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Should you be using a mortgage broker? (An interview with James Wingate, Abode Finance)

Using a Mortgage Broker - BES Legal LTD

James Wingate, Mortgage & Protection Broker for Abode Finance LTD

Tel: 01273 099995   Mob: 07825 210324   Email:

We introduce James Wingate. James, a lifetime local Shoreham by Sea resident has worked within the Mortgage Industry for over 15 years.

With a strong focus on Service he has enjoyed numerous accolades from past and present roles.  Since taking on a senior position as an independent Broker in Q3 of 2019 for Abode Finance he has already been awarded Top Rated Advisor Status by Independent review service, Vouched For.  This award is particularly special as it is awarded solely on Client Reviews and we look forward to celebrating with James when he is named alongside his peers in the Times in February 2020.  We love collaborating with James and have taken the opportunity to invite him to talk to you on our guest Blog about the benefits of using a Broker over going Direct to a lender. So over to you James…

I hear this statement frequently “Why would I use a Broker, surely my bank will give me the cheapest rate, I am an existing customer for years?”

I am here to tell you this is not often true. Let’s bust open what happens when you go direct.  When you go to one lender you must fit to their specific criteria, take the rate they have available and borrow what they deem affordable. It’s as simple as fitting into their boxes and hoping the computer says yes. If this doesn’t sound too bad, then take a minute to consider this.

The difference between seeing a broker and what it means for you

An independent broker acts as an intermediary, helping you identify the best lender for your situation and pulling together all the information from multiple lenders needed for the mortgage application. A direct lender is just that: A bank or other financial institution that will decide whether you qualify for the loan offered by them alone. Having spent over 15 years working for a major high street bank it was strictly kept to the banks’ lending criteria. Many people assume that all lenders are pretty much the same in terms of how they access income, customer circumstances and criteria. Ultimately, it’s just down to who has the best deals at the time, right? Wrong. When I decided to become an independent advisor, the first thing I did was read through the 1000’s of pages of the different providers lending criteria.

It’s incredible the amount of variations of how lenders evaluate things such as incomes, people’s ages, property details and the lists just go on. It’s a minefield of different policies and views on applicants’ circumstances. Being a Broker, we put the client in front of the right lender to suit everyone’s requirements as well as the most competitive deal. Another eye-opener is the number of lenders that work exclusively with mortgage brokers relying on them to be the gatekeepers to bring them, suitable clients.


When you break it down to cost, it does make sense.

A lender pays a broker a fee for providing the advice and arranging the application. If the broker doesn’t submit successful applications, they don’t have to pay them.  With an employee they pay them a salary, holiday pay, pension, sick pay plus any other benefits, whether they process enough applications or not. That’s not including the constant training course costs as well as the costs of employing line managers and compliance staff.  I witnessed less and less advisors being in branch where I worked and more of a push towards phone and online applications.

The refreshing aspect of being an independent Mortgage & Protection Broker is the freedom you have to be more involved with the process and the aftercare as well. From liaising with estate agents and solicitors on your client’s behalf, you can really offer support from start to finish. Also, being on hand for life events such as having children or moving home to offer advice on how to adapt your finances to suit your current needs.

This includes discussing protection which often is not given a second thought. There is a plethora of options available around protecting your family and income that if you don’t have experience in you can easily get lost on what’s best for you.

Usually considered is Life & Critical Illness insurance, but an often-overlooked area is Income Protection. You can get ill or have an accident but it’s not critical and not life threatening. If your broker is looking after you wholly, then they should be covering all these options with you and tailoring them to your needs and budget.

In branch it’s usually more restricted often only being able to offer one product from one provider that might not always be up to the task or the best price for your circumstances.

And that’s the best thing about using an independent broker. We can adapt, change and be flexible to suit your needs and requirements. Taking the experience to a whole new level and not only helping you secure your new home but also being there to support you throughout your mortgage lifetime. But first you need to find a property! So, feel free to use my favourite hints, tips and questions below. If you need help or just a chat about your mortgage & insurance needs, feel free to drop me a line on:

Tel: 01273 099995 Mob: 07825 210324


Happy house hunting!


Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. Abode Finance Limited is an appointed represnetive of The On-line Partnership Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Office Address: Unit 14a city Business Centre, Brighton Road, Horsham, RH13 5BB

Buying a property

I always say go and view the property at least twice and try to take someone with you that works in a trade such as a builder if you know one to get their opinion.

When you first see a property you often view with your heart, falling in love with it instantly and wanting to commit to one of the biggest financial commitments you’ll have in life. Go back the second or 3rd time if necessary and view it with your head.

Here are some of my top tips that I offer to my clients when viewing properties: –

Firstly, finding a property with search sites

There’s a plethora of property search websites. But remember, asking prices are often wildly optimistic, showing what the seller wants, not what they’ll get.

So, ask yourself: do properties listed where you want to buy stay around for a while, or are they snapped up? Is there a steady supply of the type of home you’re thinking of buying, or are they few or far between?

One of the most well-known home search sites, Rightmove, is the best place to compare homes on the market. It can also plot listings on a Google map for ease.

Zoopla lets you match up sold prices with old property ads, including pics, asking prices, descriptions and floor plans. Go to Zoopla’s sold prices section, search for an area and click on a property for historic listings. has shaken up the online home selling market, with a set of rules for members that includes restricting the number of portals that you can list your home on. It’s new but growing.

Another one to try is Home. The site can be clunky, but includes reams of data, including how the asking price compares with others in the town and postcode.


Find out how much other houses have sold for

Once, price info was only the preserve of agents and brokers. Now, with the web, you can check any property for free.

To see what any house, anywhere, went for, over a good few years, try sold-price sites such as Nethouseprices and Zoopla.


Watch out for flood risk

Flood risk has a significant impact on insurance premiums, a property’s value and your quality of life if you’re unlucky enough to be hit by water damage.

The Environment Agency (England and Wales) and Environment Protection Agency’s (Scotland) flood information provide detailed reports on whether and why an area is at risk.

These free sites quickly reveal how vulnerable a property is, possibly saving years of stress. Don’t learn it the hard way.


Check what’s being built (or planned) in the area

Will that sea view be replaced by a high-rise in a couple of months? For England and Wales, the Government’s Planning Portal helps avoid nasty surprises by directing you to planning applications made in your area. You can search by postcode and area.


Questions when viewing

Before putting in an offer to the estate agent, ask as many questions as possible – and get important answers in writing. Here are some good questions to ask and help you make decisions:

  • How many viewings has it had?
  • How many offers has it had?
  • How long has it been on the market?
  • Can I see electrical and gas installation checks/reports?
  • How long is the lease (if it has one)?
  • Have there been any neighbour disputes?
  • Why are the vendors moving and are they sure they want to sell now?
  • What renovations have been done?
  • How old is the boiler and when was it last inspected?
  • When was it last rewired?
  • Where are the vendors moving to – is there a chain?
  • If it’s leasehold, how much are service charges & Ground Rent?
  • Who lives upstairs/downstairs/next door?
  • How long has the seller lived there?
  • What’s included in the sale? White goods? Curtains? Wood burner?
  • Is there an allotted parking space/residents’ permit?
  • If there’s a real fireplace, is it safe to use?
  • Have there been any subsidence problems?
  • What’s the council tax band? (Also check this yourself.)

These are all valid questions to know the answers to before committing to buy.

Get alerts on your favourite streets

If you want something in a specific area, set an alert on Rightmove and it’ll email each time a vendor lists a property. Type a postcode or area and click ‘save search’.

Use this checklist to spot deal-breakers


The purpose of this blog is to provide information and discussion. Nothing on this blog should be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice from a qualified solicitor regarding any actual legal issue or dispute. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice or perceived as creating a solicitor-client relationship. Please note that we cannot give advice on individual’s situations or problems on this blog