Getting a mortgage
Choosing a mortgage broker
By Marie Kemplay
Article 4 of 11
Choosing a mortgage broker
Applying for a mortgage is often stressful - but an independent broker can help guide you through the process. Discover how to find a mortgage broker, how they can help you and how much it's likely to cost.
Why use a mortgage broker?
A good mortgage broker will consider your financial situation and recommend mortgages that are suitable for you. They can save you time by telling you which lenders are likely to accept you and how to improve your application.
A mortgage broker can also speed-up the application by dealing with paperwork on your behalf.
Another benefit to taking out a mortgage using a broker is that you have the right to complain if the mortgage turns out to be unsuitable, an option that isn't available if you apply without taking advice.
You'll hear people talk about both mortgage advisers and mortgage brokers. Both terms usually mean the same thing – someone who'll provide you with professional advice and help you get a mortgage.
Need mortgage advice?
We believe you should seek independent mortgage advice before taking out a mortgage. The Which? Group offers an independent mortgage advice service, Which? Mortgage Advisers, that looks at a wide range of mortgages from every available lender to recommend the best deal for your personal circumstances.
You can speak to them by calling 0808 252 7987.
Video: how to get good mortgage advice
In this short video, our experts at Which? Mortgage Advisers explain what you should look for when choosing a mortgage broker. The video includes questions you should ask your broker before agreeing to use them to find a mortgage.
Choosing a mortgage adviser or broker
There are several things you should consider when choosing a mortgage adviser.
Some mortgage advisers and brokers will only recommend mortgages that are available from a select 'panel' of lenders. Meanwhile, if you speak to an adviser based in a bank or building society, they will only tell you about their own product range.
For that reason, it’s a good idea to ask your mortgage broker whether they are ‘whole-of-market’, meaning they consider all products from all available lenders. Using a 'whole-of-market' broker increases your options and gives you access to a wider range of deals.
Some lenders don't sell their mortgages via brokers and only offer them directly to customers.
Brokers have no obligation to inform you of these deals. However, it's worth asking your mortgage broker if they will advise you, after they have searched the whole of the market, of any direct deals you could get by approaching a lender yourself.
In addition to speaking with a broker, you may wish to do some of your own research to see what deals are available on the market.
Which? Mortgage Advisers will search a wide range of mortgages from all available lenders in the whole of the market, and also advise you whether there are any direct deals you could get by approaching a lender yourself. Call them on 0808 252 7987.
How much does mortgage advice cost?
Mortgage brokers charge for their service in different ways. Some will charge you a fee, which will either be a flat rate or a percentage based on the amount you want to borrow.
Mortgage brokers will also often receive a commission payment from the lender after they arrange your mortgage.
All mortgage brokers have a responsibility to clearly outline these charges and any fees or commission they receive from a lender prior to entering into any contract to act on your behalf.
Ask your mortgage broker to provide you with the costs of their service before making an agreement with them.
Which? Mortgage Advisers charges a fee for its service. The initial consultation is free, but if you decide to proceed with the service, you will pay £499 in two parts. When Which? Mortgage Advisers submits your application to the recommended lender, you'll pay £299; then, once your mortgage has completed, you'll pay a further £200 (or £100 if you’re a Which? member when you first get in touch, excluding trial or temporary memberships).
The advisers are paid a set salary and don't receive any commission payments for the mortgages they arrange, so you can be assured that they'll recommend the right mortgage for you based on your personal circumstances.
Key questions to ask a mortgage broker:
- Are you whole-of-market?
- Will you also advise on mortgages that are only available directly from lenders?
- What are your fees and charges?
- How are you paid?
- What is included in the service you offer? i.e. will they take responsibility for all the admin and chasing lenders etc.
- When will you be available? i.e. can you only call during office hours, or can you speak to them during evenings and weekends
Get the most out of your mortgage adviser
Check that your adviser is authorised to give mortgage advice by consulting the the Financial Services Register.
Your adviser should do the following:
- thoroughly explore your circumstances
- explain what different deals and types of mortgage there are
- advise you on which ones they feel meet your needs
- be able to give you good, clear reasons why they're recommending a particular mortgage deal.
If you think you've received bad advice, you can make a formal complaint. First, go to the firm that advised you to see if it can offer a solution to the problem. If it's unable to resolve your complaint satisfactorily within eight weeks from the date you complained, take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (0800 023 4567).
Know your rights: I think I've been mis-sold my mortgage, what can I do? – read our consumer rights guide
- Last updated: May 2017
- Updated by: Marie Kemplay