Lee Rotbart

The mortgage maze

In Getting the mortgage on July 28, 2010 at 6:33 pm

I feel like a double glazing salesman, phoning around trying to get someone to bite using the same script that has been rejected by hundreds of people beforehand. With each new phone call there is renewed hope, as well as newly identified obstacles. We get so far down the line with one lender, and then something comes to light that means we can’t go forward.

There are the highly suspect ‘market trader” commercial mortgage brokers saying “We don’t mind if you have been bankrupt before and have CCJs coming out your ears, we’ll find you money” – sentiments we are becoming ever more suspicious of.

There are the ‘over-realistic’ brokers saying “You don’t have a hope in hell, we can’t help you unless you have more money than sense at your disposal”.

Then there’s our ‘I cannot say enough good things about him’ mortgage broker who is bending over backwards and exploring every possible avenue to help us get this money, as he truly believes in us, and in what we are doing.

We are currently mid-discussions with 3 separate organisations and everything is so slow, and so painful and I’m bored of hearing myself say, “if only ******* hadn’t employed that surveyor”, because it’s irrelevant drivel which is no good to man nor beast.

I don’t believe in fate, but somewhere along the line surely we have to know when to fold our hand. Kenny Rogers once (tunefully) gave us some advice about knowing when to hold ’em and fold ’em (The Gambler, 1978):

Should we be folding? Or is this just something we have to get over, something we’ll laugh about in a few months time? I truly don’t know. I know that even though I’m telling people there is no more hope I’m secretly thinking about the last conversation I had with *******; that while I’m looking at other properties I’m still coming back to this blog, and thinking about this (and only this) near perfect opportunity.

Surely there can’t be many properties in the middle of one of the most beautiful, and popular, areas of the UK that:

  1. Have planning permission
  2. Have a search engine friendly website on a sought after web address
  3. Have the perfect number of bedrooms – not too many to be unmanageable for novices, but not so few that there’s no potential to earn a decent wage
  4. Have phenomenal views from 4 out of the 6 bedrooms
  5. Have all fixtures, fittings, linen and furniture in place (and not charging any extra for them)
  6. Have a live-in maid who is prepared to stay on, who knows the ropes and will be vital in ensuring the guesthouse runs like clockwork while we’re still finding our feet

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is a great opportunity isn’t it? Add to that the fact that we have significant money behind us, business brains, enthusiasm and passion for the task – it just doesn’t add up.

Two years ago, when this recession hit, my only concern was that I might not get a pay rise at my current job (just for clarification, I was actually right about that). Now it’s so much bigger. Those newspaper headlines that, like the war in Afghanistan, were only relevant to “other people” now mean something to me. Headlines that screamed ‘Banks not lending’, ‘Financial crisis makes 80% mortgages a thing of the past’, and ‘No more credit’ are now my reality.

It just goes to show that you never know what’s round the corner. One man’s relevant headline is another man’s chip paper. After all, there is probably someone somewhere that cares about Wayne Rooney’s love life.

In her heyday Margaret Thatcher once remarked:

Small firms can be a seed-bed for new ideas and a testing ground for new ways of working. They often lead the way in new products and new services. They put the customer first. They have to, to survive in a fast-changing world.

Maybe I should write to her…

  1. What are the reasons your mortgage applications are being turned down?


    PS I am not a mortgage person so probably can’t be of any use whatsoever but would be interested in reading the business plan and seeing the forecasts if you want to let me see them. But if you prefer not to, I quite understand.

  2. Dear Lee, Congratulations to you and Daniel – I wish you loads of luck and happiness in your new venture. You never know I might get down to see you one day. Love Linda Knight xx

  3. Don’t congratulate us just yet… we have to get down there first… but IF (maybe ‘when’) we do, you’d be more than welcome (especially during the off season which is where the challenge lies). x

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