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Questions for your mortgage broker

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If you’re thinking about using a mortgage broker, then it’s important that you select one that can provide you with the best level of service. This is a big commitment that could end up costing you more over time if you don’t make the right decision. Therefore, it‘s important that you ask them the right questions before choosing one.

First you need a shortlist of mortgage brokers to interview through either recommendations or your own research. It’s best to speak with them face to face, as this gives you a better idea of their abilities.

What qualifications do they have?

Both the CeMAP (ifs School of Finance Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice) and the Cert MA (Chartered Insurance Institute Certificate in Mortgage Advice) are recognised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Are they regulated?

It’s important that a broker is regulated by the FCA or is an agent of a regulated company. This will ensure that you receive a certain level of service and means that you’ll have some protection if you need to complain. The FCA has an online register of brokers that you can search.

How much of the market do they cover?

A mortgage broker will either provide a ‘whole of market’ service or select products from a specific panel of lenders. The ‘whole of market’ broker will be able to recommend you a product from a wider choice of deals, but how they charge for their services may differ.

Can they recommend direct deals?

Some products are only available if you contact the lender directly and the broker won’t be able to help you with the process. However, some ‘whole of market’ brokers will still include these in their comparison, which means you’re getting a better idea of exactly what’s available.

How do you pay for the service?

The way brokers are paid for the service they provide differs, with some charging the customer a fee and others receiving commission from mortgage lenders or a combination of both. If they charge a fee this might be payable upfront or on completion of the deal. Commission brokers provide their service at no cost to you, but the amount they receive from lenders might influence the products they recommend. However, there are FCA regulations in force to check on how commission brokers operate.

How can they help you?

When you’re choosing a mortgage broker, you need to know that they can provide a better service than if you researched the market yourself. Make sure that they are regulated to advise you on the right deal for your circumstances, rather than just providing you with information on what’s available. Some brokers will also be able to offer exclusive deals that aren’t available directly. You need to check how much of the process they can assist you with, as this could help everything run quicker and smoother.

family with mortgage broker

How can they be contacted?

You want to ensure that a broker will be available if you have a problem or need to ask them a question. It’s important to check whether they prefer to deal with customers over the phone or face to face and what works best in your circumstances. You also need to understand the hours they operate and whether you can contact them outside of these times if necessary.

Do they have insurance?

Any broker that you choose should have a valid professional indemnity insurance policy. This will provide protection against them giving you inaccurate or unsuitable advice.

Can they provide additional services?

When you’re choosing a new mortgage, you often require other products, such as life, critical illness, income protection or home insurance. Some brokers will also be able to recommend these products, which could save you time. If they do offer these services, you need to check if they search the whole of the market or just specific insurers, as you might not be getting the best deal.

Once you’ve asked these questions to your shortlist of brokers, you’ll be better placed to make a decision on which will offer you the best service. You need to be confident in their ability and comfortable with them so that you can discuss your financial issues openly. Choosing a mortgage is a long term financial commitment and you need to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

 

 

 

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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