Buying a home is a huge financial commitment, and for many can be a daunting experience. Fortunately, help with home buying is available through a wide range of sources. A number of independent organisations have trained financial advisers that can help you better identify and understand your options and the questions you should ask mortgage lenders or brokers when buying a property.
When searching for any type of finance, it is important to shop around and compare quotes from various lenders. There are a number of websites that provide comparison tools which help make it easier to compare different mortgage deals.
When shopping around for the best deal, you should also know what sort of help you're looking for. You may only need some information to help you make your own choice, or you may feel that you require expert advice to help highlight the options available and to recommend suitable mortgages for you.
Homebuyers that do not require advice from their mortgage lender/broker are usually provided with balanced and neutral information about the mortgages available, including product terms and conditions and comparison tables, to help them make their own choice.
If you are in need of advice, mortgage lenders/brokers will steer you in the direction of and/or recommend that you take out a particular mortgage by:
Whichever type of help you need, it is important to check that the firm you're dealing with is regulated by the Financial Services Authority - the UK's financial services regulator - and is therefore allowed to arrange or advise on mortgages. If you enter into an agreement with a lender that is not regulated by the FSA and it turns out the mortgage you chose or were recommended was not to be suitable after all, you won't be able to make a complaint or have access to compensation procedures.
Firms, individuals and other bodies that are FSA-regulated are listed on the FSA Register, which can be found at www.fsa.gov.uk.
When you contact a mortgage lender or adviser they that is regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), they are required to provide you with two Keyfacts documents, which will include important information about the range of products they offer, any mortgage product they recommend and the level of service you will get (i.e. whether you will be given advice or information only).
The first Keyfacts document (Keyfacts about our mortgage services) will provide details of the service the lender/broker or mortgage adviser offers. It will explain:
The second Keyfacts document, called Keyfacts about this mortgage, should be given to you when you are recommended a mortgage, or the broker or lender provides you with personalised information. This document is also known as a Keyfacts illustration or KFI, and will include:
Note; Make sure you fully understand these documents and that you are getting the level of help that you need. Ask your lender or adviser to explain anything that is not clear. Also remember to use these documents to shop around and compare similar mortgages from other lenders to ensure you get the most suitable product service at the best price.
If you decide to use the services of a mortgage broker to help you taking out a mortgage, there a few things you will need to consider: