How to get a mortgage online and digital brokers to try

Buying a house and getting a mortgage is the biggest financial transaction most of us will ever undertake – and yet the process is often arduous, slow and clunky.

Amazingly for 2018, it is still mostly carried out by letter and phone, even though we live in a world where we can hail cabs without lifting a finger and receive grocery shopping straight to our front doors at the click of a mouse.

But the seeds of a revolution are being sown for the industry and soon you should be able to get a mortgage entirely online – being advised on which loan to take by an artificially intelligent computer.

A home is probably the biggest purchase you will make and getting a mortgage can be as painful as finding a property

The mortgage revolution 

The first glimmers of hope may be emerging for online-savvy buyers and those putting off remortgaging because of the time required on the phone or face-to-face with a broker dealing with paperwork.

There are now several mortgage broker firms that have made reasonable strides in the march towards automating the mortgage application process for their customers.

While borrowers still have to drop offline at some point during the process to speak to a real life adviser to fully complete their application, some providers are developing the technology to allow borrowers to do the whole thing online.

Lenders are also gradually developing technology that allows borrowers to apply online and receive mortgage offers from more than just one lender.

This would be nothing like the price comparison websites that exist today. These list available mortgage products by rate, fee, APR, or by free offers, but do not tell you whether you’re eligible to borrow or how much you are likely to get.

Several mortgage apps have launched over the past year claiming to offer online advice

Several mortgage apps have launched over the past year claiming to offer online advice

The industry is not there yet, but they are moving in this direction, perhaps thanks in part to a noticeable increase in support from the Bank of England and the regulator.

This wave of innovation promises a FinTech revolution that will democratise financial services. Consumers will get more choice, better-targeted services and keener pricing – Mark Carney 

While speaking at a FinTech event last year, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said: ‘To its advocates, this wave of innovation promises a FinTech revolution that will democratise financial services.

‘Consumers will get more choice, better-targeted services and keener pricing.

‘As customers become more willing to delegate decision-making to machines, their funds and loans are being better matched with the best rates from around the system.

‘These flows could become seamless if public policy initiatives and new technologies combine to create digital credentials that are universal, durable and reliable.’

I saved £2,400 a year, easily

Dominic Beecheno, self-employed entrepreneur

'The Habito process was a dream'

‘The Habito process was a dream’

A family man and a new entrepreneur, Dominic was facing a mortgage rate that would only increase his monthly outgoings at a time he needed to reduce them. Habito was the only broker who was willing to help.

‘I’d known my existing broker for over two years. We had what I thought was a terrific relationship. Once I decided to go self-employed he never returned my calls or emails ever again despite saying he would. I tried two more mortgage brokers who totally blanked me. I felt lost and frustrated. I basically decided to swallow my new mortgage rate and pay the extra £200 a month, because no one would help me.

‘Frankly, the Habito process was a dream and within a few days I was in a position to switch my mortgage and save over £2,400 a year. With those savings I took my family to France for two weeks.’  

Who is competing to change the mortgage market? 

So what can you do with your mortgage online right now? We take a look at the main online mortgage apps and what you get from each of them. The list below is no particular order.


Launched: December 2015

Trussle was the UK’s first online mortgage broker and was founded by Ishaan Malhi, a former mortgages and real estate analyst with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and subsequent regular in London’s FinTech scene. 

He was also frustrated by the mortgage process when he bought a house, prompting him to do better himself. Trussle is part-owned by property search website Zoopla, which bought a stake in the business in February 2016. Zoopla also owns price comparison site uSwitch and automated property valuation business Hometrack.

Will ask you for

Trussle asks borrowers to complete their profile online before recommending the right mortgage. In short, it’s a simple, clean and online version of a traditional broker’s ‘fact find’.

The form is built to adapt to each of your responses, making it quick and intuitive to navigate through things like income, outgoings, property and personal details. It means every customer’s experience is appropriate for them.

Trussle believes its system is a simple online version of a traditional broker's 'fact find'

Trussle believes its system is a simple online version of a traditional broker’s ‘fact find’

What they do with your information

The information feeds Trussle’s algorithm and advisers with enough information to answer three questions: What can I afford? Which mortgage is right for me? When should I switch to avoid getting ripped off?

The firm has also built its own tools to assess both lender eligibility and product suitability for every type of borrower. They search through 11,000 products from 90 lenders in real time – quickly giving home buyers and those switching mortgage the most suitable deal on the intermediary market for them.

Using this information, Trussle can estimate how much customers could save by switching today. If customers choose not to switch, Trussle will continue to compare their mortgages (provided you update your details every three months) and will share alerts when it’s time to switch to more suitable deals. Non-Trussle customers can also sign up to the free mortgage monitoring service and be alerted when better details become available.

This affordability information can also be used to filter future property searches with Zoopla, presenting buyers with other affordable properties in desirable postcodes.

Customers submit documentation online via their personal Trussle Timeline, which they use to monitor the progress of their application once they’ve completed their profile and have received their mortgage recommendation. This allows them to upload documents and monitor the status of their application from any device at any time.

Customers who have mortgages with Trussle have the ability to not only remortgage their current property but also move home and get a new mortgage.

 For now customers love our balance of automation and the personal touch of a qualified adviser.

Is it all online? 

Recommendations are generated by Trussle’s in-house sourcing algorithm, but are always qualified by one of their mortgage advisers before being issued.

Customers get all the things that computers do best – vast amounts of complex information compared quickly, accurately and impartially by the various affordability, suitability, and lending criteria – but Trussle also relies on the human touch to ensure the mortgage recommendation is optimal, especially for exceptional cases.

What it doesn’t do

Like competitor Habito, Trussle can’t automatically process your application online yet but their advisers take care of this part of the process for you.

What it says:

Ishaan Malhi, founder of Trussle, says: ‘It’s easy to get hung up on the means through which mortgage advice is delivered when it should just be treated as a function of customer expectation.

‘That said, almost every industry has come online in recent years as we’ve grown to expect more from technology. If it’s right for the consumer, we hope lenders, regulators and the rest of industry see it the same way. For now customers love our balance of automation and the personal touch of a qualified adviser.

‘We’re particularly proud of being the first online mortgage broker to launch in the UK, and subsequently, the first in the industry to offer a free lifetime mortgage monitoring service which helps borrowers switch to a more suitable mortgage deal when the time is right.

‘Our industry-first partnership with Zoopla has also proved popular, which we hope will play a major role in streamlining the process of buying a house for consumers.’


Launched: April 2016

Habito was founded by Daniel Hegarty, the former head of decision science at now defunct payday lender Wonga. He bought a house a couple of years ago and was aghast at how difficult it was to get a mortgage. Habito was born. The firm has now raised a total of £27.5million through the seed, angel and venture investors behind Skype, Spotify, Twitter and Transferwise.

Will ask you for

Email and UK phone number, name, marital status, number of dependants, address history, employment and income information, information about any adverse credit history with a credit report being required in some cases, details of any relevant assets, such as properties, shares, pensions and liabilities, active credit card and loan arrangements, a breakdown of monthly expenditures and any relevant plans for the future such as starting a family.

What they do with your information

Habito’s digital mortgage adviser claims it uses artificial intelligence to provide customers with mortgage advice via a chat bot. That said, they also rely on human mortgage advisers to give you a final recommendation.

They explore all the key components of your financial life – employment, attitude to risk, and personal life plans – and explain the impact of these factors on the kind of mortgage that will work best for you online or on your mobile.

They then use real-time mortgage rates to calculate an indicative monthly payment, based on your circumstances and preferences.

Is it all online?

Once the customer has been through the process with the chat bot, Habito recommends a specific lender and mortgage product based on the ‘true cost’ of the mortgage, meaning all fees, rates and additional costs are factored in. They says this recommendation also factors in how likely lenders are to accept your application based on whether you can afford the repayments.

Habito claims its digital mortgage adviser uses artificial intelligence to provide customers with mortgage advice via a chat bot 

This is also done online or on your mobile. You are then put in touch with a mortgage adviser over the phone, who checks the recommendation before sending you the details by email.

Most of Habito’s customers engage with them via live chat, so as long as you’re logged into to your Habito account you can upload documents to your account dashboard. All data is encrypted. In addition, they will also communicate via email and update customers about the status of their applications using SMS.

What it doesn’t do

At the moment Habito’s people have to transfer your application data from their system to the right lender’s system semi-automatically and semi-manually. There are real issues with automating this bit of the process at the moment because every lender has a different application format online.

As a result there is still a bit of a disconnect, so the product recommendation you get from a Habito adviser isn’t an approved mortgage offer from the lender. 

What it says

Daniel Hegarty, founder of Habito, says: ‘We spent nearly a year developing our digital mortgage adviser, conducting hundreds of advice calls to understand what’s important to the consumer and what forms the basis of informative advice.

‘Over 90 per cent of customers prefer using live chat over a phone conversation to complete and submit their mortgage application. We think this demonstrates the shift in how people want to interact with their financial services provider.

‘In just two years, we’ve helped 115,000 people better understand their mortgage, submitted over £700million worth of mortgages and built an artificially intelligent digital mortgage adviser that has halved our broker time spent on each case. All without compromising on customer satisfaction.’   

Dynamo was born after a meeting between  broker Countrywide and Blenheim Chalcot

Dynamo was born after a meeting between broker Countrywide and Blenheim Chalcot


Launched: 2018

Dynamo officially launched to consumers at the beginning of April 2018, but there has been a core working group in operation for over a year.

The idea was originally born after a meeting between senior executives of the UK’s biggest estate agency group Countrywide, whose executives wanted to offer its customers an online channel for mortgage applications, and Blenheim Chalcot, a leading venture capitalist in the UK with a successful fintech division.

Will ask you for

Dynamo splits its information requests into separate sections. The ‘about you’ section requires basic personal information including name, date of birth, contact details, gender, nationality, residency, marital status, dependents, and address.

The next section covers ‘your needs’ and includes questions such as the current value of your property, your remaining term, your monthly payments, the end of your initial rate period, and your current outstanding mortgage balance. If the remortgage is with another person, they will also need to provide their information.

The third section is ‘your circumstances’ which includes questions about your employment as well as financial details such as your income and expenditure.

All of these sections are completed online. You will then have a call with a Dynamo mortgage adviser, who will ask additional questions for which you will need a variety of information such as your latest mortgage statement, a recent payslip and details of any credit commitments.

What they do with your information

Customers’ information is plugged into Dynamo’s proprietary back office system and Dynamo’s mortgage advisers use the information to provide a mortgage recommendation to the customer. Once the customer accepts the recommendation, an application is then submitted to the lender.

Dynamo says it is in the process of building an automated recommendation engine which will automate the recommendation fully over time.

Is it all online?

Customers can input some of their personal information online at a time convenient to them either on their phone or their PC which takes no more than 15 minutes. Customers can then find a time slot online that suits them to book a phone call with one of our mortgage advisers.

Dynamo then call back the customer within 48 hours of that call to provide the mortgage recommendation in a phone call which the firm says takes no more than 15 minutes.

If the customer accepts the recommendation, Dynamo liaises with them over email until their mortgage application is completed by the lender.

What it says

Seb McDermott, chief executive at Dynamo, says: ‘At Dynamo, we are rebuilding the mortgage process from the ground up and putting the customer at the very heart of it, delivering a new, tech-enabled experience which is set to revolutionise the way in which people think about their mortgage.

‘For our customers, our cutting edge technology provides a beautiful and easy to use website that makes the collection of mortgage application information simple and personalised. For our mortgage experts, our best in class technology will give them superpowers, simplifying complex processes and saving them time and paperwork. That allows them to focus on the most important thing, delivering a great end-to-end mortgage experience for our customers.

‘Combining this with access to some of the UK’s top lenders and exclusive deals some of which are unavailable to other mortgage brokers means we are able to offer our customers free, impartial, quality mortgage advice online and on the phone in a simple, transparent and easy to use way.

‘We are committed to making the mortgage process easy, and helping customers find the best deal for them.’    


Launched: February 2018

Mojo, formerly known as Nuvo, is a trading name of comparison site Life’s Great. It launched as a proof of concept in January 2017, before launching officially as an online broker in February this year. The 46-strong team now helps more than 20,000 people find a mortgage each month, and uses a chat bot to talk to customers through Facebook messenger, or via the firm’s website.

Will ask you for

Customers log in to Facebook Messenger and start a conversation with the Mojo chat bot.

A quick quote can take less than 60 seconds. Mojo will ask for details such as date of birth, household income, and a few questions about the customer’s circumstances such as whether they are a first-time buyer or if they will be renting the house out.

The customer is then able to continue the journey to see what mortgage they are eligible for. The full mortgage ‘fact find’ typically takes less than 15 minutes and covers everything you would expect a broker to ask to find you a mortgage.

Mojo says it is about to roll out a new feature that allows customers to pre-populate sections of their application, for example property data. It also plans to roll out a new feature that will allow customers to populate their income and expenditure using open banking APIs.

Mojo uses a Facebook Messenger chat bot to give customers a quick 60-second quote

Mojo uses a Facebook Messenger chat bot to give customers a quick 60-second quote

Is it all online?

The mortgage application is completed online and a product recommendation is made at the end of the process. The customer then speaks with a qualified mortgage adviser to double check any key bits of information.

If the customer wants to continue, Mojo will then manage the entire application through to completion. Customers are kept informed through a combination of online and offline updates, and can be kept informed via their preferred channels.

What it says

Richard Hayes, chief executive of Mojo, says: ‘The financial services market is ready for disruption. Customers want instant access to products and information in most aspects of life and the finance sector is no different.

‘Through extensive research and testing we have seen that customers want to transact online in the mortgage space. We offer a perfect combination – the ability to complete a mortgage fact find online and see what mortgages you’re eligible for, along with a team of qualified mortgage experts on hand to advise and guide where it’s needed.

‘Our mortgage experts check all applications through before submitting them to a lender, they then manage the process through until the mortgage completes. Since we launched our proof of concept, we have helped thousands of people start their mortgage journey online and completed £68million worth of mortgages.

‘Our service is completely free. We are dedicated to providing a best in class customer experience, with a clear focus on making the process of getting a mortgage easier and clearer.

‘We believe in empowering our customers with knowledge and providing them with the perfect platform to make finding the right mortgage as easy as shopping on Amazon.’

Mortgage Gym

Launched: 2016

Mortgage Gym was founded in 2016 by John Ingram and David Vertannes. It launched in October 2017 after securing funding from Go Compare, originally offering remortgages only before extending its offering to include first-time buyers and movers in January 2018.

Will ask you for

Mortgage Gym describes itself as a ‘robo-adviser’, and claims it can match customers to lenders in just 60 seconds, before helping them choose with a qualified expert. It believes that the majority of customers still want to speak to a human adviser, so as well as providing robo-advice, it also provides access to live advisers.

Is it all online?

Like its competitors, Mortgage Gym is not 100 per cent online. The group claims that the majority of its customers want to speak to a human adviser at some point during the process. However, it claims that ‘straight through’ online applications are not far away.

What it says

Jeremy Moll, managing director of Mortgage Gym, said: ‘60 seconds. That’s just one minute to find mortgages you are likely to be accepted for and see how much you could borrow – before you apply quickly and easily.

‘Customer information is always safely and securely stored and is only used, with permission, to help source and buy the right mortgage.

‘Mortgage Gym’s unique consumer proposition enables people to find out how much they can borrow, real time and in 60 seconds.

‘All of the boring, laborious and time-consuming effort required to buy a mortgage via the traditional routes are automated by Mortgage Gym. Our customers can source and buy a mortgage from the comfort of their own home on any device and at any time.’   


Launched: June 2018

Describing itself as a ‘fresh, innovative mortgage platform for the tech savvy individual’ Hooski is relatively new. It says it provides an entirely digital process, meaning you’ll never have to talk to an actual human on the phone while applying for your mortgage. You’re still talking to a human online though.

Will ask you for

In order to get an idea of the deals available and an idea of how much they can borrow, all that applicants need to input is their salary, commitments, and a few details about the loan amount, type of rate, and term they would like.

To progress to the next stage and to get a personal recommendation from one of Hooski’s advisers, they will need to provide it with their name, address, employment details, commitments, and credit history. 

 Hooski allows you to apply for a mortgage without having to speak to someone on the phone

 Hooski allows you to apply for a mortgage without having to speak to someone on the phone

If they wish to proceed after getting their personal recommendation, for Hooski to submit a mortgage application to the lender, applicants need to upload one form of photo ID, two forms of address ID, their latest three payslips or latest two years’ tax calculations and tax year overviews, their latest three months’ bank statements, and a proof of deposit.

What they do with your information

Hooski uses the customer information firstly to provide applicants with a personal mortgage recommendation, assessing their affordability and which lenders will fit their circumstances/criteria. When instructed, it then uses their information and documentation to submit and progress their mortgage application with the chosen lender.

All of the information and documentation that they provide is held on a secure and fully encrypted area of Hooski’s site. This information stays there until their mortgage has completed, at which point it is transferred to a digital vault and completely deleted from the secure area of the site.

Is it all online?

Yes, it’s all completely online but not completely automated. The applicant provides Hooski with their details and documentation entirely online; an adviser corresponds by email and secure messaging, and uploads their recommendation and illustration on their secure site; and then when the application has been submitted to the lender, Hooski provides the applicants with regular updates on the progress of their application via email and secure messaging.

What it says

A Hooski spokesman said: ‘What sets Hooski apart from other online mortgage advice services is the fact that we are a group of advisers with over 100 years collective experience in advising on mortgages, instead of a mainly IT-based outfit who have entered the mortgage advice space. 

‘We aim to provide the same personal, high-quality service that we have all delivered in our previous face-to-face advice roles, but for the digital, fast-paced age.’

London & Country

Launched: December 2017

This is Money’s own mortgage partner London & Country, the UK’s biggest independent broker, threw its hat into the ring last year by launching its own online mortgage finder.

The launch of its online service came after credit rating agency Experian revealed it had bought a 25 per cent minority stake in the broker in November.

Will ask you for

L&C’s online facility allows you to enter your income and expenditure details, employment, and information about any savings or other assets you have by directing you through a series of questions and answers.

What they do with your information 

Once you’ve filled in your details, the system searches thousands of mortgage deals from providers across the market and recommends the best one for you based on the information you provide.

David Hollingworth, L&C Mortgages

David Hollingworth, L&C Mortgages

That digital advice process can enable you to find the right mortgage, but for now all online recommendations will also be double-checked by a fully qualified adviser so the customer can rest easy they’re getting the best possible mortgage for them.

If there are any quirks in your application the system transfers you to chat online with a mortgage adviser or you can choose to speak to someone over the phone.

What it says

L&C’s David Hollingworth said: ‘In most cases we expect our customers will still want to have a conversation with an adviser but the digital application just gives them another option on how to manage the process.

‘Either they can fill in their details online themselves as and when is convenient for them, or they can speak to us and we can fill in that information for them.

‘For us, it’s not just about making the customer journey slicker online, it’s also fundamentally about offering good mortgage advice.’


Launched: October 2017

Robo-adviser Hoocht launched in October last year, and gives customers an estimation of their borrowing options following a series of chatbot-led questions, before passing them on to mortgage brokers via online chat.

In April, it partnered with insurer Homelyfe to add home insurance to its offering, and recently teamed up with technology platform When You Move.

The concept for the company first emerged in 2016, with founder Rich Wynn citing the need to make mortgages ‘faster and easier’ for customers. It claims to use artificial intelligence to help customers apply for a mortgage in ‘minutes rather than hours’.

The broker has also partnered with charity Parkinson’s UK to donate any pennies over a round pound from the fee lenders pay them for every completed mortgage – and it donates kits to grassroots sports teams in return for mortgage referrals.

How it works

At the beginning of the application, customers are asked about their income and their deposit. The site then generates a ‘mortgage potential’ which gives customers an estimation of their potential options.

Following a few more questions, such as whether the customer has any outstanding debt, an actual broker takes over – though the company claims that nine times out of 10 the original bot-generated estimation is what ends up being offered.

What it says

Hoocht founder and managing director Rich Wynn said: ‘Traditional mortgage solutions have, more often than not, proved to be overly time-consuming and needlessly complicated.

‘Moving home is already a stressful enough experience, so Hoocht’s mantra is that “life is too short to worry about mortgages, let Hoocht do that for you”.’ 

Q&A: Online mortgage brokers 

Will online mortgages work if I’m self-employed? 

Yes. Even if your income sources are a bit more complicated than someone with a full time job at a large company, most online brokers will still be able to help you. They will ask you questions about your income and then, if they need more detail, you should be able to have a conversation online or over the phone to find out your options. 

How much do online mortgages cost compared to seeing a broker?

It depends on the company, but online mortgage brokers charge in the same way that face-to-face brokers do. Some offer advice for free and earn a commission from the lender when you complete your application. Others earn this fee and also charge either a flat fee, a percentage fee or an hourly rate directly to you. This is likely to be between around £250 and £1,000 although if the loan is large, it may be more. 

Will online brokers find me the very best deal from all lenders?

They should find you the more suitable deal for your circumstances. This might not necessarily be the cheapest rate – it depends on your personal situation. For example, if you need to complete quickly, a slightly more expensive rate from a lender that can deal with things in a short time frame could be a better option for you. It’s also important to note that not all lenders deal with all mortgage brokers – some lenders offer their cheapest rates directly. Similarly, mortgage brokers will usually have access to a large number of lenders, but they may not have a relationship with one or two. You should ask them up front who they deal with. 

Will mortgage brokers still be around in years to come if I want face-to-face advice? 

It’s impossible to predict the future with any certainty but it’s likely that if customers want to be able to see a broker face-to-face, this option will remain available. Lenders and brokers are investing heavily in improving their online service for those who want to transact this way but they are likely to keep offering face-to-face advice and service over the phone for the foreseeable future at least.  


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