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By Pete Mugleston | Mortgage Advisor

Pete has been a mortgage advisor for over 10 years, and is regularly cited in both trade and national press.

Updated: 2nd September 2020*

There’s no denying it; getting a mortgage is a big deal – after all, it might be the biggest financial commitment you’ll ever make!

Before you apply for a mortgage, it’s important to have a good knowledge of the terms and conditions of the deal so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into, and that the product itself is right for your circumstances.

Working with a broker can be a great way to secure a competitive deal which is well-suited to you, but it’s also important to seek advice from a reputable company, and to know how to deal with a mortgage broker. This could mean you’ll save time, money and potential disappointment in the long run.

To match you with an experienced, accredited advisor, this article will be covering what to ask a mortgage advisor before you begin your journey as a UK homeowner, and what you can expect them to ask you:

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What questions should I ask when choosing a mortgage broker?

Before choosing to work with a mortgage advisor, it’s important to check out their credentials and establish exactly what type of broker they are:

Are you a regulated broker and how much experience do you have?

In the UK, it is mandatory for residential mortgage brokers to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), or be the agent of a regulated firm. You can easily check if your selected broker is regulated by checking the FCA register.

Not only are unregulated advisors operating illegally if they work within the residential space, they may end up giving you inaccurate or downright wrong advice – meaning you could end up in hot water later on.

While length of time in the role doesn’t necessarily mean a “better” broker, those with more industry experience are likely to have more extensive knowledge of different providers and their lending terms.

What type of broker are you?

In the UK, there are three main types of broker to look out for:

  • Tied brokers.
  • Multi-tied brokers.
  • Whole-of-market brokers.

As the names suggest, “tied” or “multi-tied” brokers have access to either one or a small selection of preferred lenders.

For access to the greatest range of mortgage deals (and therefore the most competitive rates), whole-of-market brokers (like the ones we work with) have access to lenders representing every sector of the mortgage market.

All the brokers we work with are fully qualified, experienced whole-of-market brokers with access to lenders across the UK. To talk to one of them call 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry. We’ll use our free matching service to introduce you to a broker with the right specialist experience to help you get the mortgage you want.

What questions can I expect my mortgage broker or lender to ask me?

Before offering you any mortgage deal, a good broker will get a good idea about your finances and your personal circumstances. They will carry out a range of checks, ask questions, and request documentation.

While this may sound tedious, it’s important that your advisor builds up an accurate customer profile so as to match you with the most suitable mortgage lender. Some of the questions your advisor or lender may ask you include:

What is your employment status and how much do you earn?

You should expect to answer a range of questions relating to your job and contract type, as well as how much money you bring home each month.

While income does play a significant role in determining how much a mortgage provider will offer you (most won’t lend more than 4.5x your annual salary), how this income is generated is important.

For example, an applicant in steady, full-time employment earning a consistent salary may be deemed lower risk than someone who is self-employed, or an applicant who regularly has their income subsidised by commission or bonuses.

What are your monthly outgoings?

Nowadays, lenders don’t base their decision to lend on income alone – they want to know what your outgoings are each month. In most cases, you will be subject to affordability checks which will determine your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.

This is calculated by dividing your monthly debt obligations by your gross income, and is expressed as a percentage.

What does your credit history look like?

Your credit history is a key factor that will impact how favourably you are looked at by lenders. Brokers will look at your credit file and score, and if it is clean they may not ask you any credit-related questions at all.

However, if you have any “skeletons in your closet”, such as a history of missed payments, debt collections or a bankruptcy, it’s more than likely that you’ll be asked a number of follow-up questions and / or you’ll be asked to provide additional documentation relating to these instances.

Don’t worry if you have a history of bad credit; it may still be possible to arrange a mortgage if this is the case.

If you’re worried that your credit history will prevent you from getting a mortgage, you’ll be pleased to know that we successfully arrange adverse credit mortgages every day for many happy customers. Contact us for advice from a specialist.

What questions should I ask a mortgage broker when buying a house?

It’s as important for you to take the time to get to know your broker as it is for them to get to know you. After all, you need to be 100% satisfied you’re happy with the deal being offered.

How to deal with a mortgage broker

Here are a few questions to ask your mortgage broker before you sign on the dotted line:

How much can I borrow?

One of the most common questions received by mortgage brokers is “how much can I borrow?”

As mentioned above, this will be determined by a number of factors including income, affordability, job type, credit history, loan to value (LTV), property type, whether you’re a first-time buyer and even age – to name a few.

It’s very much a case-by-case basis, so if you want a rough idea, get in touch and a member of our team will be more than happy to discuss your individual circumstances with you.

If your mortgage advisor says it’s unlikely you’ll be able to borrow as much as you’d hoped, they are also on hand to recommend your next moves: whether this be saving up a larger deposit, or organising your finances to help boost your credit score.

How much deposit do I need?

How much deposit you need to put down for a mortgage will, of course, depend on the value of the property you’re looking to buy.

That being said, all lenders have minimum requirements. These vary by provider, but 85% – 95% LTV is average for a standard residential property. You may need a larger deposit if you’re considered a “high risk” applicant.

If you can afford to put down a larger deposit, it’s advisable to do so – the more money you put into your investment, the more trust you instil in lenders, which should mean more competitive rates for you.

What is the interest rate and how does it change over time?

When you first take out a mortgage, many lenders offer a cheaper “incentive rate”, which typically lasts between two to five years. After this time, they usually move you onto their standard variable rate (SVR).

When discussing your options with your broker, make sure you ask what your lender’s SVR is, because if it’s a lot higher than the initial rate you’re offered (as is usually the case), you need to know whether it’s an affordable long term option.

Realistically though, your broker would never let you revert onto the SVR and shortly before this is due to happen they should get in touch to arrange with you the next best deal.

How much can I expect to pay in costs and fees?

There are a number of costs associated with getting a mortgage, many of which are unavoidable. These include (but are not limited to) arrangement fees, broker fees, property valuation or survey fees, early repayment charges (ERCs) and sometimes exit fees.

Be sure to ask your advisor to go through the contracts with a fine-tooth comb before committing to a deal so you know what you can expect to pay throughout the total course of the term.

Have you decided what to ask a mortgage advisor? Make an enquiry to speak with one today!

This is not an extensive list of every single question you should ask, or expect to be asked by your mortgage advisor, as a lot will depend on your individual circumstances and the broker you work with.

If you’re interested in speaking to one of the expert brokers we work with, use our online enquiry form, or call us on 0808 189 2301.

We only work with whole-of-market, fully accredited advisors who have been 5* rated for service by hundreds of satisfied customers. We don’t charge a fee, and you’re under absolutely no obligation.

Updated: 2nd September 2020
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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.