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How to find the right mortgage deals

Learn more about how to find better rates for your next mortgage or remortgage

A photo of Daniel Sharpe-Szunko, the author

By Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

Published on: 18 January 2021

8 min read

How to find the right mortgage deals

Finding a good mortgage rate and being accepted for a mortgage can range from really simple to complicated, depending on your circumstances.

Note: When you find the right mortgage rate it can save you thousands of £’s every year. Mortgage rates have been extremely volatile recently and so it’s more important

In this guide to how to find the best mortgage deals, we’ll look at what goes in to a mortgage application and then explain what you might find. There’s a number of key elements to any mortgage application and those can then cause a range of different issues for different people.

We want to help you to understand more about how a mortgage application works and how that might apply for your circumstances.

Most people will complete a mortgage application only several times in their lifetime, so it’s totally understandable to have questions. Also, your circumstances and your requirements will  continue to evolve over time, so your mortgage applications will often be very different from one to the next.

How to compare mortgage rates

The process of searching for a new mortgage has changed dramatically over the past decade especially, mainly thanks to technology and digitisation of mortgages.

You can now get up to date and instant access to the best mortgage rates online simply by entering your details on to an aggregator, mortgage broker or lender website. These results are usually a good indication of what sort of mortgage rates might be available for you.

There are also several other options that are traditionally the more well-known ways to apply for a mortgage.

Top 5 ways to find a mortgage rate:

  1. Check online (mortgage websites)
  2. Speak to a mortgage broker or mortgage advisor
  3. Speak to your bank or building society
  4. Get advice from your existing lender (if applicable)
  5. Speak to your independent financial advisor (if applicable)

Each of these options will suit different people in different ways because of your needs and circumstances.

If you’re not sure how much you will be able to borrow to buy your home, you can also read our guide ‘How much can I borrow for a mortgage?’ for more information.

Find a mortgage rate online

One of the latest updates to getting a new mortgage or remortgage is that you can now do this online in some cases.

You must have at least a basic level of understanding about mortgages to be able to get an accurate or appropriate rate. This means that you should understand several of the main elements to a mortgage, such as:

  • Different mortgage rates (e.g. fixed rate mortgage, discount rate mortgage, variable rate mortgage etc.)
  • Mortgage charges
  • How to compare mortgage APR’s
  • Types of mortgages

You can often enter your details on to a website to get a rough idea of what your mortgage rates and monthly payments might be. This process can take a while and they might also ask for quite a lot of information that you might not know off the top of your head.

Information needed to find a mortgage rate online

  • Personal contact information
  • Date of birth (all applicants)
  • Employment status
  • Income (employed and self-employed)
  • Expenditure (e.g. bills, loans, credit cards, childcare, etc.)
  • Credit history
  • Property details
  • Existing mortgage details (if applicable)

Some website may be able to give you an indicative rate without needing all your information but this is usually for guide purposes only. The more information that you are able to enter and the more information you can provide, the more accurate your mortgage rate will be.

Pros for online mortgages

  • Instant access 24/7
  • Convenience (especially for people working long hours)
  • No broker fees (usually)
  • Online mortgage deals
  • More lenders and deals
  • Quick and simple process
  • No pushy sales

Cons for online mortgages

  • Not suitable for complex mortgages (e.g. self-employed, buy-to-let, credit issues etc.)
  • Confusing for people without mortgage knowledge
  • Not all lenders available
  • Higher chance for being declined
  • Doesn’t include all options
  • Can be time consuming (especially for those with no experience)

Speak to a mortgage broker

Traditionally, most people have either got face to face advice or telephone advice from a mortgage broker or mortgage intermediary.

There are literally thousands of mortgage brokers and mortgage advisors in the UK which can range from a small local broker to a large national mortgage broker. You might also have an existing and trusted mortgage broker that you’ve dealt with for years.

How to find a mortgage broker:

  • Search online (look for customer ratings and reviews)
  • Ask for recommendations (e.g. friends, family or colleagues)
  • Independent mortgage advisor websites

There are lots of different ways to find a mortgage broker and the most important thing is to make sure that the company is trusted. You can look online to find reviews for most mortgage brokers as long as they allow customer reviews.

Some of the most common and trusted customer review websites are Feefo, Trust Pilot, and Google Reviews.

Another option is to check on Social Media so you can search on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Linkedin. You might be able to find a mortgage broker that is either recommended or who has reviews on social media.

A mortgage broker will usually be able to give you a more accurate estimate of your mortgage payments based on their experience, knowledge and expertise. Most mortgage brokers will have a panel of lenders that will offer a range of rates and deals based on different circumstances.

Pros for mortgage brokers

  • Much more simple
  • All the work is done for you
  • More options available usually
  • Less chance of being refused or declined
  • Better for complex or specialist mortgage applications
  • Can save time and money

Cons for mortgage brokers

  • Mortgage broker fees (approx. £500 – £1,000)
  • Sometimes limited panel of lenders and deals
  • Can be pushy sales
  • Can be difficult to find a good mortgage broker
  • Sometimes confusing

Best mortgage rates from your bank or building society

Almost all banks and building society’s offer mortgages to its customers and other borrowers.

Historically you might have gone to your bank or building society to get a mortgage, and this was the most common way to go about applying for a mortgage. This changed in the 80’s and 90’s where wholesale mortgage lending was introduced and borrowers had more choice.

Nowadays, it’s less common to get a mortgage with your bank than it is to get a mortgage with another lender.

There are however, still benefits to asking your bank or building society about their mortgage rates and deals. Some banks offer very competitive mortgage rates which can also be more simple to apply for than through a new lender.

Pros for your bank or building society

  • Can be a simple process
  • Generally less evidence required (will already have credit history)
  • Fees can be lower (no broker fees)
  • Exclusive customer deals

Cons for your bank or building society

  • Higher chance of being refused or declined
  • Not usually good for complex or specialist borrowing
  • Limited options (only one lender)
  • Rates can be higher
  • Fees can be higher

Find the best mortgage rates with bad credit

Bad credit can be a problem when you’re looking for a new mortgage or a remortgage and so it’s important to get good advice.

There are many different types and levels of bad credit that range from minor missed credit payments to full bankruptcy or mortgage arrears. Each mortgage lender has its own criteria for customers with bad credit, and so some are more suitable than others. Certain lenders can be far better when it comes to adverse credit or low credit ratings/scores, so it is a good idea to shop around.

If you’ve got problems with bad credit, then you might need to speak to a specialist mortgage broker to get the right advice. Mortgage rates for people with bad credit can vary even more than rates for standard mortgage customers. If you are worried your credit history will affect your mortgage, it can be helpful to try and improve your credit score before applying.

5 Steps to finding the best mortgage rates with bad credit:

  1. Register with a credit score service (e.g. Experian, Equifax, Clear Score etc.)
  2. Obtain an up to date credit report
  3. Make sure that the details are accurate
  4. Speak to any credit providers where there are questions about the profile
  5. Get advice from a bad credit mortgage specialist

Best mortgage rates for self-employed

If you’re self-employed then the process of applying for a mortgage can be difficult and will be different to employed people. This can be the case whether you are a sole trader, company director or owner of a limited company.

Mortgage rates for self-employed can be the same as people who are employed and paid by standard PAYE (Pay As You Earn). Just because you’re self-employed, that doesn’t mean that you should pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage.

There are some simple steps to follow to make sure that you get the best mortgage rates for self-employed.

Top 5 tips for getting the best self-employed mortgage deals:

  1. Make sure that your accounts are up to date
  2. Have at least two years accounts (ideally three years)
  3. Speak to your accountant about your salary and dividend structure
  4. Get your mortgage at the right time when your business accounts look good
  5. Speak to a self-employed mortgage specialist or expert

You can save a significant amount of time, money and potential problems by speaking to a self-employed mortgage specialist. This way you should be able to secure a mortgage that has a good rate and save hassle with applying to the wrong lenders based on your situation.

Potential problems and things to avoid

Getting a good mortgage rate can sometimes seem like a bit of a minefield and especially for people with complicated circumstances or those who don’t have much experience.

There are literally thousands of different mortgage deals from over 100 lenders in the UK, so finding the right deal can be like finding a needle in a haystack. This can seem even more confusing in times of economic uncertainty and where there are lots of stories in the press about finances.

Note: it’s important to make sure that you do your research and background checks on any company or person that you’re dealing with.

There are a few things to look out for when you are thinking about applying for a new mortgage or a remortgage that can make a big difference. Getting a mortgage can be extremely frustrating if you don’t know what you’re doing or if you get bad advice.

Top 5 things to avoid and look out for when applying for a new mortgage:

  1. Customer reviews: if you’re looking for a mortgage advisor or broker then make sure that you check out their customer reviews and feedback. This should be from a trusted independent review service that can’t be doctored.
  2. Compare deals: you can now access mortgage deals online and compare rates with lenders on various independent financial websites. You should check to make sure that any mortgage rates that you’re being offered are competitive and reasonable.
  3. Fees and charges: it’s OK to pay a fee to get a mortgage and it’s common for a good mortgage advisor or broker to charge a fee. You should check to make sure that the fees are reasonable and that you’re not being over charged. Also, be careful with adding any fees to your mortgage because you’ll pay interest on those fees which can make them much higher.
  4. Bank and Building Society deals: if you’re offered a mortgage deal with your bank or building society then you should check to make sure that it’s competitive. It’s easy to think that your bank might offer you a better deal, which isn’t always the case.
  5. Check your documents carefully: make sure that you read any documents carefully to ensure that they match what has been discussed or offered. You should receive a Key Facts document, Suitability Report and Terms of Business document.

Hopefully this will help you to find the best mortgage rates and save you hassle when you apply for your mortgage. As you can see, there are lots of different things to think about so it’s important to get good advice and do your research.

Resources

Financial Conduct Authority – Mortgage lending statistics – December 2022

Statista – Mortgages in the the United Kingdom (UK)

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