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What does a mortgage broker do?
Our main role is to work with clients to achieve the best mortgage rate and the most appropriate deal for them in the marketplace. We’re a whole of market broker. We can search all of the lenders that work with intermediaries within the UK – and that’s most of them. We would search that marketplace for the most appropriate deal to match your individual circumstances.
Each client gains a good understanding of the mortgage market in the UK and will discuss their situation and goals with the mortgage broker. We’ll talk to you about what you’re looking to achieve, what’s important to you in the mortgage, what your financial goals are. We help you formulate your strategy and make the most appropriate recommendations for you. It means you get the most appropriate and best deal for your circumstances.
Mortgage brokers can look at multiple lenders – including all the high street banks. Not everyone’s circumstances fit the high street and mainstream lending requirements.
When you walk into a high street bank they won’t give you advice. It’s very much a transactional conversation. You tell them what you want and they will act on it – and they’re only going to offer their own products. They won’t compare their mortgages to those from any other banks or building societies – so they can’t tell you whether that is the most suitable product for you in the marketplace. They can just tell whether their product meets your needs.
In the UK property industry, the mortgage broker has almost become an agent for the buyer. To give you some background, a lot of buyers often don’t realise that the estate agent is working for the person selling the property. The vendor is paying their fee, so very often buyers are left alone to deal with the purchase. There’s no one really helping them.
Liaise with estate agents and solicitors
As a mortgage broker we work almost as a buyer’s agent. We will liaise with the estate agents and help people formulate an offer on a property – looking at recent selling prices and how long properties have been on the market. We aim to put our clients in the best possible situation.
We also recommend and work with solicitors to explain some of the paperwork and the process. We help transactions go through more quickly to get people in the strongest possible position. We would also look at getting an Agreement in Principle in place, for First Time Buyers, home movers or people in any situation.
Often estate agents are looking for an Agreement in Principle much earlier, as the marketplace at the moment is very fluid. Having an Agreement in Principle with a lender will help make your offer more appealing to the vendor, and confirm that there are no credit issues or other concerns with the mortgage.
Buy to Let Mortgages
Buy to Let is also something that we help people with a lot. That marketplace has expanded significantly over the last decade in the UK as rates have been low – although we’re now coming out of that period of time.
Once you’ve got your mortgage and you’ve lived in your property for a period of time you may need support with remortgaging. You may have taken a two, three or five year fixed rate deal, or maybe even a tracker rate, where your initial benefit period is going to come to an end at some point.
We work with you to help renegotiate that mortgage onto the most appropriate deal, achieving the best rates available to in line with your objectives and financial situation. We would actively remind you around in six or seven months before your deal is due to end. It means you avoid potentially much higher standard variable rates.
A mortgage broker will also look at making sure that you can always stay in your home. Our job is essentially to put people in enormous amounts of debt. So we always have discussions with clients to make sure that they’re fully aware of the risks and things that could potentially go wrong. We make recommendations around mortgage and family-based protection including life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection. We also help with the essentials like buildings insurance – which is compulsory for a mortgage – and contents insurance. We make bespoke recommendations to each individual client.
A mortgage broker gives you a much more in-depth service where you will have your hand held through the process. This is a 20, 30, 35+ year commitment so we look to support you with everything you need on an ongoing basis.
It should ideally be the first thing you do. We’re quite aware that really the first thing people do when they look to buy property is to download the Rightmove app. Statistics show that people look on their phone for six to twelve months before they take any action towards buying a home.
But if we are your first port of call, you’ll gain a full understanding of your costs as a buyer, what kind of fees and deposits you’re going to need, whether you’re going to incur stamp duties and how to budget for solicitors costs, estate agency costs etc. If you’re a home mover you will get your property valued and on the market. If you’re a first time buyer you will start viewing properties that you’re interested in and you’ll know what your budget is and how much to offer.
For those who already have a mortgage, you should start looking at least seven months before your current deal ends. With interest rates increasing, achieving a mortgage offer earlier is more beneficial in most circumstances. Plus, lenders and solicitors are taking longer. The media is describing a ‘procrastination penalty’ – where you leave it too late and are reverted to your standard variable rate because the process has taken too long to complete. So the overriding answer is ‘as early as possible’.
We deal with clients all over the UK, from Cornwall all the way up to Scotland and Wales. We typically don’t deal too much with Northern Ireland but most definitely mainland UK.
We have an online client portal that’s cloud-based. Clients create an account and can upload a fact find – the information that we would need as a mortgage broker to start placing a mortgage for you. That system also allows clients to securely upload documents that we require. You don’t need to post them or to visit our office. In most circumstances we’re able to electronically ID people as well.
So yes, although we are based in Suffolk we deal with clients everywhere, whether they are First Time Buyers, home movers or Buy to Let investors.
East Anglia as a whole is a very popular area in the south east. In Suffolk, Bury St Edmunds is a very nice town, as is Ipswich. You have some large towns, many villages and the Suffolk Coast is lovely as well.
Because of things like Center Parcs we have some good transport links. Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge are all linked by rail. And travelling on the main line from Ipswich into London Liverpool Street only takes just over an hour, so it’s a very popular area to live. Prices have escalated over the last decade and as you come up the A12 from London to Ipswich, prices have got more and more expensive.
People have moved from the Southern Essex area up into Suffolk where it’s more affordable, because it is still a commutable distance into London. The lifestyle here is very appealing. There’s a lot of parkland and open space. It’s not as built up as some areas in Southern Essex and overall it’s a really nice, popular place to live in the UK.
Mortgage Republic was founded in the spring of 2016 by myself here in Suffolk. It has grown to cover the whole of the UK since. I’ve been a mortgage broker since 2006, having left a senior management role for a large corporate company to come and start this business.
From trainee mortgage broker back in 2006 studying my CMAP and learning how to do the job, then going through the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, I then worked my way into senior broking roles, then into management and senior management. At that point, I decided I wanted to take a different route with my career and take ownership of a company with my own strategy and vision, rather than trying to execute someone else’s.
As anyone that’s employed will realise, sometimes you agree with bits of it, sometimes you don’t… so we started Mortgage Republic, and six and a half years later we’re going strong. It’s been a bit of a journey but good fun.
We’re recording this in late September 2022 and right now the role of the mortgage broker is becoming more and more important. With what’s going on with the Bank of England and rate rises, the cost of living is in the forefront of everyone’s mind. Mortgage brokers are going to be more and more important to people.
The overriding stability we had for about 10 years with the Bank of England base rate is now history, and we’re moving into much more turbulent times. So I would suggest that, if in the past you have just gone to your bank or looked online to see what your possible mortgage options are, do take the time now to speak to a mortgage broker.
Investigate the whole market. See what options are out there for you, and take some action as early as possible. A broker will have your best interests at heart and be able to help you through what may become quite turbulent financial times over the coming years.
Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up with your mortgage repayments.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate some Buy to Let Mortgages.