Make sure you and your family search the whole mortgage market - not just part of it
Most people will focus on the headline interest rate which for those with low loan-to-values will be far more attractive - because it’s less of a risk for the lender.
Yet loans with the lowest headline rates are not necessarily the best value over the term of the deal as once fees are factored in, a deal with a slightly higher rate but lower set-up costs may actually prove cheaper.
Administration fees for mortgages have increased by more than 20% since September 2009, according to new calculations.
The menu of fees and charges and interest rates makes it difficult for borrowers to compare the true cost of mortgages.
For example, the lowest two-year fixed rate mortgage from a high street bank is at 2.6%, however adding the combined booking and arrangement fee of £1,999 means the total amount to be paid back over the two years for someone borrowing £150,000 is £18,404.20.
The same amount borrowed over two years with Bank of Ireland at a higher rate of 2.78%, and a fee of only £799, would cost £17,461.48 - a saving of £942.72 over the two year period, despite the interest rate being 0.14 percentage points higher.
However, there are some mortgages which charge a percentage of the loan as the fee which means those only looking to borrow a small amount could bag a low rate and avoid paying a hefty fee. But where a high fee will form a larger proportion of the overall loan size, it may work out cheaper to keep the set up costs low even if it means paying a slightly higher monthly payment.
It's also important to understand what penalties your lender might impose on you if you decide to pay off your mortgage early before signing on the dotted line.
Crucially, to be sure you've got the best mortgage, it's important to make sure that you're searching the whole market - not just part of it.
Over the past few years, certain lenders have started reserving some of their best deals for customers who go to them directly - which means these offers may not be available from all mortgage brokers.
This means it’s worth doing your own research as well as getting a helping hand from a broker.
Before enlisting the help of a mortgage professional make sure you understand their fees too. There are a number of fee-free mortgage brokers including London & Country mortgages (http://www.lcplc.co.uk/).
Clare Francis, mortgage expert at Moneysupermarket, said: “It’s very easy for borrowers looking for a new mortgage to be attracted by low headline rates; however it is vital to consider the account arrangement and booking fees as part of the overall cost. Fee costs can vary greatly between providers so taking the time to work out the total amount you have to repay over the term of the offer is essential.
"When comparing mortgages you should always look at the total amount you would repay, including fees, over the term of the deal. This is the only way to identify which product will be the best value to you. Think about whether you want a fixed or variable rate deal, and if you do opt for a variable rate mortgage you need to ensure that you will be able to afford your monthly repayments if and when interest rates do rise as they won't stay at this level forever."
It is however, a consideration for older people that with lenders becoming more strict about lending money, it is much more difficult than it used to be to get a mortgage into retirement. This is where the help of a broker can be invaluable to make sure you’re dealing with the relevant companies willing to lend.