Finding a mortgage can be confusing. Of course, you can compare everything online these days, but a good mortgage broker can offer a valuable service. They are able to search on your behalf, and have access to deals you cannot directly apply to yourself. For the best experience, here are some tips:
Listen to recommendations from friends and family
There’s nothing quite like word-of-mouth, and if you know people who have had a recent and positive experience with a broker, you can save a lot of headaches by taking a recommendation. Find out what it was that they especially liked about a particular mortgage broker, and ensure you are using someone tried and tested.
Look for a referenced expert
There’s a reason some brokers are often mentioned, be it in online articles or financial pages of the newspaper. It’s because they’ve done something to impress – they’re considered a viable, dependable expert. If someone is often cited in your online or print sources, take it as an enthusiastic recommendation on their behalf.
Make sure they are independent and have whole market access
This ensures they have the widest range of possible leads and no inherent biases towards certain mortgage deals. This is why resisting any attempts by an estate agent to force you into in-house brokers is important. They are more likely to have an inherent affiliation with only a few dozen banks, and therefore have a less diverse base to draw from. This is known as operating with a panel of mortgage lenders – it’s much better if they look at the whole market!
Find a mortgage broker who can navigate the admin, not just the rates
One of the biggest advantages of an actual broker is that they can assist you with the paperwork maze. They should be well-versed in the admin associated with the mortgage process, not just the rates comparisons.
Ensure they are able to be flexible
A good mortgage broker should take into account your extra needs, for instance if you want to particularly avoid upfront charges, or make extra payments without penalty. A good mortgage broker should listen to these requirements and take these into account when searching for the best deal for you.
Make sure they are clear about their fees
A good broker will be upfront about how they charge for their advice. This can either mean they have no fee at all) i.e. they are paid directly by the bank or building society they recommend), they set a flat fee (either hourly or overall for a set job), or they take their fee as a percentage of the value of the mortgage. Don’t confuse these with mortgage fees, which are additional costs form the lender themselves for choosing a particular mortgage product. These have nothing to do with the broker themselves!
Check that they are qualified
They should be listed on the Financial Services Register, so check this out first before you decide on a broker. The most widely recognised qualification is called the CeMAP.
Remember these tips before you settle on a broker. With the right advice, you can save plenty – find a broker who works in your best interests.