Toni Smith is sales and operations director at First Complete
Are mortgage and protection advisers Britain’s best kept secret?
The average person on the street is only vaguely aware that mortgage advisers exist and are completely unaware that the breadth of mortgages available considerably exceeds anything available on the High Street.
This lack of knowledge can leave customers disadvantaged as a result.
This was highlighted to me recently when the brother of a friend of mine reported that he had done what most people do and walked into a local High Street branch to discuss getting a mortgage.
The bank adviser said verbally that he “should be alright” and discussed a particular rate with him, however when he completed the mortgage application he got knocked back because of a bankruptcy that he had had 14 years ago.
He was given no more advice and left believing that the bankruptcy meant that he would never be able to have a mortgage and own his own home and that he’d have to live in rented accommodation for the rest of his life.
As soon as I heard his story I of course put him in touch with a broker and he got a mortgage almost straight away with an intermediary lender.
For me, this highlights more than ever why everybody involved in intermediary lending needs to help to get the message across to consumers that they need to be talking to a mortgage adviser.
There is a massive difference between the number and type of mortgages available from a High Street branch and what is available from a broker. Ask the average person if they’ve heard of Aldemore, Accord or any of the other intermediary only lenders, for example, and they will probably have no idea what you’re talking about.
It is not only about product choice however it’s also about specialist knowledge which covers not only getting the person a mortgage to buy a house but also providing them with the vital protection that will help them to keep that house should something unfortunate happen to them.
Things are heading in the right direction with mortgage brokers widely expected to gain 60% market share in terms of the number of mortgages arranged next year, but we need to do so much more to for the man and woman in the street to come close to understanding the different experience they will get by going to a specialist mortgage adviser compared to walking into a High Street branch.
Every broker can play a part in this by talking to their local papers, taking an active part in social media and otherwise broadcasting what they offer and the very valuable role they play, but it is not just down to brokers, it is up to all of us to do people a favour and make it more widely known that the best place to go for mortgage and protection advice is to a broker.