Habito is an online mortgage broker that is focused on modernising the process behind securing a mortgage for your home. Launched in 2016 by Wonga’s former Head of Decision Science, Daniel Hegarty, their online only platform aims to make mortgage decisions faster and at a lower cost.
What this means for you as an end consumer is instead of making an appointment to visit a bank or a mortgage broker, you can use an online platform and have access to great mortgage deals and get a decision a lot quicker.
So, does the service live up to the hype? Keep reading this Habito review and you’ll find out.
Habito Customer Reviews
Habito has a 4.8 Trustpilot rating with over 7,000 customer reviews, 90% of which are excellent. The positive reviews mainly cite how easy and intuitive the platform is to use and how they could easily get the support they needed throughout the process to secure the right mortgage for them.
Looking through the negative reviews people are referencing how they don’t feel they were properly listened to where they had a complicated situation, possibly due to how Habito are aiming to make the process as quick and automated as possible. Also some people don’t seem to like their live chat, highlighting how they’d much prefer to speak to someone in person.
I think a lot of this comes down to how you want to secure your mortgage. If you’re happy relying on technology to recommend the right product and only having a light human interactions if a complication arises then Habito might be the right option. However, if you want to speak to someone directly to go through all of your options in detail, especially if you have a complicated situation, then it might be best avoiding online mortgage brokers altogether.
How Does Habito Work?
Habito has built a platform that helps to automate the process of securing a mortgage. They work with over 90 lenders that have over 20,000 mortgage products and leverage technology to help match people the best mortgage deals.
Before I go through exactly how Habito matches you with the best mortgage deal, if you want to get started right away here’s a link to Habito to start your mortgage application. Now back to the process.
When you first land on their website and sign up, you have to submit answers to a number of questions that should take no longer than 10 minutes. This involves capturing your personal information as well as information relating to your mortgage needs including what stage you’re at with finding a property or whether you’re just looking to remortgage.
Once submitted, you’ll be contacted by a mortgage advisor directly either via live chat or on the phone where they’ll confirm your requirements and may ask a few other questions to help ensure they can match you with the right mortgage product.
This conversation can be arranged between 9am and 9pm seven days a week except Fridays where it’s just up to 5pm, which a lot better than most regular mortgage brokers.
It’s also worth noting that up to this point none of this involves a credit check, so it won’t harm or affect your credit score. The mortgage advisor will then recommend a product based on the information you have provided. If you’re happy with the product that has been chosen and confirm you want to proceed you can move to the next step.
You’ll be asked to submit a number of documents within the Habito portal which automatically sends it to the lender that’s chosen as the one that’s able to provide the best mortgage deal. After 24 to 48 hours you should then receive a mortgage in principle which is usually faster than going to a regular bank branch or mortgage broker as you’ll most likely have to wait for an appointment.
When you agree to proceed to get a mortgage in principle is when your credit report will be accessed. Once submitted you’ll also be kept up to date on what’s happening throughout the process.
Is Habito Safe?
Yes Habito is safe to use. They’re directly authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) so must adhere to specific rules and regulations that help protect customers.
This includes making costs and terms easy to understand, treating customers fairly and also being able to esclate any issues to the Financial Ombusman if they can’t be resolved.
Habito have also built a great platform that is used to help improve security for both customers and lenders. Instead of sending sensitive documents over email, they use their platform which is password protected and helps avoid sending anything sensitive to the wrong place.
Habito One – Up to 7 Times Income Lifetime Mortgage
The Habito One product is pushing the boundaries of the UK mortgage lending market. Typically you can only borrow from 3.5 to 4.5 times your income, however this product is offering up to 7 times your income. This can massively increase your budget when looking for a new property.
Also they offer up to a 40 year fixed rate mortgage. Typically mortgage lenders in the UK offer 2, 5 or 10 year fixed-rate mortgage periods with anything above that being extremely rare.
Having extremely long fixed-rate periods is aligning more to the American market where getting a 30 year fixed rate mortgage is considered quite standard.
So what’s the catch? Is Habito One a good idea? On paper it seems great, significantly longer fixed-rate periods and being able to borrow much money money.
Looking at their mortgage rates, they do seem very high. Their interest rates are between 4% and 6.5% depending on your loan-to-value ratio and what early repayment charges you’re willing, or not willing to accept.
In comparison to some high street lenders, this is quite a significantly higher interest rate. However, as Habito compare all mortgage products available in the market, including their own, it should help you be able to see how they compare to other lenders. Also remember to factor in any remortgage fees when comparing their longer term fixed rate periods, as they can add up over time.
Habito Plus – Complete Homebuying Service
Habito Plus is service offered to help take care of every part of the mortgage completion process. The service is offered at a fixed fee, starting from £2,000 although increases depending on what services you want to take.
The logic behind this service is that by keeping everything in one place, and within the Habito platform, the mortgage application process can happen much faster and smoother. This includes everything from the legal work to property surveys as well as help with negotiating property price.
A lot of these expenses you’ll have to pay for whether you choose this optional service or not such as your legal work and surveys, so is definitely worth considering. However, some of the services are charged at what looks to be above market rates, possibly for the convenience or that they may have more experienced staff working on the service.
Some lenders may also offer some services for free by going with them as a lender such as legal work. It will be worth checking if you can
Some types of buyers may be restricted from using this service, such as if you’re purchasing your home with a government scheme or buying a new build property. So make sure you check if the product is right for you before you get started.
There are quite a number of alternatives to Habito, both from a mortgage broker and a lending perspective. Here’s a list of some other mortgage brokers to consider.
- Mojo Mortgages
- Also look for mortgage brokers that aren’t only online if you want a more personal or specialised service
How Does Habito Make Money?
Habito offers its services for free and makes money through commission fees that are paid by the lenders. It’s good to see that they’re very transparent about the commissions that they earn through introducing customers to different lenders.
I’ve written a post that goes into detail about exactly how much mortgage brokers get paid in commission that you find find interesting.
In 2019, Habito was also granted permission to become a mortgage lender and offer its own range of mortgages products, including new ‘lifetime’ mortgage that can be fixed for up to 40 years at up to a 7 times income multiple. When they lend out the money, they make money from the interest charged to borrowers that is paid monthly as part of their mortgage payments.
Automated Remortgage Updates To Save Money
One particular feature that looked very useful was where you can get updated if a cheaper mortgage rate becomes available and you would save money by remortgaging products. This can be particularly useful to help
When you come to remortgage it’s not just a comparison between interest rates, although that can be a great way to initially compare mortgage deals. You also have to take all the fees into consideration, such as whether there’s any early payment fees, solicitors fees, arrangement fees, the list goes on.
Habito take all of these fees into consideration and they’ll only recommend you a mortgage product if it’s beneficial to over overall, including any fees that will be payable.
Mortgage In Principle (MIP) Certificate Service
If you aren’t ready to proceed to a full Mortgage in Principle with a specific lender, Habito also offers a free Mortgage in Principle certificate. This can be useful to show sellers and estate agents to prove you’re able to afford the offer you’re making and to help your offer carry weight.
Overall, Habito is helping to redefine the UK property market by speeding up the mortgage completion process as well as offering mortgages that allow borrowers to access more money and fix their terms for longer.
However, for this additional convenience it does come with some drawbacks, including a less personal service in favour of automation as well as high interest rates compared to some high street lenders.
The real comparison is the mortgage product you are recommended and how fast the end to end process takes, although with 90% of people reviewing them as excellent on Trustpilot, they’re definitely worth considering.
I hope this Habito review has helped give you and if you’re interested in getting started, here’s a link to Habito to start your application.
Hi, I’m John. I’ve always had a keen interest in Finance, so much so that I’ve made a career out of it! This site is a place where I can share everything I’ve learned as well as give me the excuse to research certain topics.
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