A good starting point once you have spoken to family and friends and had a look at some comparison sites is to have a word with your bank. They are able to look at your financial history and know your income and outgoings already and so it might be a speedier process than starting from scratch with someone you have never met before. It’s usually the case that your own Bank won’t charge you for any mortgage advice that they give you.
Of course your own Bank is only able to offer you its own products and so it won’t have access to other lenders’ loans. But remember it’s not always about getting the ‘cheapest’ rate. It’s about finding a package that is right for you, and that is likely to include a look at fees and flexibility as well as speed of arrangement as well as the interest rate that you pay.
If you want to look at all of the products available to you then you will need to talk to a Mortgage Broker. Some Brokers are tied to a specific lender, some use a fixed ‘panel’ of lenders while others are able to check the whole mortgage market for the best loan for you, although you do have to be aware that even Brokers that offer a ‘whole of market’ service won’t always have access to every deal available from every lender. That is because some lenders have some products that are only available if you approach them directly. On the other hand some of the larger Brokers could have exclusive deals offered by certain lenders that are not available to other Brokers of if you approach the lender directly.
It’s worth noting that wherever you go for your loan the whole process is very ‘paper ‘driven’ these days, not because the individual lenders want it to be that way, but more because that is the way the regulations around mortgages have evolved. So it really is important to make sure that you respond to requests for information promptly and accurately, otherwise the process could be delayed. There are often time pressures involved in the house-buying process and you do need to keep on top of any requests from your lender, since a delay in your response could lead to a delay in a lender making a decision.