If you are considering working with a mortgage broker to help you find the best home financing option for your needs, you’ll want to make sure you work with someone who’s right for you. As with any type of industry professional, mortgage brokers are required to meet certain standards. Of course it goes without saying that your mortgage broker should meet or surpass these industry standards (licensing, etc.), but there are a few other key features to look for in a good broker.
We’ve compiled a short list of 5 tips for choosing an excellent mortgage professional. Keep in mind this is not a fully comprehensive list; however, with our decades of experience in the industry and working directly with our skilled partners, we feel these 5 are among the most important.
Tip No. 1: Start with Referrals
Chances are your real estate agent, or friend, or relative, or neighbor, etc. knows a mortgage professional. This can be an excellent way to begin looking for the broker who will help you along your home financing journey.
Tip No. 2: Look for the 3 C’s
Communication. Clarity. Courtesy. When you begin reaching out to brokers, take mental notes on how well they communicate, if what they’re communicating is clear to you, and if they are courteous while doing it.
Dealing with financial matters can be complicated and frustrating and often scary for people who have not been through the home loan process before. A good broker will be able to effectively communicate complex mathematical calculations and financial concepts to his or her borrowers, and be patient when their borrowers have questions. Also, when dealing with real estate matters, time is of the essence. Your mortgage representative should show that they can communicate clearly and quickly. If you find it difficult to get a hold of them, or get them to commit to a time to meet, these are red flags.
We could take this a step further and add another C for “checking in.” Many mortgage brokers have very busy schedules (especially during peak home buying seasons). While it may be understandable if they’re unable to reply or provide communication right away, being busy should not be an excuse to let borrowers go days without any correspondence. Even just an occasional email or phone call to provide a quick status update reinforces the relationship between the borrower and the broker and can help assure the borrower that they haven’t been forgotten.
Tip No. 3: Work with a broker who can help you save money
Mortgage brokers make money through commissions on the loans they sell. The value of a mortgage broker is that they should be able to help you get a more affordable loan than you would have been able to find on your own. If your broker can help you save money on your loan overall, their commission fee should not be a deterrent; it should be equal to or less than the amount of money you’re saving by working with them.
Tip No. 4: Work with a broker who offers a wide range of products
Mortgage brokers do not lend money themselves; instead, they partner with wholesale mortgage lenders and offer their products to borrowers. Because they can partner with multiple mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers should be able to offer an extensive selection of loan options. Be wary of brokers who “specialize” and only offer a few types of loans. Instead, find someone who can offer you access to a variety.
Tip No. 5: Find a broker you could work with again in the future
While none of us has a crystal ball, we can safely assume that many people who come to mortgage brokers for their home loan needs are potential repeat buyers. First time buyers should be especially important to mortgage brokers, as mortgage brokers should be important to first time buyers. This is because first time buyers often become move-up buyers or refinancers. If you’re a first time buyer working with a mortgage broker, chances are pretty high that you would use your broker’s services again in the future, right? Well, that probably depends on how good an experience you have working with the broker. Does your broker demonstrate the characteristics listed above? Does he or she communicate well, appreciate your business, and offer a range of products? Could you see yourself working with this person for not just this loan, but for any or all home financing needs in the future?
It may sound silly, but working with a mortgage broker should, ideally, be a long term professional relationship. When it comes time to move to a bigger house, or refinance to a lower rate, or buy that vacation home you always dreamed of, wouldn’t it be nice to call upon the person who knows your financial situation and homeownership dreams better than anyone?
Photography by [Who is Danny] © shutterstock.com
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