It is possible to apply for a mortgage without a broker but using one is a good way to help you get the right mortgage for you. A good broker will help you navigate the crowded marketplace and work out which product is best for your specific circumstances.
This has become even more important since the government tightened up mortgage lending rules, meaning that applicants have to provide even more information than before. Every lender will have different requirements but a good broker will understand what is required and be able to help you with the process.
A mortgage broker will help you understand what you can afford – and more importantly, what a lender will accept you can afford. Of course, you don’t have to follow their advice and you can choose your own mortgage without advice if you prefer. This is known as an ‘execution-only' application.
Don’t assume that your bank or building society necessarily has the best mortgage for you; taking advice and finding the right product can save you thousands over the term of the mortgage.
How to choose a broker
A mortgage broker and a mortgage adviser are essentially the same thing and they must be fully qualified, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority – check their business cards or letterheads to make sure it states that they are.
You may be offered a mortgage adviser through your bank but they will only be able to advise you on the in-house products available, not the whole of the market. Some brokers will only advise from a select limited panel of lenders, while others will recommend products from across the market. Those that recommend from across the market will give you a wider selection of available products, helping you get the best mortgage for you.
Some brokers will charge you a fee for their services. They may offer a telephone only service, be willing to visit your home, or you may be required to go to their office. Make sure you’re clear in advance how much they will charge and what range of products they can show you.
A few lenders offer mortgages directly to customers, that aren't available via brokers, so even if using an adviser you trust, it can also be a good idea to check the market yourself.