Should you use a mortgage broker?

If you’re on the hunt for a new mortgage, finding the right deal can be tricky. Here’s how the right mortgage broker could save you time and money.

What is a mortgage broker?

They’re qualified mortgage experts that can help you find the right mortgage for your needs, they’re also known as intermediaries or mortgage advisers.

Mortgage brokers are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and authorised to:

  • Offer a mortgage Approval in Principle (AIP) to borrowers
  • Give advice and help borrowers with their mortgage applications
  • Conclude the mortgage offer with borrowers on behalf of a mortgage lender

How can a mortgage broker help?

A mortgage intermediary can not only help you find the best mortgage rates, but can also support you through the application process. A broker can help:

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Types of mortgage broker

Some brokers are tied to one specific lender, whereas other mortgage brokers have access to a panel of lenders or the whole of the market.

An independent mortgage broker, in order to call themselves independent, can only charge a fee and not take a commission from a lender.

Tied mortgage brokers don’t have access to all the mortgage products in Ireland so you could miss out on deals that are cheaper or more suitable for your circumstances.

How much does a mortgage broker cost?

Some brokers charge a fee for mortgage advice or to arrange your mortgage application. The fee may be based on a percentage of the mortgage amount or charged at a flat rate.

However, many online brokers are free because they get a commission from the lender so don’t pass on charges to the borrower. Commission from lenders is typically around 1% of the mortgage.

Shop around and find out exactly what each broker will charge you or how they are paid. They should be able to tell you the full cost upfront.

Is it cheaper to get a mortgage through a broker?

Yes, mortgage brokers have access to a wider range of products which could mean you get a cheaper mortgage deal.

Even if you have to pay a broker fee, the savings you could make by getting a cheaper mortgage rate could dwarf the cost of using them.

Find the best mortgage rates

Is it worth using a mortgage broker?

A mortgage adviser can guide you through a complex and time-consuming process, but if you’re confident of finding the best rates and securing a mortgage on your own, mortgage advice may not be necessary.

Here’s the pros and cons of using a broker:

  • You’ll get access to a greater range of mortgage deals
  • They’ll match you to products with the best chance of acceptance
  • You’ll get accurate affordability and borrowing costs
  • They’ll assist with non-standard mortgage applications and specialist lending
  • They can check your documents are correct to speed up the application process
  • They’ll liaise directly with the lender, saving you time and effort
  • They’re on hand for questions and troubleshooting
  • They may charge a fee, which could be expensive if you want a large mortgage
  • Certain direct-only deals may not be available via a broker
  • A tied broker will give less choice and have fewer deals on offer
  • A tied broker may not necessarily offer the cheapest mortgage or best rates
  • You’ll have less control over the application process

Some lenders will only accept a mortgage application from a mortgage broker or only from a mortgage broker appointed to their panel.

Can you use a broker to switch your mortgage?

Yes, although first time buyers often turn to a mortgage adviser to help them navigate buying their first home, switchers and home movers also benefit from using a mortgage broker.

If you want to go it alone, our Complete guide to mortgages could help you get started on your mortgage journey.

How to find a mortgage broker in Ireland

There are several ways to find a mortgage broker, you can use the Brokers Ireland’s website to find a broker nearby.

Your mortgage lender may provide you with a choice of brokers in your area.

Alternatively, you may find a mortgage deal on a comparison website that’s arranged by a broker or you can search for a free online broker.

Remember, some brokers offer a face to face service, whereas others operate purely online.

Start your mortgage enquiry

How to choose a mortgage broker

To get the best mortgage advice, before you sign up with a broker find out:

  1. If they’re regulated and authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland
  2. If they have access to the whole of the market, a panel of lenders or are tied to a lender
  3. Do they earn a commission or charge a fee?
  4. What (if anything) you will be charged and get it in writing

Finally, check out reviews and recommendations via social media, their website or word of mouth.

Compare mortgage rates & deals

Find the best first time buyer and home mover mortgage deals in Ireland using our comparison.

Mortgage broker FAQs

Can a broker help me get a mortgage with bad credit?

Yes, mortgage brokers have better access to specialist lenders, so if you have bad credit an adviser could help you secure a mortgage that caters for people with a poor credit score.

Find out more about borrowing with a poor credit rating in our guide How to get a mortgage if you have bad credit.

Can I get a mortgage if I'm self-employed?

Yes, and getting your mortgage through a broker can be the best option if you’re self-employed. They can access a wider range of lenders and are more likely to find a mortgage tailored to your financial circumstances.

Read more about how to get a mortgage if your’re self employed in our helpful guide.

Can a mortgage broker help me find a self build mortgage?

Yes, if you’re building your own home, an adviser can help you find the best rate self build mortgage. If you’d like to know more about self build mortgages, our Guide to self build mortgages in Ireland is full of useful tips.

What qualifications does a mortgage broker have?

All individuals who advise on Mortgages are now required to hold a qualification such as the QFA (Qualified Financial Adviser). You can see a full list on the Central Bank of Ireland website.

The QFA is a professional designation that meets the Central Bank’s Minimum Competency Code (MCC) requirements for selling and advising of retail financial products set out in the Code.

Is mortgage advice truly impartial?

Yes, there are restrictions on the use of the terms ‘broker’ and ‘independent’ and mortgage advisers have to comply with a set of rules and standards.

For example, a broker, in order to call themselves independent, can only charge a fee and not take a commission.

How do I check if a mortgage broker is authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland?

You can check the Central Bank of Ireland’s Register of Mortgage Credit Intermediaries. Online brokers will state their authorisation on their website. You will usually find the regulation notice at the bottom of the page.

What is a direct-only mortgage?

It’s a mortgage product that’s only available directly from your bank or lender and is not made available to mortgage intermediaries.

What is an Approval in Principle (AIP)?

It’s an agreement from a lender showing the amount they are willing to lend you, based on information you’ve provided and your credit record. An AIP may also be called a Mortgage in Principle (MIP) or a Decision in Principle (DIP).

An AIP is free and it’s usually valid for six months. Find out more in our guide, How to get a mortgage Approval in Principle in Ireland.

Warning: If you do not keep up your repayments you may lose your home. Warning: The cost of your monthly repayments may increase. Warning: You may have to pay charges if you pay off a fixed rate loan early. Warning: If you do not meet the repayments on your loan, your account will go into arrears. This may affect your credit rating, which may limit your ability to access credit in the future. Warning: The entire amount that you have borrowed will still be outstanding at the end of the interest-only period. The payment rates on this housing loan may be adjusted by the lender from time to time. (applies to variable rate loans only) Information provided and Interest rates quoted valid at 06/10/2021