Maybe you’ve heard of them, maybe you haven’t, but buying a home is the biggest purchase of anyone’s life and the mortgage and therefore the mortgage brokers need to be 100% up to scratch.
In the age where everything is moving online [you probably already do your banking online, am I right] why not your mortgage too?
In today’s article we do a ‘hands on’, top down review of Habito showing you what you need to know before you apply and what to expect if you do…
We examine the mortgages they can provide but importantly the rates they offer with them.
We blow open credit checking/scoring in general and tell you when and where your credit file is accessed and if anything is ‘left’ on it ‘.
But to top it off we provide you with some secret market research to see if Habito passes our very own homegrown customer service test.
Short on time…here’s the Bottom Line!
Looking for a hassle free mortgage for your dream home or a buy to let, then this is for you. Saving money by being exclusively online, in seconds and with under 10 clicks Habito can provide you with mortgage products from around 90 lenders. And they do all that without a mark being left on your credit file – FOR FREE.
After finding the mortgage you want either yourself, or with the help of someone on the phone, you can then apply and Habito states the process only takes around 4 weeks.
They even offer to sort out all your legal and conveyancing for you for, there is a charge for that, but the fee is a simple transparent one.
Thinking of joining the 350,000 people who’ve already signed up to Habito – Britain’s 2020 winner of the Best Mortgage Broker Award.
What Services are on Offer?
Habito haven’t just gone online, they’ve also turned the industry on its head. Gone are the days when if you wanted a mortgage you had to ring up the bank, wait days for an appointment, turn up with all your printed paperwork, spend an hour + with an advisor, leave and then sit fingers crossed, waiting for the news whether you’d be accepted. I mean nowadays even finding parking on the high street leaves most people red in the face.
Well Habito thinks they’ve cracked it by taking all the stress out of finding a mortgage. They offer mortgages for first time buyers who have found their dream home. They offer ‘re mortgages’ for those who want to borrow more money. And landlords they have you covered too, offering a range of Buy to Let (BTL) mortgages; for you to start a property portfolio or grow your existing one.
They also offer a very unique service called ‘Habito Plus’, this is so interesting we had to cover this in depth later on in the article, but essentially it’s where they handle all the admin of buying a property, so that’s your survey and legal stuff. Sounds too good to be true…..
How Habito Works
So you know they offer mortgages, but let’s go back a stage. How and when did they start? Because our first thought was, everything is online now after the pandemic, that’s not so amazing…
Ok so Habito were actually online way back in 2016 gaining some serious startup investment from some of the biggest names on the globe [no pressure then] and have been tried and tested since then by over 120,000 customers. OK I thought, you have our attention, that’s pretty impressive.
Then in March 2020 at the British Banking Awards they won the big one, they won the ‘best mortgage broker award’, which speaks volumes.
Money talks – How much does Habito cost?
Lets myth bust for a moment – Habito are a broker, meaning they are middle men & women and as such does it cost more to use them rather than going direct?
The answer is flat no. Habito can offer much cheaper mortgages being online as they dont then need a branch on every high street [& the staff to run them] so the question is, do you really mind where your mortgage broker is…?
How do I use Habito?
Jump onto their site to find a new mortgage and you have to click just 4 buttons to answer a few quick questions [to point you in the right direction] before you get to this page:
Click another 8 buttons and you’re presented with all the mortgages for you, matching your exact requirements.
For us there were 28 to choose from and it wasn’t banks and lenders I’ve never heard of either, all the big name high street banks and building societies were there.
I’m not going to name names but the largest mortgage provider in the UK was listed, with a cracking deal for me!
So how do they do it?
They are able to find up to 90 mortgage deals for applicants within seconds by using their own cunning piece of technology. They scour every lenders website in real time to offer you the best deal there and then. It’s that simple.
Then after you have found the perfect mortgage, in the final section you should get ready for questions like your
- employment status
- dependents [if any]
- debts [if any] & spending habits.
You are going to be asked for documents, that’s all standard practise don’t worry, but if you don’t have a scanner or printer then download an app on your phone or tablet that converts a picture into a PDF.
They are super simple and free to download and there are a bunch of apps doing this. That will save you heaps of time in our experience.
So what everyone wants to know is:
How long does a Habito mortgage take?
Habito claims the whole process from enquiry to fully approved is just 4 weeks.
Does Habito run a credit check?
Only once you have found the mortgage that’s perfect for you will Habito apply for the Mortgage in Principle where your credit file will be accessed and a ‘footprint’ left. Up to that point your credit file is left well alone.
Is Habito safe?
Habito is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority [FCA] and is on the financial services register.
Can I get a mortgage in principle from Habito?
If you aren’t ready for the full mortgage application Habito offers a mortgage in principle. This feature [and it’s actually a certificate] will tell you plainly how much you could borrow and with what interest rate. It’s like getting a thumbs up so you can either then go off and find the home you want to buy; knowing exactly what your price range is.
Or if you’ve already found the home you want you could go straight ahead and place an offer down!
A mortgage in principle makes you look serious in the eyes of the estate agent or whoever is selling the home you want to buy. If they can see you’ve got a mortgage in principle and are serious you might be able to even command a better price too. Think about it…
There is no feeling in the world like finding a home you know you’ll love forever, with a mortgage in principle and telling them ‘i’ll take it!’
The mortgage in principle is firstly free and secondly does not involve a credit check. Honestly you should get one regardless, it only takes like 5 minutes!
Ok so we mentioned this above and you did read everything correctly, Habito [and this is the first time we have ever heard of anything even remotely like this] will do all your home buying admin for you. Quite a big statement, so what does that include?
Habito Plus Includes:
- Well that’s the mortgage, [naturally as you’d expect from a mortgage broker!] but they also handle the property survey.
- An expert will visit the property and complete a detailed assessment. After all, you’d want to know the condition of something before you spend all that money, we aren’t all experts on everything, let the professionals handle that bit for you.
- So as well as the mortgage and the survey, they also take care of the solicitor for you as you are going to need someone to handle the legal contracts etc.
- But don’t worry you aren’t going to have the survey report and legal team in your face as Habito will assign you a case manager whose job it is to relay all this stuff to you. That’s one less headache. I wonder if they will ever get into the removals business too…?!
Habito Plus Costs
OK so Habito plus isn’t free, the rest of the Habito products and services have all been free up to now. Habito Plus starts at £2,000 and they even state on their website the average cost for all of this is £2,400. It’s completely transparent as they break that fee down for you so you know what you are getting. We like this, as hidden costs and charges drive us all mad.
Fake reviews bother everyone, not just us. It’s become a ‘given’ that sellers of anything will have a few 5 star reviews from family and friends. It’s now the way of the world.
Verified purchases are great for weeding even this out though, this is where you have to actually have purchased the item or service in order to have a ‘verified review’. Amazon and a few others now do this.
Chances are though you’ve heard of ‘Trust Pilot’, so for arguments sake let’s use them to assess Habitos reviews.
4.8 out of 5 speaks for itself, that’s very high. Trustpilot themselves call that ‘excellent’ and that’s not just 1 or 2 reviews either, that’s averaged over 5+ thousand at the time of writing this. And here’s us thinking people only went online to have a moan, but Habito has a ton of nicely written, lengthy positive reviews.
Can’t fake that, they must be doing something right. Infact with reviews as good as that they must be doing something better than just ‘right’! Well done to them.
Our Habito Test
Ok above I mentioned that when we review companies, we like to do our own little homemade test. Its quite simple, it involves us thinking up a fairly obscure question but something relevant, it’s usually an FAQ to help someone out in infairness.
Then we email this cheeky question straight to them and start the stopwatch! We then wait for the response to come in [and they dont alway reply!] and we then rate them on the time taken to reply to our query but ALSO on the quality of the response. i.e does it answer our question or not?
Now Habito staff work 9am to 9pm [5pm on Fridays] but there is a chatbot online 24/7. The chat bot will actually ‘talk’ you through all your mortgage requirements, expect 1 or 2 personal questions too.
Anyway our question was handled by the chatbot and the result came back within seconds. Pretty cool actually as normally we hate those things.
EXTRA Habito Test
We did carry out a little undercover case study and the results might be of interest. The mission was clear. Find a mortgage through Habito and then go on that lender’s own website with the same details and see if we could get it cheaper?
So one of the offers available to us through Habito was a mortgage with Nationwide. So we got to work. We knew all the details, so we only had to input those details into Nationwide’s website to get our results.
For transparency i’ll include the details below:
We said we were first time buyers, the property we wanted to buy was £200,000 and we had a 20% deposit (40k). We also wanted to throw in a curve ball and make it more interesting so said we wanted the mortgage rate fixed for 2 years.
Exactly the same rate interest rate with exactly the same monthly repayments.To.The.Pound!
We were very very surprised! So lenders actually offer Habito applicants the same deals they offer their own customers?! Wow.
Ok but the same price, that’s not a saving, so why use Habito then? It comes down to time. You don’t want to have to put all your details in again and again, over and over, into 90 lenders websites, you’d go stir crazy! Let alone that would take all day. Using Habito means you have it all there in seconds – for free.
Habito vs Traditional Mortgage Brokers
Habito offers mortgages for house purchases, remortgages and Buy to Lets exclusively online. Helping them keep costs down. How does that compare to high street mortgage brokers, well it just saves time. You can do the whole application from your couch, online, in just a few minutes.
Someone commented saying ‘and you can ask stupid question online without feeling silly’ and we have to agree with that, its so much easier!
Online Mortgage Broker Comparison: Habito vs ‘Others’
There are others! You have both ‘Trussle’ and ‘MortgageGym’ who all compete with Habito in the online mortgage space.
Trussle actually started before Habito, only slightly before, in December of 2015. They have property portal Zoopla onboard and so they show properties that would be suitable to applicants, price wise, based on their borrowing requirements. [Nothing you can’t actually do yourself, on Zoopla or even RightMove however]
MortgageGym has credit reference agency ‘Experian’ onboard so they can recommend products based on your credit score.
If you want a fast, online award winning mortgage broker with all the annoying industry jargon removed and help along the way, they are well worth it. You don’t pay them a penny and they do all the hard work, why wouldn’t you?