This Month We Talk : Interest Rate Drops Private Medical insurance Planning your next move Guide for landlords in 2024

Rates Drop: Relief for Homeowners Renewing Mortgages in 2024

Homeowners may finally have reason to breathe easier in 2024. Over 50 mortgage lenders slashed rates at the start of the year1, sparking optimism for those with mortgages expiring this year. Two-year fixed rates now average just 5.62%, down from 5.93% previously. But the biggest news is sub-4% rates available to homeowners with substantial equity in their properties1

We understand many mortgages are set to expire in 2024. We want to provide information to help you secure the right deal given your situation. We’re here to assist you through each step of the process. We’ve put together a brief guide on getting “mortgage ready” to streamline the remortgaging process as much as possible. 

Why might I need a remortgage? 

One of the most common reasons for a remortgage is that the term granted on an initial mortgage deal is coming to an end. Most mortgages are granted on an initial two-year or five-year period, and once this expires, many lenders will put you onto their default Standard Variable Rate (SVR) which can mean that you end up paying more than you need to, as the interest rate is sometimes higher than can be sought elsewhere.  

For this reason, we’d advise that you get in touch with us, firstly, if you are in any doubt as to when your initial mortgage term expires, and secondly, for us to help you find a rate that may be more suitable for your own individual circumstances.  

This can involve either a full remortgage, finding a new product with a new lender, or we can help arrange a product transfer, which is where we can put you onto the most suitable mortgage product with your existing lender. Either way, we’d recommend that you come to us for bespoke, professional advice on the most appropriate deal that fits your exact circumstances, especially as there’s so much at stake.  

There are several things you can do to prepare for remortgaging in 2024: 

How to Get Remortgage Ready 

We recommend taking the following steps to help smooth the remortgage process: 

  • Plan Ahead – Contact us around 6 months before your current mortgage expires. This gives enough time to help find the most suitable new deal. We’ll remain in touch throughout to update you on next steps. 
  • Organise Finances – As when you first sought a mortgage, having tidy finances can help to boost the odds of acceptance. Check your credit score. Avoid new loans or credit cards. Major purchases can also hurt. Payday loans and overdrafts are especially damaging. Knowing your property’s estimated market value helps too – browse similar listings. 
  • Gather Documents – Like the initial mortgage, you’ll need paperwork to verify identity, address and income. Save time by having these ready. Include your last 3 bank statements and pay stubs, proof of bonuses, latest tax form P60, ID such as passport, and proof of address, such as utility bills for example. 
  • Self-Employed – Provide 3 years of income history. Showing future workload and revenue helps to aid your application. 

This should help to give you a good headstart on having the key documents and info you need ahead of a remortgage. We’re here to support you every step of the way, so if there’s any queries you have, just ask us and we’ll be happy to help. 

It’s not always easy to know what’s right for you and your circumstances, so that’s where the value of professional mortgage advice comes in. We’re here to listen to your exact situation and to recommend the products that we believe are the most appropriate for you based upon looking at a wide range of lenders and exclusive deals that aren’t available on the high street.  

If your mortgage deal expires this year, your lender will likely contact you about transferring to a new product. However, we recommend seeking our experienced, professional advice before accepting any offers. We want to help you find the option that serves your interests, not just the lender’s. We’re more than happy to arrange both product transfers and remortgages, but pride ourselves in listening to your exact situation before giving bespoke advice that’s tailored to you. 

Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other debt secured on it.

Sources

  1. This is Money (2024) Four more major banks cut mortgage rates – when will two-year fixes go below 4%?. Available at: https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-12969351/Four-banks-cut-mortgage-rates-two-year-fixes-4.html (Accessed 18th Jan 2024)

All the information in this article is correct as of the publish date 25th January 2024. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. The information provided in this article, including text, graphics and images does not, and is not intended to, substitute advice; instead, all information, content and materials available in this article are for general informational purposes only. Information in this article may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.

Is Private Medical Insurance Worth Considering?

With growing frustration surrounding NHS waiting lists and difficulties accessing care, more individuals are considering private healthcare. In this article, we explore the merits of private health insurance and whether it may be a viable option for you.

The Rising Trend of Private Healthcare

Recent data from the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) shows 272,000 people in the UK opted to self-fund medical procedures or diagnostics at private hospitals last year – a significant 33% increase compared to pre-pandemic figures1. Over double that number relied on private medical insurance policies to cover expenses1. While private health insurance can provide quicker access to care, it’s essential to weigh the costs against the benefits and understand policy limitations and exclusions.

Understanding Private Medical Insurance

Private medical insurance generally offers swift access to healthcare services like assessments, diagnoses, treatments, and aftercare. You often can select your preferred specialist and private hospital location. Many providers now extend support for mental health issues in addition to physical health.

Coverage Details: What to Expect from Private Health Insurance

Coverage varies between providers and plans, but often includes:

  • Consultations with specialist doctors
  • Inpatient treatment like surgeries
  • Outpatient services such as scans, tests, x-rays
  • Limited physiotherapy sessions
  • 24/7 medical helplines and virtual GP appointments

However, typical exclusions may include:

  • Emergency treatment, which should be sought from your GP or emergency services.
  • Maternity care, which typically isn’t covered.
  • Chronic conditions like arthritis or diabetes treatment.

Beyond Private Health Insurance: Exploring Other Financial Safety Nets

Private health insurance isn’t the only policy that can provide financial support during health challenges. Critical illness insurance pays out a lump sum upon diagnosis of covered conditions, while life insurance provides a lump sum in the event of your passing during the policy term. Alternatively, income protection offers monthly benefits if illness or injury prevents you from working.

Making the Choice: Is Private Health Insurance Right for You?

The decision to invest in private health insurance hinges on your individual circumstances and preferences. If you’re concerned about long NHS waiting lists, then private health insurance may be able to provide greater peace of mind, however, if you have confidence in the NHS’s availability when needed, then this may be less of a priority for you.

Strategies for Self-Employed Individuals

For self-employed individuals, private health insurance can be crucial to ensure that health issues or accidents don’t disrupt your income. If you prefer to have the option to use private care but don’t want to purchase insurance, it may be worthwhile setting aside savings to cover potential medical expenses, should the worst happen. However, be mindful that medical treatments can be costly, and savings may not always suffice.

Private Health Insurance: A Personal Decision

The decision to invest in private health insurance is a personal one, dependent on your own circumstances and priorities. It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons carefully and explore the available options to make an informed choice that suits your needs.

Finding the Right Fit for Your Healthcare Needs

We can help you assess the range of insurance and protection products available and can help you source the most appropriate product to suit your needs, goals, and budget.

Sources

  1. The Times (2023) Is private health insurance worth it? Available at: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/money-mentor/insurance/life-protection-insurance/private-healthcare (Accessed 18 Jan 2024)

All the information in this article is correct as of the publish date 25th January 2024. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. The information provided in this article, including text, graphics and images does not, and is not intended to, substitute advice; instead, all information, content and materials available in this article are for general informational purposes only. Information in this article may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.

Planning Your Next Move? Our Handy Checklist Has You Covered 

Moving home is a significant life event, and ensuring a smooth transition requires attention to detail and meticulous planning. If you’re thinking of moving, we’ve compiled an extensive checklist to assist during the moving process.

1. Career-Related Notifications 

  • Employer: Inform them for updated payroll and contact details. 
  • HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC): Essential for tax-related updates. Visit gov.uk for instructions. 
  • National Insurance: Update your NI information using your NI number. Check online for contact details. 

2. Local Authorities and Governmental Entities 

  • Council Tax: Update your address via the relevant gov.uk site. 
  • Electoral Roll: Re-register at your new area through https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
  • Department for Work and Pensions: Notify them if you’re receiving government funds. 

3. Recreational Considerations 

  • Local Subscriptions: Cancel memberships to local gyms or clubs. 
  • Postal Subscriptions: Update them with your new address. 

4. Household Utilities and Services 

  • TV and Broadband: Notify them of your move for billing and service adjustments. 
  • Telephone: Update both landline and mobile providers. 
  • TV Licence: Update your licence at the TV Licensing website. 
  • DVLA Driving Licence: Update your driving licence address online. 
  • Vehicle Breakdown Cover: Update your details with your provider.
  • Vehicle Insurance: Advise of your new address, be prepared for potential cost changes, insurance is graded based on risk rating at your new property.
  • V5C Vehicle Log Book: Update the address on your V5C at the Government website.

5. Educational Institutions 

  • Schools: Notify them if you have children for contact information updates. 
  • Universities: Inform them of your move for record updates. 

6. Insurance Policies 

  • General Insurance: Update address details for various policies like health, home, life, travel, and pet insurance. 

7. Services Providers 

  • Maintenance Services: Cancel or update addresses for gardeners, window cleaners, etc. 

8. Financial Institutions 

  • Banks and Building Societies: Update your residence address. 
  • Premium Bonds: Ensure your address is current for receiving any winnings. 
  • Pensions: Contact your pension provider with the new address. 
  • Loan and Credit Card Companies: Notify them of your change of address. 

9. Utilities 

  • Electricity and Gas: Notify providers and take meter readings on moving day. 
  • Water: Inform your provider about your moving date. 

10. Settling Into Your New Home 

  • Postal Redirect: Set up a redirect with Royal Mail for any mail to your old address. 

We hope that this comprehensive checklist can help to make the moving process as smooth and as stress-free as possible, and by updating your address with all relevant parties as soon as you can, should help to minimise future complications or delays in services as you move into your new home.

All the information in this article is correct as of the publish date 25th January 2024. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. The information provided in this article, including text, graphics and images does not, and is not intended to, substitute advice; instead, all information, content and materials available in this article are for general informational purposes only. Information in this article may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.

Navigating 2024: A Comprehensive Guide for Landlords

2024 promises to be an eventful year for hands-on landlords, with several significant developments on the horizon. The potential progression of the Renters (Reform) Bill through Parliament, a crucial budget release in March, and the likelihood of a General Election are all events that could reshape the landscape of property management significantly1

As the Government continue to reform the private rented sector, it’s essential for landlords to stay informed about potential policy shifts, especially if there is a change in Government later this year. Understanding these changes and preparing accordingly will be crucial for effective property management and investment decisions. 

Mortgage Rates: An Opportunity for Landlords 

The forecasted decline in inflation2 and the base rate suggests a positive outlook for landlords. With Capital Economics projecting a base rate decrease to 4.75% in 2025, landlords looking to remortgage may find more favourable rates. This environment could also encourage new investments in the property sector1

Tax Changes: Implications for Landlords 

April brings changes that could affect landlords financially. The elimination of Class 2 National Insurance and the reduction of Class 4 contributions are beneficial, but the freeze on Income Tax bands and the Personal Allowance means landlords with increased rents may face higher taxes on their income1

Additionally, the halving of the tax-free allowance for Capital Gains in April will impact landlords contemplating property sales, although it’s unlikely to significantly affect long-term profits1

Property Sales: A Mixed Outlook 

The property market in 2024 may initially favour buyers, but a traditional uptick is expected in the spring. However, the Chancellor’s Spring Budget and the prospect of a General Election could introduce uncertainty, affecting market confidence and transaction volumes1

Rental Market Trends: A Steady Growth 

The rental market looks promising, with predictions of sustained rent growth, albeit at a slightly moderated pace. With average UK rents expected to grow by 5%-6% in 20243 and a cumulative growth of around 20% over the next five years, landlords stand to benefit from a robust rental profit potential, especially if inflation stabilises around 2%.1 

The Future of Lettings: Key Legislative Changes 

The Renters (Reform) Bill and Labour’s Renters’ Charter are set to bring significant changes. Both proposals advocate for the abolition of Section 21, but the complete abolition by 2024 remains uncertain, especially with the Government’s reluctance to proceed until court reforms are in place1. Landlords may wish to closely monitor these developments to adjust their strategies accordingly. 

Compliance with Material Information Requirements 

The definitive change for 2024 concerns the ‘material information’ required in property listings. Ensure compliance with Parts A, B, and C of the guidance, which include details like price/rent, council tax, property type, and other pertinent issues. Whether you use an agent or market your property independently, adhering to the guidelines of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team is essential for accurate and compliant listings. 

2024 is set to be a year of significant changes and opportunities for landlords. Staying informed and adaptable will be key to navigating the evolving landscape of property management and investment. By understanding and responding to these developments, landlords can position themselves to make the most of the opportunities and challenges ahead. 

Sources

  1. Landlord Zone (2024) What is in store for landlords in 2024?. Available at: https://www.landlordzone.co.uk/news/what-is-in-store-for-landlords-in-2024 (Accessed 18 Jan 2024)

All the information in this article is correct as of the publish date 25th January 2024. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. The information provided in this article, including text, graphics and images does not, and is not intended to, substitute advice; instead, all information, content and materials available in this article are for general informational purposes only. Information in this article may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.

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