Updated 27 February 2023
Taking out a mortgage is a huge decision and it is worth taking time to do your research in order to get the best deal as the mortgage market can be a very complex minefield to wade through with many different types of deals on offer.
What is a mortgage broker?
A mortgage broker is an independent intermediary with extensive and up-to-date knowledge of the mortgage market who will look through all the available mortgage deals on your behalf. A broker can also advise you on which way to go if your circumstances and financial situation are unusual or flexible, for example, if you are a freelance worker, self-employed, need a large mortgage (in excess of $1 million) or you need a bridging loan.
Advantages of a mortgage broker
A mortgage broker is constantly studying the ever-changing mortgage market so is on top of the latest advice and regulations. They will be aware of the best places to get very specific mortgage deals or finance for unusual property for those with non-standard circumstances such as holding a property within a structure (i.e. a company), overseas residents or citizens.
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Brokers can often help you to obtain a much better deal than if you were acting independently. They sometimes have exclusive deals with mortgage lenders. They can also help you work out how much you can comfortably pay towards a mortgage taking into account your income and regular outgoings. In this way, you can be sure that the mortgage you get is the most affordable one for you.
Most importantly, a broker can offer much-needed advice on how to proceed through the process, help with the paperwork and can liaison with the lender on your behalf, so taking away much of the stress involved.
In addition, if the mortgage turns out to be unsuitable for your circumstances or if it appears that you were mis-sold a mortgage product you will have full rights in law to make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman and try to get things put right.
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What are the risks of not using a mortgage broker?
You could do your own research and groundwork to decide for yourself which mortgage to get but in doing this you could, if you’re not careful, run the risk of ending up with something unsuitable which could prove to be ruinously expensive over time. You could also find yourself, after much time and hard work, being turned down by a lender you thought was ideal simply because you have misunderstood the small print on the mortgage you applied for.
Be aware also that by striking out on your own you will have far fewer rights and cause for complaint if your chosen mortgage turns out to be the wrong one and any consequences will be your own responsibility.
How to find a broker
There are several websites you could check including Cherryfind.co.uk, Unbiased.co.uk or VouchedFor.co.uk. It’s worth checking several resources to find a truly independent broker; some may be tied to certain lenders whilst some can check the whole market for you with the exception of lender-only specific deals. Be aware that some brokers charge a fee whilst others work on commission from lenders. Choose only from brokers who are on the FCA register.