So this week, Mortgage Solutions asked: ‘Has the time you dedicate to each case changed? How do you make sure you remain efficient?’
Things are taking longer; before it took two to three weeks to get a mortgage through and I’d say it’s taking four to six weeks now.
I try to pre-empt clients and manage expectations by telling them it’s going to take a little bit longer.
One lender in particular, I was on hold to them for 58 minutes but I had to continue because they hadn’t updated their systems and I needed to speak to someone about a case.
It is the whole process that is delayed.
You can send an application through, but you don’t know when a survey will be actioned. Some lenders are taking between seven and 10 working days to get it booked.
It’s harder to speak to business development managers and underwriters too. And once someone looks at a case, because documents are coming from different places they sometimes ask for more supporting documentation.
Also, this Covid-19 declaration that a lot of buy-to-let lenders are asking for takes up extra time. And it doesn’t help that some estate agents don’t appreciate that things are taking longer.
To remain efficient, I give clients examples of how long things are taking because I’d rather lose business at that stage than later.
Apart from that, I keep aware of lender limitations and use a diary system so I can chase something up once it says it’s due. It takes more time, but it’s just something we as brokers have to do.
I also try to be productive. If a lender takes 58 minutes to pick up the phone, I’ll send emails and do other tasks in that time.
On the whole, we still get cases through and a positive is that the complexities of completing a case means clients need broker advice even more now.
As an independent mortgage broker, the process, documents and information we need to obtain from our clients is growing because of general market conditions and regulatory requirements.
On average each case takes approximately two to eight hours depending on the complexities of the case, which includes property portfolio background checks and credit profile analysis for those in financial difficulties.
It also includes those with complex income streams and we have to consider lender underwriting processes and timescales.
The core amount of time is spent requesting and sending the supporting documents to the lender and answering prerequisite questions. This has led to the current service level agreement being extended throughout the majority of the lending market.
To remain efficient, we ensure we have gathered the core documents every lender would require.
We also regularly visit each lender website so we know we don’t just have the minimum documents as per the submission guide, but we also have supporting information relating to property portfolios, personal tax returns and accountant references to support the lending application where necessary.
This is so we can satisfy the prerequisite questions that the lender is likely to ask.
The key to a successful application is being open, transparent and evidencing the information which in turn helps the underwriter make a decision with the correct documents to hand on day one which then should create a win-win for all parties.
We are finding that it can be harder to place cases and lenders may well need more paperwork, such as confirmation of employment post–furlough or current bank statements and accounts for self-employed clients.
This has without a doubt added to the workload when it comes to placing a case.
Requesting documents to be scanned or posted obviously also increases waiting time as previously, these could just be collected during the meeting.
The key to efficiency when working from home is planning and discipline.
Clearly this starts in ensuring that the working environment is right – this can be easier said than done with children off school – but working in a noisy room or spending the day on an uncomfortable chair will not result in an efficient working day.
Breaks are also crucial and should be planned for at the start of each day, especially in between Zoom meetings as these can be exhausting.
It is too easy to be checking your email 24/7 and it is imperative that an away from email down time is set up every day.
I do this by having a mobile phone ban in the living room and by leaving my phone at home when I take the dog for a walk.