I have recently remortgaged with the Chelsea building society. The plus side is as follows :- 1. They are giving me a 6% cashback on the mortage and the standard rate is pretty similar to other lendors - some lendors are slightly cheaper, some more expensive. 2. They offer free survey and legal fees, so it is costing me nothing to remortage. The cashback will be used to clear all my credit cards and probably pay for a holiday too, so it is very useful. 3. The whole thing has been done by post and telephone. 4. I didn't have to pay any fees to mortage brokers, who often want up to 1% of the loan and try and sell you insurance etc... The bad points are :- 1. Some lendors offer slightly cheaper standard variable rates (e.g. Nationwide BS). Chelsea aren't bad, but they certainly are not one of the best. 2. There is no option to fix the mortgage rate so if rates increase there is little protection. 3. There are redemption penalties if you switch lendor within 6 years - you have to pay the 6% back. However if you change to another Chelsea BS product you pay back 1% for every year of the 6 years left of your tie in period. Overall, a very good experience, and a very useful cashback!!
Chelsea Mortgage Services are advertised on television, with the incentive of a large cash back and all fees paid, but I would think twice before swapping to this lender. They do offer competitive rates and the criteria is a little more flexible than some of the high street lenders. However, Chelsea Mortgage Services is a subsidiary of the Chelsea building society, and as such the high street branches are not a lot of help nor will you able to make any gains if the building society changes to a bank. Once the mortgage is running as long as you do not have any hitches the rates are low, and customer services are adequate, however, if ever you run into difficulties they can be rather unreasonable, and in saying this I talk as a former debt counsellor who has dealt with them on many occasions. They will push customers to the point of harassment when payments are late. Therefore, if you want an understanding lender for if you get into difficulties, this is not the one to go for.