Use our guides to find the best mortgage deal to buy your dream home. Expertly and independently written, our mortgage account guides can help you buy more for your money.
Our Top Five Online Mortgage Brokers Reviewed
- Habito – 90 lenders with more than 2000 deals. Finding a mortgage deal is free. They make their money with their complete home buying service which starts from £2,000. They also offer what they describe as the UK’s only fixed for life mortgage. They were founded in 2016 with the bold aim of putting an end to mortgage hell. As well as helping you to find a mortgage deal, they also simplify the process of buying a home by taking care of all the paperwork requirements
- Better.co.uk – 90 lenders and have access to more than 12,000 deals. Searching for a mortgage is free. They make their money through commission paid by lenders. Founded in 2015, they set out to provide a fast and affordable way to secure a mortgage. They offer a free service to mortgage customers, including freelancers and those who have poor credit histories.
- Dynamo – 75 lenders as well as a number of specialist lenders. Broker fees vary but will be no more than £999. Based in Surrey they have been helping people to arrange mortgages since 2006. They have developed relationships with leading high street lenders and also work with specialist mortgage providers.
- Mojo Mortgages – 90 lenders and boast more than 20,000 deals. Advice is free. They receive commission from lenders when you decide to go ahead. Mortgage Mojo is an award winning online mortgage broker. It offers advice and access to deals from 90 leading mortgage providers.
- Fintuity researches the marketplace and negotiates on your behalf for a better deal. Mortgage advice and support is free. They earn their money by charging commission to lenders. A digital independent financial adviser offering advice including an online health check, tax planning and mortgages.
What is a mortgage?
A mortgage is a loan secured against a property. They were introduced in the 19th century to make it possible for people to work towards owning their own house. At the time, the vast majority of people rented which made them vulnerable to unscrupulous landlords. Mortgages allowed them to borrow most of the capital for the property and pay it off over a number of years.
Today the global mortgage market is worth almost $9 trillion. You can take out a mortgage through a bank or building society on almost any type of property, whether you’re buying a new home, plan to rent or are purchasing a commercial property.
How does a mortgage work?
When you take out a mortgage, the bank will effectively be buying the property. You will then live in the property and pay it back.
The provider will look at your personal details and assess your application based on your
income, credit history and other personal circumstances. They will then decide if they will offer you a mortgage and, if so, what terms.
You will usually pay a deposit based on the sale price and pay the rest back. The bank makes money by charging interest. The size of the deposit on offer varies from one organisation to another and your personal circumstances. Generally speaking, the better your credit history, the more favourable the terms you’ll be offered.
Mortgages come in many different forms. For example, you may choose between fixed rate plans or variable rates. Fixed rates offer you a set interest rate which you’ll pay throughout the course of the term. Variable rates move with the market. For example, if wider interest rates fall, so will yours. You may also choose an interest only mortgage which means you only cover the interest rate for the first five or ten years. This can be useful in reducing your monthly payments although it will lengthen the time you have to pay it back. This in turn will mean paying more in the long run.
Many mortgage providers will have mortgage calculators on their website. These provide an idea of how much money you might be able to borrow. You input your personal details, how much you need to borrow, the term length and deposit size and it will give you an idea of payment options.
These are useful if you’re buying your first home, have an existing mortgage or want to remortgage your property. It gives you an idea of how much you can afford, how much you might be paying each month and if your application is likely to be successful.
However, this will not necessarily be the rate you pay. Each mortgage provider sets a rate depending on your personal circumstances. The calculator merely offers a guide to their average rates.
A mortgage advisor can also be called a mortgage broker. He or she will offer expert knowledge of the mortgage market and can help you find the right policy for you. Some will charge you a fee while others may offer their service free of charge but charge the mortgage provider commission.
The advantage of using a mortgage adviser is that they save you leg work and may have better access. Some providers, for example, may work with certain brokers and offer better deals through them.
The disadvantage is that you may have to pay a fee and there is no guarantee that the broker can get you a better deal. If you’re prepared to go direct or shop around, you may be able to find something better.
There is also no guarantee that a mortgage adviser has your best interests in mind. You are in it for the long haul whereas they simply want to get you into a mortgage so they can earn their commission.
Mortgage agreement in principle
A mortgage agreement in principle is an initial approval for a mortgage. It might also be called a mortgage promise or a mortgage in principle. This is a certificate from a mortgage provider saying that they would, in principle, be willing to offer you a mortgage.
This is useful when you are house hunting. Some estate agents want an agreement in principle before you make an offer. They need to know you can realistically afford the house. It can also help you when making your choice because it gives you an idea about how much you can afford. If you’ve had credit problems in the past, it might also give you the reassurance of knowing you are likely to be approved.
This is not a full mortgage application, but you will have to provide basic details such as name, income, three years of addresses and so on. The mortgage provider will run a credit check to see if they will, in principle, be willing to offer a mortgage. The AIP will typically run for 90 days. If it expires before you need it, you can reapply for another one.
It is important to remember that this is not a guaranteed mortgage offer. For that you’ll still have to go through the full mortgage process and it is possible that they may decide not to offer you a mortgage after all or change the terms.
However, this does give you a good indication that, in all likelihood, you will be able to get a mortgage. During this new application you may also change the price and deposit level, but this may alter your chances of being accepted. For example, if you have already been accepted in principle for a house costing £200,000 with a 20% deposit, the provide may take a very different view if you’re looking for a 10% deposit and a price of £250,000.
Benefits of a mortgage
- Allowing you to buy: A mortgage is vital for most of us who want to get onto the property ladder, except for the very few who can buy a property outright.
- Spreads costs: Even if you are lucky enough to have the money to buy outright, a mortgage might be a good idea to spread the costs, leaving you with plenty of cash to use as you wish.
- Building for your future: Although you’re paying a monthly mortgage fee there’s a good chance this might be less than the average rental price. In addition, you have the comfort of knowing every pound you spend is going towards the day when you will own your house outright, rather than paying off someone else’s mortgage for them.
- Tailored borrowing: You can choose from different types of borrowing, such as fixed or variable rates. A fixed rate sets an interest rate at a certain level. This lets you know how much you’ll be paying right the way through. A variable rate mortgage might move with the wider interest rates. If these fall, you might pay less, but if they rise you could pay more.
- Investment: A mortgage can also provide a long-term investment. The property market tends to rise over time, so once you’re on the property ladder, you are building up that capital which you might be able to put to use elsewhere. The contrasting side of that is that even if your property is going up in value so is everyone else’s. At the end of the day no matter how much a property rises in value it is still only worth one house.
Downsides of mortgage
- Debt: The biggest downside is debt. Many people worry about getting into any kind of debt. Over time you will be paying significantly more than the house was worth if you could have paid cash.
- Foreclosure: The mortgage is secured on your home. If you suffer a financial set back, such as losing a job and get behind on your repayments, the bank may decide to take the house as security.
- Additional fees: There are a number of additional fees which you might have to pay including valuation and mortgage fees. These can add up to a fair amount if you’re not careful.
Major costs of a mortgage
Mortgages come with a number of costs. These include:
- The deposit: You will have to find a large chunk of the property price outright.
- Annual interest rates: The interest you pay on the mortgage.
- Arrangement fees: Your mortgage provider will charge a fee for setting up the mortgage.
- Booking fee: Even applying for a mortgage might incur a price. This might not be refundable even if your deal falls through.
- Valuation fee: The mortgage provider will value your property to make sure it’s worth the amount you intend to borrow. They will pass the costs onto you. These could be anything between £150 and £1,500.
- Transfer fees: Some mortgage providers will charge a fee for transferring the money to your solicitor. This is often nonrefundable even if the deal falls through.
- Mortgage account fee: You might have to pay this to cover the administration costs of setting up a mortgage.
- Late payment fees: If you miss a payment, they might slap you with a penalty.
- Mortgage adviser fee: If you use a mortgage adviser you may have to pay a broker fee.
- Higher lending charge: Not everyone has to pay this. Lenders will likely charge it if you’re using a small deposit. This covers the lender’s costs in taking out insurance in case you can’t pay back the loan.
- Own buildings insurance fee: Some mortgage providers will offer their own buildings insurance policies. If you decide not to take this out, they may charge a fee.
- Exit fee: You pay this to your mortgage provider when you finish paying off the mortgage. If you have already paid the mortgage account fee, it’s unlikely you’ll be asked to pay this.
- Early repayment fees: Mortgage providers don’t want you to repay your mortgage early. Think of all the interest payments they’d miss out on. For this reason, some charge an early repayment fee if you pay off a mortgage early.
What happens when you pay off your mortgage?
When you pay off a mortgage you may be charged an exit fee. From then on you own your property outright. You may choose to sell, remortgage or buy another property.
How long does it take to get a mortgage?
There is no hard and fast time limit. In most cases you can expect a decision within two to four weeks.
How much mortgage can you get?
This depends on a number of factors including the provider, your income, credit history and how much of a deposit you can raise.
How much can you borrow on a mortgage?
This depends on the provider. Some will expect more deposit than others. Thanks to a new policy of government backed mortgages, some providers now let you borrow 95% of the total.
How much deposit do you need for a mortgage?
This varies. Before the pandemic there were some providers willing to provide 100% mortgages with no deposit. Now the minimum deposit you need is 5%. However, most will be looking for around 10% minimum.
How do you apply for a mortgage?
You can apply in any way you like. Most providers will now let you apply online as well as in person. You’ll have to provide your name, details of your last three years of addresses, and income.
Can you get a mortgage to buy land and build a house?
Yes, these are called specialist self-build mortgages.
What is a mortgage broker?
A mortgage broker, or adviser, has in-depth knowledge about the mortgage market. They can help you search the market to find the best deal for them. You may have to pay them a fee or they may receive a commission from the lender.
Can you get a mortgage with a CCJ?
You can get a mortgage with a satisfied CCJ. However, it may impact the rate you receive. Even if you still have an unsatisfied CCJ on your record it may still be possible to get a mortgage. Some lenders specialise in offering specialist mortgage products to people with bad credit.
Online Mortgage Brokers
Find the cheapest interest rates on the best mortgages with an online mortgage broker. Compare all types of mortgages and save money by getting the best rates for your mortgage.
What is an online mortgage broker?
An online mortgage broker can save you thousands by searching the market for the best mortgage deal for your specific circumstances.
Online mortgage brokers are on the rise promising faster, simpler and less stressful services, but are they as good as the human approach.
Once upon a time, using a mortgage broker was a long and complicated business. You’d have to sit down with an adviser, go through meeting after meeting and wade through reams of paperwork. It was long, complicated and frustrating. Small wonder they say moving house is one of the most stressful experiences you can have.
Customers are crying out for something easier and riding to the rescue comes the internet and a new breed of online mortgage broker. Their promise is simple – to make everything quicker, easier and more affordable.
However, there are pros and cons to using this service. Yes, it’s quick, yes it cuts down on paperwork and yes it is often less expensive. However, many will still enjoy the personalised and more detailed service they can expect from a traditional broker.
How do online mortgages work?
Online brokers have grown rapidly over the past few years, as people become increasingly comfortable using the web for all sorts of financial services. However, they have some way to go. According to a survey from Which, online brokers still accounted for a minority. Two of the leading online providers Habito and Trussle, attracted 3% of customers each while 2% used Mortgage Gym.
Traditional brokers have a clear advantage. This is, after all, one of the most important financial decisions most of us will ever make. It pays to get things right and most people are prepared to invest a little more time and effort into the decision.
However, the balance is changing. Technology is improving, people are becoming more comfortable with the concept and online providers are adding more features which enable them to offer much better and more personal advice.
The basic principle is the same as mortgage brokers. They serve as middlemen researching the market and finding deals which are suitable for you. They save time and argue that they can also save money by negotiating a better price with the provider.
How much do online mortgage providers cost?
Advice is often provided free of charge although some charge a small fee. Those which are free will generally make their money by charging a commission to lenders once you have decided to go ahead with a mortgage. Even those who do charge a fee will normally point out that they are much less expensive than their human counterparts.
This is the first big advantage they offer: affordability. They can offer services cheaper because they lack the overheads of staff, premises and other infrastructure which can drive up the costs. By automating many processes, such as searching for mortgages, they also drive down time and costs, with some claiming to get you a mortgage within 15 minutes.
The downside of online mortgage brokers
However, one possible downside is that they might not be as thorough. One of the reasons more people prefer the old-fashioned approach is that it is more thorough. A mortgage adviser will sit down with you in person and painstakingly go through your incomings and outgoings to advise you on what mortgage you can reasonably afford. This ensures you find the best deal for your situation.
A robo adviser is quicker, but it might not be able to offer the detailed, nuanced, advice of a human going through your financials with you in person. It will look at your incomings and outgoings, but the chances are its advice is not going to be as closely tailored.
To guard against the risk of over borrowing, some online mortgage brokers have partnered with credit ratings agencies. Mortgage Gym, for example, works with Experian and can run soft credit checks to assess eligibility.
Brokers are also beginning to take advantage of open banking rules which allow you to require your bank to share information with other providers. This will make it easier for them to get information about your financial situation and provide better and more tailored advice.
Many will also have human brokers on hand to offer advice. For example, you can enter your details and have the system present you with several possible options. However, a human mortgage adviser can contact you directly to offer more personalised advice.
Providing an alternative to traditional mortgage advisors
The next major appeal is that they can be more flexible. Many of these new providers are fintech start-ups and make much of their desire to make life easier for customers.
For example, Habito makes a great deal about the personal journey of its founder Dan Hegarty who had a nightmarish experience trying to buy his first home. That, he said, prompted him to develop a service, using the internet which would make life easier, more affordable and less stressful.
This, as with many other services, includes offering options for people who might otherwise struggle to secure a mortgage such as freelancers or those with credit histories. For them it’s all about offering people who had been neglected by the insurance industry an alternative approach and making mortgages less intimidating and complicated.
This faster, more affordable and more flexible service may not appeal to everyone. Many will prefer the advantages and personalisation which come with a traditional mortgage broker. The online approach lessens the opportunity for human judgement and support which can mean advice is less tailored to you.
This will be particularly keenly felt in the early stages where a mortgage provider can offer more comprehensive advice on options you need to put yourself in a position to qualify for a mortgage.
Some online providers are trying to plug this gap with options such as a mortgage calculator. By inputting your details, this can give you a selection of products which it thinks you will be suitable for. However, this list will be generic. The chances are a human adviser who has been able to work closely with you will be able to offer something more personalised.
Is an online mortgage broker for me?
There are pros and cons to using an online mortgage broker. Some will relish the speed and simplicity these bring to the process. It’s cheaper and less intimidating than sitting down with a mortgage adviser. Many people will dislike the thought of a human going through their personal finances directly in front of them.
For those whose financial situation is straightforward, robo mortgage advisers may prove to be the fastest and simplest option. They can give you swift access to a selection of providers with a process which is much faster and easier than the alternative.
For people whose situation is more complicated or are willing to invest the time and effort required to source the perfect mortgage option, however, traditional mortgage advisers will still be preferable.
Others, though, might use a blend of the two. An online mortgage broker is a great way to dip your toe in the water. Most are free unless you actually take out a mortgage and can provide you with a lot of information on which to start your journey.
They can give you an idea of the mortgages you might be suitable for, while a personal adviser, could take this advice and build on it, helping you to secure a better and more affordable deal.
The decision, as with everything else, will come down to you and what you’re looking to get from this whole experience. One thing’s for sure. As technology improves and the marketplace becomes more competitive, online mortgage brokers offer an increasingly appealing prospect.
First Time Mortgage
This will be the first mortgage you ever take out for your first home. There are normally lots of incentives for people to get on the property ladder from the government and lenders.
Reduce your monthly mortgage repayments or release equity from your home by remortgaging and switching to a cheaper mortgage provider. Use our remortgage comparison tool to find the best and cheapest remortgage deal for you.
Pay off your mortgage month-by-month with a combined payment consisting of interest and capital. By the end of the mortgage, you will own your home.
Cheaper than repayment mortgages because you only pay off the interest. However, you do not pay off any of the mortgage so at the end of the term you will still owe the lender money and have to remortgage.
With a fixed-rate mortgage you can effectively budget as you know exactly how much your mortgage payments are going to be regardless of what happens to interest rates.
Standard Variable Rate (SVR) Mortgage
An SVR mortgage is just a mortgage that tracks the lenders interest rate. The lender can set the interest rate to be whatever they want and it can move up and down.
Discounted Rate Mortgage
Discount rate mortgages offer an initial interest rate discount for a set period of time. After than initial discount the interest rate will move up. This could either be a little bit or a lot, depending on the initial discount.
Tracker Rate Mortgage
Tracker rate mortgages mean that your mortgage payment will track an underlying interest rate setby your lender. The amount you pay can go up and down each month.
Capped Rate Mortgage
Capped rate mortgages mean that your interest rate will never go above a certain amount. They are variable mortgages, so the rate can go down and up to the capped rate.
This is where your lending will offer an incentive for borrowing money through them. They will offer cashback as a cash lump sum for your to spend on your new house.
Flexible mortgages allow you to pay more or less than your regular payments. So, if you come into some money you can clear some of the balance without being penalised.
Offset mortgages allow you to combine your savings and current accounts with your mortgage so you can reduce the amount of interest you pay overall.
With a buy to let mortgage you borrow money purely for the purpose of renting the property out straight away as a way to generate income on the money you borrow.
Use our equity release calculator to find out how much tax-free cash you could release from your home.
What is an equity release mortgage?
An equity release is a mortgage where a lender will give you cash in return for a share in the proceeds of the sale of your house in the future. However, unlike with a traditional mortgage, which you repay gradually, an equity release mortgage is not settled until after your home is sold.
What are the benefits of an equity release?
- You can release tax-free cash from your home
- You can stay in your home instead of downsizing
- You do not have to make monthly repayments
- You won’t own more than the value of your home
What is the downside of an equity release?
- You may not be able to end it early or if you can it may cost a lot in fees
- You are limited in the amount you can borrow against your home
- Having additional cash and savings may reduce your benefits entitlement
- You will compound interest until the equity release is repaid
How much does an equity release cost?
Fees vary from provider to provider, your individual circumstances, and the current underlying interest rates. To find out how much an equity release may cost, use our equity release calculator.