Mystery Shopper: Wigan

Mystery shopper

Independent: Gannon Lindsay Wray, Old Brewery Stables, 40c Warrington Lane, Wigan WN1 3RT

Speed of response: Time of call: 11.34am. Two rings. 5/5

Telephone Manner: Relatively friendly and helpful. 4/5

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Relevant Qualifications: The adviser refused to disclose his exact qualification and just said that he was fully trained to give financial advice. 1/5

Payment Method: No upfront fee and in most cases the lender will pay a portion or the entire procuration fee. 5/5

Guidance Given: The adviser explained that lenders asked for at least a 30 per cent deposit. He also said that most buy-to-let mortgages were mostly done on interest only, as there was not much sense taking a repayment mortgage if you did not live there and needed the money for maintenance purposes and other things. The best option, he added, was to use this extra money to buy more properties. 4/5

Knowledge: The adviser spoke of his perception of the buy-to-let market and its developments, while also providing a basic understanding of what lenders tended to demand and look for. 4/5

E-mail/Web presence: / 5/5

Verdict: The adviser provided a fairly comprehensive explanation of how the buy-to-let market worked and made a relatively positive impression.


Independent: L R Finance, 30 Hallgate, Wigan WN1 1LR

Speed of response: Time of call: 11:45am. Two rings, answered by receptionist and then after a short wait put through to an adviser. 5/5

Telephone Manner: Very professional, friendly, helpful and engaging. 5/5

Relevant Qualifications: Level four diploma. 5/5

Payment Method: Adviser fee of £250 to be paid on completion. 5/5

Guidance Given: The adviser explained that buy-to-let lenders had different criteria to standard residential mortgages and would unlikely lend to anyone who did not already have a mortgage, 28 per cent deposit money and a minimum income of £25,000. She also said that most requested evidence of a three month emergency fund just in case the house remained empty or the tenant could not pay rent. 4/5

Knowledge: The adviser knew her stuff and answered all of the shopper’s questions with clarity. 4/5

E-mail/Web presence: 5/5

Verdict: Very professional and helpful. The adviser went through all the options and was very clear and thorough in her explanations.


Independent: Diverse Financial Planning, 19 Holme Avenue, Wigan WN1 2EH

Speed of response: Time of call: 11.54am. Four rings. 5/5

Telephone Manner: Polite and talkative. 4/5

Relevant Qualifications: Level four diploma. 5/5

Payment Method: The lender procuration fee, of about 3.5 per cent, meant shopper did not need to pay anything. 5/5

Guidance Given: The adviser explained some basic points of criteria, such as that rental income needed to be 125 per cent above mortgage payments and that the bigger the deposit the better the interest rate. He said that most lenders wanted at least a 20 per cent deposit and that some would also check each applicant’s income levels. Interest only mortgages, he added, would keep costs down but repayment mortgages were best, more secure and preferred by lenders.3/5