When it comes to navigating the market and shopping around for a product you’re interested in, what’s the first thing you do? Many turn to comparison websites. These often give you a good guide as to the sort of price you may be looking at and the terms involved. Or do they?

These days it’s possible to shop online for a mortgage, loan, insurance and any protection cover you may wish to consider. Comparison websites make it easy for you to keep the same search criteria and look across a range of providers to see if they offer competitive rates. If you’re happy with a quote, it’s relatively easy to select your preferences and buy instantly, any time of day or night. Job done. Sometimes.

However, are you being offered the full range available and could you be missing out on a better deal? It’s very likely there are further comparable products and that a better deal can indeed be found elsewhere. Many advisors have special relationships with lenders and access to exclusive products or rates in return for a commission. Similarly, lenders may choose not to be on a comparison website.

Online deals may also be sponsored, and this isn’t always obvious, even though they should state that they are and appear differently within the website. It’s worth being aware of this and not assuming the first or most obvious result is the best.

Unfortunately, all too often it takes quite a long time to search through the different online options only to find that when your details are submitted you then have to contact a provider anyway. Time is precious and spending an evening thinking you’ve got a good deal after some online research only to find you haven’t sorted it out at all, is frustrating.

So how about searching for an adviser instead? Look through their website, see what they offer and read some testimonials. Are customers happy? Have they returned? Are there clear explanations on the website and do they offer you what you’re looking for?

Once you contact an adviser, they should take the time to find out what your personal circumstances are as well as letting you know the various products they have available. Far from feeling pressurised into buying something, you should feel reassured that they are tailoring their knowledge of the market with those available to match your needs. Rather than having to wade through lots of small print online, it should be clearly explained, and alternatives discussed if you’re unsure.

Good advice may not cost. Again, your chosen adviser should be clear about this. However, you should also feel reassured that they are regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and have provided you with a clear complaints path should you need it. FCA authorised advisers will have current training to make sure they have up to date market knowledge.

In conclusion, although online searches can help you explore some of the options that may be available to you, at the end of the day, a good adviser will do the hard work for you. They will also be able to keep an eye on your long-term position and recommend new and evolving products as they come to market. Yes, there will be an initial cost but if it saves you money over a period of time or offers just the right package for your needs, then that’s the peace of mind worth considering.

Get in contact with one of our advisers and chat through your options.