There’s a very good reason why moving house has been voted time and again as top of the list of life’s stresses. Most of us who have done it once, make promises that that’s it, we’re never moving again. But of course, like the pain of childbirth, we do eventually forget and make plans to move once more. For first time buyers, the extraordinary amount of effort and worry that goes into buying a first property can be daunting, but that’s where a good mortgage advisor really comes into their own. I own and run Collar Mortgage Services, and I like to think of myself as a mortgage doctor – I’m here to take away your mortgage and moving pain, especially for first-time buyers.
I got into the world of mortgages through an estate agency route. In 2003, after a period working in the hotel industry, I decided on a change of path and pursued a career as an estate agent, joining Your Move. Although I was happy as an agent, I was approached by the company’s resident mortgage adviser, who saw something in me and suggested I should consider becoming an adviser myself. The rest, as they say, is history.
I took my qualifications and got my first role as an inhouse advisor in 2004 working for Connells estate agents and thrived there, developing my skills and gaining essential experience. However, after five years, I was approached by Halifax, and was offered a role as a Financial Advisor, which I felt would be great for my career progression. They put me through all the qualifications I needed at the time, however I really missed mortgages and the draw of the property market became too strong. So, I applied for a mortgage advisor’s role at Barclays and joined them in 2010.
In 2012, a role became available within Barclays’ compliance department, overseeing other mortgage advisors and ensuring that they were fully compliant with both Financial Conduct Authority and the bank’s own rules and regulations. We were thought of as the MI5 for mortgage advisers and it definitely gave me extra skills and knowledge to understand why compliance is key. It offers safety for both me, and more importantly, the client.
After 9 happy years at Barclays, I decided a change was needed, not least because of my growing family. I needed to make sure I could balance the demands of work as well as the demands of my two young children. Surely there was a way of nurturing both at the same time? So, Collar Mortgage Services was born in 2019 and I am delighted that my mortgage advisor experience, along with my work in compliance and of course my days as an estate agent, has led to me running my own business and having the confidence to do so.
Collar Mortgage Services is a trading style of First Class Financial Advisers Ltd which is part of the Quilter Financial Planning network. Quilter gives me the support I need, the compliance I require and access to the whole of the mortgage market which is key. I can access the whole market to get the most suitable deal for my clients, whether they’ve bought before or are on the first rung of the property ladder. And I have to say I particularly enjoy working with first time buyers. I am keen to hold their hands through every aspect of the process. I can help with their offer, deal with the estate agents on their behalf (remember I use to be one so I know exactly what questions to ask!) and of course deal with their solicitor.
I want to be the conduit that removes jargon and translates lawyers’ and estate agents’ language into simple, understandable terms, so that everyone knows exactly what is being agreed to. But don’t just take my word for it, here are a couple of lovely testimonials from recent first-time buyer clients:
‘Catherine was incredible in helping us buy our first home together. It would have been such a daunting process but Catherine made it so simple and explained every little bit to us from putting the offer on the house to the day we moved in. Catherine helped us to sort out absolutely everything we needed for now and the future and covered things that we wouldn’t have even considered at this point, but we are so grateful that they are sorted and in place for the future. She has always been on hand for every little question and her knowledge on the area is amazing! It was so helpful that Catherine had knowledge in the estate agent business too which was invaluable given this was our first home we were buying!’ Sarah, Warwickshire
‘Catherine provided an amazing service which allowed us to purchase our first home. Throughout the process she ensured we understood each step and kept us up to date. When we needed assistance, she was very responsive and effective. We would highly recommend Catherine’s services to anyone looking for a mortgage and/or protection insurance.’ Jamie, Warwickshire
I think what’s really important when you’re buying your first home, is working with people you trust and when that relationship is strong, why wouldn’t you use them again? Therefore, I want to work with people throughout their mortgage lifetime, helping them grow and develop, from their first home to their forever home.
So, if you are looking at buying for the first time, or the twenty first time, I’d love to help you. Let me bring my extensive experience and knowledge to you, so that together, we can make your house move as painless an experience as possible.