Lockdown Week No… I am sorry I haven’t a clue!

More ramblings from a Mortgage Adviser locked in his home office.

This wretched virus has to go through phases and so do we too.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing. As we drove back from the pre-Nightingale Excel on March 12th having done a Holiday Let show there, at no time did we say I don’t think we should have been in there. Things quickly turned and the following Monday I realised I was about to become familiar with life in an on-shore submarine. As I fed my fish in their aquarium, I sensed they were looking at me saying now you tell us how it feels Mr Fishkeeper.  All I could say was “Sorry little guys, I might have got this one wrong!”

Just to remind new readers, we are a boutique-style mortgage brokerage that helps movers, remortgagers, first time buyers and buy to let landlords with all their mortgage and insurance protection needs.

We have two specialist areas we work in.

Holiday lets and Professional Sportspersons. (The pesky corona virus must be laughing at our choice of specialisms, but we will have the last laugh you bad little guy!) 

But of course, it has been fine really. We are more privileged than most and I respect that. I work from home anyway so that was not a problem. Except I do not have the safety valve to leave my office completely for a period. And of course, you do not get to see folk face to face. 

We have a lovely garden and the family and friends are well. My genuine sympathies to any reader who for many reasons might be struggling. Our administrator, Lauren, was explaining to me how difficult it is to explain to a one year old why he cannot see his pals and his lovely family. My 94 old mum gets it one day and is completely confused by it all the next day. “I have put on a smart dress just in case anyone calls in”, She will say.

We will have to get used to a different way of working.

Fortunately, we were already familiar with Zoom, Teams and others. They have a place for sure, an older vulnerable customer wont want the likes of me in his or her house for many a month but in many cases they will now be happy talking on Zoom and everyone will win, if for example they want Equity Release help.

So, what phase have I reached.

Well, we are in a good routine now; exercise has increased 100% and every day there is plenty of work to be done.

We have had plenty of remortgage enquiries and a continual task is to make sure existing customers with maturing deals get properly cared for. People call me and talk about their plans for the future but of course we are surmising about that. Lenders stack up cases ready to be valued in May, June, July or whenever.

On the lender front more are coming back to market with 75%, 80% and even 90% deals. Of course, there will be a hold as we wait for human valuers to be allowed in houses to value the home where the loan to value is typically 75% or more.

I talked of routine and apart from pedalling my exercise bike I am using any spare time to read and learn more about my lenders and products.

Joe and I need to emerge from this time leaner and fitter and knowing more.

I listen to blogs by mortgage brokers who are trying to teach me to be a better mortgage broker. A bit old dog and new tricks methinks but, seriously, every day is a school day and there are always new ideas to listen to.

Regular readers will know of my dislike of the phrase mortgage holiday and the same applies to me. Joe and I have chosen not to apply the F word and we remain open for business and keen to be in a state of readiness for some form of normality returns.

I conclude today by thanking you for your time. Stay safe please and thanks to all special people who are risking their lives to sort this out and keep us well. We will get there.

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