Client retention promised by property search firm

For borrowers willing to pay a fee to 3D of £199, brokers can refer their client to the firm and in return 3D will ensure that the client does not defect to another mortgage adviser, for example a broker attached to an estate agency.

The advantages for the client include reduced time spent identifying suitable properties, registering with a large number of estate agents and negotiating on the price of the property they wish to buy.

Mark Cunningham, business development manager at 3D Property Search, said: "During these competitive times, it is important for mortgage advisers to retain prospective clients, and not to lose them through the house buying process.

“While sellers are represented by estate agents, home buyers are at a disadvantage, with no comparable support. We fill that gap, providing professional support through the costly, stressful and often unfamiliar process of sourcing and buying a home.

"3D then returns clients to the adviser so the mortgage can be written and the adviser has not wasted their time."

Matthew Fleming-Duffy, director at broker Abacus Financial, said: “Any sort of innovative practice is great for the market at this time but I would question how they could control the customer choosing another broker.

“Both Connells and Countrywide operate offer checking as standard and insist home buyers sit down with an in-house adviser to check affordability. I just don’t know how 3D would manage to keep that customer away from that adviser.”

Rob Killeen, business manager at London-based broker Capital Fortune, said: “This service is limiting the client choice about who they use for their financial services at the end of the day - that cannot be fair for the client. Capital Fortune wouldn’t support this; the client should have unfettered choice and for brokers to have a hand in fettering that choice wouldn’t be something we’d support.”