What is Step One Finance?
Founded in 2010, Step One Finance is a specialist loans company based in Woking, Surrey. It offers unsecured personal loans and guarantor loans, but is perhaps best-known for providing secured homeowner loans to borrowers across England, Wales and Scotland.
Whether you’re consolidating debt or paying for a wedding, Step One Finance could help with a homeowner loan – also known as a second-charge mortgage – of up to £150,000. You can apply through the Step One Finance website. If you’re approved for a homeowner loan with Step One Finance it will be acting as a direct lender (not a broker).
Is Step One Finance safe?
Step One Finance is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and part of the Finance & Leasing Association.
What types of loans does Step One Finance offer?
Step One Finance offers both unsecured personal loans up to £10,000 and secured homeowner loans up to £150,000, which are also known as second-charge mortgages.
What is a second-charge mortgage?
A second-charge mortgage is a type of loan that is secured against your home, in the same way as your first-charge mortgage. You must think carefully before taking out a second-charge mortgage, as your property or home will be at risk if you don’t keep up repayments.
Key features of a Step One Finance loan at a glance
- Borrow £10,000 to £150,000. Step One Finance allows you to borrow up to 95% of the value of your home, less the outstanding mortgage. Loans are limited to £100,000 for buy-to-let owners.
- Repay over 6 to 30 years. Your repayment term will depend on your individual needs and circumstances.
- Variable or fixed rates. You can choose to fix your interest rate for up to 5 years to help you budget.
- Lender fees. Step One Finance will charge you a one-off fee when you take out your loan. If a property valuation is needed, you’ll also be charged for that.
- Security. Your home will be used as security on your loan. Missing repayments will put your property at risk, so always ensure that you can afford the loan before you apply.
Pros and cons of Step One Finance loans
- Flexible loan terms
- Variable and fixed interest rates available
- No hidden fees
- You’ll need to use your home as security against the loan
- Lender fee
What can I use a Step One Finance loan for?
You can use a Step One Finance secured loan for any worthwhile purpose, such as covering the cost of home improvements, buying a new car, paying for a holiday or wedding, or any other expense.
Am I eligible for a Step One Finance homeowner loan?
You should only apply for a Step One Finance homeowner loan if you are certain you can meet the repayment terms. You must also meet the following criteria:
- Over 21 years of age (there’s no maximum age)
- Resident in England, Wales or Scotland
- A homeowner or buy-to-let owner
- Already have a first-charge mortgage on your home
- Earn at least £20,000 as a sole applicant or £25,000 as joint applicants
- Have lived at your current address for at least 6 months
How can I apply?
- Use the sliders on the homepage to select how much you would like to borrow and over how long.
- Complete the simple online application form by providing your personal, contact and basic financial information, as well as your recent address history.
- A Step One Finance advisor will contact you to discuss your loan options. You may be required to have your home valued before you are offered a loan.
- Once your application is approved, Step One Finance will aim to fund your loan within 3 to 4 weeks.
How long does it take?
Realistically, secured loans do take a little longer than their unsecured counterparts. Step One Finance states that, on average, the process takes 3-4 weeks.
Before taking out a secured loan, you should consider all of your options carefully. Other ways of gaining funds secured against your home or an asset include:
- Car loans. These secured loans can be for new or used cars. You can find car loans from most banks and credit unions, as well as dealerships and standalone car loan lenders. You can usually repay the loan at any time by returning the car.
- Line of credit loans. If you’re looking to renovate, invest in property, go on a holiday or buy a new car, you can consider this type of loan. Also called a “home equity” loan, it can be drawn on continually, based on the equity held in your property. This is a flexible way to access funds, which could suit you if the amount of credit you need is going to change over time.
- Personal asset secured loans. High-priced assets such as boats, motorbikes and jewellery are accepted by some lenders as a guarantee. Your item or collection of items is valued and then used as security, allowing you to take out the loan you need. You generally won’t find these loans at major banks.
Step One Finance offers competitive secured loans for those looking to access the equity they have in their home. With relatively low rates and flexible loan terms, it could be a suitable option for borrowers with good credit history, but if you’re looking to take out a larger loan, you may need to look elsewhere.
Frequently asked questions
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