We know researching and selecting the right broker can feel a bit overwhelming, especially if it's your first mortgage and you're unfamiliar with the mortgage process and mortgages in general.
Often we tend to rely on recommendations from friends or family in these situations, and these recommendations can be great, but they tend to be simply who the friend or family member used as a broker, possibly based on a recommendation from their friend or family, with no real research done and doesn't necessarily mean they are a good mortgage broker able to get you the best mortgage deal for your personal circumstances.
To help build awareness of your options and to help you make the right choice, we've done the research and found the best mortgage brokers in the UK so you can save time and be sure you're getting the best mortgage deal.
Our criteria for best mortgage brokers comes down to 2 things, can they find you the best deal, and how good is their customer service.
1. Can they search every mortgage product to find you the best deal?
This is often called the ‘whole market’, or ‘whole-of-market’, and means the broker or advisor is able to search every mortgage in the UK, except direct deals, that’s roughly 20,000 mortgages from 90 lenders, and is therefore able to find you the best deal for your circumstances.
If a broker or advisor cannot search every mortgage out there, you can’t be sure they will find you the best deal and you could be losing out with a bad mortgage deal and paying a higher interest rate and higher monthly repayments. Don’t panic though, simply use one of the advisors above. You can always check and ask if they search the whole market too.
2. Their customer service
We’ve looked at the Trustpilot ratings of whole-of-market brokers to make sure they provide their customers with the best service possible. Getting a mortgage could be one of the biggest things you do in your life financially, and it can be incredibly stressful. You want someone on your side who can talk you through things, guide you, someone who’s been there many times and knows what to expect. Plus, let’s be honest, a friendly and genuinely nice person to chat with goes a long way.
If you’re not familiar with Trustpilot, learn more below.
This is the fee the mortgage broker charges you to use their service. Not the fees you pay to get the mortgage from the lender – typically called arrangement fees or just lender fees, which are normally added to the mortgage amount.
The fee can range from £0 to £1,000 depending on which advisor or mortgage broker you are using, and what sort of advice you need, simple or more complex.
Do bear in mind mortgage brokers also get paid a commission from the lender, normally 0.35% of the mortgage amount. So for a £200,000 mortgage that’s £700. And all mortgage brokers get this. So if your mortgage is fairly simple, such as buying a home as a first time buyer, or remortgaging, it may not be reasonable to pay fees on the higher end, and you should shop around. Remember, loyalty doesn’t pay.
The internet, and more recently ‘cloud computing’ – where resources, data and computing power can be safely stored across the internet rather than buying your own hardware (think along the lines of Amazon warehouses for data. In fact Amazon is the biggest player in the market, along with Microsoft), has meant software can be developed far cheaper and therefore businesses can develop new ways of doing things, improving on the old and bringing alot of old industries into the 21st century. And mortgage broking is one of them.
This means for the customer, we are seeing slick websites with interactive forms you can fill out yourself, whenever you want in your own time, and save and come back to whenever is good for you.
It means new ways of communicating too, live-chat is typically working well. You don’t need to respond immediately, and you can chat away all day during your working day, or chat as little as you want. It also means you can chat to a customer service rep or mortgage adviser almost immediately, rather than waiting on hold for hours.
A lot of online brokers have scrapped fees or started business without any fees at all - great news for you! Instead they have improved operating processes and efficiencies to allow for a higher number of customers and mortgages to be processed per month. Because of this, sometimes the personal touch is lost. So don’t expect the same service as a local advisor.
The Financial Conduct Authority regulates the financial services industry in the UK.
Which means it protects consumers (you, the customer), keeps the industry stable and promotes healthy competition between financial services providers, that means cheaper costs for you.
It means you can use a FCA regulated service with peace of mind, the company must put your interests first above their own, and ensure they are providing accurate advice. Treating customers fairly must be at the heart of their business model.
All mortgage brokers must be FCA regulated or be represented by a regulated firm. You can check this by searching the company or individual on the FCA register.
Not only does this mean you should have high quality accurate advice, but if any problems do arise, you also have access to the FCA complaints and compensation procedures.
In addition to this, each individual mortgage adviser should hold the relevant qualifications, which are CeMAP (IFS School of Finance Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice) or Cert MA (Chartered Insurance Institute Certificate in Mortgage Advice).
Never use a mortgage broker who is not authorised by the FCA.
In order for you to get the best deal, you need to be sure every mortgage product has been assessed to suit your needs. There are anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 mortgages available at any one time, from just over 90 lenders – that’s a lot of mortgages!
If a mortgage broker cannot search all or even most of these, you cannot be sure you are getting the best deal. This is bad for you, as you could be paying more money than you need to, possibly by £100s every month.
A mortgage broker who can search every mortgage available is typically called ‘whole-of-market’, and you should ask this as part of your qualifying criteria when selecting a broker – ones who aren't whole-of-market will try and avoid communicating this.
The reason why not all brokers are whole-of-market is because they are only allowed to work from a selected ‘panel’ of lenders (a group of lenders). This could be because other panels, (there are a few) do not want to give them access to their mortgages for various reasons, sometimes quality of advice, but more importantly, it could be because the mortgage broker has been blacklisted and not allowed access because of previous serious actions, such as fraud.
Either way, it’s in your best interest to always use a whole-of-market broker to make sure you get the best deal possible.
Trustpilot is the biggest review platform in the world. It was started to help companies build better customer experiences, by people sharing their experiences.
It’s pretty much the go-to place to check the customer service level of a company, and is completely free to use and to place a review – with checks in place to prove the reviews are real.
We love it, and use it to check the quality of service for many companies, and is especially important for mortgage brokers, and all service providers.
You can find insights into unique experiences and how the company handles them. The company can also respond to reviews, which is also a great insight into how they value their customers and more specifically customer complaints.
Reviews fit into a category, which are:
But more than this, Trustpilot also provides a rating, simply called a ‘Trustscore’ which is more than just the average score of reviews.
It includes, frequency of reviews, the time span of reviews – with newer reviews having more weight, and then a tiny bit of maths to come to a Trustscore, or rating out of 5, and then an assigned an overall category using the same categories above, excellent to bad, for example, a 4.8 out of 5 would be excellent and show 5 stars, but a score of 2.8/5 would be average and get 3 stars.
That might sound a bit confusing, but we’ll show the Trustscore in most of our reviews, and put simply the higher the better!