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Mystery shopper: West Midlands

Mystery shopper: West Midlands

Each week the mystery shopper seeks advice from independent and tied advisers in the UK. The aim is to find out whether advisers are delivering the goods when it comes to the all-important initial telephone contact between client and adviser. It is only intended to evaluate this first interview, and it is understood that further meetings would be necessary before final decisions could be made. The purpose is not to expose poor selling practices, but to show constructively any weaknesses in the advice process.

This week the shopper visits the West Midlands. The shopper and his brother seek a mortgage to purchase a property to the value of £290,000 with a £42,000 deposit. The shopper earns £34,000 with scope for commission capped at £3,000, while his brother earns £13,000 per annum in his part-time retail role. He also runs a graphic design business as a sole trader. He has been doing so for six months.

Adviser (Independent): Planning Together, The Exchange, 26 Haslucks Green Road, Shirley, West Midlands, Solihull, B90 2EL

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Speed of response:

Time of call: 2.13pm. Answered after three rings. 5/5

Telephone manner:

Friendly and helpful. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

Mortgage adviser. 5/5

Payment method:

Commission. 5/5

Guidance given:

When it comes to self-employed borrowers, most lenders would only consider those with at least two years' accounts, while some would settle for one year’s book, the adviser said. Using a mortgage calculator, the adviser generated a rough quote, but suggested arranging an initial meeting where he would conduct a comprehensive fact find.  3/5

Knowledge:

The adviser displayed good knowledge on the topic. He accurately explained that self-employed have a greater minimum deposit requirement than conventional mortgages. 4/5

Email/web presence:

andy@mortgagetogether.co.uk

http://mortgages.mortgagestogether.co.uk 5/5

Verdict:

Very good overall. The adviser was attentive and patiently answered the shopper’s questions.

32/35

Adviser (Independent): G & B Associates, The Gate House, 27 Gate Lane, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 5TR

Speed of response:

Time of call: 2.36pm. Answered after two rings. 5/5

Telephone manner:

Polite and engaging. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

Mortgage adviser. 5/5

Payment method:

Commission. 5/5

Guidance given:

Some lenders accept one year's account from self-employed applicants but the majority stipulate two years, according to the adviser. In addition, some lenders would factor in commission – so long as the borrower has a track record of securing it, he said. The adviser suggested arranging an initial consultation to further delve into the shopper’s circumstances and explore different solutions.

4/5

Knowledge:

The adviser seemed well versed in the area.

4/5

Email/web presence:

neale.vaughan@gandbassociates.co.uk

gandbassociates.co.uk

5/5

Verdict:

Excellent. The adviser asked a number of questions in the first instance to deliver more structured guidance.

33/35

(Independent): Petrie & Petrie, 158 Weoley Castle Road, Birmingham, West Midlands, B29 5QL

Speed of response:

Time of call: 3.12pm. Answered after 35 seconds. 4/5

Telephone manner:

Courteous. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

Mortgage adviser.

5/5

Payment method:

Typically £200 upfront and £195 once the client has moved into the property, according to the adviser. 5/5

Guidance given:

The adviser also explained that most lenders require two years' books, but suggested that the shopper’s brother contacts his bank with a view to arranging a mortgage that takes into account his extenuating circumstances. Banks tend to take a more lenient view with existing customers, she explained. 

4/5

Knowledge:

The adviser demonstrated solid knowledge in the area. 4/5