A friend has the chance to buy a £400,000 house in Brighton for £215,000
Q A close friend of a friend of mine has offered to sell him a house in Brighton for £215,000 even though its market value is £400,000.
My friend, who is self-employed and 55 years old, is a first-time buyer renting in London. He currently has a mortgage offer of £215,000 on a one-bedroom flat – also in Brighton – which is in place until the end of June. Obviously, the house is a much better proposition but his mortgage adviser has told him he would not be able to get a mortgage on a property that is not being sold at its market value. Is this true? Buying the house so cheaply seems too good an opportunity to pass up.
A No it’s not true. According to Pete Mugleston of onlinemortgageadviser.co.uk, it is perfectly possible to get a mortgage on a property sold at below market value. He says: “There is an urban myth that to purchase (or sell) a property well below its actual worth may be unethical – or even illegal – in some way. But buying a house well below market value, with or without a mortgage, is generally a perfectly acceptable practice.”
However, not all lenders are prepared to lend to people buying property at less than market value. So, as with all niche mortgage requirements, it pays to get bespoke advice from a whole-of-market mortgage adviser with the right expertise and who knows which mortgage lender will be able to help you. So, in your friend’s case, he may want to switch from an adviser who tells him he won’t be able to get a mortgage on the house to one who will be able to find a suitable lender.
However, if he has already paid his mortgage adviser a fee for arranging the mortgage on the flat in Brighton, your friend may want to have a think about whether he is prepared to take the financial hit of not getting that money back. A lot also depends on where he is in the property-buying process. If he has already exchanged contracts on the flat, deciding to buy the house instead would mean losing the deposit money that would have been paid on exchange.
Perhaps the most sensible course of action would be for your friend to explore the possibility of getting a mortgage on the house with another adviser before making a decision about pulling out of the deal on the flat.