Meet Dion Stocks

Mortgage Broker North Yorkshire

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Mortgage Broker North Yorkshire

What Does A Mortgage Broker Do?

Dion Stocks from Grand Union Financial tells us all about the role of a mortgage broker and his journey to becoming a self-employed adviser

Tell us a little bit about your journey into the financial services industry?

I’ve been in the property and finance industry for the last 15 years. I started out as a commercial surveyor and then went into receivership work. I was made redundant back in 2017, while working with Buy to Let Landlords to refinance their portfolios. 

At that point, I decided I wanted to have nice conversations for a change! That prompted me to study for my CeMAP,  and from there I moved into the world of mortgage broking.

Why did you decide to join Grand Union Financial as a self-employed adviser?

Simply because of the rapport I have with both Kal and Mike and the other brokers. Although we are all self-employed, the level of help and camaraderie within the team is fantastic. The support that Kal and Mike give us in the background is superb. 

I’ve been in this industry a long time and worked with a lot of companies. Grand Union is genuinely looking out for us as brokers. They want to work with us and mutually bring the company and us forward at the same time. That’s really refreshing.

What do you love about your job?

I love working with clients and being able to unpick a problem. It’s great to come back to a client with a solution to an issue they’re facing. 

I don’t think there’s a broker in the land that is in this job for any other reason than that they really genuinely enjoy helping clients get their dream home. There are sticky situations out there which can easily be overcome with a bit of work. Plus, there are clients that we can get on the property ladder for the first time.

Sometimes people have refinanced and they’ve got a little bit of a complexity there. They come in thinking that they may not be able to get a property or a mortgage, and when you say it’s no problem, their relief is so rewarding. 

The one fear is when you hear a client say that they’ve been speaking to their boss or a chap down the pub or at the school gates… because every situation is completely different. Everything is subtly nuanced, especially now with the market being so up and down. No two mortgages are the same and there’s no such thing as a ‘vanilla’ mortgage.

What exactly does a mortgage broker do?

Very simply I am the go-between to get you a mortgage. I sit down with you and go through your background and your finances. Most importantly, I find out what your plans and aspirations are. 

I want to know how long you’re planning to stay in your house – will it be a long period or is this property a stepping stone? After finding out all this information I assess your needs and explore affordability from a lender’s perspective. I will fit you with a mortgage lender that suits your specific needs or requirements. 

A mortgage advisor is here to take all of the worry and the headache away from you. We do all the research and all the legwork. We talk to the business development managers and the telephone teams at the lenders and ask them questions to decide which one is going to be the most suitable. 

It’s not just about the cheapest mortgage. In a perfect world, it would be fantastic to get you the cheapest mortgage at the cheapest rate, but the more realistic way to look at it is that we get you or a mortgage that fits your criteria and is the most affordable.

What’s the difference between going to a mortgage broker like Grand Union versus your local high street lender?

A mortgage broker is a one-stop shop. We have access to the market of mortgage lenders. If you go to a high street lender whether it’s HSBC, TSB, Lloyds, Santander Barclays…. You walk in, make an appointment. You’re possibly going to have to wait two weeks to meet an advisor. You’re going through your information with them – and if for any reason the computer says no and you can’t get a mortgage with them, you have to do the whole process again with another lender. 

Whereas with me, I take that information from you and then go to the whole of the mortgage market to work out which lender is going to fit your situation.

What services does a mortgage broker offer?

We sit front and centre alongside the estate agent and the solicitor. Those are the three pillars when you’re getting a mortgage. We liaise with your estate agents to relieve some of the stress – we’ll give them the Decision in Principle and see what other information they need. 

Once you’ve had your offer accepted we’ll talk to them about the timescales with their client – the vendor – to see when they’re looking to get an exchange in place. We do the same with the solicitors as well. 

A lot of people think that as a broker, once the mortgage offer is given by the lender that’s the end, but in fact we are the backbone of the process. We keep pushing things along because timescales can slip all too easily. 

What is an Agreement in Principle?

It’s a certificate from a lender stating that they are prepared to lend you a certain amount. I present them with the information you’ve given me and they might say they are happy to lend you £200,000, for example, at X rate over X period of time. 

As long as there are no skeletons in the closet, it will go through. So a Decision in Principle is a rubber stamp saying that you’re good for a mortgage.

There’s no differentiation between a First Time Buyer or a home mover – it’s just as important in both situations. One of the first things an estate agent will ask you is whether you have a mortgage in principle. Without that, your ability to move forward quickly is restricted. 

Estate agents are working for the vendor, and they want things to move as quickly as possible. So they will push forward the best purchaser. That might be a First Time Buyer as they’re chain free. Most importantly, it will be someone that has been vetted financially by a broker. 

The Agreement in Principle gives them that peace of mind – as brokers we’ve seen bank details and credit history which reassures the estate agent and the vendor.

Do you find that people come back to you for remortgaging or possibly Buy to Let properties?

Buy to Let lending is one of my specialist areas. I’ve built up relationships with my clients and many of them have gone from First Time Buyers through to remortgaging and moving on to their next property, as well. 

Specifically in Buy to Let I’ve built up a lot of clients who come back to me time and time again for new purchases.

Can you advise on mortgage protection?

I can’t stress enough how important this is. It includes straightforward life protection, where if you or your partner were to pass away, you will receive a lump sum to use as you see fit. 

If I’m advising you about a mortgage and purchasing a property, you’re getting into hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of debt. So you need to protect it. If you were to pass away, how is your partner going to cover that mortgage and keep the home?

If you developed a critical illness, again, how are you going to cover those mortgage payments? These things are ultra important. Covid and other things recently have brought income protection to the fore. Some people only have three months of sick pay, after which if they’re not able to go back to work they’re reliant on statutory sick pay, which is not a lot of money at all.

Those are the main three types of protection. You might think it’s not going to happen to you, but that’s not the right attitude. I have a really nice client who’s come back a few times now for remortgaging. His wife was recently diagnosed with stage four skin cancer and that hit me for six, because I had built up a great relationship with these people. 

Their critical illness cover paid out without question, which was excellent. They had brilliant support from the NHS plus support from Guardian, the insurers, in the background. They provided counselling and various other things. 

The most fantastic thing is that she has made a full recovery. And of course the provider won’t ask for that money back. It was stage 4 cancer which means an immediate payout. The clients were able to clear their mortgage debt completely and as a family unit they were able to concentrate on getting her back to full health.

When should I see a mortgage broker?

As soon as possible. Without understanding how much you can borrow, it’s pointless going out to look at houses. Your heart’s going to run away with you – you’ll find the dream house, but what if we then find you can’t borrow enough to buy it?

So to make your life easier, speak to a mortgage broker as soon as possible. Even if you’re not ready to buy yet, we will be pleased to help. The months will go past in the blink of an eye and it gives us time to build a strategy for you. If we need to look at your finances and get them in better shape, we can. You might have a credit card debt that will ideally need to be reduced or paid off for you to be able to afford a mortgage. 

It’s much better to go out into the market knowing that you can borrow £250,000 for example, that you’ve got £50,000 as a deposit so you can buy a property at £300,000.

It means you’re not looking at houses or flats you can’t afford, but also building a battle plan. We can get you the mortgage you need in a timescale that suits you. The worst thing in the world is someone coming to me having fallen in love with a house and me having to tell them it’s not possible without clearing a credit card debt or a car loan first.

Does it cost for an initial consultation with you?

Your initial consultation is absolutely free. We can talk through things – that first conversation is just getting to know you and what you’re wanting to do. It sounds obvious – you want to buy a house. But it’s more nuanced than that. 

There are often things you need to address before you can get to that stage. So I’ll book you in for a face-to-face chat or a Zoom call and we will then go through a fact find together. Then I will go away and do my research in the market and come back with my recommendations. 

Once you’re happy, I will proceed to the Decision in Principle and you can go and look at as many houses as you want. You find a property, the offer is accepted and that’s when the ball really starts rolling. 

We put in the full application with all the documentation that supports it. If the lender has any questions I’m there to take the headache away from you. I can bat any questions back to the lender very easily. I also liaise with the solicitors and the estate agents. 

Then, once the lender has come back with the mortgage offer, we can look at your mortgage protection, buildings and contents insurance for the property. At exchange of contract you need buildings insurance, because at that point the house is effectively yours. From there it’s normally 7 to 14 days for handover of keys.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

The press and the media are superb at portraying doom and gloom in the market right now [podcast recorded in June 2023]. It is difficult out there, so if you’re remortgaging please don’t leave it to the last minute. Get that ball rolling as soon as possible. You can book your remortgage up to six months ahead, and lock a new rate in at that point. 

Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. 

You may have to pay an early repayment charge to your existing lender if you remortgage.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up with your mortgage repayments. 

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate most Buy to Let Mortgages.

Mortgage brokers help you to navigate through each stage of searching for a mortgage, below are some of the advantages:

  • A mortgage broker offers a wide range of mortgage loans from a number of different lenders because they are not just tied to one product, they can search their network to find you the loan product and the interest rate that best suits your needs.
  • A mortgage broker represents your interests rather than that of the lenders. 
  • A mortgage broker can navigate you through any mortgage process situation:  Any bumps along the way they have experience of dealing with.
  • With a mortgage broker you only need one application, rather than multiple forms for each individual lender, reducing the paperwork. 
  • Brokers calculate the total cost of the loan including any fees and charges you may not have considered. 
  • Using a broker makes the journey much easier and they can advise and guide you throughout the application process. 

The process for finding a mortgage using a mortgage broker is very straightforward. The mortgage broker acts as the go-between from the borrower to the lender. You don’t actually speak to the lender during the mortgage process when you use a broker – they handle it all for you!

Your mortgage broker will gather all the information that they need from you after agreeing to work with you. This will include your employment information, savings and account balances, credit reports and more. This will all be used to assess your ability to get a mortgage in the first place. 

At Grand Union Financial we don’t just help first time buyers achieve their dream home, we are also here to help with other mortgage and loan applications.

We’re specialists in business, asset and property finance too!

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