You can remortage within six months!

You can remortage within six months!

21:09 PM, 12th September 2012, About 11 years ago 17

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It is possible to remortage within six months of purchase, even on a buy to let property, I promise you! Forget everything you have heard about “the CML’s six month rule”, no such rule exists! 

The legend of the “CML’s six month rule” for remortgaging has been bandied around forums for at least five years now but I can assure you that no such rules exists – allow me to explain. You can remortage within six months!

For as long as I can remember, and certainly well before Mortgage Express withdrew their instant remortgaging product, the CML (Council of Mortgage Lenders) and the Law Society have been advising their members to be extra diligent when mortgaging a property which has been owned for less than six months. In the previous decade (particularly 2003 to 2008) many lenders took a very relaxed approach to the guidelines and the reports they received from conveyancing solicitors. Nevertheless, conveyancing solicitors were, even then, duty bound to report to mortgage lenders any property being mortgaged within six months of the original purchase date.

History has proven that underwriting decisions made in the last decade were flawed. As soon as that became obvious to lenders the reaction was was an inevitable over tightening of lending criteria. They realised that substantial risks were associated with not following the CML’s guidelines and they over compensated by refusing to provide any buy to let mortgages within six months of the purchase date. And so the legend of the “CML’s six month rule” was created.

So why was the CML’s guidance issued in the first place and more to the point, why was it pretty much ignored by lenders for 5 years?

The latter part of this question is know well known and can be summed up in one word – GREED.

The CML’s guidance was actually issued to alert lenders of potential of risks associated with providing mortgages on properties which had been owned for less than six months. The decision to disregard this guidance cost lenders billions. Thousands of mortgage brokers, property clubs and landlords decided to take advantage of the lenders greed. Properties were purchased for cash or with bridging finance and then instantly remortgaged based on the highest valuation that a valuer was prepared to put in writing. Most solicitors did their job properly and reported that properties had been purchased within six months but lenders simply disregarded the advice and went ahead without asking any further questions.

The inevitable greed and abuse which ensued also compromised the integrity of many professional valuers. In many cases during the boom years of 2003 to 2008 whole developments were being sold to buy to let investors. It was not uncommon for six valuations to be instructed on one property. The valuer who gave the highest figure would then be instructed to provide the valuations for the all of the other units. For valuers it became a necessary risk to put their PI insurance on the line and value the properties at more than their rival firms to ensure they got the really lucrative deal of valuing all other properties in the development. It wasn’t just new build developments that were affected though, valuers soon earned a reputation of being either generous or tight and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out which of these two the mortgage brokers, property clubs, landlords etc. decided to give their business to. In many cases, lenders ended up lending 100% of the true purchase price of the property, sometimes a lot more.  Lenders were taking 100% of the risk or more and the purchasers were taking 100% of the profits if any were made.

The outcome of the above was that that for a while, when this all came out in the wash, all buy to let mortgage lenders simply refused to remortgage property which had been purchased within six months. Lenders also tightened up on their criteria to check that the person they were lending to really did have a financial commitment to the purchase and that the solicitor had completed all of their requirements in terms of checking for hidden incentives. This had a knock on effect though.

Several landlords buy properties at auction and arrange the mortgage after the event as it is incredibly difficult to arrange a mortgage of a property pre-auction. It’s also very rarely cost effective to arrange mortgages pre-auction as landlords tend to bid for a lot more properties than they actually purchase. Some landlords would purchase a property every month and have a little conveyor belt of a new purchases and a new mortgages every month. Not being able to obtain a mortgage after the auction effectively meant that these landlords could now only buy an additional property every six months.

Many landlords also buy properties for cash or with bridging finance with the intention of improving their value through refurbishment.

In both of these scenario’s, established operators found themselves trapped and unable to refinance for six months, even though they had done absolutely nothing at all wrong. Obviously they turned to internet forums to share their frustrations and to look for alternatives but all landlords were having the same problems for at least a few years. This further fanned the flames which fed the legend of the CML’s six month rule.

True commercial lenders didn’t have the same knee jerk reaction and continued to ‘take a view’ as they always had. They never really suffered the effects of the buy to let boom between 2003 to 2008 as they simply didn’t look attractive in comparison to the buy to let mortgage lenders at that time, hence they didn’t do much of this type of business. When landlords eventually realised this, and were prepared to accept the pricing differentials, the remaining commercial lenders (which had their own completely different set of problems) were in a position to pick and choose.

Fortunately, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since the collapse of Mortgage Express and Northern Rock.

Some lenders which has stopped lending altogether have even returned to the market, Paragon Mortgages perhaps being the most notable example.


If you purchased a property for cash or at auction it is now possible to get a mortgage for 75% of what you paid for it before six months have elapsed. Only a handful of buy to let lenders will do these deals but many more specialist lenders, who tend to deal exclusive with commercial finance brokers, are becoming increasingly active. However, be warned, if you are hoping to get a mortgage for 75% of what a valuer says the property is worth, not what you paid for it, forget it, you’re probably going to have to wait for at least six months to get that, especially if you go direct to a BTL lender. What this does mean though is that if you purchased a property at auction it it now possible to get a buy to let mortgage whereas as 12 months ago it wasn’t. If your business model is anything other than ‘vanilla’ buy to let (refurbishment, semi commercial etc.) then it definitely pays to be talking to a broker whose letterhead carries the NACFB badge (National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers). The NACFB is an independent professional body founded in 1992. it’s members are niche commercial lenders and specialist brokers. Very few financial advisers and mortgage brokers are also NACFB affiliated, there are certainly less than 1,000 of the across the UK as it’s a very specialist market and the fact that most broker business is consumer based they can’t justify the cost and continual professional development associated with being NACFB affiliated.

If you do genuinely feel that you are trapped and can’t get a new mortgage on a property purchased within the last six months you may not be, there are lenders out there looking for good business and taking a sensible approach to lending again. I also expect to see more lenders falling back to a position whereby their lending criteria will follow the guidelines issued all those years ago by the CML. We’ve seen the pendulum swing in both directions over the last decade, now it’s approaching the middle again.

If you would like to discuss a deal to see whether it is realistic to arrange a mortgage please contact my business partner, Neil Patterson on 01603 428560 or email

PS – despite having retired from broking in 2009 we have retained our NACFB membership and we will be pleased to provide an assessment of the likelihood of your funding requirement being successful free of charge. If we think we can help we will be pleased to introduce you to an appropriate NACFB affiliated broker. All we ask in return is that you consider making a donation towards the upkeep of this forum and the services we provide. Effectively, you can pay what you think our advice is worth to you.

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8:39 AM, 18th October 2013, About 10 years ago

I have a mixed used property, a commercial property (office) on the ground floor with a self contained flat above that is rented out. I am looking to re-mortgage, where is the best place for this type property.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

8:45 AM, 18th October 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by " " at "18/10/2013 - 08:39":

Hi Fred

This is a semi commercial and is unlikely to fit the lending criteria of the banks which accept direct business. I suggest you contact a Member of the NACFB (National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers) such as Howard Reuben - see comments above.

Mick Roberts

11:53 AM, 18th October 2013, About 10 years ago

Good reading, I used to do that many of 75% of valuation, virtually got an offer back within a week, of more than what I paid for house 7 days previous, & then stalled funds till I was ready to take it to buy new house. Most lenders insisted we take funds within 6 months though.

Mark Alexander

11:59 AM, 18th October 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mick Roberts" at "18/10/2013 - 11:53":

I very much doubt we will see those days again Mick but at least common sense and some decent middle ground is coming back to the market.

The flip side to your experiences is that when it all crashed I remember our quote system dropping from over 4,000 BTL mortgage products to just under 90 within 6 months. They were frightening times and equally ridiculous to the MX instant remortage and one day bridge strategy which allowed people to borrow more than 100% of cost.

Julie Dawson

10:51 AM, 26th October 2013, About 10 years ago

Hi mark, I'm very interested in this topic as I have a lot of investors who buy at auction with "exchange on the day" and 14 days to complete ... So it's cash or nothing. Having spoke to my broker he still thinks this can be risky and not guaranteed ... Which is fair enough. Do you have any lenders specifically you can tell us that do this so we can look into it further ? Having this all in place and knowing the pro's, cons, fees etc upfront is paramount ... You don't ever want to be exchanging or handing over 10% of anything if you haven't looked at all the facts.
Many thanks

Howard Reuben Cert CII (MP) CeRER

14:25 PM, 26th October 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Julie Dawson" at "26/10/2013 - 10:51":

Hi Julie

Why would you say "it’s cash or nothing" for an auction purchase? If an investor has carried out pre-auction due diligence in good time (which is easy to do for the professional investor), has arranged the monies for the max they are prepared to bid and works collaboratively with an appropriate legal team who understand the intricacies and necessity of speed with short term lending, then there is indeed a third choice ... bridging finance. And that's on top of a 4th choice if applicable i.e. an existing offset / reserve account too.

Your broker sounds vary cautious, which is not a bad thing, however is he experienced in auction purchases and in particular the fantastic financial tool which is short term lending?

You're absolutely right, you do need all the facts, but even then, if you don't have an experienced hand to work alongside who knows the market and the lenders, the conveyancing requirements, the auction purchasing strategies .. then the facts are worthless on their own.

Read case studies 3 and 4 for a very brief insight in to how we have helped our Clients recently >

These are real life cases and some of our prolific investor Clients use the '3rd way' option time and time again because it provides accessible funds, it is low cost (far lower than the myths and rumours would have you believe), it is quick and it is a borrowing strategy working hand in hand with specialist lenders who understand investors and developers.

Hope this helps.


Danielle Dufaux

12:08 PM, 5th February 2016, About 8 years ago

I just come of the phone with Halifax, with whom I have been banking for ages and I have a good credit rating. They said they cannot look into re-mortgaging until we have lived 6 months in the property.
We ported our current mortgage when we moved now 4 months ago and as the fixed deal is expiring end of march we are looking into our options. I was horrified, being a good customer and all, and they cannot even make me an appointment. I guess they will loose a good deal.
But this proves the points that you can not always re-mortgage within 6 months even though you are a good customer.

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