What a great mortgage broker can do for you

Phew, we made it. We moved!
After a whirlwind 8 weeks of finding a new home, making an offer, getting the purchase offer accepted, completing home inspections (including well and septic inspections), listing our old home, showing that home, getting an offer for it, accepting that offer and surviving inspections on the old place – my wife and I were pretty much spent.  What almost did us in; we moved in the snow over two days, cleaned the new place, cleaned the old place for the new folks and over the last 3 days we’ve hosted about a half-dozen trades from electricians to the Rogers guy (who was very good by the way).
Moving is tiring.  Thankfully, we had help with this process.

I don’t know about you, but applying for a mortgage can be frustrating and time-consuming. From our perspective, we were just another number applying for a bunch of numbers. Insert a great mortgage broker into the equation.

Here’s a short (but not inclusive) list of great things a great mortgage broker can do you:

Gladly take your financial data – Anyone can “crunch numbers”, but time is money and our broker gladly took the financial facts out of our hands and put them into his. We didn’t want to spend all night figuring things out, so our broker did much of the work for us. We already had decent ideas what certain mortgages would cost us, but our broker gladly spent the time working through options and scenarios for us.

Give you customer focus – Unlike banking representatives, mortgage brokers are not tied to any one bank. Sure, they might have some favourites, but great brokers canvas the full field. Our guy was looking out for the customer (us), our terms, conditions and pre-payment options. He was working to find a product that fit our needs and situation, not his agenda. In brief, our mortgage situation is not ideal, we have a hefty penalty to pay if we break our existing mortgage and go with another lender within the next two years. (This is a reminder to look at the detailed print of your mortgage agreement before you purchase a new home.) In our case, a great opportunity arose and sometimes you simply can’t pass those up regardless what the fine print says – life happens, choices need to be made and chances need to be taken. Back to my point, you can certainly make a strong argument that mortgage brokers work for themselves, not you, however without attention to personal detail, they wouldn’t be in business. Our broker put our needs and requirements #1. He was always very responsive. He never said he didn’t have time for us or needed to take another call.

Give you unbiased feedback – Very valuable. Sure, our broker wanted to get paid from the lender (who doesn’t want to get paid for their work) but our guy was genuinely interested in our financial situation. He took time to listen. When discussing our financial situation, there was always a “here’s what you could do” or “you could consider this” from him. No obligation, no forcing the issue.
Give you honesty – In short, our broker was up-front saying he didn’t have a crystal ball, knowing what the lending rates would be a year from now, let alone six-months from now. (If he had that forecasting ability, I’m sure he wouldn’t be working for a living. I know I wouldn’t be.) His honesty was reassuring; we don’t need sales pitches. If I wanted to be sold something, I’d listen to Jim Cramer.
Give you leverage – The way I see it, using a mortgage broker to fund a mortgage, you’re going to get more attention because the lender wants that broker to continue sending business their way. As an individual customer, we’re just a number apply for a bunch of numbers. In talking with our broker, I know if he sensed any “run around” from a prospective lender he’d move on and our mortgage prospects would go with him.

Save you money – No doubt mortgage brokers are compensated by the lenders they strike the deal with but a) that means you don’t pay them and b) as long as the rate and conditions of the mortgage are better than what you could have obtained – you’re saving money. Potentially lots. Like I mentioned earlier, our broker worked hard to get us a good deal. He knew his stuff and actively monitored bond yields for us. We more than appreciated that because without our new great rate and its associated terms, we wouldn’t be coming out ahead over our hefty mortgage penalty. We’ve taken our lumps and learned from them. My advice? Don’t take a five-year mortgage term if there’s even a chance you might move within that term period. Sure, you can sometimes port your 5-year fixed term to your new home (it doesn’t cost anything but the mortgage appraisal and sometimes a small discharge fee) but that wasn’t ideal for us. In hindsight, we should have taken a shorter fixed term a few years back or instead, given historical research, a variable rate.

In closing, mortgage brokers can be a tremendous resource, if you have the right one. We’re glad we worked with our guy. Actually, we still are.  He’s still checking in with us to ensure all the rebates we were able to take advantage of are coming our way, including one for the mortgage appraisal.

I know if I have mortgage question going forward, I’ll drop him a line. He’ll take my call, he’ll listen, he’ll provide good customer service and objective feedback. I don’t mind sharing who we used because the experience was very positive.

Thanks very much Rob!!

Do you agree or disagree – what a great mortgage broker can do for you?
Any positive or “other” experiences you’d like to share?

My name is Mark Seed and I'm the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, we're inching closer to our ultimate goal - owning a 7-figure investment portfolio for semi-retirement. We're almost there! Subscribe, join the journey to learn how I'm getting there and how you can get there too! Follow my on Twitter @myownadvisor.

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