Getting a mortgage involves a long-term commitment – and one that is not to be taken lightly. Making the wrong decision might leave you not only with an unsuitable mortgage, but one that leaves you seriously out of pocket. Before taking the plunge, therefore, you might want to take the most appropriate mortgage advice you can find.
That advice is likely to come from a mortgage broker. A mortgage broker – or mortgage adviser or mortgage advisor as they are also known – is quite simply someone who specialises in mortgages, explains Equifax.
What are the potential advantages of mortgage brokers versus lenders?
You might be asking yourself whether it is worthwhile consulting a mortgage broker. After all, some of the shops and offices on the UK high streets are the banks and building societies in the business of arranging mortgages for their customers.
Surely, you can cut out the middleman by going straight to the mortgage lender?
Indeed, you can do just that. A mortgage direct from the bank or building society is certainly possible. But you need to know what type of mortgage you are looking for, the borrowing period, how much you want to borrow, the value of the property you wish to buy, and whether you want a fixed or variable rate mortgage. The answers to all of these questions may be more complicated than they seem.
Indeed, if you decide to go direct to the lender, your bank or building society is obliged to warn you about the legal protection you are giving up by not first seeking the advice of a mortgage broker, explains the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
That protection stems from the fact that if you decide to arrange your mortgage without advice, the mortgage product you choose is entirely your responsibility. If you consulted a mortgage broker or mortgage adviser, on the other hand, they will have recommended a mortgage to you. If you subsequently believe that their mortgage advice was faulty or flawed in some way, you may complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service and stand a chance of receiving compensation for any losses you incurred.
Without the mortgage broker’s advice, therefore, you lose potentially vital protection.
Additional benefits in consulting a mortgage adviser
It is not only vital protection you lose by passing up the opportunity to consult a mortgage adviser. A mortgage adviser or broker is an expert in what he or she does.
Your broker is familiar with all the mortgage products across the breadth of the mortgage market and, so, is well placed to match your particular needs and circumstances with the options available.
In looking for that match, your mortgage adviser conducts a search of the market on your behalf and can shop around for the most competitive deals available. In that quest, the independent mortgage adviser is guided entirely by whatever is in your best interests.
Some mortgage deals may be available only when you apply through a mortgage broker – they are not an option when you approach the bank or building society directly. The professional mortgage broker may have access to products at wholesale mortgage rates, for example, which you would not secure through a direct application and which grant you the benefit of an especially competitive interest rate.
They will also help you with the finer details such as completing your mortgage application and ensuring you have the correct documentation.
How do I find a mortgage broker near me?
If you are wondering “how do I find a mortgage broker near me?” then you have several options. You can ask friends, family and work colleagues for recommendations. Or, you can go online and use a broker directory service.
Look for a whole of market mortgage broker. These are mortgage advisers who are typically not tied to any particular lenders or building society, so they can search the whole market to find the most suitable mortgage lender, product and interest rate to suit your own unique financial circumstances.
Preparing to meet your mortgage broker – and the documents you will need
Making the most of the help and guidance, a mortgage advisor can offer depends on the relationship you establish – a relationship built on mutual understanding, trust, and confidence.
Expect your mortgage broker to ask you plenty of questions, about the type of home you are looking for, whatever you understand about the types of mortgage that might be available, your budget, any loans or lines of credit you currently manage, and your credit history. Expect a thorough interview aimed at understanding your goals and ambitions concerning property ownership.
To make sure the ball starts rolling promptly, take along to your first meeting the documents your mortgage broker is likely to need. We have listed these elsewhere – and they include things such as proof of your identity (your birth certificate, passport, or driving licence), and proof of income (by way of payslips or tax returns, for example).