There have been better times to be looking for a mortgage but they are still available and by and large mortgage brokers are the best people to put you in touch with the right one for you. Fair enough, the huge multiples of income, ridiculously high valuations and loans to value which often equalled and sometimes exceeded a reasonable valuation of the property are thankfully behind us and a good thing too in my humble opinion, far too many people were encouraged by easily available money to pay far too much for houses that they couldn't really afford and although minimum deposits have risen (90% mortgages can still be found to people with good credit, but 80 to 85% is now the norm) many interest rates are at the lowest level on record and now that house prices have fallen back substantially in many areas property is far more affordable than it was a couple of years ago.
Despite many rumours to the contrary buy to let mortgages and self certified (ie, no proof of income) loans are still available but it usually takes an experienced broker to find these and to select the best one to match a particular client's requirements. Poor credit mortgages are also still available but lenders are far more keen on ensuring that the borrower can afford the repayments and subject to status and valuation loans of 60% to 70% of value are commonly offered to people who have had financial problems in the past.
Apart from the fact that a broker has the sort of contacts that can make the difference between a mortgage being granted and refused there is another major advantage to putting your business with one; he or she will not put you forward for a mortgage unless you have a very good chance indeed of seeing your application approved. If you are to make an application yourself to a lender and you were turned down because you did not meet that lenders criteria the fact that you had been refused would be registered on your credit records and that fact alone could make it very difficult for you to raise a loan in the future, even if you would otherwise have been a suitable candidate. On the downside many brokers will charge a fee for arranging your loan but very often you could save this money over and over again because of the broker's access to the cheapest deals, many of which could be unavailable to if you were to make an application yourself (provided of course that you knew where to apply in the first place!).
In short; a good broker should be up to advise you on how much deposit you would need to put up, how much you should be able to borrow, what the repayments will cost you and for how long, and he or she should be able to find new the best deal on the market to suit your own individual situation and requirements. This could not only save you a great deal of money but also a long and possibly discouraging search which may, but also may not, be successful in the end.