

We offer advice and make a recommendation after assessing your needs.

The exact list of documents that will be required will be confirmed by your adviser. As a guide they will include original copies of the following for each applicant:

    • Proof of I.D. (Passport or driving licence is preferred) 
    • Proof of address (Utility bill or bank statement) 
    • Proof of earnings (Normally last 3 month’s payslips and latest P60)
    • If self employed (last 3 years accounts or SA302’s). 
    • Last 3 months bank statements. 
    • Latest mortgage statement (if applicable). 
    • Copy of credit report, Experian and Equifax preferred by most lenders
    • Copy of all existing insurance policies (These should include Life Insurance, Critical Illness Cover, Income Protection, Buildings and Contents cover).
Should I have life insurance if I take out a mortgage?

It is not compulsory, but it is something you should consider carefully. If you were unable to keep up your mortgage payments for whatever reason, your mortgage lender has the right to sell your home to repay your borrowing with them. A life insurance policy to cover your mortgage will give you the peace of mind that, if you die, your family can clear the debt and avoid the risk of losing the family home.

Can I have life insurance if I don’t have a Mortgage?

Yes, you certainly can have life insurance even if you don’t have a Mortgage. A mortgage is not the only thing in people’s lives that needs protecting. You should consider all aspects of your finances whether you have a mortgage or not and it is a good idea to regularly review the cover you have. Everyone’s needs and priorities are different but you might want to consider other areas of financial need beyond looking at provision for your family should you die. The important thing is to make sure that you are insured for the right things in the right way.

What is the difference between life insurance and critical illness?

Both policies provide a lump sum or regular income, (under current legislation, tax year 2017/2018) , but whilst life insurance will pay out should you die, a critical illness policy will pay out if you are diagnosed with a specified critical illness, regardless of how that illness develops. In both cases, the money can be used for whatever you like; it could be used to pay off your mortgage or other debts, to replace lost income, or to pay for private medical treatments (if critical illness cover). (T&Cs apply)

How much cover should I have?

There is no set rule that says how much you should have – it really comes down to your circumstances and your budget. If you have a mortgage and a family, your needs will be very different to those of a single person who rents, but each person should consider protection of some sort, whether it’s for clearing debts, replacing income or looking after family. We recommend that you speak to our  adviser for some advice – they can make sure you have the right cover to suit you.

If I cancel my current life insurance policy to replace it with a new cheaper one, will I have to pay a penalty?

Term assurance policies do not have a surrender value or impose penalties for cancellation. They will provide you with the cover set out under the terms of the policy, so long as you pay the premiums – if you stop paying the premiums, the cover will stop too. If you are thinking of changing policies, make sure you are not reducing the quality of your cover – check that any new policy gives you the same amount of cover for the same period of time. Are the premiums guaranteed? If it’s a critical illness policy, are you covered for the same range of illnesses? If you are in doubt, speak to an adviser. If all that looks ok, then you can certainly switch to a cheaper policy, but make sure that you never cancel an existing policy before the new one is up and running.

Do critical illness policies actually pay out?

Critical illness policies are a lot more complex than life insurance, as there are certain illnesses that are covered and some that aren’t. There are two main reasons why a critical illness policy would not pay out: firstly, the claim does not meet the insurer’s criteria and secondly, information given by the customer when they applied for the policy was inaccurate or incomplete. At Graeme Black Financial Services we are very aware of this issue and want to make sure that our clients can feel confident in the cover they take out through us.

I’ve had some medical problems in the past, is that going to rule me out?

Previous medical problems may well have an impact and what cover you can get and at what cost, but it is certainly something we can research further for you. Life insurance companies will typically charge higher premiums to people with certain illnesses or conditions, but how much they charge and for what can vary considerably, so it is always worth making sure you are with the right insurer for you. If this is something you would like help with, please give Graeme Black Financial Services a call on 028 3753 0473.

When should my cover start?

It is never a good idea to delay these things. When you have established you have a need for protection, the best thing to do is to get the cover in place as soon as possible as you never know what is around the corner. Insuring yourself is not like insuring your home or car, it is not generally instantaneous, and particularly in the case of critical illness, it can require GP reports and thorough underwriting, all of which takes time. If you need cover for a set date, like the start of the mortgage or the birth of a child, it is a good idea to make sure it is underwritten as soon as possible, in most cases if it does get underwritten more quickly it can simply sit and wait until you choose to put it in force.

How easy is it to apply for life insurance?

We believe that taking out life insurance should be as painless as possible, so we aim to do the leg work for you. We’ll compare life insurance policies from a range of insurers on your behalf and we can help you with completing the insurers proposal forms. There may well be the need for further information later on, but we will be on hand to help and to answer any queries you may have to make it as smooth a process as possible.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

For services in sourcing the most appropriate mortgage for your needs Graeme Black Financial Services charges a Fee of between £0 and £495 depending on amount of research and administration involved in your mortgage application. If the fee is £100 or less, this is payable upon mortgage application, if over £100 then the fee charged is payable in two stages being £100 upon mortgage application submission and then remainder of fee upon receipt of Mortgage Offer.

“ Graeme Black Financial Services is a trading name of Graeme Black, an appointed representative of First Complete Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 435779) for mortgage and non-investment insurance advice.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate some forms of Buy to Let.

Address: 16 Drumhirk Road, Armagh, Co Armagh BT60 3ND

This website is intended for people over 18 years of age who are resident in the UK only. The website and the information contained therein should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct business in any jurisdiction other than the UK. These pages provide generic information about various aspects of financial services advice that we provide. We hope they are helpful to you but they do not on their own add up to recommendations and we cannot take responsibility for anything you do in reliance on them without further discussion with us. Please do not make a decision based upon the information contained within these pages alone. Contact us for further advice to enable you to make an informed decision based upon your individual circumstances.

Important – Please read our About Our Services & Costs document.

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