Mortgage advice might not be for everyone, but for those clients who seek it out it can be an invaluable service in helping them to strike a better deal than they could have achieved on their own. The role of a mortgage adviser is to work with a buyer in order to find them the best option for their circumstances.
The main way in which a mortgage adviser achieves this is by helping a buyer through the mortgage application process. This includes researching the various mortgage options available to the buyer, as well as offering guidance and expertise on mortgage protection, repayments, refinancing and building insurance. Be aware of potential bias within this, however: a mortgage adviser working for a bank will only offer advice on the services provided by the bank; whereas an independent adviser, or one working for an estate agent, is likely to advise on a wider selection of services and companies.
If you’re seeking out a mortgage adviser, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. Anyone giving professional mortgage advice is required by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to have reached a certain level of expertise. It’s therefore necessary for any mortgage adviser to have studied for either a Certificate in Mortgage Advice from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) or a Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) from the ifs School of Finance (soon to be renamed The London Institute of Banking and Finance). Whether you find them through your bank or through another route, make sure any mortgage adviser whose services you use has at least one of these qualifications.
If you already pay for the services of a financial adviser, it’s worth investigating whether they can also provide mortgage advice. One route to becoming a financial adviser is to qualify as a specialist mortgage adviser and then complete further training. If your financial adviser has taken this route into their profession, not only will using them as your mortgage adviser save you money, but as they are already aware of your financial situation, it will also save you the time and effort of explaining this to a separate mortgage adviser.
Lastly, remember that any advice you receive is just that. Whatever your mortgage adviser, whoever they might be, advises you to do, there’s no obligation on your part until you’ve signed any official documentation. It’s important not to feel pressured or to simply go along with any advice you’re given. A mortgage is a major financial commitment, so don’t agree to anything until you feel completely happy with any arrangement your adviser provides.