by Mark Johnston
It seems that nowadays the internet is groaning under the weight of price comparison websites.
Whether someone is in the market for a new mortgage, be it a first time buyer or a re-mortgager it always pays to shop around. They can of course just walk in to a bank or building society and apply for one of their products but this can cost them money they do not necessarily need to spend.
Mortgage comparison websites allow consumers to view a whole range of mortgage deals from different providers on one page.
Price comparison sites were designed to explore the market to seek out the best or cheapest priced deals.
Most independent sites will allow consumers to customise their search to their individual needs as there is little point looking at first time buyer deals if they are re-mortgaging and vice versa or even deals for existing customers if they are not one.
Therefore the more specific a consumer is the more targeted the results will be for them.
These sites work by arranging all the important data regarding mortgage offers from different providers in a table format. This is to help consumers sort and filter the results for appropriate deals easier.
Many comparison sites offer discounts on the mortgages listed on their sites, this can therefore make it considerably cheaper to procure a mortgage through the site than it would be to go directly to the lenders website.
However there are things to be aware of before making decisions based on the information found online.
Lenders pay the website commissions so if a lender chooses not to do this their particular products will not be featured, which may mean a potential loss for the customer. Therefore no comparison site is completely comprehensive so it is worth checking a few different sites.
Some offers on the sites are only valid if certain conditions are met or may be valid for a very limited time before the standard variable rate, which is usually a lot higher, kicks in.
Mortgage comparison sites can not guarantee that consumers get an advertised deal. Over the last year, many of the UK’s larger comparison sites have received letters from the Financial Service Authority (FSA) for misleading consumers. This is partly due to providing quotes based on generic risk criteria rather than assessing individual’s demands and needs.
In July 2011 Google piloted a mortgage comparison website, the site worked in the same way as other comparison websites.
Justin Rees, director of marketing and partnerships at LeadPiont UK, said “only time will tell how successful this service will be”.
However in September 2011 the website was suspended with a message to say it was being revamped. Google has scrapped plans for a UK comparison service after closing its US version.
Google confirmed it began scaling back the service globally in November 2011 and it closed completely in February 2012, stating the service was not as successful as it had hoped.
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