Looking to turn your dream of owning a home into a reality? Our expert mortgage brokers can guide you every step of the way.
Better.co.uk is a fee-free mortgage broker. Our team of experts are here to help; whether you're a first-time buyer or an existing homeowner, we can help you find the ideal mortgage deal to suit your circumstances.
What is a mortgage broker?
A mortgage broker, also sometimes referred to as a mortgage advisor, is a specialist who can help you explore your options and guide you through the process of borrowing money to buy your first home.
Mortgage brokers can compare mortgage deals from various lenders to help you find a mortgage that suits your needs.
Our mortgage brokers will help you find the right deal for you and guide you through every step of the application process.
What does a mortgage broker do?
Mortgage brokers simplify borrowing money to buy a property by using their expertise, industry connections and market knowledge to help you get the right mortgage deal for your circumstances.
Brokers have a duty of care towards their clients, meaning that when they offer advice on suitable mortgage products, they’ll provide you with justified explanations for their recommendations regarding appropriate mortgage products, helping you to fully understand what you’re signing up for.
The process of using a mortgage broker can be divided into four key steps:
Mortgage brokers need to learn more about your personal and financial situation to help recommend the right mortgage product and lender for your circumstances.
A mortgage advisor will ask you:
How much house deposit you have, and where it came from
How much you’d like to borrow
About your outgoings and how much you can realistically afford to repay each month
About your income and employment status
About your personal circumstances, such as financial dependents, any existing debts and your credit history
Your preferences, including what kind of mortgage you’d prefer, how long you plan to live in the property, and how long you’d like to borrow the money for
Before you start house hunting, you’ll need to get a mortgage in principle, which is a document that indicates how much you may be able to borrow. You’re likely to need a mortgage in principle to make an offer on a property, and some estate agents will ask if you have one before allowing you to view a property.
It’s important to remember that a mortgage in principle isn’t a guarantee of a successful mortgage application.
Mortgage brokers like us can help you get your mortgage in principle. We’ll assess your financial situation and compare your borrowing options from a wide range of lenders to provide a more accurate estimate of how much you’re likely able to borrow.
Once you’ve provided all the information, got your mortgage in principle and had an offer accepted on your dream home, your mortgage advisor will start searching for the most suitable mortgage for you.
Having gained an understanding of your situation and preferences, a mortgage broker will find a suitable mortgage provider willing to lend you the funds you need.
Mortgage brokers have a clear idea of which lenders are most likely to accept your mortgage application because they have a thorough understanding of the market and experience of different lenders' eligibility criteria and lending preferences.
Once you’ve agreed upon the right deal, your mortgage broker will assist you with the application process through to completion.
They’ll ask for all the information and documentation required and submit your mortgage application on your behalf. They’ll track the progress of your application, act as a go-between for you and your lender, and keep you informed throughout the process.
Should I use a mortgage broker?
You don’t have to use a mortgage broker; you can instead directly apply with a lender if you would prefer to.
Here are the benefits of using a mortgage advisor:
Expertise - Mortgage brokers have a wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge of the mortgage industry, lenders and their different criteria. They can provide valuable advice and guidance to help you make an informed decision.
Access to deals - Brokers have access to a variety of mortgage deals, saving you time and effort in researching and approaching multiple lenders.
Easy comparison - A mortgage broker will provide you with multiple mortgage options from lenders they think will be most suitable for you. This means you can compare interest rates, terms, fees, and features more easily.
Simplified process - Mortgage applications can be complicated and require a lot of paperwork. A broker can streamline the process and ensure that all necessary documentation is submitted accurately and on time.
Tailored recommendations - A mortgage broker is able to recommend mortgage products that align with your financial goals and needs.
When contemplating the choice of using a mortgage broker, several factors warrant consideration, including any costs associated with their services and the extent to which they conduct thorough lender comparisons. It's important to ascertain whether a broker is impartially assessing a wide array of lenders or if their affiliations limit them to particular lenders or a specific network. If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to ask - brokers have a responsibility to be transparent about this aspect.
If a broker is fee-free, ask them to explain how they make money. Typically brokers earn their income through commissions paid by the lenders they work with. Researching and asking about this helps to ensure that the mortgage recommendation you receive is unbiased and well-suited to your needs.
How to find a mortgage broker
The mortgage broker you choose will impact your mortgage application process significantly. A good one will make the process smooth and could save you time and money by finding you the right deal.
Here are some steps you can take to help you find the right mortgage broker:
Research different brokers online to find some suitable options. You’ll be able to choose from local brokers or online mortgage brokers like us.
Check reviews from previous and existing customers. Testimonials can provide insights into a broker's reputation and customer service.
You should also speak to friends and family for recommendations and ask about their experience and whether they’d use them again.
Remember to check that the mortgage broker you choose is legit and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Compare the fees associated with each broker on your shortlist; some may come with large fees, whereas other mortgage brokers, like us, won’t charge you anything.
Here at Better.co.uk, for example, we're a fee-free mortgage broker for most customers – dependent on your credit history & personal circumstances.
All mortgage brokers, regardless of their fee structure, must be upfront with you and clearly outline any charges and their commission before entering into a contract on your behalf.
Time will likely be of the essence and you don’t want the availability of your mortgage broker to hold up your house purchase. Your schedule is so important and will be one of the biggest factors to look for when choosing the right mortgage broker. First, find out how quickly they can start working on your application. Second, you’ll want a suggested timeframe for the completed mortgage so you can evaluate this against your expected timeline to complete your purchase.
Remember, they can control when they start working on your case but they can’t necessarily control how long the application takes. This will depend on the lender, but your broker should be able to advise on potential timescales.
Working hours and means of communication are also important to consider here too. Can you find someone that works around your schedule and is easy to contact in your chosen means of communication? You’ll be speaking a lot, so it helps to be able to do it in a way that works for you.
Fees, availability, speed and services must all play a part in your decision, but you have to trust your broker too. Remember, you’ll be sharing personal information and financial details with them. You also want to trust that they’re working hard on your behalf to find the most suitable deal for you. And that they’ll get it over the line as quickly as they can.
Your instincts and feelings will play a key role here. Do you like the way they talk to you? Do you find the advice they’re giving you helpful? Does it feel like they’re doing everything they can? And is their advice tailored to your needs? If yes, then great. If not, you may want to consider looking elsewhere.
When you find a broker that you trust, at the right price and that offers a service tailored to your needs, you’ll be well on your way to securing the most suitable mortgage deal.
Our expert says...
“Choosing the right mortgage broker is key to finding the right mortgage and securing your dream home. The mortgage application process can be complex, but a knowledgeable, trustworthy broker will guide you through the mortgage application process with personalised advice and guidance.
“Our expert mortgage advisors can help you navigate the wide variety of mortgage options to find the right deal for you.”
Amanda Aumonier - Head of Mortgage Operations
Mortgage broker fees explained
A good mortgage broker should help you find the right mortgage deal for your needs. As well as save you time and money. But how do they get paid? And do you have to pay anything upfront? Here we run through everything you need to know about mortgage broker fees.
Mortgage broker fees are the fees that are paid to a mortgage broker when they arrange a mortgage with a lender on your behalf. Whether you’re applying for a mortgage on a new property or remortgaging your existing home, mortgage broker fees usually consist of:
A broker fee paid by you
A procuration fee (or proc fee) paid by the lender
In many cases, you will pay the broker fee once you’ve agreed to go ahead with a specific mortgage deal. In other cases, you will pay this fee when your mortgage application is successful. The procuration fee is paid by the lender once the mortgage is completed.
There can be huge variances in mortgage broker fees. Some brokers will charge hundreds of pounds, whereas others, like us, won’t charge any fees at all.
Brokers that charge fees will either do so as a flat fee or as a percentage of the mortgage, typically between 0.5 and 1%. You may find that if your mortgage needs are more complicated, your fee will be higher.
We don’t charge any broker fees; instead, we receive a commission from the lender when you complete your mortgage. Before we apply on your behalf, we’re transparent about how much we’ll earn in commission from the lender.
You can expect to pay between £350 and £500 for a flat mortgage broker fee. For fees that are paid as a percentage of the mortgage deal, on average this can range from 0.3% to 1%.
So, how much will you pay? Let’s take the example of borrowing £135,000. If your broker has a mortgage fee set at 0.3% you would pay £405.
If your mortgage deal falls through, you may still have to pay a broker fee depending on the fee structure of your chosen broker. It’s essential to have absolute clarity on this before going ahead with an application.
Make sure you get a written quote from your chosen mortgage broker. At this stage, you can also ask your broker how their fee is justified. For example, using a broker should secure you the right deal, which means you spend less money on your mortgage over the long term.
If your mortgage broker charges a broker fee for securing your mortgage, you will need to pay this fee. They will also likely charge a procuration fee to the mortgage lender, as a percentage of the amount borrowed.
The procuration fee will be paid by the lender and not by you.
Mortgage broker fee structures are all unique and will depend on the individual broker.
Whilst all will charge a procuration fee paid by the lender, some will also charge you a broker fee. Others won’t charge a broker fee and will simply get paid via the procuration fee. These are referred to as fee-free brokers.
Just remember, that this differs from fee-free advice. The latter means they will provide initial advice at no charge, but may well charge you a fee if they can find you a mortgage. Transparency on this is key.
For either a remortgage or a new mortgage, you need absolute clarity on how your broker gets paid. They must be upfront with you on their fee structure and clearly outline their charges and commission before they enter into a contract on your behalf.
You might have read that you can apply for a mortgage directly with a lender. Which is true. So is a mortgage broker worth it? The short answer is yes. Mortgage brokers have direct relationships with lenders and can look at all the available deals right across the market (if they are whole-of-market). They will also likely have access to deals that individual people can’t get.
If you opt for a mortgage broker, you should get the most suitable deal possible. This in turn can save you money on your monthly repayments and on the full amount you have to pay over the term of the mortgage. By cutting costs in this way, the broker fee should more than pay for itself.
A good mortgage broker doesn’t just save you money. They have existing relationships with lenders and assist during the mortgage application by:
Ensuring mortgage underwriters have all the information they need
Answering quick questions from mortgage underwriters
Liaising with your conveyancing solicitor
Keeping you updated at each stage
Nothing! Better.co.uk are a fee-free mortgage broker.
At Better.co.uk, we get paid by the mortgage lender when you complete your mortgage or remortgage. We’re a fee-free mortgage broker for most customers, so we only take the procuration fee from the lender.
Before we apply on your behalf, we will provide you with the full product information, breaking down all the fees we earn from the lender. We can also arrange insurance.
Again the insurer pays us when you complete your home purchase and your insurance coverage starts. We will also be upfront with these fees.
More about brokers
Mortgage brokers do not handle credit checks themselves.
You can check your credit rate for free using agencies like Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
When you apply, lenders will do a credit check.
This can be a soft check which does not affect your credit score if you are turned down. Or a hard check which could.
You should avoid applying for lots of mortgages or loans or credit cards at the same time.
Many credit applications could harm your ability to get a mortgage in the future. Especially if you're turned down.
A broker can often get a better deal as they're able to compare what's available across the market. So are better placed to get deals through quicker.
Going straight to a lender could be quicker. But will not give you the benefit of having someone compare deals from different lenders.
Some lenders’ deals are intermediary access only. This means you can only get a mortgage with them through a broker.
This also means that brokers may be able to get customers exclusive deals with these lenders.
Good brokers are familiar with the most competitive products at any given time. They'll also know which lender may suit you best.
It’s up to you which broker you use but you might want to ask yourself some questions.
Do you like them?
You’re likely to be in contact with your mortgage adviser a fair amount. It’s important you trust them to find you the right deal.
Have you looked around at mortgage deals?
Before you agree to use your estate agent’s mortgage broker, check what sort of deals are available.
Some brokers are tied to only a few lenders, so they cannot search the whole market.
A broker who looks at the whole market is likely to find youx the most suitable deal.
Do they charge a fee?
Many mortgage brokers charge a fee. But, you can get a mortgage through fee-free brokers. They get a small percentage of the mortgage amount from the lender instead of charging you.
Is their service good?
You could find that you get better service from an independent broker.
Independent brokers rely on recommendations, so it's best for them to offer good service.
If the in-house broker gets constant business from an estate agent, they may view you more as a means to an end.
Reading online reviews will give you an unbiased idea of the type of service you can expect.
Are they looking after your best interests?
Estate agents work in the interests of the seller so there could be a conflict of interest.
A mortgage broker should have your best interests at heart. If you feel pressured to move quickly into a deal, look elsewhere.
The key thing to consider when choosing a broker is their fees.
Even if they search the whole market to find you the best deal and your personal preferences.
You’ll be in regular contact with your adviser, so it’s worth choosing someone you get on with.
The length of any mortgage application will vary depending on the complexity of your situation and the efficiency of anyone involved. Generally speaking, the mortgage application process with a broker can range from two weeks to a couple of months.
Mortgage brokers frequently have the advantage of accessing improved offers because of their ability to explore choices across the entire market, which means they're usually in a stronger position to uncover optimal deals.
Certain deals are solely accessible through intermediaries like brokers; approaching the lender directly wouldn't grant you access to these offers.
Experienced brokers possess insights into the most competitive products and can pinpoint the lender that aligns best with your specific circumstances.
Similarly to taking out your first mortgage, you don’t need to use a broker to remortgage, but they’ll often be able to secure better deals and can make the remortgage process simpler for you.
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Important info & marketing claims
You may have to pay an early repayment charge to your existing lender if you remortgage. Your savings will depend on personal circumstances.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
*The savings figure of £420 is based on Better.co.uk remortgage customers in October 2023. Read more on our marketing claims page.
We can't always guarantee we will be able to help you with your mortgage application depending on your credit history and circumstances.
Average mortgage decision and approval times are based on Better.co.uk's historic data for lenders we submit applications to.
Tracker rates are identified after comparing over 12,000 mortgage products from over 100 mortgage lenders.
As of January 2023, Better.co.uk has access to over 100 lenders. This number is subject to change.
For buy-to-let landlords, there's no guarantee that it will be possible to arrange continuous letting of a property, nor that rental income will be sufficient to meet the cost of the mortgage.