Where can I get a mortgage from?

Mortgages are provided both by banks and building societies, and by specialist mortgage lenders. You can either speak to these lenders directly about the products they offer, or contact a mortgage broker who will usually be able to search through a wider selection of products and compare rates for you.

In the UK, firms offering mortgages generally have to be regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), or be the agent of a regulated firm, although it is worth noting that the FSA does not regulate sales of buy-to-let and second-charge mortgages.

You should always ensure that the firm you choose is regulated by the FSA and is allowed to sell or advise on mortgages before entering into an agreement. Firms that meet these standards are listed on the FSA Register, which is a public record of the firms, individuals and other bodies that the financial services watchdog regulates. The Register and tips on how to use it can be found on the FSA website (www.fsa.gov.uk).

What information should I receive from my mortgage provider?

If you are taking out a mortgage your lender is required by the FSA to provide you with two Key Facts documents, which detail information about the company's mortgage services and the mortgage product you have chosen.

The Key Facts document about the lender's mortgage services will include the following information:

  • whose mortgages they offer
  • the range of products of available
  • whether they offer information and advice or just the former
  • the cost of their service

The Key Facts document about the selected mortgage, also known as a Keyfacts illustration or KFI, will tell you:

  • the type of mortgage you have chosen
  • the overall cost of the loan
  • the monthly mortgage repayment figure
  • the interest-rate type and the rate of interest
  • other mortgage-related fees and costs involved
  • any special features of the mortgage