This is a guest post by Sue Ralston, Ascot Mortgages.
Buying a house is an exciting time. Especially if you are a first time buyer, you tend to listen to the advice of estate agents and trust that they are acting in your best interests. Even as a more experienced property buyer, it is tempting to use the services of an estate agent for your mortgage advice because of the convenience.
It is not unheard of for the estate agent to pressure clients into using their in-house mortgage advisor. Some clients have reported that they have been told that they need to speak to the agent’s mortgage advisor, with the explanation that this is a requirement to make sure that they are able to afford the mortgage. Once this has been arranged, the client finds that they are pressured into continuing to use the agent’s mortgage advisor. Another tactic that has been heard of is that agents tell clients that, even if finance has been arranged in principal, they cannot recommend the buyer’s offer is accepted. This tactic, often based on exploiting a potential purchaser’s desire to buy a certain property, is sadly not uncommon. Agents often tell buyers that they can complete the sale much quicker if they use the agent’s mortgage advisor.
Buyers often refuse to use the agent’s mortgage advisor, and in this instance they are sometimes told that they property will remain on the market until the mortgage valuation has been carried out. It has also been the case where negotiated discounts on a property have been discouraged if the potential buyer does not use the agent’s mortgage advisor. Other stories include buyers being refused access to any property that the agent is selling unless they agree to use their mortgage advisor. It is not just the buyers who are pressurised, and some agents place a clause in the vendor’s contracts saying that all potential purchasers had to be evaluated by the agent’s mortgage advisor.
No estate agent can legally force their clients to use their mortgage advisor, but this does not mean that in reality it doesn’t happen. It is best to remember that, as a potential purchaser, agents do want your business and you should not feel forced into choosing an option that might prove costly. Your best option is to use a broker who works across the whole of the market, and is therefore impartial, rather than one connected to the agent who might see you as a captive customer. Brokers are a popular choice, with up to 59 per cent of all new mortgages and 54 per cent of remortgages being handled by them. They are a popular choice with first time buyers, the group most likely to be targeted by the agent’s tricky tactics, and 66 per cent of all first time buyers use a mortgage broker.
It is not a surprise that brokers are so popular. Ascot Mortgages are market leaders and so are able to find you the best deal. As whole of market brokers, we are not restricted to only certain products or offers: we have access to all the products that are available in the UK, meaning that there is a wide choice of options that we can use to meet your needs. As we work with lenders every day, we are able to use our expertise to find you the best option, and as whole of market brokers we are aware of any new offers as they appear. Unlike mortgage advisors, who are attached to the estate agent, Ascot are impartial. After your free no-obligation initial consultation, you can expect to know that Ascot are looking across all suitable lenders to find one that matches your needs: this saves unsuccessful mortgage applications that can impact on your credit history. Using a whole of market broker like Ascot Mortgages means that you gain almost a bespoke service, because you get the best option for the best price, rather than the one that the estate agent wants you to have. Ascot Mortgages are impartial and so you can be sure that there’s no vested interest in whatever they recommend you. The term that we use, ‘whole of market,’ is regulated and so you can guarantee that we have no incentive to recommend one product over another: our only mandate is that it meets the specifications that you provide us with.
Once you have chosen the best option for you, from the results that we have found, then you would receive a decision in principle on if you were to be accepted for the mortgage. Assuming that you were accepted, then you would choose a house and we would help you arrange your finances. We would then send the decision in principle over to the agents, meaning that you aren’t vulnerable to any last-minute attempts to sell you their own mortgage advisor, and then we will inform you when the valuation is complete and when the mortgage offer is formal. We can also make sure that the process is completed quickly by chasing your solicitor if needed. The whole experience with Ascot Mortgages is transparent, cost-effective and efficient.