Choosing a mortgage broker

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How to find the mortgage broker for you

Finding a mortgage broker to handle your mortgage or re-mortgage application is a two stage process. Firstly you need to identify suitable brokers and then establish which broker is best for you and your needs.

Identifying mortgage brokers is the easier part of the process, choosing the right broker is more difficult. To help you we outline below some key questions you can ask a broker when making your selection.

What types of mortgage brokers are available?

Estate agent mortgage broker

Many mortgage brokers work in conjunction with estate agents or from estate agents offices. These individuals can often be less experienced as working from an estate agent is a common route for those new to the role.

Many mortgage brokers working with large national or regional firms, provide products from a limited panel of mortgage lenders in order to simplify the advice process. This can limit options for some borrowers.

The general advice is not to use a mortgage broker recommended by the estate agents selling you a property in order to avoid conflict of interest. The estate agents is working for the vendor and therefore anyone associated to them is not a good fit to advise you.

Local firms

Local mortgage brokers will often be one or two person operations who work ‘face to face’ and can assist only those borrowers in their local area. Some will be directly regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, some we will regulated via an another business known as a Network which holds FCA authorisation, these brokers are called appointed representatives.

If you are using a small brokerage it is worth checking the service level you can expect and the arrangements if your broker goes sick or on holiday.

Independent financial advisers (IFAs) will specialise in advice on investments and pensions, many today do not advise on mortgages. Some of the larger firms may have a mortgage specialist in-house, others may refer you to a mortgage broker.

Nationals

Mortgage brokers working nationally come in two forms. Some offer face to face advice and will refer you to their local mortgage broker, others operate remotely over the telephone or the Internet from a central location and will assist anyone UK resident.

National will usually be in a position to offer you cover for sickness or holidays and also have highly experienced or specialist brokers in their ranks.

Specialists

The majority of mortgage applications will involve circumstances that all mortgage brokers should be familiar with. Some borrowers however may have particular complications that will need specific knowledge or experience in order to be assisted.

Typically situations where a more experienced or specialist mortgage broker may be required include:

  • Self employed applicants
  • Applicants with bad credit
  • Professional applicants
  • Applicants working as contractors

What you need to ask

Areas you need to investigate when selecting a mortgage broker.

  • Regulation
  • Products offered
  • Experience
  • Fees
  • Service and Process

Regulation – are you authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority?

Mortgage brokers need to be regulated to advise on residential mortgages but not buy to let mortgages. It is worth only dealing with regulated advisers, even with a buy to let application. Some of the unregulated broker population offering buy to let advice only are doing so only because they cannot become, or wish to avoid being, regulated.

You can check the FCA authorisation of any broker here

Products offered – do you offer advice on mortgage products from a limited panel or the whole of the market?

You want to stick to brokers who offer a whole of the market service.

Experience – tell me of your experience?

Being around for a long time does not necessarily make a good mortgage broker but a question like this enables the broker to outline how well they are placed to assist you.

Fees – What are your fees?

All brokers receive commissions (known as procuration fees) from lenders. Broker fees may also be payable in certain circumstances with many brokers.

Find out what these brokers fees are, when they need to be paid, and if they are refundable.

You need to be comfortable with any fee structure before you engage a broker.

Most brokers will have their fee structure written down and they can provide you with a copy.

Our fee structure is here

Service and process – can you please describe your service and process?

Find out if you need to meet the broker or if they operate remotely. If you need to meet, where, when, and how many meetings, how long will they take.

Allow them to talk you through the process.

Find out about our process here

Remember to ask – “What else do I need to know?”

This gives the broker an opportunity to provide additional information, perhaps outlining how they have assisted borrowers in your situation previously.

Testimonials

Can the broker show you testimonials from previous clients? This may help to inform your thinking.

Our testimonials are here

Good luck

Whatever you decide to do, and we hope you choose to engage our team – we wish you well with your application.

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