Getting information and advice about mortgages
If you contact a lender or mortgage broker to find out more about mortgages, the information you are given must conform to certain rules. This page tells you more about the rules that have to be followed.
You can download a list of questions to ask a mortgage adviser.
Where can I get information and advice about mortgages?
You can find out about mortgages from an intermediary or direct from a lender, such as a bank or building society. An intermediary could be:
an independent financial adviser (IFA)
an estate agent
a mortgage broker
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates the sale of mortgages. Anyone selling mortgages must be registered with the FCA. Check if your lender or mortgage broker is authorised to sell mortgages by looking them up on the FCA's Financial Services Register.
What the lender or mortgage broker must tell you
When you contact a lender or mortgage broker to find out more about mortgages, you should be given an independent disclosure document. This should:
tell you that the FCA regulates the sale of mortgages and that it is a requirement that you are given this document
tell you if the lender or mortgage broker will offer you: only their own mortgages mortgages from other companies that they work with any mortgage that is available on the market
only their own mortgages
mortgages from other companies that they work with
any mortgage that is available on the market
tell you if they sell mortgages on an information only or advice basis
state if you will have to pay for the service, and if there will be an upfront fee or commission
tell you in which circumstances all or part of an upfront fee would be refundable.
The lender or mortgage broker must also tell you:
that they are regulated by the FCA and what kind of business they are permitted to do
what to do if you have a complaint
whether you will be covered by the Financial Services compensation scheme.
This information doesn't necessarily have to be included in the independent disclosure document.
Download our 'Things to ask your mortgage adviser' guide.
Information only or advice based sales
Information only sales are suitable if you already know which kind of mortgage you want. You will just be given information about the type of mortgage you've asked about. If you opt for an information only sale and later find out that the mortgage is not suitable for you, you will not be able to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
If you are offered an advice based sale, the lender or mortgage broker must ensure that you are offered a mortgage that is suitable for your needs. The adviser must have undergone specialist training and has to check that you will be able to afford your mortgage repayments. If you later find out that you have been misadvised about the type of mortgage suitable for you, you will be able to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Information about specific mortgages
If you are given information about a specific mortgage that is tailored to your circumstances, that is, based on the amount of money that you wish to borrow, you must be given a 'key facts' document. It could also be called a key facts illustration (KFI) or personal illustration, but it must say 'key facts' at the top.
A key facts document should:
be clear and easy to understand
make it easy for you to see the costs and terms of the mortgage
make it easy for you to compare the costs and terms with other mortgages.
If you ask to see what the costs and terms would look like if you changed the amount of money you borrow or if you borrowed it over a different period of time, you should be given a new key facts document.
Make sure you read the key facts document and fully understand it before you apply for your mortgage.
Last updated: 29 December 2014
Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.