Mortgage advice explained
If you’re in search of a new mortgage, fee-free, independent advice can be worth its weight in gold. Find out what to expect from free mortgage advice before you start.
Even if you’re an experienced mortgage switcher, a lot could have changed since the last time you went through the process. Not only the mortgage deals themselves, but your own circumstances such as your earnings, outgoings, and employment status. So where do you start?
The benefits of free mortgage advice
A sensible place to start is to seek out an independent mortgage broker who will do all the hard work for you. For example:
Find out about your personal circumstances, such as your earnings, outgoings, and deposit. Based on this information, they can calculate your affordability
Sift through available mortgages to find the cheapest rates and fees, matching flexibility to your needs
Provide advice on which deals you’re most likely to be accepted for, so you can apply more confidently
Guide you through compiling the necessary paperwork and make sure it’s completed correctly
Carry you through the application process and be on hand for any questions
Liaise with the selected lender on your behalf and deal with any problems that could cause unnecessary delays
Advise you on any other relevant financial products alongside your mortgage, such as life or home insurance
However, for this process to work at its best, you will need to ensure the broker you choose is independent. But what does this mean exactly?
Types of mortgage broker
When you are seeking out mortgage advice services, you may come across three main categories of broker:
Tied mortgage brokers: these brokers are tied to a single lender
Multi-tied brokers: these brokers are tied to a group or ‘panel’ of lenders
Independent mortgage brokers: also known as ‘mortgage adviser’, this type of broker sources mortgages from the whole of the available market. Note that some ‘direct-only’ deals are only available if you apply directly to the lender
As tied and/or multi-tied mortgage brokers don’t have access to all mortgages, this could result in missing out on a deal which is either cheaper or more suitable for your circumstances.
In this case, it may be wise to opt for an independent or ‘whole of market’ mortgage broker. These could be, for example, one of our broker partners – Fluent and Mortgage Advice Bureau. Again, however, bear in mind that even independent brokers will not have access to deals that are ‘direct-only’.
How will I know what type of mortgage broker it is?
Under rules set down by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), your broker must be clear and upfront about the kind of advice it is offering at the start of the process.
Your broker should also tell you how it is being paid, as well as how much. For example, some will take commission from lenders, while others will charge you a fee for their services. Only mortgage advisers who offer you the choice can call themselves ‘independent’.
This information will be set down in a European Standard Information Sheet (ESIS) and handed to you at the start of the process. The ESIS has recently replaced the better-known Key Facts Illustration (KFI) document.
Check the ESIS thoroughly, ensure you understand it and make sure it’s what you are expecting.
How much will a mortgage broker cost?
The good news is that independent mortgage advice doesn’t have to cost you a penny. In fact, fee-free independent brokers take all their fees as commission from the lender.
Our mortgage broker partners here at MoneySuperMarket – Fluent and Mortgage Advice Bureau – are both examples of brokers who offer free mortgage advice. It’s worth mentioning that they are also independent brokers.
If you opt for a broker that charges you a fee, it will be calculated either on an hourly or flat-fee basis. In both cases, it will be set down in the ESIS.
What questions should I ask a mortgage broker?
As well as finding out whether a mortgage broker is whole of market or tied to certain lenders, you should double-check whether it is regulated by the FCA.
This will help to ensure you receive a certain standard of advice. What’s more, if anything goes wrong, you will be able to complain to the Financial Ombudsman.
Make sure you’re absolutely certain whether or not you will be charged for advice given, as well as what happens if you pull out of the process before completion. For example, perhaps your circumstances have changed, you’ve changed your mind, or even found a better deal yourself.
Remember also that you are entitled to know what fee, in pounds and pence, your broker is being paid by the lender to introduce your business. This will be stated in the ESIS, but they should discuss it verbally with you too.
Can mortgage advice benefit my application?
When applying for a mortgage, the lender will carry out some checks to determine whether you are reliable as a borrower. For instance, they will want to look at your credit score and understand how well you’ve dealt with loan repayments in the past. Sometimes, it only takes a minor delay to affect your credit history.
Generally, mortgage brokers will be able to assess your finances, sort out any slight mishaps in your credit history, and improve the chances of a successful application. Moreover, brokers tend to know what each lender’s eligibility criteria are and know which mortgage providers are more likely to accept you.
Can I get a mortgage without advice?
Yes, some lenders may allow you to apply for a mortgage regardless of whether you have taken advice or not. Generally, you should be able to do this either online or by sending an application form via post. However, without the help of a mortgage broker, you will need to carry out all the research yourself and know the ins and outs of the mortgage you wish.
Usually, lenders are more likely to arrange your deal if you are a mortgage professional who is aware of the risks or if you are remortgaging a property to raise money for commercial purposes. What’s more, you may also be able to get a mortgage without advice if you have an annual income of over £300,000 or possess assets that are worth £3 million (or more).
Bear in mind that if you decide to take out a mortgage without advice, you are taking full responsibility for choosing the deal. If you receive mortgage advice, instead, the broker will suggest the best option for your needs. If down the line you discover that their recommendation was not suitable, you have more protection and can file a complaint that the mortgage advice wasn’t appropriate.
Where can I get mortgage advice?
If you want to source independent, free mortgage advice, you’re already in the right place.
Here at MoneySuperMarket, we work with Fluent and Mortgage Advice Bureau. Both are totally independent and won’t cost you a penny.
Ultimately, our aim is to help you find the perfect mortgage solution for your needs and pockets.