I have been doing battle with mortgage applications and may have just rescued things from the brink but feeling completely disillusioned with First Direct – they took 15 mins to answer the phone and things got worse from there! They wouldn’t discuss our account at first because my husband got one of the security questions ‘wrong’ (it turned out eventually that he’d given them the correct information with some additional, extra information and so the computer said “no”).
We had contacted First Direct, our current mortgage lender, right at the start of our building project – to check how much extra money we could borrow to finance the extension. Because it is 16 years since we bought this house, and we’ve switched to a repayment mortgage, this total amount we want to borrow is less than half the property’s current value. We also have an endowment maturing in May that should cover the rest of the cost, with some spare for contingency.
The bank eventually gave us a figure that they were prepared to lend to us, which we’ve been using as a guide for what we can afford in drawing up the plans.
Understandably, First Direct also said they would need to see copies of planning permission and quotes from at least two building firms before releasing funds. They then tried to give us the money a couple of weeks later, while we tried to explain that it would take a while to get the plans drawn up and approved as well as getting the quotes.
Fourteen months later, after many delays and much heartache, we are finally ready to proceed. We’ve now found out that despite our incomes going up (very slightly) the amount they are prepared to lend to us has gone down (very drastically!) and is nowhere near the amount we needed to proceed.