Finding a mortgage for yourself can be a tricky and complicated business
Every mortgage in the UK has to be arranged by a qualified adviser. How can you find someone that can do this for you, that’s going to do the best job possible?
Well, you could go to your bank. Although many local branches have now been closed, you can still find some on the high street. The bank will then arrange an appointment to see one of their advisers, although they only be able to advise on the banks’ products only.
Or, you could try your Building Society. Building Societies are similar to banks although their lending can often be more strictly regulated. Also, they will arrange for an appointment with one of their advisers who again, can only discuss the Building Society’s products.
You could try the confusing world of comparison sites. These are mostly lead generation companies who often sell the client’s information to the highest bidder, who will then contact them directly. It’s important that you are very careful when you give out any personal details on the phone, or via the internet. Some comparison sites often have low rates just to encourage you to click for more information.
Most mortgages are arranged now by Mortgage Advisers, or Brokers. They both mean the same thing, qualified advisers who can go to a range of lenders.
Using a broker can save you a lot of time and stress, as they will handle everything from searching for a deal to applying and communicating with the lender on your behalf. Mortgage brokers have expert knowledge of the mortgage market and will be able to recommend deals that suit your personal situation. They should also have access to software that allows them to search mortgage deals much faster and more thoroughly than you could yourself. A good broker will know which lenders are most likely to accept you and help you steer clear of applying for deals you’re unlikely to get (which can have a negative impact on future applications).
Most people nowadays find a mortgage adviser either through personal recommendations, or from an internet search. There are many different combinations of searches to put in, and this can find a variety of names and websites. Have a good look through to see how their websites look, and how much information they contain.
It’s important to know how many lenders a broker can access. I have what’s known as a “comprehensive panel of lenders”. I have about 60 different lenders on my panel, with new lenders regularly being included. These vary from the well-known high street lenders to the more specialist lenders for complex scenarios.
There are still some brokers that do not charge a fee, instead relying on just the procuration fee paid by the lender. In fact this is how I used to operate. What I found was though, by charging a fee I found myself caring much more about my clients, after all they had paid me a fee for their services.
My current fee is £295 for the first application. Everything I do after that is fee-free, whether it’s protection, changing products, re-mortgaging or even moving-house. Once you’ve paid, you’ve got me for life.
Advisers should always tell you what their fees are before you start discussing mortgages with you. It’s really important to be up-front.
It’s also important to find out how they are authorised.
They might be directly authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. In this case, they pay fees every year to the FCA and deal with their own compliance, training, and the way that they work.
I chose another route, I became what’s known as an Appointed Representative. That means that I even though I have my own FCA number, I am also authorised by something called a network, in my case a company called Mortgage Intelligence
They basically look after advisers, from small to large companies.
They put me on training courses, they give me the right software to do the best job, they even get me some exclusive, special deals.
What they do is make sure that I am completely up to date with all criteria and legislation and that I can offer the best advice available.
And in turn, Mortgage Intelligence are authorised by the FCA, it doesn’t take them out of the picture, it adds an extra level of protection for my clients.
I am proud to be one their Appointed Representatives.
Consider how they work. Are they based in a 9-5 office? Will you have to see them there? Will you need to take time off work? Or, will they see you when it suits you in your own home.
Can they work online with you, with online meetings, phone calls and emails.
During the Coronavirus crisis, I have now put in place a complete online process with online questionnaires, tailored personal video reports and secure client upload hubs to make sure that we all stay safe.
Finally the best question is,
“can I work with this person?”
Mortgages are probably the biggest financial transactions you will ever make in your lives. It’s vital that we all get this right and get the best result for you.