IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN – BUT WE CAN CHANGE THAT

The recent crisis has made us all review the way we live our lives in some shape or form. Without getting too introspective, although the impact of the pandemic on our potential freedom and mortality has not radically changed the way I look at certain things, it has definitely made me far more appreciative of them.

One such area is the environment. The immediate change in our ecosystem was enlightening during the initial lockdown and whilst this hasn’t been forgotten in many quarters, other factors may have temporarily forced it down the agenda. This is understandable in such an uncertain world but it’s important to continue highlighting certain areas of this all-important environmental crusade when and where we can.

OPPORTUNITIES WILL CONTINUE TO EMERGE FOR LANDLORDS AS BTL CHOICE WIDENS

In last month’s article I looked at how landlords, lenders and the general buy-to-let market has had to adapt to changeable market conditions before, during and after the lockdown. During this, I touched upon how many first-time buyers have been hit with a double whammy as the availability of low-deposit deals has plummeted, while rates on those remaining have surged since lockdown. And it’s not only products across the residential mortgage market which are fluctuating.

WHAT DO CUSTOMERS REALLY WANT FROM THEIR BROKER IN THIS CHANGING LANDSCAPE?

By Caroline Mirakian, Head of National Accounts at Pepper Money

There is always uncertainty in life but providing professional financial advice at the time of a global pandemic can be a particular challenge. So, what do your clients really want, and expect from you in this changing landscape?

Here are four of our tips:

1.    Get back to basics

In a challenging environment, a good first step is to take a step back and focus on delivering the basics really well. This is a common approach taken in sport when a new coach takes over an ailing team, and it applies just as well to any profession going through an uncertain period – get the basics right and the rest will follow.

COULD Q4 PROVIDE THE MUCH NEEDED OPPORTUNITIES THAT LANDLORDS NEED RIGHT NOW?

As we close in on Q4, I’m sure many people would simply like to draw a line under 2020 and move on. However, there is another full quarter to deal with. Thankfully, we are now in a position where we can look forward with greater levels of optimism than previously seen at the beginning of the previous two quarters.

When it comes to buy-to-let, Q4 will be a quarter of opportunities for landlords as we continue to build on the large amount of resilience shown throughout the sector over the past six months. Despite some lingering – and justifiable – caution, we have seen a broadly upward trend in the number of available BTL products since May. Average rates remain highly competitive and lenders’ appetite for business has steadily grown over the Summer months.

GROWING BUY-TO-LET ACTIVITY PLACES EMPHASIS BACK ON THE ADVICE PROCESS

We can learn many different lessons during challenging times and what I have realised – both from the credit crunch and the recent pandemic – is that the advice process is more valuable than ever during a time when financial circumstances and outlooks can change so quickly. This is a hardly an earth-shattering discovery but focusing on the simple things can often prove to be the most effective.

HOW WILL CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR CHANGE FOLLOWING COVID-19?

By Caroline Mirakian, Head of National Accounts at Pepper Money

Life is beginning to grind back into gear, but it’s a different gear to the one in which we entered the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wearing face coverings on public transport and in shops, for example, will be part of life for quite some time and working from home will be a new reality for many.

AUGUST: THE MONTH OF OPPORTUNITY FOR LANDLORDS

We’ve already seen many landlords take advantage of the recent stamp duty changes to add to their existing portfolios, but there are also other benefits on offer. A lesser known knock-on effect from this tax break is that it can also provide landlords with the opportunity to incorporate existing properties into a limited company structure.

There has been much talk about the pros and cons of incorporating a property or portfolio into a limited company structure in recent times. By adding further monetary gain into this equation, all types of landlords are re-evaluating their positions to see if they would be better off operating as a limited company.

COULD COVID-19 RESULT IN MORE PEOPLE BECOMING RELIANT UPON THE RENTAL MARKET?

As we head into what we all hope will be a sensible exit from lockdown, it’s inevitable that the past few weeks immersed within the confines of our own homes will have changed the outlooks, priorities and material needs of many homeowners and renters. And it will be interesting to see how these factors could impact the property market.

There are also other factors to take into consideration. Will remote working change the way businesses run and provide greater flexibility for a larger proportion of the workforce, therefore influencing the way people do, or don’t, commute. Or maybe people will require another room to incorporate that new office and realise that their current space is not enough for their future needs.

PATIENCE REQUIRED AS BTL MARKET IS REIGNITED

In recent weeks I have spoken about the ways in which BTL lenders have been working hard behind the scenes to find alternative solutions to overcome ongoing valuation issues and restructure product ranges which better support landlords and the intermediary market. And this raft of planning was put into practice pretty much overnight as physical valuations were given the green light to proceed – albeit with safety measures and social distancing restrictions firmly in place to minimise any risks posed by Covid-19.

Inevitably, this was the trigger for a number of lenders to spring into action.  Apologies in advance if I miss any lenders off the list below, but it’s important to highlight those who have opened, or reopened, their doors as a result of this important turning point for the mortgage market. Not to mention the new product ranges on offer.

Pages