I think back to my first mortgage and to a time of hope over experience and I wonder why building societies were so stupid. I was graduating from business school and wanted a smart flat in Pimlico in London for 22,500. But my Halifax manager said my maximum advance was 15,000 and that single men shouldn’t need more.So I went to a mortgage broker for a 3,000 second charge from Norwich Union, my employer for a 4,000 unsecured overdraft and my father for money for fittings. My indebtedness was about 25,000 on a property of 22,500. Thankfully house price inflation and a pay rise bailed me out. My last mortgage – with Abbey – came hassle-free via John Charcol. This was a real achievement as I was borrowing to invest in Retirement Plus and was not certain of the future. But I got a full status mortgage, which I am delighted with.