Buying a home has been on nearly everyone’s wish-list. A decade ago, once we were ready to make the purchase all we needed was a real estate broker and some advice from those we trust. If the purchase involved financing, then a visit to your local banker sufficed.

Fast forward to today, in the UAE over 30 lenders are vying for our business with an even larger range of products. Alongside, terms and conditions – rates of interest (flat or reducing), exiting the mortgage – have become more complex. And, there is always the fear of hidden costs.

Against this backdrop, is it a wise step to hire a mortgage broker? Are the fees involved going to save us a significantly higher amount on the cost of the mortgage?

How mortgage brokers help?

Hiring a mortgage broker comes with the assurance of the best deal on the market. Mortgage brokers offer support from selecting and negotiating the best deals as well as preparing documentation and submitting the files for gaining pre-approval, approval and the actual disbursement. Post the purchase, brokers also help find the best insurance (home and life) that is necessary for getting mortgage.

Some financial institutes stipulate specific insurers, which could result in higher costs than those that allow mortgagees to select their own insurance providers.

Mortgage brokers can help to navigate the nitty-gritty of the process more efficiently. Depending on the value of the property, new home owners can make savings of around 10%.

Undoubtedly, this allows you to sign on the dotted line knowing that you have sealed the most effective deal.

What are the charges involved?

These services come at a flat fee or a nominal percentage on the mortgage amount.

Sometimes mortgage brokers also earn a commission from the lenders.

Is doing your own research a better option?

Some people believe in doing their own homework. The internet is the new guide for navigating complex financial decisions. Sophisticated financial support websites come with tools that help you to compare mortgages and select ones that suit your needs.

You can search for home loans based on a number of criteria to find the one that works for you.

There is also the possibility that brokers may lead you to deals that are good for you but not the best, to earn commissions.

Examples of mortgage brokers in the UAE include, Home Matters, Independent Finance and Candour Consultancy. Post the financial crisis, these intermediaries have doubled in size and seen increased business as consumers are seeking to strike the best deals.

More recently, developers have begun offering innovative finance plans to attract customers. If this trend is here to stay, mortgage brokers may have to wind up.

[Related: Guide to mortgages and home loans]