And yet, the mortgage market is so enamoured of jargon and acronyms and industry speak that a survey from Aldermore revealed half of all potential first-time buyers admit to being confused by common mortgage terminology.
In particular, the research revealed that a significant number cannot understand their Lifetime Isa from their Help to Buy Isa, or their Starter Home Initiative from their Help to Buy Scheme.
Throw in the everyday vernacular of the mortgage market and we might be able to understand why a significant number of those who might actually want and be able to access the market, feel less than confident in doing so.
Advisers cut through jargon
Of course, the easy answer around this is to talk about the role of the adviser in all of this.
Their ability to cut through this double-speak and the complications inherent in its use, and to cut to the chase and get the client the mortgage they need and the house that they want is vital.
However, the problem lies in getting potential first-time buyers to this point.
If they are put off going through the whole process because the mortgage market appears to be one big complicated technical jungle, then they’ll not even get to the point of looking for an adviser who can help them deal with it.
Simplicity in short supply
And let’s be honest here, ours is a market which is not getting any less complicated.
One can’t help think there is an education process here that has either been put on hold or has simply been jettisoned by an industry content to eat itself.
We can be very pleased with ourselves to have come up with another first-time buyer-led innovation or some pithy acronym, but at its heart, are we actually delivering the real products and solutions which are going to work for first-time buyers?
Simplicity seems to be a commodity in short supply and we are in danger of turning off large swathes of potential borrowers – and the next generation of clients – if we cannot get rid of this complexity.
Guides to buying and selling
At some point this year the government is going to publish two guides, ‘How to Buy’ and ‘How to Sell’ – and part of me cannot quite believe that these sorts of guides do not already exist – but that might be a major step forward.
But, as an industry we need to make a commitment to dial down on the jargon and to present advisers as the gateway for those borrowers who might be put off by it.
Our trade and representative bodies need to preach the message that the mortgage market is working on this, it is open for business and we can sort the proverbial wheat from the chaff and get clients the mortgages they want and need.
The time to do this is now; otherwise we are in danger of biting the hands that feed us.