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How to choose a good mortgage broker

Having a mortgage broker can help you to sift through the competitive market of mortgages and find the best deal for you. But how do you choose the right mortgage broker to suit your needs?

How to choose a good mortgage broker

What is a mortgage broker?

A mortgage broker is an adviser, they will offer their services to help you find a lender that will grant you a mortgage. They will consider your financial situation and your needs to explore the market and can then apply for a mortgage on your behalf.

Why use a mortgage broker?

Though they may seem to be a middle man, remember that a mortgage broker is an expert in their industry who has access to lots of deals you might not find by looking on your own. They will possess knowledge  that can help guide you through the mortgage application process, so never be afraid to ask your mortgage broker questions. Their knowledge and expertise can save you time and ease your stress, and they often have access to better deals that can save you money in the long run.

Here’s our advice for choosing a great mortgage broker, who’s right for you.

1. Check the register

Before you begin any talks with a mortgage broker, make sure they are properly qualified and registered. In the UK, mortgage brokers are required by law to be registered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in order to be authorised to give mortgage advice. When looking at any UK mortgage broker, check the FCA’s Financial Services Register for their name. If they are not on the register, they are not authorised and therefore are not trustworthy. Also, most lenders will not make deals with unregistered brokers, meaning that by working with one, you would be unnecessarily closing off a large portion of the market to yourself.

2. Go Whole-of-Market

There are many different types of mortgage brokers available to you, but generally it’s good to find a broker that is described as ‘Whole-of-Market’. What this means is that they will have access to every mortgage available on the market at the time. This is opposed to some brokers that will only look for mortgages from a select panel, or some that are tied to a certain bank or building society and will recommend mortgages from within their own company. A Whole-of-Market mortgage broker will be able to offer you more options and increase your chance of finding the best deal.

3. Compare fees

Hiring a mortgage broker will be an additional cost on top of the mortgage you settle on. However, remember that they can find you a better value deal, so you will be saving money overall. Even so, it can be useful to you to compare the rate that different brokers charge, to see what you can do to maximise that saving, while also getting a good service.

It is also a good idea to compare how brokers will take their fee. Some will expect an upfront payment, but many others will only be paid once a mortgage is agreed, or their fee will be added on to the cost of the mortgage. Some will have some combination of the two. Look for a mortgage broker that uses the payment method you prefer.

Some brokers will also be paid by the lender, but this will be outlined to you. Many brokers use a mixture of the two payment systems.

4. Compare services

As well as comparing prices and payment methods between mortgage brokers, it can be helpful to you to compare the services they can provide. There are a great many web-based mortgage brokers who will carry out the process and give advice completely online. Alternatively, there are the traditional brokers who work in face to face meetings or by phone. And there are some that may combine the two.  Think about what works best for you and look for a broker that suits your needs.

5. Read reviews

It’s easy to compare mortgage brokers by word of mouth and by reading customer reviews. Some mortgage brokers will host reviews of their services on their website, but you can also read what people have to say on their social media platforms and review sites such as Trustpilot and Google.

Remember, however, that you cannot always be 100% sure of a review’s validity. It may be written by someone who had a bad experience and embellished the truth. Or by someone with a personal vendetta against the person or company, or perhaps someone with a vested interest in it doing well. So, don’t take each review as gospel, but instead look for common threads within various reviews. If a certain positive or negative continuously pops up in multiple reviews, you can likely trust that it is valid.

6. Availability

Your schedule is one of the most important things to consider when looking for a mortgage broker. When comparing brokers, try and find out how quickly they can start working on your case. Consider how well this matches with your timeline for when you want to have your application ideally completed.

You should also find out what their working hours are, to see when you will be able to contact them for help and advice. Try and find someone who can work around your schedule. For example, if weekdays are very busy for you, a mortgage broker who can talk to you on weekends, when you’re free, would be ideal.

7. Trust your feelings

Once you have vetted brokers based on their service, payment and reputation, you may still have a few to choose between. In this case it is important to value your own instincts. Remember that moving is an important life event, and you are also going to be sharing personal information such as finances with your broker. So, you need to feel comfortable working with them, otherwise it will make the process a lot more stressful for you.

If you don’t feel you can trust a broker, or you feel the way they talk to you or the advice they give is unhelpful, it may be worth considering looking at someone else. Also, remember that if you absolutely cannot find a mortgage broker you feel comfortable with or trust, you can still get a mortgage without one; so it’s not the end of the world.
Finding a trustworthy mortgage broker, at the right price and with the right service for your needs will make the moving process significantly smoother. Just remember (as with everything when it comes to moving) to shop around and compare, to find that perfect match.

We’re proud to work with Mortgage Advice Bureau, who are excellent sources of knowledge and offer reallymoving users fee-free mortgage advice.

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