Online mortgages – best online mortgage brokers

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Fact Checked.
Updated on
September 18, 2022

In a nutshell

Getting your mortgage online is a great idea – it’s far easier. Everything runs to your schedule rather than the advisors, and you can do it all in front of the TV if you like! Using the right online mortgage broker will get you the best mortgage possible, and all for free too.

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Online mortgages and the best online mortgage brokers

Looking to get your mortgage online? Great choice. It can make things a lot easier and cheaper!

You can do everything online, instead of trying to book appointments over the phone or in person with a mortgage advisor, which inevitably gets cancelled of course.

Online mortgage brokers allow you to work to your own schedule – you decide when you want to speak to your mortgage advisor, provide your details, and apply for your mortgage – it’s all up to you. Technology can be a wonderful thing!

They’re also typically much faster to give you an indication of how much you can borrow (called a mortgage-in-principle), and a mortgage quote so you know how much you might be paying per month. Plus they are often quicker with the whole mortgage application process and getting the actual mortgage too.

The customer service is often great too. And the best bit, some of them are completely free to use, saving you hundreds of pounds! What’s not to love?!

Best online mortgage brokers UK

There’s a few online mortgage brokers out there (also called online mortgage advisors), but they’re not all equal! Here’s the best online brokers:

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Best overall

Habito

Habito will find the best mortgage for you, all for free, and with great service. But better than that, if you’re buying a home, they’ll handle the whole process for you – that’s the legal work and survey, and everything else. It’s a huge stress and time saver, and comes at a great price. Highly recommended.

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Habito rated 5 stars

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Trussle

Trussle are a good online mortgage broker, but they’re not just online – you can just handle everything over the phone if you like. It’s fee free, and they’ll find the best deal for you. The customer service is great too.

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Trussle rated 3 stars

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Best traditional mortgage broker

Decided you prefer to use a traditional mortgage broker? These are often called local brokers – as they often help customers in their local area. Our free service lets you find the best advisor for you. You could be speaking with an advisor in no time.

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Traditional broker

Find a traditional mortgage advisor

Use our free service to find the right mortgage advisor for you. You can be sure they’ll find the best deal for you, and service is tailored to you, either over the phone or via email.

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Rated 5 stars

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What’s the best broker for a first time buyer?

If you’re buying your first home, first of all, congrats! Getting on the property ladder is a huge achievement in today's world. We’re going to guess that you don’t know too much about getting a mortgage – and that’s fine! That’s why we’re here. Let’s go through the process quickly.

The mortgage process

You’ll definitely want to use a mortgage broker to find you the best mortgage deal, we cover why more in-depth below, but in summary, it’s a lot of work to find your own mortgage, especially to find the best mortgage deal for you. A broker can handle everything for you, and if you use an online broker, it’s much easier and can be fee free if you use the right one!

Our recommendation for a first time buyer is to use Habito. Not only will they get you the right mortgage (best deal), for free, and with everything handled online – they’re also the only ones who can handle the whole home buying process for you too. And trust us, it’s stressful!

Best online mortgage broker

Legal work

When you buy a home, there’s not just the mortgage to think about, there’s lots of legal work to take care of, such as exchanging contracts (the official thing to say you’ve bought the home), transferring large sums of money (when the mortgage completes) and updating the land registry with your details (saying that you’re the new owner!). So you’ll need a conveyancer or a solicitor (legal people) to do these for you.

Building survey

You’ll also often need a building survey, which is to make sure the property you are buying is in good condition and suitable to buy – you might be surprised how many homes have issues! This needs to be done by a qualified surveyor and normally arranged by you.

Building survey

With Habito, they can take care of everything for you:

  • Finding the mortgage
  • The mortgage process
  • The conveyancing
  • The survey
  • Anything else that crops up
  • Answer any questions
  • There throughout the process

Habito's fee for all of these services combined is pretty much the same as hiring all these people yourself. To cap it all off, you will need to research and find these professionals yourself. It's a full-time job!

Not having to manage all of this is a real game changer! It's hard to manage everything and can be pretty stressful, especially if you’ve not done it before. Why not just have someone do it for you?!

Here’s our Habito review if you want to learn more.

Remember, you don't have to pay for this additional service. Habito can just get you the mortgage for free! You could also compare with Trussle, another online broker (here’s our Trussle review).

What’s the best broker for remortgaging?

If you’re looking to switch to a new mortgage deal (remortgage) you should still use a mortgage broker to find the best new deal for you – which a good mortgage broker will do. 

We highly recommend you remortgage when your original fixed term period ends (the fixed term period is the initial rate a lender will give you to take out the mortgage. It's normally a cheaper deal for 2 or 5 years).

When to remortgage

When you remortgage and switch deals, you’ll avoid paying a higher interest rate than you have to and potentially saving £100s per month on your mortgage repayments.

Note: it doesn’t make a difference if you are remortgaging or buying a home, finding the best mortgage deal is a similar process and still hard to do yourself – a mortgage broker will find you the best deal and handle all the paperwork for you too.

Your best bet is a free online mortgage broker to save on fees! Check out the best brokers above. You can often compare deals yourself on their websites too for a quick indication of what a new deal could look like.

Do I actually need to use a mortgage broker?

You don’t actually need to use a mortgage broker to get a mortgage. However it helps… A LOT!

The best brokers are able to search every mortgage deal out there to find the right one for you. There's over 20,000 mortgages, so it’s quite a feat to do yourself! All of these mortgages combined are called ‘the whole market’, or sometimes the ‘mortgage market’.

Of course, they don’t do it manually, they have software they use, but they’ll review the results and make sure it’s a good fit for you and your personal circumstances. Each mortgage is quite different, and each mortgage lender has different criteria they use to assess customers and determine if they’ll give you a mortgage or not – and a mortgage broker should know all these little details and which mortgages you'll likely be accepted for.

Having said that, not every mortgage broker can search every mortgage deal out there – some mortgage advisors are restricted to a few mortgage lenders (sometimes they will be called their 'panel'), and it definitely pays to do your research here. 

Online mortgage broker - whole of market

The number one rule is do not use a mortgage broker who cannot search the whole market!

Why not? Well, you could end up getting a mortgage that’s a lot more expensive than it needs to be, simply because the broker can’t search them all. And that means you could end up paying £1,000s more in interest payments every year and extra fees.

It’s not worth the risk, even if the advisor seems nice, or is recommended by your estate agent (who will probably get commission for recommending them).

The best online mortgage brokers we’ve listed, and the best traditional mortgage brokers we can match you with, all search the whole market.

Should I use an online mortgage advisor?

You don’t have to use an online mortgage broker if you don’t want to. But we recommend it if you’re happy using websites on your computer or your phone (yep, most online brokers will work on your phone too!).

We recommend them because it means everything runs to your schedule, rather than the advisor's schedule. The process can be long and you can do little bits here and there when you have some time, rather than having long phone calls with a broker, or a super-long email chain with information going back and forth.

Using an online mortgage broker

Simply create an online account with an online broker and then when you have a spare 5 minutes or so, answer a few questions about who you are and what sort of mortgage you’re after, and what property you’re looking to buy (you could even do it at work, just don’t tell the boss we said!).

But better than that, you can often speak to your mortgage advisor over live-chat (online chat through their website) too, so you can even have conversations that suit your schedule too – and you don’t have to speak to anyone on the phone (what a relief!).

Once you’ve got the mortgage recommendation (that’s the best mortgage that your advisor has found for you from all the mortgage options), they’ll go ahead and handle all the paperwork to apply to the lender for you too. How good is that?

And on top of all of that, you’ll save around £500 or so from what typical mortgage advisers charge, as our recommended online brokers are fee free.

What about customer service?

The customer service when getting a mortgage online is normally very good. Just because you’re using a free mortgage broker don’t think the service will be bad!

You tend to speak to your mortgage advisor over live-chat on their website, and they also have a customer services team who you can speak to before you get assigned a mortgage advisor, who can answer any questions you have about the service and even mortgages in general.

The response times are way faster than a traditional mortgage broker, who is often working by themselves and can only respond to customers one at a time when they have spare time, and if they’re on holiday you could be waiting weeks!

With an online service, you’ll get a pretty quick reply – because there’s a team of experts waiting for questions to come in. Modern online brokers tend to have efficient processes in place to help give the best service possible.

And by the way, if you prefer to speak to someone over the phone you can, you just need to ask. They will also reply to emails too.

How are online mortgage brokers free?

As with all mortgage brokers and mortgage advisors, they make money (commission) from the lender (the company that gives you the mortgage).

With online mortgages, as it’s online based, they don’t actually need to do as much work as your traditional mortgage advisor – they’ll still find the best mortgage for you of course, but they don’t need to book phone calls and have lengthy conversations over the phone.

Which means they can work with more customers at the same time, and as a result, can make enough money from the lender without charging you a fee too. Pretty clever right?

How are online mortgage brokers free?

Traditional mortgage brokers handle fewer customers, and therefore have to charge you a fee too in order to make enough money.

What’s a mortgage-in-principle?

A mortgage-in-principle, or often called a ‘mortgage agreement-in-principle’, is an indication of what a real mortgage could look like – so effectively, it says how much you can borrow, and then what a typical interest rate might be for you based on your individual circumstances.

Online mortgage-in-principle

How much you can borrow

Determining how much you can borrow is based on your income, so your salary if you’re employed – and how much profit you make if you’re self-employed.

As a rough guide, you could multiply your income by 4.5 to work out how much you can borrow.

How much you can borrowfor a mortgage?

This figure would then often reduce based on your bills and how much spare cash you have left each month – the lender needs to work out if you have a good buffer so that if anything happens you can still pay the mortgage.

A mortgage-in-principle will give you a good idea how much you can actually borrow.

The interest rate

The interest rate will often depend on how much deposit you have, which is the cash you’re putting up yourself to buy your new home.

Or if you’re remortgaging, which is where you already have a mortgage and switching to a new deal, it’s called equity – which is the amount of the property you own yourself.

The deposit (or equity) is used to work out how much of the property value your mortgage would cover. So, if you have a 10% deposit, your mortgage would have to cover the remaining 90% of the property price. This is called your loan-to-value – it’s the loan amount (mortgage) as a percentage of the property price.

The lower your loan-to-value (or LTV), the better interest rate you’ll normally get, as the mortgage lender is risking less of their cash vs the property price.

Loan to value explained

Remember, a mortgage is ‘secured’ against the property – which means if you don’t pay your mortgage repayments, the mortgage lender can take ownership of the whole property (which they’d then sell to recover the mortgage amount).

Mortgage agreement-in-principle

Anyway, a mortgage-in-principle is effectively how much you can borrow. And a mortgage agreement-in-principle is often a much firmer agreement with a mortgage provider that they’re happy to give you a mortgage for a certain amount and at a certain interest rate.

We've tried to simplify this as much as possible but it's pretty confusing. If you don't understand it all dont worry, a decent mortgage broker will explain and handle this all for you. An online broker is typically faster at providing you with a mortgage-in-principle.

Are online mortgage advisors safe?

Yep! All mortgage advisors, however they come, over the phone, in-person, or online are all effectively the same when it comes to your protection – it’s just their methods of communication and how good they are at their job that change.

So whichever one you choose to use, you’ll have the same protection from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The Financial Conduct Authority needs to approve the broker before they can help customers, and they’ll be constantly reviewed to make sure they’re giving customers the correct mortgage advice and treating customers fairly.

Are online mortgage advisors safe?

Whichever broker you use, such as online, you’ll benefit from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) – which means you’ll get compensation if you were given bad advice which resulted in you getting the wrong mortgage deal.

It’s worth checking the Financial Services Register to make sure the mortgage adviser you want to use is properly registered and has permission to give mortgage advice, you can search with their name, or ask for their firm reference number. If you use Habito or Trussle, you don’t have to check, they are registered.

Should I use my estate agent's broker?

We recommend you don’t use your estate agent’s broker (or conveyancer). You can’t be sure that they’ll be able to search the whole market for the right mortgage for you – some just have a very limited number of lenders they can choose from.

Should I use my estate agent's broker?

The customer service can be pretty poor too – and often it’s done face-to-face in the estate agents office when they can fit you in, unlike an online service where you can chat online whenever suits you.

The estate agent is often either getting commission or the broker is employed by the agent, so you can’t be sure the recommendation is genuine. And the broker will often charge a broker fee too, which can be around £500, and sometimes more.

Our advice here is to research the broker properly. Don't just take your estate agent's recommendation. 

We recommend you seriously consider one of the online mortgage brokers above. It will be on your terms, after researching which broker is the best fit for you. Don’t be pressured by the agent! Remember the online brokers are fee free, so you'll save money too.

Estate agent conveyancers

Estate agent conveyancers are typically bad too – they often have an interest in you buying the home (more money for the agent and their own commission) and can leave important things out, or not explain things to you that they should be – particularly if you’re buying a new build from a developer on a housing estate. It’s best to get your own solicitor or conveyancer so that you have someone on your side.

It’s a stressful process in general, which is why we recommend checking out Habito who can manage everything for you, and has a good track record.

Pros and cons of online mortgages

Let’s recap the pros and cons of using one of our recommended online services for your mortgage.

Pros

  • Search every mortgage in one place
  • Compare deals quickly to find the best deal
  • Quicker to get mortgage-in-principle
  • Quicker to get mortgage
  • Great customer service
  • Works around your schedule 
  • No phone calls or face-to-face meetings
  • All done through their website (desktop or mobile) 
  • It’s FREE!!
  • Habito even handles the whole home buying process too

Cons

  • If you’re a very complicated case, you might be better with a specialist broker
  • Don’t often help with bad credit mortgages
  • You need to be comfortable using your phone or a computer to fill out an online form and reply to messages

Are online mortgages for you?

If you can't tell we're big fans of online mortgages here – most of us here have got our mortgages online ourselves. 

They’re a much easier way of getting a mortgage, everything works around you, rather than the mortgage advisor, and you can be sure you’re getting the best deal for you from every mortgage out there, plus they’re fee free!

Check out our best online mortgage brokers above to find the right broker for you.

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This article was written by the team at Nuts About Money, and fact-checked by 2 independent reviewers. You’re in safe hands.

Best online mortgage broker

Our recommended online mortgage broker is Habito – not only will you get the best mortgage deal, and for free, but they can also handle the whole home buying process.

Visit Habito¹Visit Habito¹

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