Keeping things as simple as possible - there are basically only four ways in which you can get advice about a home loan:
  1. A direct approach to the Lender;
  2. Engaging the services of a traditional mortgage broker;
  3. Using one of the various online comparison sites; or
  4. Engaging the services of a truly independent mortgage broker.
But only engaging a truly independent mortgage broker will allow you to access unbiased mortgage advice.
None of the first three listed above are required by law to act in your best interests and none are required to give you impartial or unbiased home loan advice.  Here are the basic facts:
  1. It should be fairly obvious that a Lender (or their loans officer) will not give you unbiased advice.  Put simply - they aren't going to recommend another Lender's product even if they know about it and even if they know it's a better deal.  Their job is to sell you their Bank's products, to distract you with marketing hype or gimmicks, and to make it as hard as possible to compare "apples with apples".  The government regulator of Banks (APRA) has often voiced its concerns about Banks' sales and remuneration cultures.
  2. As discussed elsewhere on this site - and despite the continuing marketing rhetoric - mortgage brokers do not have access to all loan products (or even the majority).  Despite how many they actually have access to - most mortgage brokers only introduce loans to their 'favourite' 5 or 6 Lenders - and an alarming percentage of mortgage brokers use as few as 2 or 3 Lenders (see this 2014 Industry Article for more).  The average mortgage broker is focussed on putting your loan where they can most easily and quickly get it settled - get their commission - and move on.  And, of course, mortgage brokers will only ever talk to you about home loans that pay commissions and it is only the Lenders that pay the higher commissions that ever appear on a mortgage broker's panel of Lenders.
  3. Online comparison sites are no better than a traditional mortgage broker.  Most only contain information about a very small number of Lenders.  None of the sites are independent or unbiased.  Home loan products will not appear on those sites unless the Lender pays to have them there - either advertising fees - or commissions - or both (see this article for more).  More often than not you will be 'hooked' by the offer of what appears to be a very low interest rate only to find out later that either you can't actually qualify for that deal or that there is a hidden catch.  The 'game' here is to get you 'off the market' and committed to a process with a Lender or mortgage broker so that you stop undertaking a non-emotional and empirical comparison with other loan products.  Finally, there are an increasing number of comparison sites that are owned by the Lenders or large mortgage broking groups.  In other words - they are just "wolves in sheep's clothing".
Only a truly independent mortgage broker will give you impartial and unbiased mortgage advice.