In some ways, getting a mortgage has never been easier. Just type ‘mortgage’ into a search engine to be bombarded by price comparison sites, mortgage brokers, banks and building societies all competing for your custom. But in other ways, it’s never been harder. Lending criteria are as strict as they’ve ever been, minimum deposits are higher, and all that choice can be bewildering.
That make a great time to meet your new best friend: an independent mortgage broker. Here’s why.
Well, obviously. But people often overlook the importance of that. A bank or a building society can give you lots of helpful information about mortgages, but it’ll only be their own mortgages. Even price comparison sites won’t be able to tell you all the options available to you, as some providers don’t list with any, and some list with only a selection. By contrast, an independent mortgage broker can give you truly unbiased advice on the best mortgage deal for you.
This too should be obvious (we hope). And again, it’s easy to overlook the benefits. Though a price comparison site can show you how all the different mortgages compare in terms of fees, interest rates and deal length, it can be hard to see what this means in real terms for you. Choosing between even a short list can be tricky, and few people have the time or patience to sort through page after page of mortgages. But because mortgage brokers do it every day, they can usually narrow down the best choices for you very quickly and – better still – explain to you exactly what each one means for you in terms of repayments and fees. As well as saving you time and stress, this can be a great reassurance, as you won’t have to worry that you missed a better deal.
It’s a little known fact that some mortgage deals are only available via mortgage brokers. These broker-only deals can’t be found on price comparison sites or directly from providers. So by using a broker you increase your chances of finding the best deal to suit your needs and circumstances.
One of the most popular reported benefits of a broker is simply having someone on hand who knows the mortgage process inside-out. Your broker can answer all your questions as they arise, will prompt you to do everything at the right time, and will ensure that you don’t miss anything out. When it’s the biggest purchase of your life and involving your life savings, this is no trivial thing.
Though it’s never guaranteed that you’ll get your first choice of mortgage deal, using a mortgage broker maximises your chances of being accepted first time. And that ‘first time’ matters, not just because you might be under time pressures. Every time you apply for a mortgage, lenders will run a credit check on you. Credit checks themselves go on your credit file, and if your mortgage application is refused, this goes on file too. This means that every failed application can make the next one harder – which is why it’s best to nail it at the first attempt.
A mortgage broker will go through your application with you, checking it is as strong as it can be before you submit it to the lender.
Let’s face it, the home-buying process can be a cutthroat business. Having your offer accepted is a huge achievement, and it often depends on being able to show that you have a suitable mortgage offer. If you see your dream home unexpectedly, or suddenly need to increase your initial bid, then you might need to turn a mortgage application around very quickly. A mortgage broker is the surest way to do this.
Lastly but most importantly, your mortgage broker can find you the most affordable mortgage deal for you. Over the course of your deal period this can save you a significant amount, and they can also help you to avoid deals that may come with excessive fees or redemption penalties. A mortgage broker should help you achieve savings that more than make up for their fee, making them excellent value for money in most cases.
Nick Green is a financial journalist writing for Unbiased, the site that connects people for free to independent and whole of market financial advisers, mortgage brokers and accountants
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