Those of us with mortgages or hoping to secure a new one at the best deal will be pleased at the latest reports predicting that interest rates are likely to hold until next year. But we at Bargate want to warn homebuyers not to be complacent. Mortgages may be competitive, but the process of actually getting approval is long and tortuous and may cause some to miss out on their dream homes. The best advice we can give for people to avoid this heartbreak is to get their mortgage secured in principle before they start to look. Bargate Homes Sales and Marketing Director Robert Lambie said: “Whilst we do all we can to help, buying a new home can still be stressful and the mortgage companies are not making that process any easier. “As is the industry norm we expect exchange within 28 days of accepting an offer, but the average time for a mortgage to be approved is nearer six weeks – sometimes even longer. “The best advice we can give is to be prepared and get your mortgage agreed before you look to buy, that way you reduce the worry of whether you will be accepted and how much you can borrow.” New rules brought in last year by the Financial Conduct Authority have seen lenders quizzing borrowers on all their outgoings as well as monthly income, this can include questions on costs of travelling to work, childcare, energy bills, gym memberships and even specific payments made on a credit card. It’s no longer a case of having a good credit score and providing bank statements. Robert added: “This process is understandably stressful and takes a long time, but if you have an approved mortgage in place before you see your dream home, that will ease the process significantly and can ultimately mean you don’t miss out.”