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

Find out everything you need to know about using a mortgage broker

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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.

A good mortgage broker will help you work out how much you can afford to borrow and will know which lender is most likely to offer you the most favourable terms. Having the right mortgage broker on your side can make the difference between a good mortgage 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:

If you’re keen to get started and already know you want to find a great mortgage broker to help you get the right mortgage with the best available deal, call 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry.

We’ll match you with one of the expert brokers we work with. All the experts are whole-of-market brokers with access to mortgage lenders across the entire UK. They will work with you to find the right mortgage solution based on your own specific circumstances, saving you time, hassle and money.


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What is a mortgage broker/advisor?

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. Tied brokers – tied to a specific lender, usually you’ll find this is the case with advisors at your bank or building society
  2. Partial tied – brokers who work with a limited list of lenders
  3. Whole-of-market brokers – have unlimited 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 a 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.

We only work with independent, whole-of-market brokers. Call us on 0808 189 2301 or make a quick online enquiry. We’ll put you in touch with a broker who specialises in helping customers in circumstances similar to your own.


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.

While some financial advisors will cover the subject of mortgages, they are unlikely to specialise in mortgages in the same way as mortgage brokers.


What does a mortgage broker do?

A mortgage broker will work with you to understand your financial circumstances, help you calculate how much you can afford to borrow and, taking all your circumstances into account, help you find the right mortgage lender offering the best available product for you.

Whole-of-market mortgage brokers, like those we work with, have the tools, knowledge and experience to know which mortgage lender is suitable based on your affordability, their lending criteria and the value and type of property you wish to buy.

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 take 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. Qualifications – mortgage advisors and brokers must be qualified to give mortgage advice.
    Although new regulations are now coming into force that mean all call centre staff must be advisors or refer you to someone who is, you won’t necessarily end up talking to someone fully qualified to give the right advice. If, instead, you visit an in-branch broker, it’s likely you’ll be introduced to someone who can only sell mortgages from the high street bank or building society in question.
  3. 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 – A mortgage advisor will do checks to make sure you can afford to borrow what you’re asking for, according to specific lending criteria. 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 through their strong relationships with lenders, 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. 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 and redundancy.
  6. Don’t let a fee put you offmortgage brokers earn their money by charging a fee or through commission paid to them by the mortgage lender. The service you get from Online Mortgage Advisor is free. Most 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.
    Give us a call on 0808 189 2301 or make a quick online enquiry for a free, no-obligation chat and we’ll put you in touch with a broker best suited to help.
  7. Invaluable advice – 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 apply for.
  8. 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 may miss out on better rates 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 broker work?

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.

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 broker?

The most popular reason for using a mortgage broker is the amount of hassle they can remove for you.

If you have little knowledge of the mortgage market, a whole-of-market broker can save you heaps of time. A broker will help you understand which kind of mortgage solution will best suit your circumstances. They also have the tools and expertise to scour the market for the mortgage lender with the best deal for you right now.

Most whole-of-market brokers will have access to exclusive deals, which could be better than you’d find by going directly to the lender.

Independent mortgage brokers will assess just about every deal on the market to find you the right one.

Brokers are an especially attractive option for people looking for specialist mortgages, or for borrowers with low credit scores or income. An experienced mortgage broker will ensure you’re taken directly to the right lender and save any potential negative impact on your credit rating.

A mortgage broker will also help with the application process by:

  • Working with you to submit your application to the mortgage lender in the right way
  • Ensuring the application process goes smoothly by checking all your documents and clarifying, before submitting your application, that you meet the lender’s affordability criteria
  • Ironing out any glitches or problems with your application if it hits a snag in the sometimes lengthy process

Should I use a mortgage broker?

It’s definitely recommended. Although you don’t strictly need to use a mortgage broker, 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 they are recommending 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.

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, 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 recommend.


When’s the right time to see a mortgage advisor

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.

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.

From getting a clearer understanding of what you might be able to borrow,  to how much deposit you’ll need, a mortgage advisor can 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.

Make an enquiry 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

When you first begin to consider buying property, it’s a good idea to cement your thinking and start planning towards an eventual purchase.

At this very early stage a mortgage broker 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 broker will:

  • Let you know if you’re on track to apply for an Agreement 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, outgoings 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 ‘Agreement in Principle’.

With your Agreement in Principle approved, 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, make a quick online 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 advisors we work with are professional whole market brokers, experienced in arranging all kinds of mortgages.

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 won’t have the same access to lenders and/or the knowledge of where to go.

Give us a call on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry.

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


Frequently asked questions

Still have questions about mortgage advisors and what they can do for you? Read on for some frequently asked questions…

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 will 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 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.

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. Make an enquiry and we’ll introduce you to the right broker who can help.

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 or make a quick online enquiry.

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 common to successfully arrange a mortgage from start to finish online and over 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.

Make an enquiry to find out what kind of deal you might be able to benefit from. Our service is free and there’s absolutely no obligation.

How is a mortgage underwriter different to a mortgage broker?

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 ended up reversing the decision.

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 mortgage brokers 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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