Habito review: is this online mortgage broker right for you?

Our Habito review explains the online mortgage broker's services and how to use them

Habito review
(Image credit: Getty)

Our comprehensive Habito review takes an impartial look at the services offered by the popular online broker and mortgage specialist, helping you to decide whether it's right for you. If you're new to online broker services, you'll have lots of questions. Is it trustworthy? Will I get to speak to an actual person? And what fees, if any, will I have to pay? We cover all your frequently asked questions. 

We explain how this model of mortgage advice works, so that you can decide whether finding the best mortgage rate with Habito is right for you.  

If you would like to give it a go straight away, you can use the Habito online comparison tool at the end of this article. Complete novice and finding all the mortgage terminology confusing? Check out our introductory guide to mortgages for first-time buyers

Is Habito an online price comparison service?

No. Until fairly recently, if you wanted to research taking out a mortgage online, you were limited to generic price comparison services that didn't take into account your individual circumstances. Habito offers a full brokerage service, which means it will give you fully qualified advice on the best mortgage deals following a conversation about your financial circumstances. 

Is Habito free?

Yes, Habito services are completely free for you, the mortgage applicant, at every stage of the process. They don't charge any fees, regardless of whether you just used their comparison tool or went all the way and submitted a mortgage application. In that respect, Habito works in exactly the same way as a traditional broker, making their money in commission from lenders, not mortgage applicants. 

Habito Plus service does come with a fee, but, as we explain further down, it's a slightly different service additional to the mortgage application, and is in no way compulsory. 

Is Habito safe to use?

Yes – like all other broker services in the UK, Habito is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, which means that, by law, they have to offer you the best advice for you. 

How does Habito work? 

The first step is using Habito's online calculator, which will give you a basic idea of how much you could borrow, and what kind repayments you'd be looking at. The next step is having a conversation with the website's chatbot – it uses a complex set of algorithms to go a little bit deeper into your individual needs and circumstances. 

On the basis of that online chat, you'll be presented with several mortgages deals, which you can then discuss in more detail with a Habito representative over the phone. Only after that human-to-human conversation, and once you've been helped to determine the most appropriate mortgage deal for you, will you be able to proceed with an actual mortgage application. 

To apply for the mortgage, you'll need to register and complete an online form, which will ask you lots of questions about your financial and personal circumstances. 

Be ready for this step: the questions may feel intrusive, but are designed to make sure your chances of being approved for the mortgage are maximised. You will also need to scan and upload documents (various, depending on your application). Habito will then look over and send the application on your behalf.

Will using Habito affect my credit score?

Only if you go through to the application stage. At the advisory stage, you credit rating will not be accessed, and there will be no record of the consultation if you choose not to make a mortgage application. 

Are Habito whole of market brokers? 

Yes, Habito offer products from over 70 different lenders that are representative of all segments of the mortgage market. They make money by taking commission from a selection of lenders (which will be clearly stated when you are presented with different mortgages deals), and this makes the service is free for you to use. 

This does mean that you will only be able to submit a mortgage application to the lenders Habito works with through their website, but they will still include other lenders at the consultation stage. If the best deal for you is with a lender they don't get commission from, you'll need to submit your application directly to the lender. 

The only lenders excluded from the Habito search are the big UK banks (e.g. HSBC, Lloyds, First Direct). 

Will Habito help me apply for mortgage with a bad credit rating?

As a general rule, Habito only take on fairly straightforward applications, and will ask you to confirm that you haven't filed for bankruptcy and aren't currently in serious debt. If you do have a bad credit rating or your financial circumstances are otherwise complicated, you will be better off speaking to a mortgage advisor in person.  

Read more about getting a mortgage with bad credit.

Habito Plus: what does it do, and is it worth it?

The Habito Plus service takes care of the admin that is associated with buying a home, such as surveys, conveyancing, and legal paperwork. For a fee (starting at £2,000), Habito will take care of everything once you've found a home. You will also need to secure a mortgage through them to use the service. This service is not available for Help to Buy purchases or for remortgaging.

The Habito Go route (currently suspended) allows you to become a cash buyer, with Habito lending you the  sum not covered by the mortgage for 12 months, with interest. There's an upfront fee equivalent to 1.95 per cent of the total property value, and you must meet certain criteria to qualify:

  • a minimum £30,000 salary
  • A first-time buyer (not buy to let)
  • Between 25 and 55 years old
  • buying a property of up to £750,000 with a 20 per cent deposit, or up to £500,000 with a 15 per cent deposit

Please note that the Habito Go service is currently not being offered due to Covid-19. 

Does Habito cover buy-to-let mortgages?

Yes – and, in fact, they are launching their own buy to let mortgages, having successfully qualified as a mortgage lender. Don't worry, though – the lending department of the business will be kept separate from the brokerage, so the Habito mortgage comparison service will not give preferential treatment to their own product. 

What are the disadvantages of using Habito?

While the site is very user-friendly, you do need a basic knowledge of mortgage terminology – for example, whether you need a fixed rate of variable mortgage. If you've read our mortgage guides, though, you'll be well prepared to begin your search. Head to our mortgage hub page to explore. 

Comparing mortgages

We have teamed up with Habito to help you find the mortgage deal that is best for you. Have a go at using their calculator below to get a feel of the service. 

Please note: Habito is an online mortgage broker and whole of market lender so they will assess the best deals available and work out which works for you. We have an affiliate relation with Habito and take a small percentage of commission for referring you to them.

Anna is a professional writer with many years of experience. She has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. She covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.