Case studies

A selection of our client success stories

From limited company contractors to locum nurses and IT project managers, Cleerly has helped a wide range of professionals secure great mortgage deals

Our client Nik

An umbrella company contractor with a 5% deposit looking to buy a new family home

Nik and his partner were looking to buy a new family home for themselves and their children. They had outgrown the previous home and were desperate to upsize so they had more living space.

Cleerly started talking with Nik in December 2022, where he had already engaged in the services of another broker who had not been able to produce any results. He was under a lot of pressure from the estate agent to produce a mortgage offer, as his offer had been accepted for a few weeks previously.

Regarding income, Nik was a day rate contractor using an umbrella company working as a user interface designer on an inside-IR35 contract with central government.

What we did to help Nik

The challenge he was having with the current bank and broker is that they didn't understand why his payslips would be showing additional pay, bonus and commissions with a minimal rate for basic pay. The mortgage amount was deemed unaffordable based on the lender’s calculations of £12,500 per year (the basic pay element) and would have required an income multiple of 16x income to achieve this.

After an initial consultation with Cleerly, Nik uploaded his documents almost immediately. Within 24 hours, the Cleerly adviser was able to give him a recommendation for a mortgage provider who would lend the required loan amount, as income was based upon Nik’s contracted day rate earnings, rather than the umbrella payslips.

After providing Nik with the feedback and a suitable recommendation, Cleerly were able to get a full application submitted within 24 hours. Because of strong relationships with contractor-friendly lenders, Cleerly ensured that the contract income was assessed at point of submission and no other information was requested by the bank other than the valuation of the property.

The mortgage offer was received within two weeks following a successful property valuation. A job well done where others had nearly caused the purchase to fall through!

Our client Harriet

A locum nurse wanting to remortgage to repay a Help to Buy loan and secure a better rate

Harriet’s fixed rate with Santander was due to end in four weeks, and she faced the current 1.9% rate going up to the lender’s standard variable rate – which was an eye-watering 10.43%! In addition to this, Harriet had a Help-to-Buy loan on the property which was also about to come out of the initial interest-free period. Harriet wanted to borrow more at the same time as remortgaging to allow her to settle the Help-to-Buy loan.

Since the original mortgage application with Santander, Harriet had now started working as a locum nurse, rather than a permanent employee. Harriet spoke directly with Santander, and also with a non-specialist mortgage broker to investigate wider options.

Santander advised Harriet that they could not lend any more as she was deemed to be an ‘agency worker’ when she actually worked as a nursing contractor via an umbrella company, with no shortage of hours and a higher rate of pay than before.  They simply did not cater for the way that Harriet worked, so tried to wedge her into the closest category in their lending policy, which did not work.

How we fulfilled Harriet's exacting needs as a locum

The mortgage broker placed Harriet with another high street bank, NatWest. This was closer to a solution, but the outcome was the same. NatWest had a £75,000 per annum income threshold to treat Harriet as a professional contractor, and her income was below this threshold so they declined the application.

Following some direction from her umbrella company and a Google search, Harriet found Cleerly. She was in tears when she spoke with the Cleerly consultant, as she didn’t know how to get rid of the Help-to-Buy loan and switch her deal.

Following a reassuring initial consultation, Harriet submitted some documents to Cleerly, with detailed research and feedback provided on the same day by her new adviser. Within 48 hours of the initial phone call to Cleerly, a mortgage application was submitted to a new lender who was umbrella-friendly and did not have restrictive income thresholds, resulting in financial approval by the underwriter within one week of the initial Google search! The mortgage was duly offered a few days later.

Not only was the punitive Santander rate avoided, there was also enough money released to settle the Government Help-to-Buy loan, achieving both of Harriet’s key objectives!

“Amazing!!! words cannot express the joy in my heart, 11th of September 2023, I was in tears, after receiving a rejection from my current provider just on the basis that I am now a Nurse contractor! I remembered reading somewhere in my contract with the umbrella company (NASA), that they offer a mortgage service, so I quickly reached out, explained my situation to the lovely lady who answered the phone and was immediately directed to a gentleman (Will), who I can only describe as AMAZING, he could tell I was crying, he was patient and he assured me that he can help. There was no time to waste, he knew his onions and fast forward 2 weeks later (25/09/23) I had my Mortgage offer.

Thank you so much, Will and the rest of the team, I will be recommending!”

Our client Lucy

A limited company contractor moving home where company accounts wouldn’t support lenders’ affordability

Lucy originally approached Cleerly for a mortgage so she and her partner could buy their new family home. They were selling their current home as part of the move. Lucy works for a mortgage lender and her partner is a limited company contractor working with an asset management client.

Given her job, Lucy had a good awareness of how lenders assessed risk, so she recognised the need to engage a mortgage broker rather than approaching lenders directly. Having spoken with a couple of independent brokers who were not contractor specialists, she quickly realised they were not the right type of firm to engage with either. A quick Google search later, and she found Cleerly.

How we used all the limited company income to get the right mortgage figure

The Cleerly mortgage consultant who Lucy spoke with confirmed the reason other brokers were citing affordability problems. There were two main issues that had to be tackled:

  • Lucy’s partner’s income via the company was based on salary and dividends drawn over completed tax years. The figures were not reflective of the gross contract rate because company expenses were deducted before dividends, and the draw was deliberately limited to what was required to cover living costs for tax efficiency.
  • There were high personal costs for education fees in respect of the children, and also a maintenance payment being made to an ex-partner; both of which compounded the affordability problem when non-specialist brokers were using salary and dividends alone.

The way to get around the issues was to approach lenders on the basis of the contract, which was at a good rate. The contractor had also had a 3-month gap between contracts in the 12 months preceding the enquiry, which made circumstances a bit more challenging.

Following engagement with underwriters at Cleerly’s lending partners, a solution was quickly found with a couple of lenders offering competitive rates. Unfortunately, the property that was being pursued by the family was lost, so they decided to continue with the same of their current home and move into rented accommodation so they would be chain-free when they found their dream home.

The result we got for Lucy

Around a year later, a new home had been found and the Cleerly adviser was able to source a competitive product. Some of the documents previously supplied were still valid for the new application, so a binding mortgage offer was produced by the new lender within six days of re-engaging with Lucy!

“Fantastic service! Would 100% recommend Cleerly. Matthew Long was our advisor & was excellent. Sourced us the best mortgage for our circumstances, with a competitive rate (even in the current market conditions) & we received a mortgage offer within 6 working days, totally taking the stress out of the process. Amazing. Thank you Matthew :)”

Our client Jason

An umbrella contractor facing mortgage affordability challenges due to market conditions

Jason was a new client but a long-time subscriber to Cleerly’s mortgage newsletter, which prompted him to review his imminently expiring mortgage deal. He spoke with one of Cleerly’s most experienced mortgage consultants with a complex enquiry.

Jason was working as an IT Project Manager for a large multinational corporation, using an umbrella company as his payment route.

Given the movement in interest rates in the UK since he took his last deal, he was not keen to take another repayment mortgage, preferring interest-only to keep monthly costs affordable. The current rate that was expiring was low at 1.68%, compared with a national base rate of 5% at the time!

How Jason was guided through affordability challenges to get him the mortgage he deserved

Following detailed conversations with his adviser about his preferences, it was agreed that interest-only was suitable due to his repayment strategy, which was to use equity in the current home to downsize before the end of the mortgage term. Jason’s age also meant that proving affordability over his working life would have been challenging given the reduced number of years he could take a mortgage for. There was also some credit card debt on 0% that was going to be paid off over time, further impacting affordability.

Following detailed research, the Cleerly mortgage consultant found a lender who could agree the required borrowing for a large loan over £500,000 on an interest-only basis, whilst leaving the credit card debt in place. One of the key features of the recommended lender was their ability to annualise daily contract income over 48 weeks (alternatives worked on fewer weeks), and they also ignored the umbrella company’s deductions. These factors, combined with his partner’s small income, meant that Jason could meet lender affordability and obtain the borrowing needed to repay his current mortgage, in a manner that was affordable to him and his partner.

What Jason had to say about his experience working with us:

“I was impressed by the service provided by Olivia and team, after some initial discussions Oliva provided sound advice and discussed all options. She talked me through the process, so it was clearly understood and sourced a good deal. Updating me on a better option when one arose whilst I was in the process of completing application documents etc.

Olivia was quick to answer any questions I had and to also handle any issues with the Lender making life very easy for me. The whole process was smooth from start to finish.”

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