Mortgages  

Mystery Shopper: St Albans

This week the mystery shopper is in St Albans, Hertfordshire. He is seeking advice on investing in a buy-to-let, primarily to provide an income in retirement as he does not have a pension. A single, 48-year-old, self-employed IT worker, he has a remaining mortgage debt of around £20,000 on his current home worth around £450,000, as well as £20,000 saved for a deposit. He has earnt £50,000 each year for the past 10 years since becoming a self-employed sole trader.

Adviser (Independent)

KDW, 2nd Floor, Centurion House, 136-142 London Road, St Albans, Herts, AL1 1PQ

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SPEED OF RESPONSE

Time of call: 2.39pm.

The call was answered after two rings.

5/5

TELEPHONE MANNER

Pleasant, articulate and confident.

5/5

RELEVANT QUALIFICATIONS

CeMAP mortgage advice qualification and Diploma in financial advice.

5/5

PAYMENT METHOD

First meeting free. No charge for mortgage advice as lender pays adviser a percentage of the loan amount.

5/5

GUIDANCE GIVEN

Despite the shopper saying it was too late to save for a pension, the adviser said he should not discount it, though she estimated he may probably only get a pot of around £60,000 by imagined retirement age of 65. But she said it may be possible to do both buy-to-let and pension. She went through the tax implications of both.

The adviser explained that lenders would expect a deposit of 25 per cent on a buy-to-let property, but that the shopper could raise money remortgaging his home to top up deposit saving.

She said a lot would depend on the shopper’s income expectations and needs, which would have to be discussed.

4/5

KNOWLEDGE

The adviser had a firm grip on the relevant factors in making such a decision over retirement planning, and made her points concisely and clearly.

4/5

EMAIL/WEB PRESENCE

lucy@kdw.co.uk

www.kdw.co.uk

5/5

VERDICT

Impressive. The adviser gave information with clarity and confidence, clearly identifying areas that required advice.

TOTAL SCORE 33/35

Adviser (Independent)

Adviceworks, 52A High St, Redbourn, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL3 7LN

SPEED OF RESPONSE

Time of call: 3.12pm.

The call was answered after two rings.

5/5

TELEPHONE MANNER

Welcoming and comfortingly authoritative.

5/5

RELEVANT QUALIFICATIONS

Level 4 Diploma in financial planning.

5/5

PAYMENT METHOD

First meeting free. £150 per hour for advice.

5/5

GUIDANCE GIVEN

The adviser went through the pros and cons of pensions and buy-to-let, covering tax angles as well as how pensions freedoms may help the shopper’s situation. He also emphasised that being a higher rate taxpayer, the shopper would still benefit from higher rate relief.

He warned that buy-to-let was not as easy as it appeared, and explained his own experience. He pointed out that the return will be reduced if the shopper cannot afford time to manage it himself and appoint an agent. He also said current deposit would probably mean it was better to remortgage his own home to fund purchase.

5/5

KNOWLEDGE

The adviser touched on the intricacies of tax planning, comparing buy-to-let and pensions in a calm, authoritative manner.

4/5

EMAIL/WEB PRESENCE

ian@adviceworkd.co.uk

www.adviceworks.co.uk

5/5

VERDICT

His practical experience of buy-to-let particularly resonated. He covered a great deal in a relatively short time without seeming to rush through the issues.

TOTAL SCORE 34/35

Adviser (Independent)

IPFC, Faulkner House, Victoria Street, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 3SN