Mystery Shopper: Surrey

Mystery Shopper: Surrey

Each week the mystery shopper seeks advice from independent advisers in the UK. The aim is to find out whether advisers are delivering the goods when it comes to the all-important initial telephone contact between client and adviser. It is only intended to evaluate this first interview, and it is understood that further meetings would be necessary before final decisions could be made. The purpose is not to expose poor selling practices, but to show constructively any weaknesses in the advice process.

This week, the mystery shopper visits Surrey. The shopper has been struggling to find a mortgage despite having a deposit of around £70,000. A lot of the lenders she has spoken to have told her she has not met the affordability criteria because she earns £30,000 a year.  The value of properties she has found in Surrey range from £250,000 to £300,000.


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Adviser: Heritage Independent Mortgage Advisers (independent)

Address:  4 Quarry Court, Lime Quarry Mews, Merrow, Guildford GU1 2RD

Speed of response: 10.01am. The shopper waited almost a minute before being put through to someone. 4/5

Telephone manner: Helpful and friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: CeMap. 5/5

Payment method: A one-off fee of £295 to process a successful application. 5/5

Guidance: High street lenders will only lend up to a maximum of five times the salary. But it could be less if they have to factor in credit cards and other loans. The shopper's chances of getting the mortgage she wants would improve with an increase of her deposit or if she added someone else to the mortgage. 4/5

Knowledge: The adviser sounded knowledgeable. Even though she offered suggestions on how the shopper could improve her chances, the shopper was not sure how realistic they were. 4/5


Website: 5/5

Verdict: The shopper felt the adviser was friendly and was trying to be helpful, but the options offered were not something she felt were easily achievable.



Adviser: North Star Financial Services (independent)

Address: First Floor, 69-71 Commercial Way, Woking GU21 6HN

Speed of response: 10.15am. One ring and put through to adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Polite but a bit curt. 3/5

Relevant qualifications: Cert PFS. 5/5

Payment method: Fee of £295 for a successful mortgage application. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser told the shopper that the maximum mortgage she could get was based on a multiple of how much she is earning, the maximum being five times salary The shopper asked the adviser if there was anything she could do to improve her chances and he said no. 4/5

Knowledge: The adviser spoke with confidence about the shopper’s chances, or lack thereof, in the mortgage market, but she did not feel he went the extra mile to provide other options that could help improve her chances. 3/5


Website: 5/5

Verdict: The adviser was very blunt about the challenges the shopper would face in trying to get a mortgage for the property value she was looking at. She felt he could have been more helpful in exploring ideas on how she might improve her chances.



Adviser: Lloyds Independent Financial Services (independent)

Address: 6 Farnham Cloisters, 41 Shortheath Rd, Farnham GU9 8SX

Speed of response: 10.25am. One ring and put through to adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Helpful and friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Certificate in mortgage advice, CII. 5/5