Published by Paul Waterfall on December 4, 2021

Mortgage Broker Bristol

What is a mortgage advisor?

A mortgage advisor (or mortgage broker – see FAQs for the difference) is someone who will find the right mortgage for your needs and circumstances. Mortgage advisors first get to know your personal and financial circumstances, then use their specialist knowledge of the mortgage market to recommend the right product for you. After making their recommendation, a mortgage advisor will usually complete the application forms for the mortgage on your behalf. They’ll also handle any queries a lender may have.

All mortgage advisoers in the UK have a professional qualification (usually CeMAP, but sometimes CII) and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), who offer a useful summary as to what mortgage advisoers do.

When you wish to own a home or move to a new one, a mortgage advisor acts as a vital link in the chain to ensure this happens successfully. Mortgage advisoers are especially useful for first-time buyers and buy-to-let investors, where their experience and ability to search the whole mortgage market is invaluable. If you’re looking to remortgage, or for the best value mortgage as a home buyer moving house, then they can save you money.

Whether it’s an online mortgage advisoer, a mortgage advisoer in Bristol, or a mortgage advisoer anywhere else in the UK – it’s worth enlisting their services to help you make sound decisions when it comes to buying or investing in a property.

What can a mortgage advisor do?

Mortgage advisors thoroughly research the mortgage market to find you the best value mortgage. Mortgage advisors can even help you achieve the best rate with your existing lender when your deal ends. It’s worth bearing in mind that:

  1. Some brokers will offer whole-of-market mortgage advice
  2. Some brokers will only offer advice from a select panel of lenders or range of mortgages
  3. Some advisors work for a lender and can only offer deals from them.

The difference between using a mortgage advisor and doing the work yourself is like hiring a plumber to fix a plumbing issue and choosing to fix the problem yourself. If you choose to do the job yourself, and you fix the problem, you’ll feel a sense of achievement. However, you’ll have taken much longer than a professional plumber would’ve taken to complete the job. And the result will inevitably lack that ‘professional’ finish you get with hiring a specialist. On the other hand, hiring a plumber will mean the job gets completed faster, to a professional standard, and takes away the risk of making any disastrous mistakes.

You’re probably thinking, and understandably so, that plumbers can be expensive. Does the same logic apply to mortgage advisors? Typically, a mortgage broker will:

  • Cost you between £0 and £1,000 – see our fees here, we’re one of the cheapest mortgage advisors in the UK
  • Get you a better mortgage rate than if you do the research yourself
  • Mortgage brokers have professional tools to search thousands of products

Mortgage brokers have access to exclusive rates Save you money – has an article on mortgage broker fees. They explain that if a mortgage broker can find a rate that saves just 0.1% on an average £150,000 mortgage over a typical 25-year term, this will save you £2,209

Help you get a bigger mortgage – detailed knowledge can mean that mortgage brokers know who will lend you the most based on your finances. Of course, they’ll make sure the mortgage is still affordable for you

Save you time, as they understand whether you’ll be eligible for a particular mortgage thanks to their detailed knowledge of lending criteria. They’ll also do the paperwork for you

Talk to you about protection – a mortgage advisor can offer you protection advice and recommend products that help you stay in your home if the worst were to happen

What a mortgage advisor can’t do?

  • There are many aspects to buying a house that a mortgage advisor can’t help you with. Typical situations include:
  • Help you get a mortgage that isn’t affordable
  • Speed up the conveyancing process
  • Help you access a mortgage that’s for ‘direct customers only
  • Negotiate a lower purchase price for you
  • ‘Hiding’ some of the facts from lenders to help you borrow more money, or get a better rate
  • Provide advice outside the area that they are regulated for – such as pension advice or investment advice. However, many mortgage advisors will have others within their firm or network who can offer these services, and can refer you to these contacts
  • Help you get a mortgage if your finances are almost ready to put you in a position of eligibility, but not quite there yet.

Why work with a Bristol-based mortgage broker?

If you’re buying a home in Bristol or looking to move to your next home in Bristol, local knowledge and advice can really help smooth the process of moving. Good relationships make buying a property as smooth and stress-free as possible.

If you’re a first-time buyer or a homebuyer moving house, then it’s a good idea to use Bristol-based mortgage advisors, conveyancers, and estate agents. Communication can be clearer between people who already have a working relationship, which results in a smoother buying process.

Of course, sorting out your mortgages online is also possible, and it is a service we and many others offer. Remote ethical mortgage advice is something that we specialise in, and not having to visit a mortgage broker’s Bristol office can save you time. Get in touch if you need to speak a Bristol-based mortgage advisor.

The importance of working with a mortgage broker

Choosing to work with a specialist mortgage advisor is almost essential if you’re looking for a residential mortgage but you aren’t in a full-time employed role. Self-employed mortgages, mortgages for contractors, or mortgages for those with more than one job are available, but often not offered by the main high-street lenders. Buy-to-let mortgages also have particular requirements that usually need specialist knowledge to understand.

If you’re looking to assess the maximum you can borrow, or looking for the best value mortgage, then a mortgage broker will be invaluable. They can help you get on the property ladder, or to buy an investment property.

If your credit score is less than excellent, then mortgage brokers have access to deals that you’ll struggle to find yourself. By looking at your credit history, and comparing that to a lender’s criteria, they can stop you being declined for a mortgage. Each unsuccessful mortgage application can dent your credit score, so using a broker helps you play it safe.

Why it is important to get the right deal on your mortgage

Buying a house, whether as a residential property or an investment property, is almost certainly the most expensive thing you will buy. With average house prices approaching £300,000, this is likely to be your single biggest cost. It will also be one of the biggest environmental impacts you’ll make during your lifetime. On average in the UK, 14% of a person’s carbon footprint comes from heating and 13% from making and using other household resources.

If you’re looking for the maximum you can borrow, the cheapest mortgage deal, or the most ethical mortgage, it can be hard to sort the wheat from the chaff. Let’s explore these in more detail

Cheapest mortgage deal

In July 2021, mortgage deals were available from less than 1% to greater than 5%, with fees ranging from -£1000 (cashback) to £4,000+. The rates and fees depend on the proportion of the property’s value you want to borrow (also known as ‘Loan to Value’ or ‘LTV’ for short), your credit history, and the lender you choose.

Looking at a five-year, fixed-rate mortgage (currently the most popular option) of £200,000 at 80% LTV, with a 25-year term – the cheapest at present would cost you just over £50,000 over the first 5 years. Looking just at the main high-street lenders, who are all seen as ‘competitive’, some would cost you an additional £3,500 over that term. There’s only a 0.5% difference in rates between these products.

The biggest mortgage

It’s worth stating at the beginning of your property journey that the biggest mortgage might not be suitable for you. That’s where a mortgage advisor can look at your financial circumstances and help you decide what makes sense. Don’t get disheartened if you’re not able to achieve your desired mortgage right away, as we frequently find that your first step on the property ladder is not the last one.

Mortgage lenders assess income differently. Let’s take as an example someone on £23,000/ annum with £500/month overtime, a £150/month car loan and £2,000 on credit cards looking to buy a flat with a £140/month service charge. Over a 25-year term, one high street lender would only lend £10,000, whereas another would lend £110,000. A mortgage broker uses their experience and professional tools to quickly find the biggest mortgage you’re eligible for.

Most ethical mortgage

Irrespective of the type of house you buy, borrowing money (and therefore using the services of a lender) has an environmental and ethical impact. As far back as 2010, The Guardian estimated that a £100,000 mortgage had an annual carbon footprint of 800kg of CO2. Sifting through the policies of various lenders to understand what they do with the profit they make from you, and how they run their operation, is something whole careers (and organisations) are built on.

There are big differences between lenders in terms of how ethically they run their mortgage business, and their wider organisations. As with pensions, where big money is involved, there is a big impact – whether for good or bad. Ethical ConsumerGood with Money and others are starting to rank UK lenders.

We are currently one of the few mortgage brokers who advise on mortgage lender ethics. Why? Our core aim is to help you get a mortgage that doesn’t cost the earth – either financially or environmentally.

Things to keep in mind when selecting a mortgage broker

Entering any commercial relationship should be done carefully – whether it’s as simple as where you buy your food, or as complex as where you buy your house. In all these relationships, the three factors of quality, time and cost become vital.

    • Quality 
      • Do they offer mortgages from the whole-of-market, or a reduced selection?
      • Do they have a good reputation?
      • How personal is their service?
      • Do you like their approach?
      • What are their systems and processes are like?
  • Time 
      • How responsive are they to your phone calls and emails?
      • Do they spend enough time finding out your needs and personal circumstances?
      • When will they be able to get you a decision in principle?
  • Cost
    • How much will they charge you?
    • Do they offer any form of cashback?
    • What exactly is included in their fees?

Why choose WR Ethical as your independent mortgage advisor Bristol?

As an independent mortgage advisor based in Bristol but working with clients across the country, there are several good reasons to choose us for mortgage and protection advice.

Save on fees

Mortgage advice over £150k is fee free (including all remortgages) – which means you might not pay us a penny, or you could even get cashback.

Search the whole of the mortgage market

We genuinely care about getting you the best value, ethical mortgage deal. That’s where we search the whole of the market during our recommendation process – meaning you’ll get the ideal mortgage offer for your circumstances, from thousands of options.

Benefit from fair pricing

Our ethical pricing structure allows us to be one of the lowest cost mortgage brokers in the UK.

Enjoy honest customer service

Clients find our approach extremely refreshing, and we always aim to offer you a 5-star experience. The only way we can do that is by going above and beyond for every single person we help.

Receive experienced and ethical mortgage advice

We’ve woven care for the planet into all we do, so we’ll advise you on the ethics of different mortgage providers and donate a good portion of our turnover to charity.

Frequently asked questions

Is there a difference between a mortgage broker and a mortgage advisor?

Yes and No. All mortgage brokers are mortgage advisors; however, some mortgage advisors are not mortgage brokers.

A mortgage broker will offer mortgages from a wide range of lenders, and will assess your needs and circumstances and give you mortgage advice.

Lender-based mortgage advisors will still assess your needs and circumstances to make sure a mortgage is affordable and suitable for you. However, they’ll only be able to offer you products from a single provider, so they’re not mortgage brokers.

Are mortgage advisors free?

Like any specialist service provider, mortgage advisors need to get paid for the time they put in. There are several ways they do this:

  • Commission – the mortgage advisor gets paid commission when your mortgage reaches completion. ‘Fee-free’ mortgage brokers operate this way. They need to be efficient, as commission rates are relatively low
  • Fees – the mortgage advisor charges a (relatively) high fee, and does not receive commission
  • Fees and commission – the mortgage advisor charges a lower fee and receives commission. This is the most common structure for independent mortgage advisors.

Is it worth using a mortgage advisor?

If you’re good with forms, financially astute, and have a straightforward employment and credit history, you may not need a mortgage advisor.

However, using a mortgage advisor will ultimately save you time and money. They’ll help you understand the minefield of options available you, not to mention the legal and financial jargon. Not all advisors are the same, though – so do check to see if they’re independent and can access the whole of the market. You should also compare their fees and reputation with other advisors for an accurate picture. Advice services such as and MoneySavingExpert all give you useful tips on how to pick a mortgage broker.

Is a financial advisor the same as a mortgage advisor?

A mortgage advisor is a type of financial advisor. In common terms, a financial advisor will advise on pensions and investments, whereas a mortgage advisor advises on mortgages and protection. Some financial advisors also have mortgage qualifications, and many firms offer both investment and mortgage advice via different staff.

Should I use my estate agent’s mortgage advisor?

Many estate agents have a mortgage advisor that they try hard to set you up with. For them, it makes sense as:

  • They get to earn extra money from you as a customer
  • They get a quick decision from someone they trust as to whether you’ll be able to afford the property you have put an offer on.

However, do check their service levels, costs, and the type of broker they are. Some are excellent, but not all are. They may not be whole-of-market brokers, may charge quite high fees, or may offer quite a high-pressure approach.

Can I get free mortgage advice?

Yes. Almost all mortgage advisors offer initial advice for free. This is part of their process of gaining new clients. Mortgage advisors hope that you value the advice they give, and then come back to them when you’re ready to make an application. Almost all mortgages are still assessed on an individual basis by an underwriter, and so the personal relationship really matters.

There are quite a few mortgage advisors that offer fee-free mortgage applications, too. Some of these are large national organisations that offer an online-only service, whereas others offer a more personal touch. It’s worth getting a recommendation before you pick an advisor and checking out two or three before you make up your mind.

Why you shouldn’t use a mortgage broker? 

The two most common reasons not to use a mortgage broker are:

  • Fees
  • Sticking with what you know.

Unfortunately, many people arrange a mortgage with their bank, as they believe the relationship will make it easier to get approved, or they’ll be offered special rates. This is rarely the case. You need to go through the same rigorous assessment process to get a loan with your existing financial provider as you would with someone else.

Some organisations offer exclusive, direct only deals which a mortgage broker cannot access. A good example of this is The Ecology Building Society, who have an excellent ethical reputation. If you’re looking at self-build, then we always advise people to check them out.

What should a first-time buyer ask a mortgage advisor?

Talking to an advisor to get a feel for them and whether you can work together is a valuable first step. There are also some questions worth asking to get an understanding of the service they offer:

  • Are you qualified, regulated, and insured?
  • Can you offer me mortgages from the whole of the market?
  • How much will your services cost me?
  • Are you tied to any other financial organisations?
  • Why should I choose you over someone else?

How much should a mortgage advisor charge? 

All advisors need to let you know how much their advice will cost when you have your first meeting with them (or send it to you if you’re dealing with them remotely).

Almost all advisors offer initial advice for free. Beyond that, there are a range of options.

For personalised service, VouchedFor’s 2021 guide says that the average cost of using a mortgage advisor to take out a £200,000 mortgage is £425.

There are several high-profile online-only brokers who offer a fee-free service (meaning they charge you nothing).

There are a few mortgage advisors (like us) who offer cashback, giving you the opportunity to be paid for using their service.

Your circumstances, and the property you’re looking to buy or remortgage, have a big impact on mortgage advisors’ costs. Whether they pass that cost on to you or not will vary from broker to broker.

Can mortgage brokers get you a bigger mortgage?

Mortgage advisors make it easier for you to get the maximum mortgage possible. If you put the time and effort in yourself, then you could probably get an equivalent size mortgage. This is particularly true if you have a good employment track record and credit history.

The standard salary multiple that most lenders offer is 4.5 (so, if you earn £25,000 a year, then you could get a mortgage of £112,500). However, there are three factors that can change this dramatically:

  • If you have significant monthly outgoings, such as credit payments, child maintenance payments, property service charges, then this may be reduced
  • Certain professions, and certain salaries, create larger income multiples – 5x, 5.5x or even 6x on occasion
  • How much of your income is ‘non-standard’ (self-employed, bonus, overtime, allowances etc.) and what evidence you have of this.

Mortgage brokers know how different lenders treat your income, profession, and commitments, and will get you to the maximum quicker.

Remember, your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.