Plenty of financial support services have made their way online over the years. As we’ve seen right here at Project Financially Free, you can now even ask an automated advisor to take care of your investments for you. However, this time around, we’re going to be taking a look at mortgage brokers. There’s been a big movement towards online mortgage brokers in recent times, and while a handful of existing firms have made to leap to digital mortgage management, one or two names have popped up purely to offer online support.
That may be one of the major differences between Habito and L&C. L&C (London & Country) is a firm which existed long before online mortgage broking ever became a thing. Habito, meanwhile, has emerged as a leading name in purely online mortgage broking. But what other comparisons can we make between the two? Which, if either, is the best option for you to take?
In this guide, I’ll take a deep dive into the world of online mortgage brokers, and will give you a clear indication of the best move for you to take. Intrigued about moving your mortgage online? Read on to find out how Habito and L&C compare.
Habito vs L&C: A Quick Summary
- Both Habito and L&C offer free, quick, online mortgage comparison services.
- Habito offers an algorithm to help fine-tune its results. L&C uses a similar service, but does appear to rely more on human support.
- Both services make money through referrals, meaning they are invested in finding you the best deals.
- The online application process is simple, though some feel L&C may offer more support when getting started.
- Habito is a relatively young, start-up digital platform. L&C is a long-standing name in mortgage broking.
- Both services compare over 90 different lenders’ deals and mortgages.
- L&C appears to be more flexible and confident with regard to complex mortgage queries, with competitive timescales for application processing. Some feel Habito’s algorithm system may not support complicated queries enough.
- Both services support first-time buyers and remortgaging.
- You can access your application 24 hours a day, completely online, as and when you wish.
- Ultimately, both services strive to find bespoke deals based on your financial circumstances, both are fully regulated and competitive in their approach.
- L&C offers insurance services, too, which Habito doesn’t.
What’s the Difference Between Online and Traditional Mortgage Brokers?
Before we start digging deeper into what makes Habito, and then L&C, tick, let’s take a quick look at the major differences between online and traditional mortgage brokers.
Traditional mortgage brokers, of course, would generally operate on the high street, normally out of a bank. While many people still trust traditional mortgage broking largely out of safety concerns, it is seen by many to be an outdated process. Considering that Habito has only emerged as a leading name in mortgage broking in recent years, that’s a big shift in a short space of time.
However, plenty of services are moving online. Buying a mortgage online has less paperwork for you to handle, at least on the face of it. What’s more, online services take the initiative to put advanced algorithms and programs to the test. Therefore, homeowners can be given objectively unbiased rates and better deals to suit their finances.
That’s why many people are choosing to go online when it comes to comparing and contrasting mortgages. While having the safety of a bank manager is tempting, you can get plenty more results, quicker, by using a web-based engine. However, your own tastes may vary. In this guide, as mentioned, I’m going to be breaking down two of the leading names in the market – Habito, which emerged as a bit of a game-changer, and L&C, who joined the game while the bandwagon was hot.
What is Habito?
Habito offers a completely free mortgage broker service, taking place entirely through its website. The service takes into account thousands of different mortgage products, and therefore aims to take away a lot of the stresses and strains of comparing and contrasting various deals.
Mortgage broking used to be a fairly painstaking process. While much of it is conveniently carried out through more advanced systems than those of yesteryear, traditional broking still has plenty of pitfalls. Habito presents something which is genuinely refreshing – an advanced algorithm and an online model which promises to narrow down mortgage options based entirely on a handful of profile details.
For most people, this service will offer a lot of convenience and support. However, there may still be some mortgage borrowers out there who prefer the assurance of at least some paperwork. Not everyone feels comfortable with giving everything over to a machine. In some ways, I can’t blame them – but if Habito is as efficient and as straightforward as it is marketed to be, it’s hard to see why anyone would want to pass it up.
How Does Habito Work?
Habito will ask you for a few details before you get started, which means you should of course have the usual financial and personal information to hand to fill out the online forms. Rather than these details being completely filtered into a machine, Habito will actually request that one of their human staff take a look at your application, and will process the details to look for suitable matches. This way, anyone worried about there being a colossal digital error can rest a little easier.
Habito’s mortgage experts will be on hand to help you whenever you need them during working hours, meaning that if you’re unsure about any of the details you’ve provided, you’ll be able to tweak them along the way. What’s more, if you feel that you haven’t been given any deals which particularly appeal to you and your finances, you can also request that an advisor take a further look for you.
Once you’ve found a mortgage deal that appeals to you, Habito will work to secure it for you. This could take anywhere between a month to two months, meaning that you may have to wait a while for the digital paperwork to complete. The service will offer you an estimate on a deal with one of their many lenders represented, however, if anything changes during the process, they will let you know as soon as possible.
It’s worth remembering, too, that any deals that Habito suggests won’t impact on your credit score, and that they are only ever accepted by you In Principle. In any case, always make sure to read through the small print that comes attached, so that you’re completely in the know.
Is Habito Safe?
Habito is fully regulated, which means that anyone worried about sharing their personal and banking details online really won’t need to show any concern. The site is completely vetted and overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority. Therefore, your data is assured to be completely safe, and that it won’t be shared with any third parties. However, do be careful to pay attention to any tick boxes which may pop up along the way. Otherwise, nothing will be shared or processed unless you explicitly ask Habito to do so on your behalf.
Is Habito Quick?
Habito is super-quick to deliver results to you, which will come as a relief to anyone who wants or needs the right facts and figures as soon as possible. That may well be most people! However, as mentioned, it can take a few weeks for a mortgage to fully settle and complete with the service. However, this can be comparable to many services offered by traditional mortgage brokers. Finding and settling the perfect mortgage deal takes time and effort. You can use the service 24 hours a day, however, to compare and contrast what’s available.
What Are Habito’s Fees?
This is the best part – Habito charges absolutely nothing as an online mortgage broker service. They get paid through commission, which means they are dedicated to making sure you find the perfect deal. Consider them a referrer of sorts, who will get paid once a deal is finalised. It’s not in Habito’s interests to line you up with a deal that simply doesn’t work!
What is L&C?
L&C is a long-standing mortgage broker, having been part of the mortgage comparison industry since 1987. Therefore, with over 30 years under its belt, it has considerably more time to build up a reputation with customers than Habito. Beyond this, it has also had plenty of time to work with long-standing brands and services offering mortgage. L&C, much like Habito, offers extensive customer service support, meaning that if you have any concerns about the way your comparison is going, you can raise them with a friendly member of the team whenever you desire.
Unlike Habito, L&C has made the move into online broking from a completely offline standpoint. That makes it something of a different animal to the completely online service. However, they aim to offer the same services – to provide you with hundreds of options on house buying and remortgaging, as well as assistance with filling out some of the more awkward paperwork along the way. You can also call the team seven days a week for help.
How Does L&C Work?
L&C works in a similar fashion to Habito in that, naturally, you will be asked for a few details at the point of application. Specifically, you will be required to truthfully provide details on your personal circumstances, your employment and anything deemed relevant from a financial standpoint. L&C has positioned itself as the ‘number one online mortgage broker’, and by this, they mean that they offer the most ease in application, as well as the most extensive support along the way.
Simply enter in your details or call a member of the L&C team during your application to start the process. From here, you’ll be given the opportunity to track your application online while deals are popping up. They will even provide you with your own account manager, meaning you will have someone you can come back to for dedicated advice as and when you require. That’s a nice touch.
Is L&C Safe?
L&C, like Habito, is completely regulated and is therefore safe to use. Anyone worried about processing their financial data can rest easy in the knowledge that the broker brand is overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority. L&C makes things exceptionally clear to its users, meaning that in some ways it does adopt a traditional broking approach combined with an online platform. It may not have the fancy algorithms that put Habito at the front of the pack, however, they have the benefit of a human touch, which a lot of people will feel safe around and to use.
Is L&C Quick?
As with Habito, a mortgage application will – sadly – take as long as it takes. However, L&C advises that processing time, once you’ve found a deal you like, will vary depending on the complexity of your application – sometimes as long as 40 days, or a month and a half. This does seem to compete well against Habito. What’s more, their mortgage deal finding service is refreshingly quick, keeping up to step with the likes of Habito who are hoping to lead the way on this front.
L&C, essentially, is as quick as any other when it comes to comparing mortgage deals, however, they do seem to offer a fair amount of confidence when it comes to actively securing an offer. As with Habito, anything you agree to with L&C is completely ‘In Principle’, and once again, you’ll be able to read more about this process in the small print that comes provided. As simple and as trustworthy as L&C is, always make sure you read any terms or conditions you are agreeing to be bound to. It is just good practice.
What Are L&C’s Fees?
Once again, L&C offers completely free mortgage comparison. This means that they, too, will be paid on a commission basis. This should come as comforting news to most mortgage searchers, as it will mean that they are not in the process of handing out bad deals to their customers!
It can seem a little odd that this type of service, particularly given the level of customer care, can be offered up for free. However, this is clearly a testament to how dependable their mortgage finding skills actually are. Do you really need an algorithm to find the best deals around? Maybe not.
Habito – Pros and Cons
How does Habito cut it when it comes to the pros and cons? Let’s drill down and take a look.
- Habito is completely free to use. The service is funded through commission, which means it’s paid for by the lenders they sell through.
- Habito can compare over 20,000 different products at any one time, making it one of the biggest mortgage deal sweepers on the market.
- The service compares deals from over 90 different lenders.
- You can manage and monitor your mortgage broking search at any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- The service is almost completely run online, which means they handle the paperwork for you.
- You only need a handful of details to get started.
- The service is completely regulated and is safe to use.
- Habito uses a special algorithm and a series of systems to offer more bespoke comparison services to its users.
- You’ll also be able to claim money on top of your deal by referring friends – there is £100 up for grabs for both of you if they choose a deal and process it through Habito.
- You can sign up through Facebook or Google if you like.
- The application process can seem a little confusing at first, and you don’t seem to get much support at the start.
- Habito is still a relatively new brand, and therefore doesn’t have years on the market to back itself up.
- Running via algorithms, there’s no guarantee that more complex concerns won’t confuse the system. There are human advisors, but it may be lacking that human touch many people will look for.
- It can take some time for mortgage deals to complete, largely dependent on the complexity of your application.
L&C – Pros and Cons
L&C may have been around for longer than Habito, but does it necessarily hold the edge?
- Time is on L&C’s side. They have been in the mortgage broking game since 1987, and are therefore experienced.
- They are a household name, meaning they may be seen as a safe choice for those familiar with the brand.
- The service compares over 90 different lenders online, with the added benefit that they already have a long-standing relationship with some of them.
- You have full support with your application from the very beginning, meaning any difficult or confusing paperwork has backup from trained and experienced mortgage experts.
- It’s completely free to use, and like Habito, the brand is paid through commission via lenders.
- The mortgage finding process, and the deal processing service, appears to be very speedy compared to the wider competition.
- You can manage and monitor your application 24 hours a day through an online dashboard.
- You can call a member of the team seven days a week for support. You will also get a dedicated account manager who you can refer to at any time for bespoke help.
- L&C will not only let you buy mortgages and remortgage properties, but also offers life and home insurance options which you can add into your deal.
- Unlike Habito, L&C doesn’t rely on algorithms to find its deals. This may be seen as a positive or a negative touch depending on how you feel re the whole process.
- It is a service which has migrated from offline to online – it doesn’t have the same start-up roots as Habito, which may make it seem like a bit of a dinosaur to some people.
- There is less of a hands-off process here, with more of an emphasis on the human touch. This won’t appeal to everyone, especially those looking for an instant, digital platform.
- Despite its long-standing name, L&C appears to compare the same number of mortgage lenders as everyone else. There doesn’t seem to be any push for competitive edge in this regard.
Online Mortgage Broker Alternatives
Of course, Habito and L&C aren’t the only names on the market as far as online mortgage broking is concerned. It’s worth taking a closer look at the wider market to see if there are any brands or options which appeal to you more.
Mojo, for example, is similar to Habito in that it processes mortgage concerns for free, and completely online. It’s focused more on efficiency, however. Trussle, meanwhile, offers a very similar platform, with a similar number of lenders, and complete access to your application 24 hours a day.
Dashly, however, is a slightly different kettle of fish in that it is largely app-based. This service may appeal to anyone who prefers to do their banking and other sensitive admin via smartphone. It’ll also help you switch mortgage.
Habito vs L&C: Conclusion
For my money, however, L&C appears to just clinch things. Their experience in mortgage broking holds firm over Habito’s relative youth. What’s more, L&C offers more products, and generally does better at handling more complex queries. This is thanks to their human interfacing, which is perhaps more welcome than a purely automated service.
That being said, Habito also carries plenty of great benefits. These are both leading, free services which should help you to narrow down your search for a mortgage through a veritable list of thousands of products.
Online mortgage brokers appear to have the edge in general – but which is best for you? Take a look around and see what appeals to your own circumstances the most.