James Hutchinson – Mortgage Broker In Leicester

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Meet James Hutchinson

James Hutchinson from Status Mortgage Services introduces the Leicester-based branch and talks us through the services offered by a mortgage broker. Listen below.

What exactly is the role of a mortgage broker?

Officially, we broker a mortgage between a client and a lender. But for me, it’s about achieving the goals of each client. Ten years ago, before the Mortgage Credit Directive it was probably a little easier to get a mortgage, but there can be a lot of obstacles now that need navigating.

It’s my job to identify those and get clients to the right place and save them time and money.

I have access to over 70 lenders which makes it easy to get each client the most suitable deal to take them forward.

For First Time Buyers, if you’ve never done something before it really helps to have someone giving you reassurance and guidance at every step. My job is to make sure you are comfortable with what you’re doing, as buying a home is a big step.

What’s the difference between going to a mortgage broker vs your local high street bank?

If you go to a bank you can only choose from their products. How would you know that a bank down the road hasn’t got better options for you? You’ll be choosing one bank or institution whereas someone like me can talk to 70 lenders at once.

A bank will also only have a certain amount of time to spend on you. They’ve got other clients and responsibilities. Meanwhile I will spend as much time as is needed to make sure that you are comfortable and that we get the right deal first time.

Plus, there are often exclusive deals for brokers that you just can’t access by going direct.

What services does a broker provide?

Often people think that mortgage brokers only deal with mortgages, but we can help in a much wider sense. One example is debt consolidation. People might have £20,000 of debt and decide that it is easier to add this to their mortgage and pay it off more slowly, in a single monthly payment. This isn’t right for everyone, as it becomes secured debt, but I would go through the calculations to make sure it’s in the best interests of that client.

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

We also advise on life insurance, income protection, critical illness cover and other general insurance. I also have good contacts for people with solicitors, surveyors and anyone else you might need to talk to during the house buying process.

Why is mortgage protection important?

This is something I’m really passionate about and I’m often asked if I find it hard to talk to people about dying. My answer – I’d find it a lot harder talking to a widow who finds themselves trying to cope with their terrible loss whilst having the additional worry of how they will make ends meet financially – With life assurance, they could be fully concentrating on the most important thing – Grieving.

I tell clients my own personal story to help make this real. My dad unfortunately got Motor Neurone Disease and had no life insurance. If he had been covered, firstly, he probably could have got a terminal payment that would have made the last months of his life a lot more comfortable. Secondly, it would have supported my mum, who ended up working four jobs after he passed away.

I personally have had cancer twice, which I’m quite open about. The thing that kills me now is that I’ve got two young girls and, even as someone who even sells insurance, I can’t get myself insured because of my prior health problems.

My younger brother has Multiple Sclerosis and has unfortunately deteriorated quite a bit. He has been made redundant and again a critical illness payment could make all the difference. The point is that when people say to me that it will never happen, my answer is that it can and it did.

People also believe that insurers won’t pay out should they claim, but we keep a close eye on claims records and our insurers pay out over 94% of the time. Where they don’t, it is often because the policyholder hasn’t been entirely truthful about their situation.

We ensure our phones for £20 per month and our cars for £50 per month yet not our lives a lot of the time. But what’s going to have the biggest impact on your family should something go wrong? Life insurance isn’t actually for you, it’s for the people you leave behind.  

Speak To James

Our key aims are to fully understand what you are looking to achieve, create a solution tailored to your needs, deliver results through an excellent service and build a relationship for life.

How can a broker help First Time Buyers?

From a First Time Buyer’s point of view the key thing is to make sure what they’re looking for is affordable and give them any guidance that they need.

We will look at your situation and spend as much time as you need to talk through the process of buying a house. We’ll then get you an Agreement in Principle from a lender so that you are completely aware of how much you can afford to borrow.

When should I see a mortgage broker? At what stage in the process?

Honestly, I would say 10 seconds after you’ve decided that you want to buy a home. If you go out and start looking at houses before you’ve looked at your wages, your bills and everything else, it’s not a nice feeling if you’ve seen amazing places that just aren’t affordable to you.

But you can also go the other way. Some clients are surprised to find they can afford higher priced properties than they thought. We give you a clear insight into what is affordable.

People often speak to a mortgage adviser when they’re ready to make an offer, but it’s better to actually understand what’s in your range first of all. Then as a mortgage adviser we’d go through that journey with you.

You’re based in Leicester, but can you help somebody based elsewhere in the country?

Definitely. COVID has undoubtedly changed the world and from a broker’s point of view it opened up video calling on a much larger scale. As an example, my own mum struggled to send a text once upon a time, and now she’s a multi-platform video caller!

I’m a great believer in body language and face to face conversations. Video calling is no replacement for meeting in person but it comes a close second. It opens up the whole of the UK, so we can help people in any part of the country.

Why is Leicester a popular location to live and buy property?

Well, for one we have a decent football team now, which I am constantly reminded about by the Leicester City supporters around me. In recent years, Leicester has become a top 10 place to live in the UK for employment, health, income, leisure and housing affordability.

It’s home to thriving creative industries and the second largest cluster of retail businesses outside of London. There’s over 200 businesses trading in Leicester’s cultural quarter.

It is a massively culturally diverse place as well. You can enjoy the largest Caribbean carnival in the UK outside of London, or you could join the biggest Diwali celebrations outside of India. I absolutely love living somewhere so diverse.

Plus, we’re in the middle of England so there’s quick access everywhere. You can get to London now in just over an hour and Manchester and Birmingham in a similar time.

A friend of mine came to see me a couple of months ago. He lives in Walthamstow in London and asked what my house cost. When I told him he nearly fell off his chair. A £270,000 house in Leicester costs three quarters of a million in his area.

In terms of countryside it’s beautiful nearby and it’s only 45 minutes to the Peak District. So that’s what makes it a really popular place to live and also buy property.

Tell us more about Status Mortgage Services?

The main thing that we offer is knowledge. I have a breadth of expertise across many sectors. I’m dealing with the norm, the strange and the wonderful. I work on residential Buy to Let and semi-commercial mortgages.

Some Buy to Let mortgages are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Even on the odd occasion I haven’t come across a situation before I have 50 years worth of knowledge from the team at Status.

We really do care about our clients. I invest so much time to make sure my clients achieve their aims, and I’m genuinely delighted when they do. We get a lot of referrals from First Time Buyers because I explain things to them. A lot of buyers want to learn and understand why someone is doing something.

Lastly, if a client is not mortgageable now, I’ll be honest about it, but I’ll put a plan in place for them to get them into the right position to buy, including timelines. I make sure that people can achieve what they’re looking to do – and not just from a monetary point of view. It means a lot to me personally.

Why should a client choose you over another broker?

I’ve never had a mortgage be declined, so hopefully that’s a good sign. I also really believe that everyone deserves the right to own their own house, and will give 100% to every client to help achieve this. I lived in London for a long time, where I couldn’t afford to buy. Even as a broker I was 38 before I actually owned my own property and I definitely felt that frustration that so many do now.

I spend lots of time looking at government schemes that can help clients get on the property ladder. It’s just great when people who thought they’d never get a mortgage pick up the keys to their new home.

Does it cost for an initial consultation with you?

Not at all. Just to be clear, with protection there’s no fee at all. On mortgages, like most brokers we do charge a broker free, but only much later in the process. Everything is at my expense right up to the point of application. The reason is that if I’ve not done my job properly that client’s not going to apply for that mortgage. So it gives you reassurance that my fee will be worth it, because I am only going to get paid if I do a great job. It’s that simple, really.

An initial consultation is completely free so call me up. Have a conversation. You might have debt or be self-employed with just one year’s books… we’re asked these questions all the time. Even if we can’t help now we can signpost the way forward. We’re always happy to have a chat with anyone, anytime.

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