What is a mortgage advisor?
A mortgage advisor helps people to make the right mortgage decisions based on the circumstances provided. They should be independent, so that their advice isn’t biased to any particular lender.
If you don’t find the right mortgage advisor, you risk dealing with one that recommends mortgages based on commission that they’ll earn. It’s important, therefore, to make sure that the advisor is regulated, authorised and impartial.
Some lenders also have their own mortgage advisors. It will be their job to help you to decide which specific mortgage product is most suited to your needs. These advisors will only recommend products that are provided by the lender that they work for. They should still help you to make an informed decision, rather than simply selling the product that will bring them the biggest profit.
Where can you find a mortgage advisor?
Many banks and building societies will have their own mortgage advisors. You can arrange an appointment through your local branch. This will give you a chance to sit down, work through your financial situation, discuss your plans to buy property and evaluate which mortgage you need.
- Some mortgage advisors work for brokers. They can help you to choose between a wider range of mortgage products, from various lenders.
- You may also be able to access a mortgage advisor through an estate agent.
- An Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) may also offer mortgage advice.
- Consumer association Which? has a mortgage advice service, with impartial advisors available by phone.
Financial advisors should be authorised and regulated. By checking the Financial Services Register, you can be sure that your chosen mortgage advisor will act fairly, responsibly and in your best interests.
How much do mortgage advisors charge? Who pays?
In the past, financial advisors could accept commission from lenders. This meant that when they recommended a product, the lenders would pay for the referral.
Advisors that worked on a commission basis might recommend products that earn them more money. They had their own interests in which mortgages people chose, so may not have offered objective and independent advice.
Now, mortgage advisors cannot accept commission. Instead, they are paid a fee directly by you.
- Some charge a flat fee. This is ideal if you require help with a specific project, and do not expect to need ongoing advice. A £500 fee may be typical.
- Others will charge by the hour. Hourly rates can vary from £50 to £250 or more.
- A third option is a percentage fee. They might ask for 0.5% of the amount of money that you want to borrow. This would mean that someone looking for a £200,000 mortgage would pay £1,000 for the service. Usually, these fees vary from 0.5% to 5%, but are typically around the 1% mark.
The more experienced and most highly qualified advisors are likely to charge a higher fee. These are the people that have the knowledge and expertise to deal with much larger amounts of money.
If you are purchasing a particularly expensive property, then you may wish to pay more for your mortgage advice. This is a general rule of thumb, but not always accurate. You will need to do your own research, rather than assuming that an expensive mortgage advisor has the experience and qualifications that you expect.
What does a mortgage advisor do?
Typically, mortgage advisors work with a wide range of mortgage lenders, valuers and estate agents. They have a clear understanding of the current market, and an up to date knowledge of any related laws.
A good mortgage advisor will be able to discuss suitable products. They might suggest some that you haven’t thought of. They should be able to explain the specifics of a mortgage, including any fine print, and how the details could affect you.
The advisor is considering your specific situation. This means that your current (and future) financial position, your chosen property and other relevant aspects of your lifestyle will all be taken into account.
What can you expect from a mortgage advisor?
Don’t expect your advisor to talk you through the basics of choosing a mortgage. They are there to help with the more intricate details of what is essentially a large-scale financial transaction. You should go into any advice sessions with at least a basic understanding of how a mortgage works.
You may already have certain products in mind. Your mortgage advisor can help you to review your options, finding the best to move forward with. When you pay for a mortgage advisor, you should hopefully find that you save enough money on a mortgage to more than cover their costs.
In some cases, the advisor will not help you to find the cheapest mortgage. It is their job to advise you on the most suitable product, and in some cases this can be one that is slightly more expensive but more flexible, or more tailored to your needs. Remember that your advisor will not make your decision for you. They can provide suggestions and recommendations, but the final move is in your hands.
Independent mortgage advisor, or lender one?
If you have a specific mortgage product or lender in mind, then nobody will know that product quite as well as an in-house advisor. Therefore, it can be beneficial to visit your bank’s local branch.
Mortgage advice from a bank or building society is typically provided free of charge. Aside from your time, you’ve got nothing to lose.
You do not need to commit on the spot. By speaking to a lender mortgage advisor, you can gain a better understanding of the products available before making a financial decision.
You can also visit banks that you do not currently hold accounts with. You do not need to be an existing customer in order to take out a mortgage.
In most cases, you will benefit from speaking to an independent mortgage advisor. They will have a broader knowledge of the market, and can help you to select from a wider range of mortgage products. Bear in mind that there is usually a charge for this service.
Is a mortgage advisor a necessity?
You are not required to use a mortgage advisor. In fact, you may find them to be an unnecessary cost. Many people find that mortgage advisors help them to find a better deal. You may easily claw the money back in savings on your mortgage, after paying for professional advice.
Advisors can also help if you are concerned about future changes to your situation. They may be able to help with future-proofing your mortgage plans, or assisting with re-mortgaging. If you would prefer to go it alone, there is nothing to stop you from doing so.