Whatever stage of the mortgage game you�re at, unless you happen to be a qualified financial advisor, solicitor and broker all rolled into one, you�ll need professional help to find and arrange your loan. This guide presents some basic information on mortgages, but you�ll need to take specialist advice for your individual circumstances.

Having a general awareness of the processes involved and an idea of what�s available to you should help you to make the right decision when you choose your mortgage.

You should be aware, too, of the difference between �information� and �advice�. Anyone can give information, and a survey of the web will offer literally thousands of pages about mortgages. Be aware of the legal aspects of mortgages and finances � any agreements should be in writing, and you should check all documents carefully before signing. Verbal agreements and information should always be backed up by written copies. Below are some useful starting points for you to explore. Good luck!

Information

The web offers any amount of information on mortgages � check that the pages are recent as rules and offers change constantly. Good sources of official information are:

The Financial Services Authority � includes a guide to money, mortgages and debt, plus details of regulatory bodies and ombudsmen www.fsa.gov.uk

Direct Gov � general information on finances and benefits
www.direct.gov.uk

Inland Revenue � check the tax rules that apply to you
www.hmrc.gov.uk

Advice

Anyone offering you advice should be a qualified professional. They should be registered with an appropriate independent regulatory body, and you can ask to see copies of their qualifications. There�s a lot of free advice out there, that should help you without obligation, and it�s worth taking advantage of.

Independent Financial Advisors

Find an advisor at www.impartial.co.uk and a mortgage specialist at www.unbiased.co.uk

Solicitors

Often family or friends will recommend a solicitor, otherwise look for one that specialises in conveyancing and house buying. Check www.lawsociety.org for professionals in England and Wales, and www.lawscot.org.uk for Scotland.

If you have a query or complaint

The FSA are now the body that regulates financial professionals and lenders � the Financial Ombudsman can investigate complaints or disputes and usually resolve them. Contact the professional or lender first � they should have a complaints procedure. If you are still not satisfied, you can ask the ombudsman to consider your case: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk
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(The websites of the respective law societies of England & Wales and Scotland are the place to find out how to make a complaint about a solicitor or firm, see above.)

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