A mortgage broker is a person that helps you through the mortgage process, from the initial search for the best mortgage available, through the seemingly endless documentation, to the questions that will no doubt arise after closing. In general there are three types of mortgage brokers: the mortgage broker that works for and represents only one lender, the mortgage broker that represents a select number of lenders, and the mortgage broker that is independent and therefore represents any lender.
The advantage of a mortgage broker that works for and represents just one lender is that he/she will know the products available from that lender very well. This ?tied? mortgage broker will be extremely familiar with the processes involved in the products they sell. The disadvantage of going this route is that you are only being presented with products from one lender, and therefore may not get the best deal.The ?independent? mortgage broker will usually get you the best deal as they can recommend any lender in the market, and has no vested interest in one lender over another, since they charge the consumer a fee. In addition, most independent mortgage brokers have years of experience with a firm and have now decided to do business on their own, offering you the best of both worlds.
Make sure that any mortgage broker with whom you decide to work is authorised (or, CEMAP qualified) and has good references. The Financial Services Authority is a good resource for checking up on mortgage brokers. Also, at your initial meeting, insist that they discloses their schedule and/or commission policy and amount. Any authorised mortgage broker will do this automatically, so beware if you are not offered this information.