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What is a Mortgage Broker and What Can They Do For You?

What a mortgage broker does and why you should use a mortgage broker when you’re buying property

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  • What is a Mortgage Broker and What Can They Do For You?

What to look for in a mortgage broker

When it comes to buying property, unless you’re in the fortunate position of being a cash buyer, a mortgage is likely to be one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make in life, so it’s vital you get it right. 

Which is where a mortgage broker or, as they’re also referred to, a mortgage advisor, comes in.

From helping you decide how much you can afford to borrow, to knowing which lender is most likely to offer you the most favourable terms, the right mortgage broker can make the difference between a good deal and a potentially bad one.

If you want to know more about why you should use a mortgage broker and what you should expect a good mortgage advisor to do for you, read on to learn:

  • What is a mortgage broker?
    • What is an independent mortgage broker?
    • What is a whole of market mortgage broker?
    • What is a mortgage advisor?
  • What’s the difference between a mortgage broker and a financial advisor?
  • What does a mortgage broker do?
    • Why do I need a mortgage advisor? What is the responsibility of a mortgage broker?
  • How does a mortgage broker work?
    • What else does a mortgage advisor do?
  • Why use a mortgage broker?
    • Should I use a mortgage broker?
    • Do I need a mortgage broker?
  • When’s the right time to see a mortgage advisor
    • Should I contact a mortgage broker when I start looking at property?
    • How to work with mortgage brokers
  • The right VS wrong broker
  • FAQs about mortgage brokers and how they work
  • Speak to an expert mortgage broker and discover firsthand what they can do for you

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If you’re all set and ready to talk to a mortgage advisor, call us on 0808 189 2301 or make a quick online enquiry. We’ll put you in touch with one of the whole-of-market mortgage advisors we work with. 

They’ll be happy to answer any questions, give advice on the best mortgage for you and find a lender with the best deal too. And the best bit? It won’t cost you a penny.


What is a mortgage broker?

In simple terms, a mortgage broker is the middleman between you and the mortgage lender. 

Mortgage brokers work on your behalf to find the mortgage lender with the most competitive rates and terms to fit your needs.

There are three types of mortgage broker:

  1. Some are tied to a specific lender, usually you’ll find this is the case with brokers who work at your bank or building society.
  2. Some might have relationships with a limited list of lenders.
  3. Some have access to the whole market and can search the widest range of products.

What is an independent mortgage broker?

An independent mortgage broker is free to work with a range of lenders. 

If you meet  broker or advisor in your bank or building society, it’s likely they will be tied to arranging only mortgages offered by the organisation they work in. While independent brokers may have relationships with a range of mortgage providers, you may find that they work with a limited list of lenders. 

To get the best deal from the entire range of mortgage lenders across the UK, you need a whole-of-market broker.

What is a whole-of-market mortgage broker?

Unlike tied mortgage brokers, whole-of-market mortgage advisors have access to lenders across the UK.

The broad range of lenders and mortgages means it can work in your favour to seek advice from a whole-of-market broker since they are best positioned to know about all the different mortgage products available across the market at any one time and are not restricted in which lenders they can deal with.

Here at Online Mortgage Advisor, we only work with whole-of-market brokers. Call us on 0808 189 2301 or make a quick enquiry and we’ll put you in touch with a specialist broker best suited to your own circumstances. 

What is a mortgage advisor?

A mortgage advisor is just another way of referring to a mortgage broker

What a mortgage advisor does is exactly the same as what a mortgage broker does.

Whether you prefer the term mortgage advisor, or mortgage broker, they both do exactly the same job. The only differences are the three discussed above, in terms of whether they are tied, independent or whole-of-market.


What’s the difference between a mortgage broker and a financial advisor?

A mortgage broker will advise only on mortgages and related mortgage products, like insurance, which you may need alongside your home loan.

A financial advisor offers advice across a range of financial products. This may or may not include mortgages, but they don’t specialise in mortgages in the same way as mortgage brokers. 

If you find a financial advisor who also arranges mortgages, it’s unlikely you’ll meet one with as much knowledge about the housing market or the mortgage offers lenders have available as you would if they were a specialist mortgage broker.


What does a mortgage broker do?

If you’re wondering what a mortgage broker does that you can’t do for yourself, you may need to consider carefully whether you want to take on the whole responsibility of sorting out your own mortgage.

Why do I need a mortgage advisor? What is the responsibility of a mortgage broker?

Getting mortgage advice from a reliable source could be invaluable, for a number of reasons:

  1. Protection – Mortgage brokers have a duty of care. When you take mortgage advice from a mortgage advisor, they must recommend an appropriate product and justify what makes the mortgage they recommend right for you. If the advice you receive is flawed, you can complain and may be compensated.
    If you go to the high street for your mortgage and don’t get advice you could end up with a mortgage which later becomes unaffordable. If this happened you probably wouldn’t have much you could do from a legal standpoint. 
    While it’s the lender’s responsibility to ensure you can afford any mortgage you take on, a broker can still offer a degree of protection you may not have otherwise.
  2. A mortgage broker/advisor is qualified – mortgage advisors and brokers must be qualified to give mortgage advice. 
    If you call a lender’s call centre, the staff you talk to may not be so well qualified. However, new regulations are now coming into force that mean all call centre staff must be advisors or refer you to someone who is. 
    If you visit an in-branch broker, you’ll be able to make an appointment with one of their advisors. It’s likely an advisor you’ll be introduced to will only be able to sell mortgages from the high street bank or building society in question.
  3. A broker is someone who’ll be on your side – An independent broker will find the best mortgage for you. Independent mortgage brokers work for you which means they’re not biased towards the lender and will give you access to more products than you might get if you decided to go direct
  4. Industry knowledge – mortgage eligibility criteria have changed quite a lot in recent years. The new rules are designed to make sure borrowers can prove affordability, even in the event of a rate rise. These additional checks increase the time it takes for an application to be processed
    A mortgage advisor will do checks to make sure you can afford to borrow what you’re asking for.
    This is just one reason it’s important to keep up-to-date and have a mortgage advisor who understands all the ins and outs of the application process. 
    A broker spends their day working with lenders. They’ll know what to expect from the application process and how lenders differ in the way they work and the kind of criteria questions they take into account when assessing you for a mortgage.
    Another, often overlooked advantage, of working with an experienced mortgage broker is since they might put a lot of business through a lender in a year, they could have some useful influence when it comes to helping to get your case agreed, chasing things up and making things go through the process smoothly.
  5. It’s about more than just the mortgage – while advising on the mortgage is the biggest part of a mortgage broker’s job, they will also take into consideration life insurance, payment protection and buildings and contents insurance you might require.
    They can recommend insurance based on your mortgage arrangements and personal circumstances to ensure you’re protected against:
    – Death
    – Critical illness
    – Redundancy
  6. Don’t let a fee put you off Mortgage brokers need to make money to offer the invaluable service they do.
    There are two ways they might do this:
    Charging a fee. This might be a one-off fee for advice or a fee that covers advice throughout the term of your mortgage
    Take commission. Lenders and insurers may pay the mortgage broker commission for arranging business through them.
    At Online Mortgage Advisor, the service you get from us is completely free. Many of the whole-of-market brokers we work with get a commission from lenders and some may charge a fee, but it doesn’t cost you a penny for an initial consultation.
    Talk to one of the brokers we work absolutely free of charge, and without obligation. Give us a call on 0808 189 2301 or make a quick online enquiry and we’ll put you in touch with a broker best suited to help. 
  7. Invaluable advice – With so many mortgages available from different lenders, mortgages can turn out to be more complicated than they might first appear to be. Knowing about what rate to choose and which term is best for you can be time-consuming. 
    Add with the different lenders offering various features and accompanying insurance deals and, it can soon become overwhelming.
    There are lots of sites offering comparisons but choosing a mortgage entails more than finding the lowest rate or enticing incentives.
    The right mortgage broker will take all your circumstances into account and recommend the product best suited to meet your needs. They’ll tell you about any fees or penalties you might be in for if you were to make any changes and make sure you understand all the implications of choosing the mortgage you end up with.
  8. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that a mortgage broker can potentially save you…
    Time: They know exactly which lenders to approach and can help you with every aspect of the mortgage application process.
    Money: They can find the best deal that you qualify for. If you approach a lender direct, you will only have access to their deals and run the miss off missing out on better rates that might be on offer elsewhere.
    Potential marks on your credit report: Hard searches leave a mark on your credit file that will be visible to other lenders. Having too many of these in a short space of time can jeopardise future applications for finance, but if you use a whole-of-market broker, you will be paired up with the right lender first time.

How does a mortgage broker work?

In basic terms, a mortgage broker is a financial advisor who specialises in mortgages. It’s their job to find the right mortgage to suit your own financial circumstances.

The job of a mortgage advisor is to work with you to understand your best options and use their knowledge of the housing market and mortgage lenders to identify the best mortgage deal for you.

Because they have a duty of care towards you, a mortgage advisor must be able to justify the recommendations they make.

Brokers base their recommendations on your own circumstances. The things they take into account include:

  • How much deposit you have.
  • Your repayment preferences.
  • Personal information like your credit history, income and monthly expenditure.

They then use this information to help them work out what mortgage offers you’re likely to be eligible for and how much you should expect to be able to borrow.

Because mortgage brokers work with lenders every day, they may have access to exclusive deals you might otherwise be unaware of.

What else does a mortgage advisor do?

As well as accessing otherwise unavailable deals, a mortgage broker will also:

  • Save a lot of wasted time and disappointment by recommending the most suitable mortgage and advise which mortgage you’re most likely to get, because they ask all about your circumstances upfront. 
  • Complete the tedious paperwork for you, which should lead to your mortgage application being dealt with faster, meaning you’ll experience a smooth transition to completion.
  • Break down all the costs and features of the mortgage they’re recommending. As well as understanding the rate of interest you’ll be paying, they’ll explain all the other potential fees, penalties and costs associated with the mortgage you’re taking out.

Why use a mortgage broker?

A good mortgage advisor will help you work out how much you can afford to borrow and help you decide which type of mortgage will best suit your needs before finding the lender with the right mortgage deal for your circumstances. 

When it comes to the application process, a mortgage broker will:

  • work with you to submit your application to the mortgage lender.
  • Ensure the application process goes smoothly. 
  • Iron out any glitches or problems with your application if it hits a snag.

The right mortgage advisor will have your back and work to find a suitable solution so that you get the mortgage you were hoping for. If that is not possible, they will advise you what you can do instead, or find a new lender who is more likely to accept your mortgage application.

Should I use a mortgage broker?

It’s definitely recommended. Although you don’t strictly need to use a mortgage advisor, you lose a layer of protection if you decide to go it alone. 

Mortgage brokers have a duty of care, so when they give you mortgage advice they must recommend an appropriate product and justify what makes the mortgage being recommended right for you. If the advice you receive is flawed, you can complain and may be compensated.

If you decide not to get advice and go to the high street for your mortgage, you could end up with a mortgage which later becomes unaffordable. If this happened you probably wouldn’t have much you could do from a legal standpoint. 

While it’s the lender’s responsibility to ensure you can afford any mortgage you take on, a broker can still offer a degree of protection you may not otherwise have.

Along with the extra protection you get by using a mortgage advisor, they can also make the mortgage application go more smoothly, which can save you time, hassle and unnecessary stress.

Call us on 0808 189 2301 or make a quick online enquiry and talk to one of the mortgage advisors we work with to find out if you think you would benefit by using one to arrange your mortgage. 

The mortgage brokers we work with will be happy to answer your questions and explain what a mortgage broker does and tell you what sort of help they can offer should you wish to go ahead and get a mortgage through a lender they will be able to recommend.

Do I need a mortgage broker?

As discussed above, you don’t strictly need a mortgage broker, but getting one is recommended. 

It is possible to get a mortgage on the high street but you’re likely to be better protected and get a more competitive deal if you go through a mortgage advisor.

Also, through most mainstream lenders you can expect to borrow a maximum of 4.5 times your salary but some specialist mortgage lenders offer 5 times and sometimes even 6 times your salary. This is the kind of deal you could get by working with a mortgage advisor, especially a whole-of-market advisor who can access mortgages from lenders across the whole of the UK.

So it’s worth a conversation, even if you ultimately decide to go it alone. 

If you’d like to have a chat and see what kind of mortgage deals might be available to you, call us on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry and we’ll put you in touch with one of the whole-of-market brokers we work with.

They’ll be happy to answer your questions and give you an idea of how much you might be able to borrow and the rate you might expect to pay.


When’s the right time to see a mortgage advisor

Getting a mortgage is one of the most expensive financial decisions you’re likely to make in life, it’s also quite time-consuming with various stages on the way. 

Whether you’re a first-time buyer thinking about getting onto the property ladder, or considering a move to a bigger house or a new location, it’s never too soon to have a chat with a mortgage advisor.

From getting a clearer understanding of what you might be able to borrow,  to how much deposit you’ll need, a mortgage advisor can help answer your questions and help you understand what kind of property you might be able to afford and how much your monthly  mortgage repayments will cost.

Talking to a mortgage advisor doesn’t automatically mean you’re obliged to go ahead and actually get a mortgage. If you’re just testing the waters and want to know if buying a place of your own is a good idea, there’s no harm in asking a few questions.

Call us on 0808 189 2301 and we’ll introduce you to one of the whole-of-market brokers we work with. They’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have with no obligation and it won’t cost you a penny for the initial consultation.

Should I contact a mortgage broker when I start looking at property?

Lots of people browse property in their local area as a form of entertainment on their phones. If you’re only browsing and daydreaming about where you might like to live one day then go ahead – we do it all the time.

If you’re browsing with intent and have itchy feet ready to make a move you should definitely talk to a mortgage advisor. It’s never too soon to get a clear picture about what you can afford. 

How to work with mortgage brokers

Even in the earliest stages of first considering buying a house, it’s a good time to cement your thinking and start planning towards an eventual purchase.

At this very early stage a mortgage advisor will:

  • help you understand how much you can borrow, based on the housing market and your affordability.
  • advise how much deposit you will need.

If you have your deposit in the bank and want to start things moving, a mortgage advisor will:

  • Let you know if you’re on track to apply for an Approval in Principle.
  • Let you know when you should start your house hunt.
  • Ensure you’ll be able to afford your mortgage payments by looking at your regular monthly income, expenditure and savings.
  • Let you know if you’re saving enough each month without over-stretching yourself.
  • Let you know if now is a good time to start seriously house hunting, and if so, help you get everything ready to apply for ‘Approval in Principle’.

With your Approval in Principle in the bag, your mortgage advisor will:

  • Advise you about the typical prices for the type of property you’re looking at. With an awareness of price trends in the area and the housing market in general, they should be able to warn you if a house is overpriced.
  • Be able to suggest a solicitor who will take on the conveyancing part of the mortgage process when you find the house you want to buy.
  • Will be able to advise you how to find a good surveyor to value your new home.
  • Will (hopefully!) ensure the purchase goes ahead without a hitch by ironing out the kinks that may come along in the process.

Whatever stage you’re at, when you’re ready to speak to a mortgage advisor, give us a call on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry

We’ll put you in touch with one of the whole-of-market brokers we work with who’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you find the best mortgage deal around.


The right vs. the wrong broker

All the advisers we work with are professional and experienced in arranging these kinds of mortgages. A tough or complex application to one broker is their bread and butter. I have personally been arranging mortgages for over 25 years and, if you would like you can ask for me personally. If you’re shopping around yourself, unless you’ve been in the industry and are trained to the same level, you wont have the same access to lenders and/or the knowledge of where to go. Give us a call, make an enquiry, or try out the online search engine now.

The right mortgage broker

  • Whole of market & Independent
  • Reasonable and fair fee structure
  • Gives you access to direct deals
  • Has exclusive products
  • Has links with commercial finance
  • Is whole of market for insurance
  • Has years of experience
  • Has plenty of happy customers

The wrong mortgage broker

  • Is limited to a few lenders
  • Only offers broker products
  • Has no exclusive deals
  • Gives up if its not straightforward
  • Lacks market knowledge
  • Is restricted to one or two insurers


FAQs about mortgage brokers and how they work

Still have questions about mortgage advisors and what they do for you? Read on for some frequently asked questions. Or, if we haven’t managed to answer your question here, give us a call on 0808 189 2301 and get answers from a human who can help.

What does a mortgage broker do for you?

The role of a good mortgage broker is to advise you on what mortgage will best suit your needs. 

As well as assessing your affordability, they will be able to advise you on property prices and trends to ensure you won’t overpay for a property and put yourself at risk of negative equity.

They will also introduce you to the right lender and the best mortgage for your circumstances. They will help you complete your mortgage application and make sure the sometimes long and complicated application process goes smoothly and will deal with any bumps on the way.

Can a financial advisor help with a mortgage?

Some financial advisors will be able to help you with a mortgage but, because financial advisors advise clients on a broad spectrum of financial products, you may find a dedicated mortgage advisor has better knowledge and is better positioned to have a clearer understanding of all the mortgage products available.

For the widest selection of lenders, you should find a whole-of-market broker, like the ones we work with.

Call us on 0808 189 2301 for a no-obligation chat. We can introduce you to one of the expert brokers we work with who’ll be happy to answer all your questions, whatever you’re looking for.

Why and how to choose a mortgage broker?

It goes without saying that you should choose a mortgage broker who knows their stuff. 

You can find mortgage advisors on the high street, but it’s likely they will only be able to sell you mortgages from the bank or building society with which they work.

Most estate agents will happily introduce you to their own in-house mortgage advisors too.

But your mortgage decision can make a huge difference to your everyday finances and getting the wrong advice could cost you thousands of pounds in the long term.

Which is just one reason why finding an advisor you can trust is so important.

The brokers we work with at Online Mortgage Advisor are experts in their field. With a network of over 100 accredited brokers advising first-time buyers, the self-employed and people with a poor credit history, we can introduce you to the advisor with the experience you need.

Give us a call on 0808 189 2301 or make a quick online enquiry and we’ll introduce you to one of the expert brokers we work with. Your mortgage advisor will work with you to get the best possible deal on your mortgage, whatever your background or situation.

How long does a mortgage broker take to get a mortgage application through?

The length of time it takes to get a mortgage application through the whole process depends on the mortgage, the lender and an array of circumstances surrounding the application. 

Although there is no hard and fast rule of what timetable you should expect, a good mortgage advisor will help smooth things through and work with you and the lender to ensure a smooth transition from application to completion. 

Do I need a mortgage broker to remortgage?

Although you don’t strictly have to use a mortgage broker to remortgage a property, if you don’t want to use your current lender and prefer to find the best deal available, your best bet is to use a whole-of-market mortgage broker who has access to lenders across the UK and will be able to secure you the best possible rates on your remortgage.

The expert brokers we work with are whole-of-market and here to answer all your questions. Give us a call on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry and we’ll introduce you to the right broker for you.

Should I use a mortgage advisor?

Yes, if you want to make sure you get the best mortgage available and don’t want to risk running into trouble later down the line.

A mortgage is one of the biggest financial decisions you’re likely to make in your life and it’s important to get it right.

Why not use a mortgage broker who has a duty of care to make sure they recommend appropriate products and justify what makes the mortgage right for you?

When you use a mortgage advisor, if the advice is flawed, you can complain and may be compensated.

However, if you decide not to get advice and go to the high street for your mortgage, you could end up with a mortgage which later becomes unaffordable. If this happened there probably wouldn’t be much you could do from a legal standpoint. 

How safe are mortgage brokers?

In the UK, all mortgage advisors and brokers who work within the residential section are required to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or be the agent of a regulated firm. You should use the FCA register to check whether a broker is regulated.

Make sure you check your mortgage advisor’s credentials at the outset. 

As with any industry, if you’re unlucky you may come across mortgage advisors who don’t know as much as they should when it comes to advising customers about large financial decisions.

For the best advice you should look for an experienced whole-of-market mortgage broker, like the ones we work with. Call us on 0808 189 2301 for an introduction.

Can mortgage brokers sell insurance?

Mortgage brokers are likely to recommend insurance based on the mortgage arrangements you make. They will be able to advise you how to go about getting the right insurance to protect against death, critical illness and redundancy and can arrange/sell policies themselves as long as they have the necessary qualifications to do so.

Can a mortgage broker sell life insurance?

A reputable broker will make sure they recommend the right insurance products to protect your mortgage arrangements.

They will be able to ensure you’re covered for life insurance either through the mortgage lender you’re using or through a third party. The right mortgage broker will be able to recommend someone who can help you with this, if your mortgage lender doesn’t take care of it for you as part of the mortgage arrangements.

Can you have more than one mortgage broker?

You could speak to more than one broker, if you felt the need to, but keep in mind that you won’t need to if you use our broker-matching service. We can pair you up with the mortgage advisor who has the right expertise to get the best deal for you, first time.

Do mortgage brokers come to your house?

While some mortgage brokers will visit you at your house, it’s in no way necessary. 

These days, it’s usual to successfully arrange a mortgage from start to finish online and on the phone, without ever having a face-to-face meeting with your mortgage broker.

Why doesn’t everyone use a mortgage broker?

If someone is remortgaging and happy to do so with their current mortgage lender, it is quite normal that they would make the necessary arrangements themselves, without involving a mortgage broker or advisor.

On the other hand, most people who are remortgaging would be wise to check that there isn’t a better deal they could benefit from. 

The whole-of-market brokers we work with have access to mortgage lenders across the UK and can find the most competitive mortgage deals on offer. 

Call us on 0808 189 2301 to find out what kind of deal you might be able to benefit from. Our services are completely free of charge and there is absolutely no obligation.

What is a mortgage broker underwriter?

A mortgage underwriter is the person responsible for determining the risk of offering a mortgage to a borrower.

A mortgage broker works with you to ensure the information you provide on your application is going to do the best job of helping the mortgage underwriter decide in your favour.

This is one very good reason to use a mortgage broker. They work for you and will fight your corner in the event that your application raises concerns with the mortgage underwriter. 

Several of the brokers we work with have stepped in when a mortgage has been declined and used facts about a client’s circumstances to persuade an underwriter to take another look and, in doing so, have managed to reverse the decision.

Having a mortgage broker who has an existing relationship with a mortgage lender can help in tricky circumstances and, with the right approach, a mortgage broker can make things happen simply because they know what to say and who best to say it to.

Although an underwriter will use specific lender guidelines and computer algorithms to analyse some aspects of the lending decision, ultimately it’s up to the underwriter to make the final decision on whether to approve or decline your application for a mortgage.


Speak to an expert mortgage broker and discover first hand what they can do for you

Getting advice from an experienced mortgage broker can help keep things simple and speed things up, making the often complicated buying process quicker and easier to complete.

Find out how a mortgage adviser can help with your own mortgage arrangements. Give us a call on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry and we’ll put you in touch with one of the expert mortgage brokers we work with. 

When you first talk, the mortgage broker will explain how the mortgage process works, what you can expect from them and what services they offer.

All the expert brokers we work with are whole-of-market and have access to mortgages from lenders across the UK, so they are well positioned to find the best deal for you.

Online Mortgage Broker Information

Looking for specialist advice? Read through our articles about different types of bad credit situations, and how best to prepare yourself to find the right mortgage for you.

FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The info on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs. Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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