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Over the last 9 years as a homeowner I've held mortgages with 3 companies, the Nationwide, the Halifax and now Intelligent Finance (also part of Halifax plc) I have had very positive experiences with all three companies, but Intelligent Finance (IF from here on) have excelled themselves.
How much does it cost? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As is normal these days, the re-mortgage process costs nothing - There is a valuation fee to pay up front, but this is refunded to your IF account 10 days after completion. To start the ball rolling I spent 60 minutes with my financial adviser, who answered all my questions regarding the product(s), discovered what I wanted in detail (even silly things like "So what do you want to name your savings account?") - And phoned IF for me which took about 30 minutes while they tried to sell the usual insurance products that I already had. The use of the adviser costs nothing too – He is paid by IF for introducing me to the company and making the sale.
How do things proceed? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The survey company phoned and took payment about 4 hours after the above-mentioned meeting, and the booking for the surveyor was made the following day. The survey itself was completed 2 days after that (And agreed exactly with our own valuation, which was nice; Yes, we were sent a copy of the valuation which is unusual.)
The paperwork arrived within a week, and was not too bad as paperwork goes. Most of it was filled in already, and following step-by-step lists of how to proceed make the process a breeze. We were away for a week at this point, but in our absence, the offer was made by IF, a redemption statement requested, the deeds sent out to us etc...
All in all an excellent process and amazing service, hassle-free the whole way.
So why bother, easy though it is? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As I mentioned, I’ve re-mortgaged before – The main reason to do so is to save money. However rich you are, there is no point in throwing away that hard-earned cash. Most of the time, there is one offer or another available on the market, which will give you a lower rate than you are already paying.
IF are currently offering 4.9%APR, discounted to 3.35% for 3 months!
Additionally, they (mortgage companies that is) generally allow you to raise extra capital if you have equity in your property. We paid for a new kitchen and bathroom in this way.
Other services ~~~~~~~~~~~ The big difference offered by IF is the ability to combine other services with your mortgage, and save money by doing so. You can open current account, savings accounts, credit-card account and loan accounts with them as well as the mortgage (In fact, you don’t even have to have the mortgage.)
IF then combines all of the balances, positive and negative, and either pays their best rate of interest on positive balances, or charges their lowest rate of interest on negative balances; In my case, the mortgage ensures a negative balance, so I pay 4.9% interest on my credit card etc... Neat huh?
Note that their site claims that you can get 0% on credit cards and loans – This is true, but only by way of not earning the best rate elsewhere on another negative balance, and by not seeing any interest paid on positive balances; I think my example above is the best way to look at it :-)
At the time of writing: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Credit cards and loans are charged at 8.9% Current account interest is 3.2% Savings account interest is 3.8%
Overall. ~~~~~ In the past I avoided these shared-product mortgages as being "too new", but was persuaded to give it a go, and am looking forward to spending the money I save. I must add that this product suits ME. That doesn't mean it is right for YOU! I am not a financial adviser!