The role of a mortgage broker is to help you find the best mortgage for you. They use their professional training and bank of real experience to recommend the most suitable mortgages, and then they guide you through the entire process. Enlisting their help early on maximises their opportunities to help you.
By asking a series of questions your broker will build up an understanding of your financial situation, your spending habits, your position in life, and the type of property you would like to buy. Then, with this information, they will find the most suitable mortgages from the vast amount available in the marketplace. They will look at what you can demonstrably afford and give advice accordingly, with the logic that you will be able to comfortably afford repayments on recommended products for the duration of the mortgage.
Many people ask when in the house buying process should a mortgage broker be consulted. Answers vary, but the underlying suggestion is "the sooner the better". Here's why:
Because a broker helps you understand what you can afford, the information they give will ultimately dictate the price range of properties you can look to buy. If you have done extensive searching for a new home before speaking to a broker there is every possibility that you may have overestimated what you can afford, rendering your choices unsuitable. This can be deeply demoralising and frustrating, not to mention a waste of time.
So speaking to a broker early in the process is recommended.
And it's not just house price that a mortgage broker's advice will affect. They will also give you a more comprehensive understanding of the other costs involved in the application process: things like mortgage account fees, arrangement fees, booking fees, legal fees, local authority fees, and more.
A better understanding of costs empowers you with more information to make sure your finances are in order.
If you are already further along the process, ideally you would at least speak to a mortgage broker before making an offer on a property. If you make an offer but later find out you can't afford to borrow enough, thanks to the advice given off the back of your conversation with a broker, you frustrate the process for everyone else involved. While you are legally able to retract an offer before exchange of contracts, you risk holding things up for other people in the chain, or even collapsing it entirely.
Some people do all the research themselves and apply for a mortgage without the help of a broker. Sometimes they succeed - it is possible, after all. Other times they are rejected for a mortgage deal and decide to involve a broker at this late stage in the process to avoid further rejections.
To reiterate, our answer to the question "when should I see a mortgage broker?" is... As soon as possible! Reduce the risk of frustration, disappointment, and rejection while finding and applying for your mortgage.