Which? uses cookies to improve our sites and by continuing you agree to our cookies policy

Getting a mortgage

Choosing a mortgage broker

By Marie Kemplay

Article 4 of 12

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

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.

Video transcript

Any adviser should be fully qualified and authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and it normal states that on their business cards and any documentation that they give you. It's important and you can ask that question. They should have a CeMAP qualification which proves that they've taken all the relevant exams and they are in a position to provide you with good advice and a recommendation on mortgage.

I think another good question to ask is, "Are you going to tell me about some of direct alternatives that might be available to me?" So whereas as an independent mortgage adviser can't arrange direct mortgage or comment on a direct lenders' criteria, or your ability to have a mortgage with that particular lender, they can still tell you of the rights, tell you about the rights available, and if they are mathematically cheaper than any rate then that particular rise it might be coming back.

Some brokers may just advice the mortgage, but then you send the client off to do everything themselves, but obviously you want a full package really, you want to have the stress taking off you and for our broker to look at you from the start to finish. What fees do they charge and when are they payable, what's their refund policy on fees if something goes wrong. Time scales involved say, when can I expect you to came back to me, how do you operate. Some advisers would operate on telephone basis, others face to face and you should deal with one that's right for you. Some people prefer face to face. A lot of people these days is busy working environment preferred to do things via telephone and email which makes lots of sense and ultimately that is one reason that you would potentially use a mortgage broker as opposed to trying to sort it out yourself because it saves time or should save time and gets things right first time.

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.

Direct-only mortgages

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

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Which? Limited (registered in England and Wales number 00677665) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited (registered in England and Wales number 07239342). Which? Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited. Registered office: 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF.