What does 'Independent Financial Adviser (IFA)' mean when buying a property?

Find out what Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) means when you are buying a property. 'What does Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) mean?' plus over 150 other property related terms and jargon in plain English

Independent Financial Adviser (IFA)

A financial adviser is a person who can help you find the best mortgage deal on the market for your purchase.

A financial adviser who works for a particular bank or lender will only offer you products from that bank or lender. An Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) will be able to offer you mortgages from a range (but not necessarily all) banks or lenders.

Note that financial advisers do not need any qualifications and they are only loosely regulated so their quality varies substantially.

Different advisers also have different offers, even from the same bank, so you should aim to meet with as many advisers as you do estate agents.

A good financial adviser will not only show you offers but also assist you in taking your mortgage offer all the way through to a confirmed loan on a particular property, smoothing out issues a long the way.

Some will charge you a fee which can be a set amount or a percentage of the mortgage value, others offer their services to you for free because they get paid a commission by the mortgage lender. There are pros and cons to both these set ups.

I use financial advisers to secure mortgages most of the time because they can generally get a better deal from a lender than I can as one individual (they deal in volume) and if there are any unexpected issues that happen while I'm trying to purchase a property I have someone batting for me. They often have insider contacts at the lender that will treat my application as more than just another number.

To learn more about financial advisors and how you can use them to your advantage when purchasing a property pick up a copy of my ebook How to Really Buy a Property.

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How to Really Buy a Property

"... ladder when it looks impossible; How professional buyers and investors work with estate agents to get better deals; Why you should see as many financial advisers as possible; What to do before you start viewing so you don't loose your dream home; Who the surveyor, solicitor and estate agent..."

"... in your credit cupboard. Why you should talk to more than one financial adviser; How the same mortgage from the same bank can be cheaper in two different places; The difference between Agreements in..."
"... mortgage; Why the best mortgage deal may not be right for you; How choosing the wrong lender can stop you buying; Why you should avoid financial advisers who charge you a fee. This is the chapter most buyers will want to ignore. It is far easier to get on the Web or on the 'phone..."
"... you instantly what the best deal is at that time. Different financial advisers are given different special deals by different lenders at different times. If Bank X is the best deal with one adviser it may be an even better deal with another. Different financial advisers are paid different..."
"... it may be an even better deal with another. Different financial advisers are paid different commissions on the various products which, although they shouldn't, can tend to make them push you gently towards products most profitable for them. If you are offered financial advise by an Agent..."
"... if you have only arranged an Agreement in Principle there is still a great deal which could affect the bank's actual decision. The credit scoring they carry out may radically change what you can borrow. As such if you have found a really good loan or you expect to find a property quickly you should apply for the mortgage there and then even though you do not have a property in mind. Most financial advisers and lenders will try to resist this as it means more work without a full guarantee that they will get the business. Insist on it. This means you can be completely confident when you offer that you can afford it and the process will proceed smoothly and without..."
"... is offered by some financial advisers and allows you to be credit checked and ready to go without having to bully your bank to do it. The Sequence estate agency group are one such business that offer this service. The other advantage of a PAM is that because you have applied for the mortgage the interest rate and other features of that particular product are often held for up to three months, even if the lender removes that product from the market or increases their..."
"... and crucially check early with each lender or financial adviser what documentation they will require and organise it now. Discovering you have lost your passport and need to order six months worth of bank statements is going to be of no interest to a vendor when you are in a contract race or competing in sealed..."
"... a fast lender is another good reason to use financial advisers, they will know who is fast and who is slow, and who is really, really slow. This varies from month to month as banks experience busy and quiet periods. If the mortgage product you want is from a really, really slow lender there is a way round it. Buy the property using a bank that is fast and choose a mortgage that has no redemption penalties. Three months after you move in re-mortgage to the product you actually wanted safe in the knowledge you have the property and it doesn't matter if the lender takes forever to process..."
"... that they reversed the policy. For more detail on why and how this works see the chapter What a Property Survey Really Means. - financial advisers Who Charge - The advise here is simple. There are enough financial advisers on the market who won't charge you anything for their services that..."
"... advise here is simple. There are enough financial advisers on the market who won't charge you anything for their services that you should not need to talk to anyone who wants a fee from you. financial advisers are paid a fee by the lender every time they get a new customer signed up. The idea that they should also charge you a fee for the pleasure is cheek in itself but there are plenty out there who do. Watch out for them and avoid them, even if they have a particularly good deal from a lender that suits you down to the ground the chances are by the time you have taken into account the advisers fee it won't be that tempting...."
"... - Summary - The last thing any buyer wants to do is spend time with financial advisers, finding out about their own credit record or poking around the internet for mortgage deals when they could be out looking at potential new homes - much more exciting. But this crucial step..."

"... act in your favour are: Using the solicitor the agent recommends or one with a knowledge of the local area Using (or at least visiting) the financial adviser the agent recommends Being open and clear with your situation Laying down timescales Defining what you want included in the..."
"... the financial adviser recommended by the agent - there is absolutely no obligation to use this adviser but as discussed in Sorting Out Your Mortgage the more options you look at, the better the financial deal. If you do have an appointment with a financial adviser suggested by the agent then when he puts your offer forward he can also say, "The buyer has been to see a financial adviser that I work with and he has confirmed the buyer is in a good financial position". This all works in your..."

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