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YOUR PROPERTY MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP WITH YOUR MORTGAGE REPAYMENTS.
The FCA does not regulate mortgages on commercial or investment buy-to-let properties.
For most people, a mortgage is the largest financial responsibility they will ever take on. Arranging a mortgage with affordable repayments, and terms and conditions that work for your circumstances is, therefore, essential.
Internet rate tables and calculators can be useful, but only provide a rough guide of the mortgage deals that may be available to you. When it comes to making a decision as important as choosing your mortgage, taking advice from a professional broker is highly recommended.
Mortgage brokers offer a wealth of services that many people are unaware of. As well as the ability to recommend the best product for your needs, they can take on much of the administrative burden of arranging a mortgage on your behalf. There’s very little downside to taking advantage of free mortgage advice!
You can seek mortgage advice at any point in the home buying journey, however, it’s best to do so right at the beginning of the process. This will help you understand all of the options available to you and secure an agreement in principle.
It’s a good idea to do your research and find a broker who is FCA regulated, and that you’re happy with on a personal level. The relationship with your broker is important, with the average mortgage application process taking at least eight weeks, and many brokers providing additional post-sale services for years to come.
Everyone taking out a mortgage could benefit from the advice of a broker, especially those who want to be confident they’re making the right decisions. That said, particular groups of people typically benefit more from using a broker than others.
High street lenders tend to favour applicants in traditional full time employment, with a strong credit score, large deposit, and who want to buy a conventional brick and mortar house. As many don’t fit into this set of circumstances, they will likely benefit from using a broker that specialises in arranging complex mortgage applications.
There are three types of mortgage broker and the way they’re able to help you varies, so it’s important to understand which type of adviser you’re choosing:
Tied mortgage brokers are usually tied to a single lender and will often be employed by them, e.g. in your local bank. While they have industry knowledge, they are only able to show you deals from one lender.
Multi-tied brokers are usually tied to a group (or panel) of lenders. They can offer a broader comparison of deals than the above, but are still limited to the number of lenders on their panel – which will vary from one brokerage to another.
Independent mortgage brokers are often referred to as a ‘whole of market brokers’, they have access to the broadest range of lenders on the market (with the exclusion of the few direct-only lenders that do not work with brokers).
There are some differences in the level of services offered, depending on the type of mortgage broker you choose, but most brokers can offer you:
Expertise – mortgage terminology can be fairly complex, and there are lots of elements to consider, no matter what type of mortgage you’re looking for. Brokers can explain every aspect of the mortgage application process to you in detail, giving you a genuine understanding of what you’re taking on, as well as all of the fees you’ll need to pay when you buy a home and what they’re for
Administrative support – mortgage applicants are usually busy working individuals, so the burden of the application process can be overwhelming. A broker often takes care of the entire process on your behalf, from completing the application to acting on any delays and liaising with estate agents, solicitors and the lender
Exclusive deals – Certain lenders will only work with brokers, not directly with applicants. They often have exclusive rates that would not be accessible without broker involvement
Professional influence - The influence a mortgage broker’s professional status and connections can have on an application should not be underestimated.They can often be more persuasive when it comes to getting a borderline application accepted, which can be helpful to those with higher risk applications, such as self-employed applicants
Help improving your application – It’s useful to have a mortgage broker review your application before submitting it to a lender. They can offer tips on how to make it more appealing, e.g whether improving your credit score or including additional income may improve your chance of a successful application
Reduced chance of declined applications – as well as recommending mortgages that will suit, they can also advise you against choosing a mortgage where you’re not likely to meet the criteria. Aside from saving you time, this can prevent damage to your credit report. Multiple failed mortgage applications will have a negative impact on your credit record, making future applications even more difficult
If you opt for an independent broker that deals with the whole of the market, they will also be able to offer these benefits:
More choice – a whole of market broker can see thousands of mortgages available from hundreds of lenders. This means they can compare mortgages from across the market quickly to determine which is the best available to you. This is a great time saver, compared to searching hundreds of individual lenders by yourself
Broader lender knowledge – working with a wide variety of lenders daily gives them excellent knowledge of the criteria of each, which can be vastly different from one lender to the next. So whatever your personal circumstances, they should be able to recommend a lender whose criteria match them. Many lenders decline applications based on an applicant’s credit history, employment status, age, or the type of property they want to buy, for example
Uswitch is partnered with Mojo Mortgages, who offer free independent mortgage advice. Through this partnership customers are able to save time, money and stress in securing the best deal available to them.
As an independent broker, Mojo will search the marketplace for a product that suits your needs. Whether your goal is to maximise your borrowing, get a more competitive rate, or simply find a willing lender for your complex application, they’ll know exactly which lenders to approach. If they’re unable to help you directly, they will also be able to refer you to a preferred partner who can.
They will also take care of the entire application process on your behalf, liaising with the different parties involved and providing you with regular updates on the progress of your mortgage. You can also be confident that, as an independent mortgage broker, Mojo is working for you, so all their recommendations have your best interests in mind and are obligation free.
Mojo mortgage broker services are completely free of charge at source, so if they’re unable to find you a suitable mortgage that you’re happy with, you won’t lose a penny.
Once your application is complete, they receive a payment from your chosen lender, and do not charge you any fees in addition to this.
All brokers should make it clear how they’re being paid to provide you with their services, as well as how much. Make sure you’re fully aware of all charges at the beginning of the relationship.
As independent brokers, you can be confident that Mojo will find you the most competitively priced and suitable deal from the widest search of the marketplace available to them.
There are a very small number of lenders who either won’t work with brokers at all or only work with a specific predefined broker, and these won’t be accessible to them.
As Mojo provides no fee mortgage brokers, however, there is no downside to finding out the best they can recommend to you.
It’s perfectly possible to apply for a standard residential mortgage with most lenders without taking professional mortgage advice. This is known as an execution-only mortgage application. However, for some mortgage products (equity release mortgages for example), input from a specially trained broker will be required.
It’s important to be aware that there are some risks to seeking out your own mortgage, such as:
You may not find the most suitable mortgage for your needs and be unable to switch mortgages without paying large fees
You’re likely to miss out on more competitive deals with other lenders – meaning you’ll pay more in interest than you need to
You’ve got more chance of being turned down by a lender due to not fully meeting their criteria, as it will be less clear which lenders are not suited to you without advice
The FCA offers additional protection to customers who take professional mortgage advice, which you would not be eligible for if you chose your mortgage independently
Finding a mortgage broker is an important task, so be sure to have a list of questions ready when you meet them. Here are some suggested questions to help you determine the best mortgage broker for you:
Are you regulated? All UK mortgage brokers are required to be either regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or to be the agent of a regulated firm. You can ask them directly or check whether a broker is regulated on the FCA register
Are you whole of market? Those mortgage brokers who operate independently across the market are most likely to be able to help you no matter what your circumstances
What are the different types of mortgage available? There are so many things to consider with a mortgage. It’s often difficult to know whether fixed or variable rates are right for you, which length of deal you should look at and what type of repayment plan you should use.
How does the interest rate type affect my repayments? The majority of mortgages have an initial interest rate that is cheaper for a certain period of time, so it’s important to understand how your repayments will be affected at the end of this. If you’ve opted for any type of variable rate, it’s also important that you understand how, when and why your rate may change
How much can I borrow? This is the first question that most people will want to ask, but they will explain how your deposit size influences the amount you can borrow, and whether it’s always best to borrow the maximum amount available to you. It’s also important to understand that not all lenders will offer you the same size of mortgage
How much are the fees and how do I compare this to a fee-free mortgage? Arrangement fees are charged by most lenders, but it’s important to understand how much getting the mortgage in place will cost overall – including all of the fees involved in buying a home. It’s also useful to understand how a mortgage being low-fee or fee-free can impact the interest rates, and which benefit you more throughout the lifetime of the mortgage
Is my chosen mortgage portable? Most modern mortgages are portable, meaning you can take them to another property if you want to move before the initial period has ended. However, some mortgages can’t be ported, so it’s good to know ahead of time if you think you may move again fairly soon, or are taking on a longer term product
What documentation will I need? It’s a good idea to have gathered most of the documentation you need for a mortgage application together before you meet with a broker, but they will be able to advise you whether what you have provided is sufficient and what else could be useful in support of your application
How can I increase my chances of being accepted? A broker can help you to improve your application if they feel there is more you could do to increase your appeal to the lender
How will I know when to remortgage? Some brokers and most lenders will contact you in advance of the end of your initial term to remind you to look at remortgaging, but in some cases you may want to do this earlier, or it may benefit you to do so. A broker will be able to help you understand when the best time is and why
You can take out a standard residential mortgage by yourself without any professional advice - although in certain circumstances, such as equity release, right to buy, shared equity and debt consolidation remortgages it won’t be possible to do so.
That said, it’s probably not a great idea to take out a mortgage without advice in any circumstances, unless you have experience in taking out mortgages or work in the industry.
Mortgages typically involve borrowing a substantial amount of money against your name and should, therefore, not be entered into lightly. It’s always best to take professional advice when it comes to financial matters that you don’t specialise in.
Not typically, as a mortgage broker is an intermediary between their customers and the mortgage lender. They offer advice and guidance about which mortgage is best for your circumstance, only mortgage lenders provide the actual loan.
Yes, if you would prefer them to, a broker will usually complete your application on your behalf. You can also choose to complete it yourself.
The FCA regulates mortgage brokers in the UK. Customers are protected against bad advice and mis-selling, and the FCA can provide advice if this has occurred.
Mortgage brokers tend to carry out a fact-finding mission during your first meeting to establish a good picture of your circumstances. They'll want to know about your lifestyle and finances, as well as what you’re looking for from your mortgage and home ownership in general.
To establish this, they may ask you about:
How much you earn, how you earn it and how long you’ve been in your current role
What financial responsibilities you already have
Whether you have any dependents
To see your credit record
What your desirable budget is for a property
Whether or not you’ve had a mortgage before
How much deposit (or equity if remortgaging) you have available and what the source is, i.e personal savings, a gift etc
Where you’re looking to buy and what type of property
These questions tend to be asked of all applicants. However, once they’ve established this information, there are likely to be further questions related to your individual circumstances.