When it comes to choosing a mortgage broker or mortgage adviser, there are quite a few things to check out and carefully consider. This article will help you to ask the right questions, so that you can choose a broker that suits you. For example, you’ll need to know whether a broker will charge you a fee, who else pays the broker and is the broker being offered more commission by some lenders than others? But let’s begin with what a good mortgage broker does.
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In the meantime, let’s begin with what a good mortgage broker does.
What does a mortgage broker do?
Mortgage brokers are also called mortgage advisers. These two names provide a high-level description of what a mortgage broker should do for you.
One is to broker a deal by operating as your representative to negotiate the best loan for your circumstances. The second is to act as an adviser, which means presenting options for you to choose from, explaining them fully and answering any questions you may have.
For a broker to do these things well they should:
- Explain how they’ll work with you and what they may charge in different situations
- Tell you which lenders they deal with and what commission each one offers them, if any
- Let you know what they can legally advise you about and how much experience they have in each area
- Take the time to fully understand your finances, needs, preferences and future goals
- Calculate how much you can reasonably afford to borrow and explain the outcome to you
- Find the best mortgage options for your situation, explain how each one works, the positives, negatives, unique features, fees, interest rates and all other costs
- Help you to choose your preferred option, but not make the decision for you
- Manage the application process on your behalf, keep you updated on progress and see your mortgage through to drawdown on settlement day
How does a mortgage adviser or broker get paid?
When you might have to pay a mortgage broker
If a mortgage broker doesn’t receive a commission from the lender, or has to pay it back, the broker will usually charge you a fee instead. Here are a few examples of when this might happen:
- When the lender doesn’t pay a commission: Instead of paying the broker a commission, some mortgage lenders – typically finance companies rather than banks – require a broker to add their fee to your mortgage. You should always be told whether this applies before agreeing to a particular mortgage.
- When you don’t stay with a broker: If you sign up with a broker and they work with you, they may charge you for their time if you don’t draw down a mortgage arranged by them. This could be hundreds of dollars an hour, but it will usually have a maximum total of around $2,500.
- When you repay your mortgage early: If you repay your mortgage in full or switch to another lender within a set time (typically about two years and three months) the broker will usually have to repay any commission involved. They may charge you a fee to cover their loss. As in the previous example, this could be based on their time and capped at a maximum amount.
Do mortgage brokers have favourite lenders?
While they probably do have preferred lenders for a variety of reasons, a mortgage broker must always treat you fairly and act with integrity. It’s part of their code of professional conduct.
Any preference they have should be explained to you, including how that supports your situation and goals.
Different lenders offer brokers different commissions
Does a mortgage broker deal with all the main lenders?
Some do and some don’t. It can be a useful question to ask before you sign up with a broker, particularly if you’re going in with a couple of preferred lenders in mind.
Obviously the more lenders a broker can work with, the more chance they may have of shortlisting the best deals in the market for you to choose from. Their ability to take your mortgage application to a range of lenders offering similar deals can help the broker to negotiate the best mortgage deal for you.