Given how far we’ve come in other areas of personal finance such as mobile payments, money transfer and digital banking, it’s hard to believe that until last year you were still unable to apply for a mortgage entirely online.
Yes, you could transfer cash to your mate via SMS, switch on your central heating via your smartphone and pay for your lunchtime sarnie with a tap of your watch. But mortgages were firmly stuck in the technological dark ages – and ripe for a spot of serious digital disruption.
Traditional mortgage brokers – all pain, no gain
Before online, fee-free mortgage broker habito launched in early 2016, hopeful home buyers needed to either queue up at the bank, wait on hold for a call-centre mortgage broker and/or book an appointment to see a mortgage adviser in person, who often charged an eye-watering fee of £200 or more.
And once you finally got over that first application hurdle, progress would be held up by mountains of paperwork, drip-fed updates and months of waiting. And all the while, of course, you’d be left wondering whether that ‘special deal’ you got was really as good as the adviser made it sound. In short, the traditional mortgage application process was painful, pricey and full of potential pitfalls.
Putting customers back in control
Thanks to the arrival of habito and others, the process of purchasing a property has now become a lot less painful, saving customers time, money, effort and stress – and letting them get on with the really important things. Like picking which shade of buttercream yellow to paint the new kitchen!
But how have online brokers such as habito solved the mortgage mess? Simply put, we’ve taken a lot of the traditional hassle out of home buying by using data to analyse the mountain of different mortgages on the market and find the perfect product for each individual. By harnessing the superhuman strength of cutting-edge technology and the human reassurance of industry-leading mortgage experts, you can now be sure you’re getting the very best deal for you – whether you’re a first-time buyer, moving home, remortgaging or simply taking back control of your finances.
Just think – you can finally say good riddance to spending your free time on endless paperwork, impenetrable information, interminable queues at the bank and unnecessary face-to-face chats. The future of mortgages is here and it’s fast, free and frictionless – as first-time buyer Juwon Layiwola found out.
Juwon was ready to own his own home, so he went to a traditional broker in east London because it was close to his work. But when he found out he was going to be charged £800 just to get an Agreement in Principle, he chose to go online instead because he could do the application any time he liked.
“I shared all of my financial details with habito online and they did the rest,” says Juwon. “No need to travel or meet anyone face-to-face. It was sorted quickly, I didn’t have to pay any broker fees and it was all done in a way that fitted in with my schedule. In 2017, you should be able to sort your mortgage from your mobile just like you do any other banking services.”
Traditional vs online mortgage brokers: the facts
Traditional mortgage brokers
- Customer fees are often high
- Analyse limited range of lenders
- Limited office hours
- Recommendation can take weeks
Online mortgage brokers
- Service is fee-free
- Analyse vast range of lenders
- Service available 24/7
- Recommendation within days
How online mortgage broking works
The mortgage industry is complicated, with nearly 100 lenders and 10,000 different products available to consumers in the UK – and that’s why the traditional system has been allowed to muddle through for so long. After all, unlike booking a flight, it’s not something you can just DIY. You have to be prepared!
While most high-street brokers will look at 11 to 12 lenders and process an application in two to three weeks, habito’s clever tech allows our mortgage experts to access and analyse every deal from more than 70 lenders in seconds, find the best match for home buyers and make an application online in record time. The process is completely impartial and never favours one lender over another – so no more estate agents pushing you towards their in-house brokers, and those brokers pushing certain products.
Plus, habito is always transparent about the rates and true costs. We exist solely to save you money, simplify the mortgage process and find the best rate available to match your circumstances. We cut through lenders’ teasers and spin to get down to the nitty-gritty, so you know exactly how much your mortgage will cost you.
We let homeowners know if a better rate is available through a lender we don’t have access to (there are only a few!) and even after you’ve got a mortgage with habito, we’ll alert you to when a better deal comes along so you never overpay.
Because habito is a digital mortgage broker, we don’t need to charge a hefty fee for helping people secure a mortgage. That’s right, our service is completely free from start to finish! We do get paid a small fee by the lenders for processing your mortgage application (it’s a fraction of a percent of the value of your mortgage), but we’ll always tell you exactly what we’re getting paid at the point of your application so you know the full story.
Brilliant, where do I sign up?
The best part is you can sign up with us on your desktop, phone or tablet, 24/7 – habito fits in with your lifestyle, not the other way round. After a conversation with our digital mortgage adviser to discuss your mortgage needs, we’ll find the best option for your individual circumstances and you can chat everything through with our mortgage experts via web chat every day. All from the comfort of your sofa.
How habito came about
So what brought about this long-overdue shake-up of the mortgage industry? As is so often the case, the ‘Eureka!’ moment started with a pain-in-the-neck problem: two years ago, habito founder Daniel Hegarty was left tearing his hair out when he found out firsthand just how fiendishly complicated and difficult the whole traditional mortgage process could be.
His ‘trusty’ mortgage adviser entered his details wrong not once, but twice – causing a hugely frustrating 10-day delay on both occasions. The double administrative screw-up ended up nearly costing Daniel his dream house – but it also got him thinking. With a background in technology and financial services, Daniel knew there had to be a better way. So he started with a blank canvas and rebuilt the mortgage broking process from first principles, with the customer firmly at the core.
Customer response so far shows that Daniel wasn’t the only one frustrated with the traditional mortgage broking system. Since habito launched in 2016, we have already helped more than 30,000 Britons better understand their mortgage needs and completed over £150 million in mortgage applications.
And not to blow our own trumpet too much, but the feedback has been pretty positive too – you can read what some of our happy customers have to say about us on Trustpilot.
Finally, in another big sign of confidence in what habito is doing, our impressive list of investors includes TransferWise CEO Taavet Hinrikus, Funding Circle founder Samir Desai and Paul Forster of indeed.com.
Still not convinced? Click on the video below and you can watch how three habito customers got on with making the switch from a traditional broker to managing their mortgage application online.
If you would like to try habito for yourself, for free, click here to get started!