Choosing a mortgage broker can be a daunting task. It is important to choose a mortgage adviser who gives you confidence not only in seeking out the most cost-effective mortgage product, but also ensures you meet the all-important lenders criteria.
At Fortune Financial, we have been delivering tailored mortgage advice from our offices in Hitchin, Hertfordshire for many years. So, we have the experience to know what you need and the expertise to provide a valuable service. There are several factors to consider when choosing a mortgage broker, including having the necessary industry qualifications, access to a broad group of lenders and an efficient and effective approach to working with you to ensure you always get the best deal possible.
Use a registered mortgage broker
It’s very important to make sure the mortgage broker is appropriately qualified and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) prior to entering into any talks with them. In the United Kingdom, it is mandatory for all mortgage brokers to be registered by the FCA to be approved to provide mortgage advice. If the mortgage broker is not listed with the FCA, then you will know they are not legally authorised to advise on mortgages.
It is also worth noting that the majority of mortgage lenders will not offer any mortgage deals with unregistered brokers. This could mean that by working with an unregistered mortgage broker, you might be limiting your access to the wide range of mortgage options out there.
Benefits of using a mortgage broker
It’s always a good idea to choose an adviser that has access to a large panel of mortgage lenders. You don’t want to be restricted to a small number of lenders, potentially causing you miss out on better mortgage products and therefore the opportunity to save money over the product period.
It is also important to consider the service and support you will get from initial appointment through to completion, as obtaining a new mortgage can be a daunting task especially when you are moving home or are a first-time buyer. If you put your trust in a mortgage broker, they can ensure you have support you need, providing lenders with essential requirements such as documents or broker notes to back up your application, all of which will help you get that all important mortgage offer.
It is also worth noting that some mortgage brokers have access to exclusive mortgage rates and products. These tend to have lower interest rates or incentives such as cashback on completion or reduced costs. By choosing an adviser with these rates you’re also likely to save money in the process.
Active and experienced mortgage broker
Speed and efficiency is also key. If you’re looking to obtain a service that moves your mortgage application along quickly, a mortgage broking firm will have a dedicated support team able to chase lenders, estate agents, conveyancers and more importantly provide you with essential updates or confirm additional requests from the underwriters, minimising delays. All lenders have their own lending criteria that must be met by the customer before applying for a mortgage with them. An experienced mortgage adviser should have the knowledge to know who’s best placed for each customer’s financial requirements.
Not all mortgages are created equal. For example, if you are self-employed, some mortgage lenders will require a longer trading time than others. So, if you have little or minimal evidence by means of accounts filed, you are probably going to require a specialist lender.
Specialist mortgage lending can be needed for several reasons, from adverse credit to expats, limited company buy-to-let mortgages and much more. Deciding to use an adviser with access to these deals could be key to your future requirements.
Of course, as with any professional service, many mortgage brokerage firms charge fees to pay for their work. Processing a mortgage can be time consuming, and putting this responsibility in the hands of a mortgage broker means that someone else is dealing with the associated stresses of securing this important loan. A good adviser would offer the ability to add fees to the loan, but in this situation it is important to understand that this would incur interest in addition to the loan, resulting in a higher outlay in the long term. To avoid this increased cost, many prefer to pay mortgage broker fees upfront, either at application, offer acceptance or completion of the mortgage.
When to consider a remortgage
Keeping on top of your finances is important and with a great mortgage advisory service they’ll manage this for you. From your mortgage to insurance matters, each product has a review date, and a good adviser will be proactive in contacting you to upgrade or review when the time is right.
Many mortgage clients feel the time to review a mortgage is when the early redemption charge is no longer applicable, but this simply isn’t the case. You should always start the process of securing a new rate, called a remortgage, approximately 6 to 7 months before your current deal ends. This will give you a smooth transition from, for example, a fixed-rate mortgage to the new chosen product without the need to revert to a lenders standard variable rate, which is usually much higher.
Communicating with your mortgage broker
It goes without saying that communication is imperative to having a good experience and positive result on your mortgage journey. You must be advised in a way that you fully understand, so you can be sure that the mortgage recommendation is tailored to meet your needs. You need to make sure you’re clear on important details such as:
- How long to take a mortgage product for
- Whether you can overpay on your monthly payments
- Whether fees will be added to the loan
- If there are any added features or restrictions incurred by using the advised lender or product they’re offering
You should receive regular updates from your broker from full application onwards, allowing you to relax in the knowledge that everything is being researched efficiently on your behalf. This will give you the time you need to concentrate on the more enjoyable aspects of finding your ideal next or first home, or planning your next move if you’re reviewing your existing mortgage.
Mortgage advice is not all about the mortgage product. A top adviser will work to understand you and your family’s lifestyle and future goals, as these are all factors that contribute towards your broker being able to provide the best advice. For example, not everyone wants to be mortgage free. Some clients require advice on interest only mortgages, which means at the end of the mortgage term you will still owe a proportion of the debt to the lender. It’s extremely important to understand the risks involved with this type of mortgage, as you don’t want to find yourself in a position you weren’t anticipating – for example, having to sell your home and downsize. Interest-only mortgages are right for some clients, but not all, and clients should always be encouraged to fully consider all the risks involved.
Do I need a local mortgage broker?
Today’s blog is entitled ‘How to choose a local mortgage adviser’. But is it essential you choose an adviser local to you? The simple answer is no. It’s 2022, we live in a digital, interconnected world with access to amazing platforms such as Zoom which allow face-to-face video appointments. Travelling to meet an advisor is no longer the necessity it used to be. Of course, aside from video calls, there’s still the option of the good old-fashioned telephone, which many still find easier. The best mortgage advisers should offer consultations via phone, video call or in person, giving you options so you can choose what works for you.
Should I be able to contact my broker 7 days a week?
A mortgage adviser’s role shouldn’t be 9-5. The best mortgage broker should understand that customers have work, parenting and other commitments that mean that they will often need someone they can speak to outside regular office hours. I would certainly recommend you choose an adviser that can make themselves available seven days a week, morning, day or evening. This process needs to be done right, at the right time, when you have the time and are in the right frame of mind.
If you agree with my suggestions of what makes a great mortgage adviser or mortgage broker, then you’re in the right place. The services and ethos I have been describing are how we work at Fortune Financial Planning. We are an established mortgage broker in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, providing a nationwide brokering service for all type of mortgage advice.
You can contact us to arrange an appointment at your convenience via phone, email or via the website. We would love to help you with your mortgage journey.
Mark Seddon, Director, Fortune Financial, and mortgage broker in Hitchin