What is Habito?
Habito is an online mortgage broker and mortgage lender. They were one of the first brokers to build a portal for their customers to manage their mortgage online. The idea is to speed up the mortgage advice process by not needing to make in person appointments with banks or brokers. If you’re still trying to save money for a mortgage, then check out our list of budgeting apps to help you track your finances.
They offer a mortgage called Habito One which is fixed “Forever” and has no exit fees. They also offer a service they call Habito Plus which helps with buying admin. It costs £2,000 and it covers your property survey, land registry fee and searches and the mortgage documentation. It doesn’t include Stamp duty and Third party costs (things like indemnity insurance.) The final product they have is the broker tool, they search 20,000 loan offers and find the best loan offer based on your circumstances (the product is free and they make money from brokering the loan.) The product also helps you refinance your existing mortgage to a cheaper deal.
How does Habito work?
Habito has utilised AI to track the entire UK mortgage market and can update mortgage deals across the market within 90 seconds. They track 20,000 mortgage products pulling data from a number of mortgage calculators (from places like MoneySupermarket) and from lenders’ websites.
They’ve streamlined the data they request and boast that it will only take you 10 minutes to enter your personal data. You can sign up with an email or social media account and you must confirm you haven’t been bankrupt or been issued a county court judgement. You then need to confirm if you want a mortgage or remortgage, whether or not you are a first-time buyer and if you’re looking for a buy-to-let loan.
The next step is one of their mortgage advisors will call you for a five-minute chat to confirm what kind of mortgage you need or using their digital chatbot which will ask more or less the same questions. They will essentially try and work out what your future plans are and confirm what you entered.
The next step is you’ll need to upload your financial and personal documents. Which include: your proof of income, identity documents, details on the property, how much you want to borrow, where your funds have come from, assets, information on dependents and loans and employer details. You’ll need to upload this to the Habito platform and have your credit checked (which will leave a footprint on your credit score). Once you’ve done this you’ll get options from Habito and once you choose a lender you can get a principle agreement within 48 hours.
The different Habito services
Habito Plus is the full service home buying product. It costs £2,000 and provides you with a property survey, help with price negotiation and covers all the conveyancing and legal work needed to buy the property. Habito claims by running this altogether it can be carried out in a few days rather than a number of weeks.
Habito also offers a free mortgage broker tool. It compares over 20,000 insurance offers within 90 seconds. They can also help you refinance your mortgage to a cheaper deal, you just need to input your mortgage details and they’ll check your mortgage against newer offers and see if they can get you a cheaper loan. It’s worth checking out their refinance tool if you’ve just gotten a new job or a raise or a positive change in your financial situation as your rates can go down just based on that.
Mortgage in principle certificate
If you’re not ready to sign on the dotted line to get a mortgage you can get a certificate that will indicate how much you can borrow. You can use this to show sellers and agents that you are serious about buying. The certificate is free, takes around 5 minutes to get and doesn’t require a credit check.
Habito One (Habito mortgage)
Habito has its own loan product which guarantees a rate for the life of the mortgage. They do not charge an exit fee and you can move home and take the same mortgage with you. They charge between 2.99% to 5.56% (Oct 19th 2021.) More information on their interest rates and the LTV (loan to value) ie how much you’re borrowing vs your equity can be found here.
Is Habito Safe?
As an online mortgage broker Habito must be licensed with the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority). They were also granted permission by the UK regulators in 2019 to offer their own mortgage offerings as well. Given they are regulated, they must follow rules treating customers fairly and making their products and those of others terms and costs clear. If you do have any issues with Habito then you can write them at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can’t resolve it with Habito then you can write to the Financial Ombudsman.
In terms of IT security, Habito doesn’t communicate about it’s security. All apps are subject to being hacked, and as your documents live in the portal it’s always possible they could get hacked. So if you’re concerned we recommend you write Habito and ask about how they handle and secure your data.
Habito is a B Corp which means they’ve made a commitment to make people and the planet as important as profit. There’s only a small number of B Corp certified organisations globally. In order to be a B Corp you have to show you’re doing good for customers, employees, community and environment. They also need to pledge to keep doing better by putting social and environmental responsibilities at the core of their business operations.
Drawbacks of Habito?
Habito is a broker and a lender, which seems like it could be a conflict of interest. Which is a drawback. However their brokers all get the same commission no matter what product they recommend to you. They even promise if they find a loan offer with a lender they don’t work with they’ll still recommend it and tell you how to apply for it.
How does Habito make money?
Habito makes money a few different ways based on the product:
1. They make money from commission from the lender they recommend to you for all their broking
2. For their lending product they make money from fees and interest payments
3. For Habito Plus they make money based on the fee they charged and the commission from the lender they connect you with.
Alternatives to Habito
Other than traditional mortgage brokers and banks there are a few other vendors offering online. Trussle offers a similar service to Habito with their main product being digital mortgage broking tool. They don’t have their own loan product yet and have been criticised for being too pushy and ignoring those people with average credit. MortgageGym has a similar product too, which finds you eligible mortgage lenders within 60 seconds (via their smartphone app.) MortgageGym has slightly better reviews than Trussle, but it may pay to test all three out and see how the non binding offers compare.
Habito has 4.8 stars for 6,605 reviews on Trustpilot. With 91% of reviews being excellent, 5% being great, less than 1% being average, 1% being poor and 2% being bad. We’ll highlight a few of the best and worse reviews for your perusal.
Habito Bad Reviews
“Unresponsive complaints team and no sign of agreed refund
After finding Habito useful several years ago, recent experience has been extremely disappointing and frustrating and I recommend people use another broker. When remortgaging, I was mis-sold a mortgage product by an adviser who had clearly not understood my requirements nor clearly explained the limitations of the deal to me. I took this up with their complaints team who duly (although it took some time) concluded that I had been mis-sold, reprimanded the adviser in question and calculated a refund due of £530. It has now been over four months since the initial conclusion of the investigation and five weeks since I signed a refund contract. I have not received the refund and my emails to the Complaints team (and their lead) go unanswered and ignored. I can only assume that their capacity is low and little has been done to conclude this. I feel as if I have been swept under the carpet. I will not be using their services again.” Harry Fox
“Do not take Habito plus
Habito as a mortgage broker is fine – but avoid their Habito plus service.
Their partner Juno is impossible to deal with, and they have delayed our transaction throughout.
Every time you call you get a different excuse, and they never own up to the fact it is themselves delaying.
No matter how hard we have tried to move this along they keep coming up with additional enquiries, rather than having done everything from the start.
I also asked to ready all the paperwork while we waited, and now at the last minute there is yet another document for us to sign which they failed to mention.
I would never recommend to anyone Habito Plus.” John
Habito Excellent Reviews
“Habito have been amazing throughout the entire process all the way from explaining how the process worked early on before placing any offers to supporting us through the final steps of completion. We went with Habito plus which took care of so much stuff that made it feel like a dream. I’d like to give a shoutout in particular to David and Dan who answered all my questions so promptly and expertly! Will definitely be using Habito and Habito Plus again when we next move!” Nick
“I’ve only started my mortgage journey, but….Habito has been by far, the least scariest way to take the first step. The process is easy, not at all complicated or intimidating and it’s easy to get help at any point. I spoke with Ravish who was lovely, and helpful – and Gregory was excellent on the webchat support too.” Holly