If you’re looking for a mortgage, you might be wondering whether or not you should talk to a mortgage broker or go directly to the lender. These days, brokers do more than simply churn out a list of available mortgages for a hefty fee, so it could be worth your while to see what they can offer.

Why should I use a mortgage broker?

Legislative changes, most notably in the Mortgage Market Review in 2014, have resulted in a tightening of the rules with regards to mortgage “affordability” checks, the qualifications of all mortgage brokers, and the information brokers must provide to borrowers about their services and their fees.

Since the changes, both lenders and brokers must consider your financial situation and assess your affordability when suggesting suitable mortgages for you. Moreover, they must be able to prove they have done this.

Whilst this legislative revolution has made it harder to obtain a mortgage, it’s also made it far safer to use a mortgage broker. You can now trust they will undertake a full comprehensive financial assessment and therefore only give you a range of mortgages you will almost certainly be eligible for.

With the huge expense of buying your first home or moving house, it may be tempting to consider the ‘cheaper’ option of applying for a mortgage with your own bank, or by going direct to another lender for your mortgage. However, avoiding paying broker fees (though there are plenty of reputable fee-free brokers out there) to save a few pennies now could could cost you thousands over the next few years if you opted for a bad mortgage.

Even if you think you do not need the advice of a broker and know enough about the mortgage market without one, you may be missing a trick. Some brokers access to a larger range of mortgages (such as via exclusive deals with lenders) and can help speed up the application process by getting you fully prepared and steering you towards mortgages you will most likely be accepted for.

Can I get a mortgage directly from a lender?

If you have done your research and found your perfect mortgage, are confident that you have found the best deal, or you simply want the convenience of asking your current bank for a mortgage, then that’s your prerogative.

Indeed, there can be some merits to going directly to a lender for your mortgage…just be aware of the pitfalls too:

Pros

Cons

How do I get a mortgage through a broker?

If you are planning to employ the services of a broker, do your homework first: ask friends and family for a recommendation, check the internet for reviews, and suss out their fee structure.

Ask them outright how many lenders they work with – the more lenders, the more options you have at your disposal and the more likely you could be to get a good deal.

Generally, there are three types of broker:

Since the legislative changes, mortgage brokers have to state from the outset exactly what range of mortgages they can offer. For the most wide-ranging advice and products, it is always advisable to choose an independent broker that offers a ‘whole of market’ service.

Pros

Cons

When deciding on whether or not to use a mortgage broker, a balanced approach may be the best solution.

Do your own research online first, ask your current bank and other direct-only lenders what deals they have available and then speak to a reputable mortgage broker to see what else is available and suitable for your personal circumstances. That way you’ll get the holistic advice and information you need in order to get the very best mortgage for you.

Now read our complete mortgage guide

Edited by: Sarah Guershon

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