The purchase of a home represents, by far, the largest single investment that most of us make during our lifetimes. Most of us, similarly, require a mortgage loan in order to make that purchase, and the importance of accurate, impartial mortgage advice cannot, therefore, be underestimated. Individual mortgage brokers, or the companies that they represent, must be authorised by – and therefore bound by the rules and regulations of – the Financial Services Authority (FSA). They must, for example, provide you with so-called `Keyfacts` documents, which clearly illustrate the main points of any service or product that they may offer you.
Types of Mortgage Advisors
Independent mortgage advisors are divided into two categories, `Independent Mortgage Advisor`and Tied Mortgage Advisor`. These descriptions are, unfortunately, rather similar so, for clarification, the former offers independent advice on the whole of the market, including protection insurance; this can be useful if you need advice on other products relevant to your property purchase. A Tied Mortgage Advisor, on the other hand, offers advice on mortgage products but is limited in the number of lenders, and products that they can offer. Any such affiliations should be made clear to you in the `Keyfacts` document relating to mortgage services, so make sure that you are aware of the range of products on offer.
Mortgage advice, inevitably, costs money, but there a number of different ways in which you can pay a mortgage advisor, or broker. for example, most will offer you option of paying him, or her, by fee, rather than commission, in order to avoid bias on his, or her, part towards one mortgage product over another. Commission – a fee paid by a lender in return for selling a specific product – is, of course, another alternative, and a combination of part fee, part fee commission, may also be possible.
Qualifications & Experience
Mortgage advisors should be suitably qualified, in the eyes of the FSA, which means that they should have undertaken recognised qualifications, such as the `Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice` (CeMAP® ) and the `Certificate and Diploma in Financial Planning`, from the `Chartered Insurance Institute` (CII), before being allowed to offer advice. If you need to check the qualifications or a mortgage advisor – and the advice that he, or she, is authorised to offer – the FSA operate a consumer telephone helpline.
In addition to `paper` qualifications, experience in the industry – for example, counselling, or advising, individual consumers on their own, specific, financial needs – is also important. Don`t be afraid to ask an advisor for whom, or for how long, he, or she, has worked in the industry, and how his, or her, experience relates to his, or her, current job. Any mortgage advisor worth their salt will happily discuss these details with you, as well as leading you through the myriad of fixed rate, variable rate and flexible mortgage products available.