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"We were really pleased with the service we received and it did exactly as it said on the tin. Dad is now out of hospital and has cash in the bank, which has meant he can see his Grandchildren enjoy their inheritance."

Mr B, Burnley, Lancashire

"National Homebuyers' staff were friendly and helpful and we went on to agree a sale with them; they even allowed us to change the completion date at the last minute to secure the property of our dreams."

Mr & Mrs M, Sandown, Isle of Wight

Mortgage applications affected by Universal Credit scheme

The beleaguered Tory-led benefits scheme known as Universal Credit is again under fire as reports surface that claimants are unable to use their income from benefits as proof of earnings during the house-buying process.

When Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith pushed for a revamp of the country’s benefits system in 2011, many of those already receiving financial aid from the government feared that the motivation behind this potential legislation was a push for further austerity measures to combat the UK’s ever growing fiscal deficit.

Their fears were, however, allayed as the Universal Credit scheme encountered multiple roadblocks on its way to implementation, leading many to believe that the scheme itself may never see the light of day.

The idea itself was sound in theory. Instead of administering different forms of benefit through separate policies, they should be combined into a simple, easy-to-use online system which can be accessed by anyone who needs them. This system would also incorporate incentives to get those without a job back into employment and allow the government to redirect the excess funds back into the UK economy. Unfortunately, after several IT programmes failed to deliver the desired functionality at a loss of over £30m – almost 10% of the entire IT budget – as well as numerous management failures, the Universal Credit system fell behind schedule by almost five years.

In early 2017, the scheme was rolled out in a number of test areas, the feedback from which has, so far, been worryingly negative. The lack of an intuitive online portal has led many of those lacking in IT experience to lose out on vital benefits due to an inability to navigate the site itself – and new reports are emerging that the aforementioned scheme is carrying with it such a stigma, that it is beginning to affect the prospect of a successful mortgage application for a house of any value.

An investigation by the Guardian newspaper has found that various lenders are not willing to accept Universal Credit as proof of earnings during the submission process, leaving many potential house buyers in a state of limbo ahead of its planned full implementation over the next few years.

Many experts have echoed the sentiments of these claimants, stating that there have been enough issues from the relatively small pool of 600,000 citizens upon which Universal Credit is being tested to warrant a suspension of the scheme – and that any plans to widen its application would likely end in disaster.

While certain lenders are willing to incorporate the scheme’s ‘earnings’ into their application process, the path to achieving this is littered with obstacles that prevent it. Moreover, in many cases mortgage applicants have found, mid-process, that the amount they are able to secure has been halved upon the lenders discovering their Universal Credit status, thwarting their plans to become homeowners.

For those who already own a home in areas where Universal Credit is currently implemented, fears are growing that if they need to sell their house fast, the inability of potential buyers to secure the capital they need to purchase will lead to a stagnant market, forcing the seller to reduce their asking price if they wish to complete on a sale in the short-term. While venders do have the option of using house buying companies such as National Homebuyers, who are willing to make substantial cash offers on any home, regardless of location or situation, there are fears that the those living in poverty will end up being deprived of their one chance to buy a home.

Need a quick sale? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.

© Andrew Writer (CC-BY 2.0)
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