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10 Things To Do To Protect Yourself Against Fraud

Everybody thinks that fraud is the kind of thing that happens to other people, rather than themselves. That is, until it takes them well and truly by surprise.

On the plus side, there’s plenty each and every one of us can do to significantly reduce the likelihood of being targeted by fraudsters. Or at least, prevent significant damage being done if you are targeted.

Here are 10 simple yet effective things to start doing right now to protect yourself:

1. Identify scams
First up, it’s worth reading up on and remaining up to date with the latest scams. From e-mail phishing to telephone scams to various types of data theft, it’s worth heading over to resources like to learn exactly how to identify a scam when you see it.

2. Keep personal information secret
Under no circumstances should your personal information ever be given to anyone other than yourself. Be suspicious of any ‘company’ that gets in touch with you and ask for your personal information.

3. Change your passwords and PIN
Along with ensuring your passwords and PINs are as strong as possible, it’s also important to ensure that they are changed on a regular basis. Never use anything that could be easily guessed or gradually worked out.

4. Check out your credit report
Check your credit report from time to time for any signs of suspicious activity. Should you come across anything suspicious, report it to the relevant authority or service provider immediately.

5. Shred sensitive documents
Never make the mistake of throwing our documents that contain any potentially sensitive personal information. Shred or burn such documents to prevent your personal data falling into the wrong hands.

6. Watch for unusual activity
It’s also important to keep an eye on things like bank statements, credit card bills and all your online accounts in general, for signs of unusual activity. Always take anything even slightly out of the ordinary seriously.

7. Share your knowledge
Try to ensure that your friends and family members take an equally proactive approach to fraud prevention. Criminals typically have absolutely no shame when it comes to targeting those who are most vulnerable – i.e. those who do least to protect themselves.

8. Be suspicious of everything
From phone calls to emails to promotional information, be suspicious of anything and everything that comes your way. Unless you are 100% convinced of the legitimacy of the communication and its source, treat it as suspicious and stay away.

9. Avoid public Wi-Fi
Always remember that it only takes a matter of seconds for your device and your personal information to be hacked when using public Wi-Fi connections. Which means that if you are going to use a public Wi-Fi connection, avoid accessing any of your accounts or entering any sensitive information/credentials whatsoever.

10. Report it
Last but not least, each and every time you come across anything that is even remotely suspicious, it needs to be reported. Even if it turns out to be nothing, it is better to be safe than sorry. The problem being that each time suspicious activity is not brought to the attention of the authorities, somebody somewhere is getting away with scamming members of the public like you.


First-Time Buyers Are Flocking to Specialist Lenders

If there’s one thing to be said for major lenders right now, it’s that they aren’t making things easy for first-time buyers. Saving huge deposits and qualifying for a mortgage in the first place is becoming increasingly difficult, as banks and lenders continue to put the squeeze on first-time applicants.

Which is precisely why record numbers of first-time buyers are turning to specialist lenders, in order to explore a variety of alternative financial solutions for property purchases. With limited to no help being offered on the mainstream side of the lending market, some of the UK’s smallest independent lenders are experiencing a whirlwind of activity from the first-time buyers’ market.

Home ownership is a dream shared by the vast majority of UK residents. The unfortunate truth being that as far as mainstream lending goes, most will simply never qualify. Meeting all necessary criteria is one thing, but when it comes to saving deposits of anything from £25,000 to £100,000 in some areas, it’s an outright impossibility that just isn’t going to happen. Work out the costs of a mortgage using our UK mortgage calculator.

What makes the difference with alternative lenders is the way in which each case and application is considered uniquely. With conventional lenders, it’s a case of meeting X, Y and Z as standard, or failing to qualify. The rest of the alphabet being inconsequential. With smaller, independent lenders, financial solutions are provided in direct accordance with the personal circumstances and requirements of the borrower. Tailored packages to suit their needs, terms they can meet and a deal that works for all parties.

Suffice to say, this isn’t the kind of flexibility any of the UK’s major lenders can come close to. Tied to all-encompassing lending standards and protocol, first-time buyers are often lucky to get so far as to secure a meeting with a mortgage manager.

From bridging loans to development finance to secured loans to second-charge mortgages, there are countless opportunities to explore for those who wouldn’t typically qualify. Some require collateral, others are more about current financial circumstances – all are fundamentally flexible. Which is precisely where the difference lies – flexibility.

But the interesting thing is that while all this is going on, the UK government continues to pledge its relentless allegiance to the UK housing market in general. Specifically, making it as easy as possible for first-time buyers to get themselves on the property ladder. Yet what’s really happening is quite the opposite – major lenders are making it more difficult by the day. Even for those looking to purchase properties as a buy-to-let investment, qualifying for the required funding has never been more of a challenge.

The advice from the experts therefore is simple. Alongside the usual applications and enquiries lodged with major banks and lenders, speak to a specialist independent broker to find out what else is on offer. For those who fail to qualify via the usual channels, alternative lenders can often help. And even if you do qualify for a typical loan, you could still get a better deal from an alternative lender.

For more information on alternative financial solutions for all types of property purchases get in touch with UK Property Finance today! For example, subprime mortgages, a product which allows those who may have some credit issues, or may have had no chance to build credit yet to have a chance of getting a mortgage.


Is the Buy-to-Let Bubble Finally Bursting?

Over the past year or so, the rate at which lenders are offering financial support to buy-to-let landlords has been slowing significantly. Which for the most part comes down to the fact that official UK legislation governing the buy-to-let mortgage sector has seen a near-endless array of reforms and adjustments. Things have changed radically over the past 18 months, leading some to believe that we could be looking at the long-predicted bursting of the buy-to-let bubble.

But is this really the case?

From stamp duty increases to tax relief restrictions to the strictest lending criteria seen in some time, it’s seemed for a while now that the UK has declared war on buy-to-let landlords. Newcomers to the industry and those with extensive portfolios alike have been squeezed so hard that many have been forced to exit the market entirely. Or in some cases, find themselves denied entry in the first place.

Tax changes have hit the industry particularly hard, though have at the same time been largely augmented by growing demand for quality rental properties. Not to mention, the fact that average rents across key areas of the UK continue to climb at a rapid pace annually. Successful buy-to-let business owners are still making massive amounts of money, having staked claim to a UK property market that’s becoming more and more difficult to get into.

The problem, therefore, is one that surrounds getting into the buy-to-let game in the first place. Not to mention, expanding a portfolio once through the door.

It’s because of the various tax changes and general squeezes that conventional lenders are making it increasingly difficult for applicants to qualify for buy-to-let mortgages. Where you’d usually be a shoe-in, you may now fail to qualify for so much as a second thought. Which is precisely why the market for alternative financial products and services has seen record growth over the past year or two, as conventional banks and lenders close their doors en-masse.

Whether it be using secured loans, specialist development finance, bridging loans and so on – these are all the types of innovative and intelligent financial products that largely eliminate the usual qualification criteria that we can assit you with. Often exponentially cheaper and more easily accessible than any traditional mortgages and loans, buy-to-let investors are finding the financial support they require from smaller, often independent lenders offering tailored financial solutions.

What the government perhaps doesn’t realise is that by making life more difficult and more expensive for landlords, they in turn have little choice but to do likewise for their tenants. Higher rents, bigger deposits and greater scrutiny of who they’ll let their properties out to in the first place. Most of the housing schemes and legislative changes introduced are supposed to be for the benefit of the public in general, by contributing to the easing of the escalating affordable housing shortage.

Unfortunately, measures like those affecting buy-to-let investors could be sending things in the exact opposite direction.


The Lowest Fixed Rate Mortgage Deals Right Now

Once again, major lenders are dangling the proverbial ‘carrot’ in front of would-be buyers with a raft of enticing fixed rate mortgage deals. It’s getting increasingly tricky to qualify, but for those who do, there are some decent deals doing the rounds right now.

Two-Year Fixed Rate – up to 60% LTV

For example, there’s a 0.99% deal on two-year fixed rate mortgages up to 60% LTV on offer at the Yorkshire Building Society, alongside a £1,495 arrangement fee.

There’s also a decent 1.09% deal on offer at Sainsbury’s Bank which comes to an end on the last day of October 2019. This time with a £995 arrangement fee to pay.

Top Tip: Arrangement fees are standard admin charges banks impose on mortgage deals, which may be required up-front or when the purchase is completed.

Two-Year Fixed Rate – up to 90% LTV

If looking to borrow a little more toward the cost of a home, The Co-operative Bank is offering a two-year fixed rate deal of 1.79% until the end of November 2019, with an arrangement fee of £1,349.

Likewise, Platform Loans is currently offering the same 1.79% until the end of November 2019 with a £1,499 arrangement fee, though with the added bonus of £250 cashback.

Top Tip: Mortgages via Platform Loans are provided by the Co-op and can only be accessed via a broker.

Five-Year Fixed Rate – up to 60% LTV

Over in the five-year arena, Digital Mortgages has an offer on until the 22nd of December 2022, charging 1.59% with an arrangement fee of £900.

As for HSBC, the same 1.59% is available over five years with an arrangement fee of £900.

Top Tip: The arrangement fees combined with valuation charges may add up to £1,200 or so, but as a five-year deal at around £236 per year, this still represents great value for money.

Five-Year Fixed Rate – up to 90% LTV

Last but not least, five-year deals up to 90% LTV are headed by Digital Mortgages, which until November 30, 2022 are up for grabs from 2.39%, with a £900 arrangement fee.

As for the Co-operative Bank, things step up to a slightly higher 2.45% with an arrangement fee of £1,349.

Top Tip: There’s also the option of a 2.45% deal at Atom Bank (operator of Digital Mortgages) with zero arrangement fees to pay.

Alternative Financial Solutions

The above represents just a small sample of the kinds of conventional mortgages being offered right now by some of the High Street’s major lenders. Whatever your intended property purchase, we highly recommend considering the alternative financial solutions that may be available.

UK Property Finance specialises in specialist development finance, bridging loans, secured loans and a variety of intelligent financial solutions. We provide access to 100% bespoke financial solutions for all types of property purchases, with fees and interest rates that typically undercut those of all major lenders.

For more information or to discuss any of our financial products, get in touch with the UK Property Finance team today. Work out the costs of a mortgage using our UK mortgage calculator

Development Finance

Home Extension Finance: Explore Your Home’s Hidden Potential

For most homeowners, there’s really no easier or more affordable way of extending a property than with a professional loft conversion. Most homes have a potentially huge amount of space that could be put to much better use, without the need for major remodelling or extension works. That said, a high-quality loft conversion doesn’t come cheap – hence the importance of carefully considering all available methods of financing the project.

We can help you obtain finance for a home extension

The question being – which represents the best choice for you?

Get it right and a quality loft conversion can more than pay for itself. By increasing the overall value of your property by as much as 25%, a loft conversion can be one of the most outstanding long-term investments any homeowner can make. When it comes to financing these kinds of alterations, the preferred options for UK homeowners are as follows:

  1. Re-mortgage

One readily available option for larger loans is re-mortgaging. Taken either as an extension on your current mortgage or a new mortgage if yours is already paid up, such loans can technically be offered with no upper-limit. On the downside, any kind of mortgage deal can be time-consuming and difficult to organise, while at the same time being secured on your property which is used as security for the loan.

  1. Unsecured Personal Loan

If the required sum comes in under £25,000, it could be easy and affordable to go with a standard personal loan. Unsecured loans are typically easy to access and carry fair interest rates, with no collateral being required. That said, qualification for personal loans of a relatively high nature can be tricky these days, as major banks and lenders continue tightening their criteria.

  1. Bridging Loans

An increasingly popular choice, bridging loans are great for those looking to borrow a moderate sum of money for a short period of time. For example, you could borrow £20,000 with a bridging loan, add £40,000 to the value of your home, sell-up as part of a planned relocation and pay back the loan within weeks or a few months. Simple, uncomplicated and fast access to the funds you need. Bridging loans are great where fast and full repayment is preferable.

  1. Equity Release

It’s also worth remembering just how much money there is tied up in the rest of the property as a whole. Equity release can typically be tailored to suit the needs of homeowners across the board, providing the perfect solution when funds are needed quickly. With equity release, there are very few qualification criteria to speak of and minimal complexities. With equity release, it’s all about the collateral.

  1. Secured Personal Loan

Last but not least, a secured personal loan delivers exactly as it promises. The benefit of a secured loan being that it’s far easier to qualify for this type of financing, as credit history and current financial position etc. are not taken into account. Just as long as you have the required collateral, you can usually get a great deal.

For more information on any of our financial products or services, get in touch with the UK Property Finance customer service team today.


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