Top 10 Questions you should be asking your potential mortgage broker? Interview them!
There are more mortgage brokers today than ever. This is fantastic! If it wasn’t for licensed mortgage brokers, banks wouldn’t compete for your business and you would be getting higher rates.
This is the biggest investment of your life and you want to ensure the person managing it is actually as good as they say… and isn’t blowing smoke up your preverbal backside. I have been a mortgage broker for over 8 years and knowing what I know and have experienced; these are the top 10 questions I would be asking if I was looking for a mortgage broker. This is business, and your money is on the line.
Remember, use your intuition, interview a few and don’t get swayed by smooth talkers and rates. Once you have interviewed a few, pick one that you trust. Brokers are paid by commission when the file closes, so if your broker completes the application, takes and reviews your documents, spends time watching your file and negotiates with the lender on conditions and then you decide NAH, I don’t like his rate and go to another broker… this is neither ethical or fair. I know as a broker, I wouldn’t accept a client that was coming to me after his last broker worked his file for 8-12 hours, unless there was a very good reason and rate isn’t a reason. Do you like to work for free?
Q: How many years experience do you have as a mortgage broker?
A: you want a broker with experience of greater than two years fulltime and closed a minimum of 10 files (that really is bare minimum or has a mentor that can help with the file). If mortgage brokering was so easy we would all manage our own mortgages. They are complicated, emotional and require foresight and planning that only experience can lend to prevent issues with your file. New brokers won’t have learned this foresight, underwriting guidelines and “exceptions” .
Q: Who are your top 3 favourite lenders and why?
A: This may give some insight on if they do/don’t have “status” with lenders. Not all brokers have access and discounts with banks, credit unions and other lenders. Generally; the bigger the office (ie more mortgage volume), the better the options and rates that broker can offer. Yes, we have access to 40 or more lenders...but really most of us use a handful and build strong relationships with them. That's how challenging files get solved...relationships and who you know.
Q: Tell me about a last mortgage file that had a challenge and how did you handle it? A: In 8 years as a broker, I can promise you I have made mistakes and/or there was something that happened to a file, whether it was a lender issue or my team. A good broker will be transparent and the answer openly. It shows they can problem solve if there are unforeseen issues, manage conflict and deal effectively during stressful times…and there always are.
Q: How do I know that I will get the best rate at closing?
A: It really depends on your mortgage file timeline and how well your broker knows the lenders and rates. If a broker does an actual pre-approval and sends it to a lender, your rate might be surcharged a higher rate. If they put you in a “no frills” or “special” type mortgage, they may not be allowed to drop your rate and won’t risk their relationship with their lender to move you to another lender. It’s about timing and knowing what is happening in the rate market the upcoming specials, and which lender seems to be the most competitive in the market.
Q: Do you have any client testimonials?
A: This not only shows they are proactive in business and marketing, but that their clients rave about them. If they aren’t raving…you have to ask why.
You can find all my testimonials http://mortgagediva.simplybook.me/feedback/list
Q: How are my personal documents handled? What kind of secured email, online storage or protection do you employ to protect my data?
A: Identity theft is huge. Don’t let a brokers lack of understanding security or protecting your files cost you later. They should be storing your files OFF their computer, not on their phones and onto a password protected separate hard drive or Canadian cloud servers. Your hard copy files should also be in an office with a locked door and/or cabinet.
Q: Do you plan on taking vacation during the time of my mortgage/house hunting.
A: No kidding, this happens; brokers/bankers take vacations and forget to tell their clients and hand it off to another broker or worse; it’s the bank and your file sits on their desk while you panic. Now you aren’t getting the broker you hired and you’re stressed out. Many brokers work on files while on vacation and that is fine, as long as you know what is going on.
Q: Do you have a resource blog or other educating site that I can refer too?
A: a passionate broker, that isn’t working just for the mighty commission, will likely give back via a blog, writing articles for newspapers or putting on seminars. On my website, that I personally designed, has many resources for my clients that I refer them back to on a monthly or yearly basis. A mortgage is just ONE tool to help clients. What other valuable resources can your mortgage broker offer such as low rate credit cards, easy lines of credit or yearly credit and file reviews.
Q: Do you work directly with the Realtor and Lawyer so I don’t have to worry about getting the paperwork?
A: Every broker is different on the level of service and handholding they provide. Our team takes all the paperwork management out of our client’s hands and immediately opens communication with Realtor and Lawyer to ensure it’s a “team” effort to make it as smooth as possible for you.
Q: What other perks do you offer?
A: This is also up to each broker. Some offer discounted legal’s, appraisals, rate buy downs, and free moving trucks. You name it. Be careful not to chase the perks though…foremost; you want to have someone who is diligent, honest and always available to answer your questions by text, email, phone or Skype.
Good luck with your interviewing!
Kiki Berg, Mortgage Expert and passionate educator
…because you are more than just a mortgage.