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Equality in Insurance
Well ladies, apparently we said we wanted equality - and now the European Union are about to make sure we get it !
You have probably read some articles in the newspapers warning that your car insurance is about to go up, to reflect the same rates as male drivers, as a result of European legislation (The EU Gender Directive) - even if we are statistically less likely to claim than the boys !Unfortunately, there is little you can do to avoid the impact this will have on annually reviewed policies like car insurance.What hasn't been quite so headlined in the press is that other areas of insurance, such as life and critical illness cover will also be affected.
Who owns the house?
When purchasing a house (with two or more owners), you will see a question in the conveyancing solicitor's instruction documents as to whether you wish to acquire the property as 'Joint Tenants' or 'Tenants in Common' - but, in my opinion, you rarely receive a clear enough opinion from the solicitors as to which you should choose, the implications of either alternative and just how important a decision this is.
There is no single answer as to which is best - it all depends on your circumstances.
To start, let's explain the difference between the two options:
Joint Tenants - by far the most common option selected. The' traditional model' based on the married couple, buying the family home 'for ever'. Each partner owns all the house and when one dies the whole ownership immediately rests with the surviving partner. The deceased's share does not enter their estate and is outside of the need for probate.Tenants in Common - the rarer option (although I am of the opinion that it should be used more often). Each partner owns a defined percentage of the property (totalling 100%). The share can be 50:50 or 99:1 or anything in between. In the event of the death of one partner, that partner's share belongs to their estate and will be disposed of in accordance with the will of that person (or rules of intestacy should no valid will exist).
The New Buy to Let Proposition
The last buy to let boom - in 2007 - saw buy to let sales top 180,000 properties in the year (over 15% of the properties bought with the assistance of a mortgage) but was built on a very different business model to the one taking place at the moment.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders' buy-to-let press release for the fourth quarter of 2011 is due for release on 9th February (just after this article was written) and I am confident in predicting that this will show both the 3rd quarterly growth in succession of properties purchased as buy to lets and the 5th quarter in the last 6 in which buy to lets make up an increasing percentage of the total properties sold in the UK.While the 2007 boom was driven by forecast capital profits based on the ever increasing value of bricks and mortar, the 2012 boom - while slightly more modest with just 18,580 buy to let property purchases with a mortgage, making 12% of the total purchases in Q3 2011 - is based on revenue based return on capital. This is occurring as result of increasing demand for rental properties from the private sector.
What does your credit report see ? (part 1)
The lifecycle of the Possessions Register, operated by the Committee of Mortgage Lenders (CML), gives an interesting insight into how credit reports in the UK are developing into more detailed and more powerful databases.
In the mid 1980s, mortgage lenders were fighting a losing battle against mortgage fraud. Fraud rings, involving scores of properties, and millions of pounds of losses for each lender, were rife. Police resources then were scarce, as they are now and by the time the losses came to light, it was invariably too late for the Police to act, as the horse had truly bolted.The Association of Mortgage Lenders was formed by a large group of home lenders with a view to sharing information about their fraud losses. This worked on the basis of a ‘credit circle’ – a lawful way of sharing information to prevent either fraud or bad debt.
Property Values – The North South Divide
The plethora of ‘property prices drop’ and ‘property prices rise’ headlines of the last years or so is confusing to say the least.
I regularly speak with clients who simply don’t know what their property is worth – quite terrifying when you consider that this is probably the most valuable asset in their personal portfolio and it certainly controls how much they can borrow and at what rate.
It is similarly confusing for first time buyers and just adds to their fears of ‘the biggest step of their lives’
No-one questions that the continuous automatic year by year ‘profit’ of bricks and mortar is well behind us – BUT is it as bad as you might be led to believe as a result of scanning the headlinesThe most important thing to realise is that property A and property B, whether 5 or 500 miles apart, may have performed very differently in recent years. The accurate answer is a very local thing.
The SVR (Standard Variable Rate) trap in 2012
2011 has seen the lowest mortgage interest rates in my memory.For many current mortgage holders, who have passed their initial deal period, their lender’s SVR (particularly if tied to The Bank of England base rate) has been offering the major savings in terms of their monthly payments. Many have taken the opportunity to maintain their payment levels at the previous rate, thereby reducing the outstanding capital component of their mortgage quite dramatically – this will subsequently allow such borrowers to protect themselves against rising mortgage interest rates and/or shorten the overall repayment period of their mortgage – however not everyone has felt able to do so and may have relied on such reduced payments to balance their budgets in recent hard times.
The last thing I would want to do is encourage divorce. In my opinion it rarely turns out to be the solution it appears. However, if you are unfortunate enough to be going through divorce, whether as the divorcer or the divorcee, there is no reason why it should cost the earth as well.
The terms of any divorce should be by consent, and not fought out in court. It really does make sense. Agreeing with your spouse, away from the acrimonious atmosphere of a court room, how you will divide your assets, and what arrangements are best for sharing the care of the children, makes for better relationships between everyone in the long term. Unfortunately, we are not at our most reasonable at these times, and consequently many divorces do end up in court, and the issues fought over are generally the house, maintenance and the children.
Equity Release Made Clear
If you're retired and living on your pension, you may be finding money is a bit tight. If you own your own home and are in your mid-50s or over, you may be thinking about Equity Release because it could provide you with a lump sum or additional income. You might also consider equity release for tax-planning reasons.
In this article, you'll find out how equity release schemes work and what you might think about before starting one.
Borrowers need for Independent Mortgage Advice increases in uncertain economic climate
Statistics show that since the beginning of the year there has been an increasing number of first-time buyers turn to Independent Mortgage Advisers to secure their mortgage.
With the credit crunch taking an even greater bite as the year progresses, inflation on the rise and oil and petrol prices going through the roof, many borrowers are finding it increasingly difficult to secure the borrowings they require.
Choosing the Right Mortgage?
Purchasing a property with the support of a mortgage is probably the biggest commitment that most people with ever make. Although there are thousands of lenders, choosing the right mortgage does not have to be quite as daunting as it may first seem.
CAN REMORTGAGING BE MORE COST EFFECTIVE THAN MOVING?
Thousands of people save money each year by remortgaging and you don’t have to move house to do it. In fact, the number of people choosing to re-finance and invest in their current property is on the rise. HFS Milbourne Financial Services offer advice on switching your mortgage agreement and/or mortgage lender to one that offers greater affordability and the option to invest money back into your home.
It is not just first-time buyers who struggle with high house prices. Existing homeowners in need of more space find the gap between the steps on the housing ladder are getting ever further apart and harder to reach. The economics of the market are currently such that it makes sense to examine the opportunity to extend before considering a move.
Deadline on HIPs postponed
Following all the uncertainty with the looming launch date for the Home Information Buyers Packs, the government has climbed down. The implementation has now been put back until August 1.
There had been a lot of speculation as the original launch date of June 1st came closer, with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors announcing they had started judicial review proceedings against the Department for Communities and Local Government for its failure to carry out proper consultation before implementing the new legislation.
Home Information Packs Judicial Review
Is the Home Information Packs legislation confirmed?
Yesterday, May 16th, the House of Commons voted by a majority against a motion calling for the Home Information Packs (HIPs) regulations to be anulled.
However, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has decided to make a last ditch attempt to block the introduction, scheduled for June 1st. It has started judicial review proceedings against the Department for Communities and Local Government for its failure to carry out proper consultation before implementing the new legislation.
What is a Self Cert Mortgage?
Historically, mortgage lenders have required proof of income before they will lend money for the purchase of a property. This is fine for those who are employed, but for around 4 million people in the UK this can create problems, because they are either self-employed, or are paid by way of bonuses or commissions.
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