Forms and calculations and paperwork send me into a cold sweat, so applying for a mortgage is literally my worst nightmare.
OH and I have been through the process four times now and if there’s one thing I’ve realised, it’s that finding a mortgage broker you can trust makes all the difference. They’ll find you the best deals, cut through the confusing legal jargon and continue to smooth the way until your mortgage is approved.
FINDING A MORTGAGE BROKER YOU CAN TRUST:
Siobhan Holbrook is Managing Director of Mortgage Light, a Milton Keynes-based company catering for all aspects of the mortgage and assurance market. Over the past decade she has built a team with a mixed dynamic, covering Shared Ownership, Help to Buy, new builds, remortgaging and Buy-to-Lets.
She explains more about how an advisor and broker can secure you the perfect mortgage for your budget, lifestyle and individual circumstances:
What, exactly, is a mortgage advisor and broker?
Mortgage advisors/brokers are specialists with expert knowledge of the market, here to guide you through the process of taking out a mortgage. We work to get you the most cost-effective mortgage deal and basically, do all the hard work for you. We also help people remortgage their homes later down the line and help people make use of government schemes such as Help to Buy and Shared Ownership.
Do you have to use a broker when applying for a mortgage or remortgage?
No, you don’t have to use a broker. You could go directly to lenders yourself, however, this can be much more time-consuming and often quite confusing. You may also run the risk of applying to unsuitable lenders and getting rejected, which could show up on your credit report. Brokers know the market like the back of their hand and will ensure that you avoid any mistakes.
So why should you use one?
Perhaps a better question is, why not? Your mortgage is pretty important, so it’s well worth getting right. A mortgage advisor and broker has all the know-how to ensure a smooth and simple experience when taking out a mortgage.
What can you do for a client they couldn’t do (or wouldn’t know to do) for themselves?
As mortgage advisors and brokers, we have access to the entire mortgage market meaning that we can see deals that a consumer otherwise wouldn’t. This leaves no stone unturned when finding you the perfect mortgage product.
We know all the unique selling points for each lender that you as a consumer may not be aware of. For instance, if you have a new job with a higher wage in the pipeline but haven’t started yet, we would know which lenders to go to that would accept a job contract as proof of this future income, where others may not.
Some mortgage brokers can also offer you protection products for your mortgage or personal situation, and advise you on the different types of life assurance, critical illness and income protection.
Does it cost you anything to use an advisor and broker?
This differs between different types of brokers but generally, you will pay a fee whether fixed or a percentage of the loan. Mortgage companies may vary their prices, however, a broker should always tell you their fee structure upfront, as it is part of the FCA regulations.
At Mortgage Light, we charge £349 for our services. This fee is only payable if you are happy with our recommendation and you want us to represent you to the lender and apply for the mortgage on your behalf. This is reduced to £199 for an existing client’s remortgages, and product transfers are carried out for free. For buy-to-let mortgages, we charge £495.
If they’re receiving a fee from the mortgage provider, how can you guarantee their impartiality?
It is in the broker’s interest to give you the best advice, as they should want to look after your mortgage now and in the future. They don’t want to upset a future client by not giving the best recommendation.
When a mortgage advisor gives a recommendation, there will always be a good reason why. This could be because it is the cheapest rate on the market, or that this bank or building society will lend you the most money, or perhaps this particular lender will ignore the pension going out on your wage slips. A mortgage product should be sourced due to your requirements and criteria. As a customer, you should always know why you were recommended a certain bank or building society.
What kind of questions can you ask a mortgage advisor and broker?
Anything! We are here to advise and help, so ask away. At Mortgage Light, we’re passionate about empowering our customers to understand their mortgage and how to make it work best for them, so the more questions we can provide you with answers for, the better.
Can a mortgage advisor and broker help you find a mortgage if you’re considered a higher risk applicant (self-employed, just started a business, single, high levels of debt, etc)?
Yes. The process can be a little more complicated, but that is what we’re here for. At Mortgage Light, we have plenty of experience in helping self-employed applicants or those with bad credit get a mortgage that works for them. If you are a higher-risk applicant, using a mortgage advisor and broker will be extremely valuable.
Will they ‘fight your corner’ if a mortgage lender is being particularly demanding?
Yes. Sometimes with difficult cases, we may even speak to the banks up front and run the case by an underwriter before submission. The key to any successful case is knowing your client. If it later transpires that a client has lied, that is where complications arise. Occasionally, it may need to be submitted to an alternative lender.
Will a mortgage advisor also help you avoid unfair conditions, fees or penalties?
Yes, this is where we can really add value. Our years of experience and deep understanding of the market means that we know how to avoid or minimise things like fees and penalties.
Is it harder to get a mortgage at the moment, with the pandemic and the worry of recession?
The pandemic has resulted in many changes to the banks and building societies, and their appetite for lending did reduce. Unfortunately, their internal infrastructure was not able to cope with the mortgage application process, which resulted in lenders pulling mortgage products out of the marketplace and also changing some criteria. It appears to have turned a corner now, however, some service levels from banks and building societies are still struggling with the process, so it can take longer to obtain an offer.
Is it a good idea to apply for a mortgage when there is potentially a recession looming? If yes, why?
The answer to this question will depend on the individual. In my opinion, what is the harm in finfinding a mortgage broker you can trustding out information? That way, you are able to make better choices for yourself and your family.
Mortgages, remortgages, product transfers, house buying – the mortgage market has an array of products that could save you money or offer you payment stability. If you are buying, it could work out cheaper than renting. It’s always worth getting information together.
Should people always consider remortgaging each time their fixed term ends to make sure they’re always getting the best deal?
Yes, remortgaging is something that everyone should at least consider. It’s the same as when your car insurance comes up for renewal. You’re always likely to take a look at the market to see if you could get a better deal elsewhere. It might not always make sense to remortgage, but it always makes sense to look into it.
Mortgage brokering has traditionally been a male-dominated industry – do you feel proud of what you’ve achieved and the team you’ve built around you?
I feel incredibly proud of Mortgage Light. To run a successful business, you have to trust your team to represent your brand and the vision that you set out. At Mortgage Light, my staff are absolutely super and I would have any one of them look after my mortgage. We look out for each other in the workplace, but also we are a support network for each other on a personal level outside of work.
It is true that women in finance generally are very underrepresented, so I am happy to be successful – especially as a mother and a managing director of a successful finance company, proving to other women with similar ambitions that it’s possible.
Do you think it’s important to have a good mix of male and female brokers in your team – do they bring different viewpoints that allow you to offer a well-rounded service to your clients?
Absolutely. We want to reflect the realities of the world around us, which is of course a balance of men and women. Our team reflects the diversity of our communities and customers. I believe that a gender-balanced workforce is key to understanding the needs of our customers and offering a multitude of different perspectives.
If you are based in the Milton Keynes area and looking for a mortgage broker you can trust, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Mortgage Light.