The Mortgage advice process and what to expect

Home The Mortgage advice process and what to expect
Sunny Avenue
Mortgages Sunny Avenue
31 May 2024

Mortgage advice is the process of speaking to a qualified and regulated Mortgage adviser, who makes a recommendation for your needs, based on your circumstances. It's important to understand what to expect with this process.

Key Takeaways

  • When arranging a mortgage, you must choose between an advised service and a non-advised service.
  • A mortgage adviser needs to tell you about the terms of business and how they operate, including charges, who the advise on behalf of and handling complaints.
  • The FCA set the standards for the mortgage advice process. You should expect a similar mortgage advice process wherever you go.
  • An independent mortgage adviser may be able to offer more flexibility than a high street lender due to the large panel of lenders to choose from.

The Mortgage Advice process

If you're going to be seeking mortgage advice, it's important to know exactly what to expect from the mortgage advice process. Not just which documents to bring, but exactly how the process works. This is so you know you are getting a fair and correct service.

The FCA have many processes in place to ensure Mortgage advice is consistent and fair across the industry. It helps to maintain adviser standards, and ensures that borrowers are getting the best possible service and understanding from their adviser. Due to these high standards, when you meet with a mortgage adviser, you can know what to expect and how the appointment should be conducted.

Looking For Mortgage Advice?

If you're thinking about your mortgage options ahead of a remortgage, a big move, or even to borrow more?
We can help you find a mortgage specialist to offer you the very best advice. Complete our Sunny Fact Find form to provide us a bit more detail about your circumstances and we'll find the best-suited adviser for your needs.
Your appointed adviser will contact you to discuss how they can help, you decide how to proceed.

Mortgage Advice options: Advice & Non-Advice

When you begin to look for Mortgage options, in the UK, you have two choices. You can go down the Advised route or the Non-Advised route.

If you choose to obtain Mortgage Advice, you speak to a qualified adviser, and they make recommendations for your Mortgage needs.

If you choose to not obtain Mortgage advice, you proceed on a non-advice basis. That means you must select a Mortgage product without a recommendation. With a non-advised service, you arrange the mortgage without the recommendations from an adviser. You're on your own, to an extent.

Some only offer an advised service, whilst others will only offer non-advice products. Which one of these two channels is available can often depend on what type of service you are using. For example, appointments that are face-to-face tend to be an advised service, whereas online mortgage services would generally be non-advised. Especially if you have no human contact.

What to expect from your Mortgage adviser

Mortgage Advisers are qualified to give advice and recommendations based on your specific circumstances. This means they have trained to be in this position and have passed a series of exams. Those exams are set by regulator-approved exam boards. The most common qualification is the 'Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice' (CeMAP).

Mortgage advice is about your personal circumstances, it shouldn't involve your adviser making recommendations on their economical opinions.

Fact Find

A mortgage adviser needs to understand your needs. To do this they will be asking you a series of questions about your life, family, and employment plans over the next few years. They ask your views on repayment stability, your budget, retirement plans, and other possible ways you intend to repay your Mortgage.

It's known as the Fact Find and the information gathered is then used to produce a recommendation on which Mortgage is best for you.

Advice & Recommendations

When you receive your recommendations, you can expect it to include the Mortgage product, Mortgage term, and repayment method that the adviser feels is appropriate and why. This will normally be as a result of the information you have already shared in the fact find stage.

This part of the process is the advice and recommendations stage. Your recommendations are documented alongside the reasons why and provided to you.

The document explains that the recommendation is based on your fact find answers and the conversation you're having should be along the lines of:

 "You have told me…, therefore I recommend…for you".

Choosing advice means you now have a justification as to why you have been recommended a mortgage product. It offers you a certain level of protection should the advice turn out to not be the right for you.

With an advised service, If it does go wrong, for any reason, you will be able to raise a complaint with the FCA.

On the other hand though, if you have chosen to go down the non-advice route, unfortunately, you do not have a leg to stand on if you have chosen the wrong product for your needs.

What must an Adviser tell you?

Mortgage advisers are required to provide information upfront that details how they do business for you. They must give you information on the following:

The charges for Advice

Mortgage advice charges can be a flat fee, an hourly rate, a percentage of the amount you borrow for your mortgage, or a commission payment from the Mortgage lender. Either way, it must be made clear how the meeting is funded.

The range of products they can advise on

You must be notified if a Mortgage adviser has limits to the Mortgages they can recommend. Some advisers only offer mortgages from one lender, others offer mortgages from a panel of lenders. This is known as restricted advice or whole of market.

If an adviser offers restricted advice, they should provide you with a list of the lenders that they do advise mortgages on behalf of.

How to make a complaint

There should be details on what to do if you are unhappy with the advice you receive. The first option should be to re-discuss your needs with your adviser, if you still cannot settle, you can speak directly to the Financial Ombudsman Service to raise a complaint.

Non-advice sacrifices

If you choose non advice, your adviser must provide you the information on the legal protection you are giving up. This can either be in writing, or in conversation. 

How can Mortgage Advice help you?

First and foremost, speaking to an adviser will give you the first point of contact for any guidance you need on the mortgage process. It adds a personal touch to the whole experience. You can form a lasting financial relationship with this adviser, and they may go on to help you in the future. Talking with the same adviser over a period of years may make having difficult conversations easier for you as they get to know you and your family. 

Independent Mortgage Advisers

Independent mortgage advisers have access to a wide panel of lenders, and that provides options. Options across different affordability assessments, different policies, and different interest rates. They will search through this panel on your behalf to recommend the best mortgage for you. If you were to try to find these mortgages on your own, it would involve a lot of research and time. 

An independent mortgage adviser will be better placed to help you if you have non-standard circumstances. For example, if you have only been self-employed for a short time. This can improve your chances of being accepted as there are potentially more lenders to choose from.

Choosing a Non-advised Mortgage Service

If you go down the non-advised mortgage route it means you are choosing not to have a recommendation based on your needs. If the Mortgage you choose turns out to be unsuitable, for any reason, you will not be able to make a complaint about the decision you have made. On an advised service, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, giving you more rights than when you use a non-advised service.

A non-advised service could also mean you have a higher chance of being declined for a Mortgage. That is not because choosing advice is a condition looked at for acceptance. But, because it can make a difference if Mortgage adviser has a clear idea of which lenders will be suitable and likely to fit your circumstances.

When to speak to a Mortgage Adviser

It's a good idea to speak to a mortgage adviser when you are at the Agreement in Principle stage. This will allow you to understand how much you can afford to borrow. It is a good time to ask questions about the process and decide if you want to proceed on an advised or non-advised basis. Your Mortgage adviser will tell you at this time what is possible.

Looking For Mortgage Advice?

If you're thinking about your mortgage options ahead of a remortgage, a big move, or even to borrow more?
We can help you find a mortgage specialist to offer you the very best advice. Complete our Sunny Fact Find form to provide us a bit more detail about your circumstances and we'll find the best-suited adviser for your needs.
Your appointed adviser will contact you to discuss how they can help, you decide how to proceed.

Finding a Mortgage Adviser

You can rely on word of mouth. Ask friends and family if they know a Mortgage adviser who was helpful to them.

If you are looking for mortgage advice, you can use the Sunny Avenue fact find to get started. The answers you provide help us to find the most suitable adviser for your needs. The adviser then makes contact for a no obligation conversation around how they can help. You then choose how to proceed.


Stuart is an expert in Property, Money, Banking & Finance, having worked in retail and investment banking for 10+ years before founding Sunny Avenue. Stuart has spent his career studying finance. He holds qualifications in financial studies, mortgage advice & practice, banking operations, dealing & financial markets, derivatives, securities & investments.

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