Startup profile: Habito

  • Habito is an online mortgage broker offering free mortgage advice.
  • The company was founded by Daniel Hegarty in 2016.
  • It has gained almost £30m investment from its backers including Ribbit Capital and Mosaic Ventures.

About Habito

 

Habito is a free online mortgage broker designed to remove the stress of the mortgage process. It uses an intelligent algorithm to find you a suitable mortgage deal. It considers over 20,000 products to find you the best deal in a matter of minutes. There is also human support available to answer any questions.

Daniel Hegarty founded the company following his stressful experience of buying a house. “It’s a simple story: I bought a house, and the experience was horrific… I had found the house I wanted and had an offer accepted. My deposit was ready to go and it was my time to achieve the impossible — homeownership in London. Mortgage application submitted, mortgage application declined.”

Having had his mortgage declined three times for simple discrepancies before finally managing to secure his dream house, Hegarty thought there must be a better way.

“At the time, I didn’t realise how badly the individual buyers were represented in that system.”

He set out to solve this problem and established Habito in 2016 with the aim of getting you the right mortgage, without jargon or misinformation. The company has since seen exponential growth rates and gained a £500m injection last year.

 

 

Daniel Hegarty, Founder and CEO of Habito

 

How does Habito work?

 

After filling out an online application, your information is passed on to one of Habito’s mortgage experts. They will recommend a mortgage deal to you based on this information and can submit your application to the lender. Unlike a bank, which will only offer its own products, Habito can access many products from a range of lenders. Habito remains entirely impartial and does not gain any benefit from encouraging you to use a particular bank.

The service is free to use, with no hidden charges. Habito gains commission from its lenders, not its customers and remains open about how much commission they make from your deal.

The optional Habito Plus offers a ‘complete home-buying service’, taking you to completion with a property purchase. This service oversees property surveying, price negotiation, conveyancing and all required legal work for a fixed-fee starting at £2000.

Habito made its first move into lending market in July 2019 by offering its own buy-to-let mortgages. They also aim to bring a range of residential mortgages in the coming months. However, Habito insists mortgage brokerage will remain its primary business model.

 

Habito in 2020

 

Habito expects to see another busy year. After becoming the first broker to move into lending in 2019, they plan to launch more new product offerings in 2020. In January, Habito began advertising the new residential service ‘Habito Go’ that launched in October 2019. Go is a service that allows homebuyers the chance to upgrade their mortgage to an upfront cash offer. This gives buyers the advantage of speed and certainty, as well as allowing for greater negotiating power with sellers. It is the first of its kind in the market and holds great potential to revolutionise the buying process, but some remain questioning whether it sounds just too good to be true.

Habito also says they will continue to develop the best customer experience for mortgage advice in the market by investing in APIs this year.