What is a Mortgage Broker?

It’s one of those times in everyone’s career where they ask themselves, “Why am I doing what I’m doing? Does anyone appreciate or understand my role and why it’s important to them?”

I don’t think anyone is really immune to these feelings of self-worth and acceptance. We all try to offer something of substance to our clientele. Something that speaks volumes to our role in our respective fields and Mortgage Brokering is no different. Sure, there are some that may say your job is easy. You get paid well so don’t question how people think or what they think for that matter. Just go about your job as the rest is irrelevant.

Well, these statements may be true for some but for many in the Mortgage Brokering field, we do take acception to these statements. Our job is not glamorous.   Many make average incomes but spend many hours trying to do so. We struggle with the stress of handling one of the largest financial transactions for the majority of Canadians. We are the frontline to ensuring these transactions happen. If there are glitches, we need to fix them. If our clients are stressed and feeling overwhelmed, we are there to help them. We handle many situations that are from both spectrums: from the happy 1st time buyer who is just starting out in life to those families that are divided; from businesses being born to businesses being shattered; to clients celebrating a raise or the birth of child where expansion is needed, to clients downsizing as their children are starting life’s of their own. We don’t simple do just mortgages. As you can see, our role is expansive. We are the hand that is there to hold you thru anything. Granted, not all brokers fit this bill but many do. So, I ask the question: “What does a Mortgage Broker do”?

On general terms, a Mortgage Broker is there to provide guidance, experience, knowledge and is there to provide recommendations to their clients regarding their mortgage transaction. We help to facilitate the mortgage approval by gathering information that is pertinent to the transaction. The basic information is how much do you make? And how much do you want to put down on your property purchase? And, are you looking for the best rate? Easy questions, right? Anyone can do this?

Well, if mortgage brokers only asked these very few and very simple questions we would not be able to provide the client with a proper plan that takes into account much more. Our role is to gather as much information about them now and about where they plan to be in the future so we can determine the “best” plan that meets their individual needs. These needs are more than term and rate? We need to ask as many questions as possible so that we truly understand our client and their needs. I do not want to be a glorified paper pusher that has no care for their client or for their financial well-being. Now, this leads us to a better understanding as to why there is so much confusion around what we do.

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The Banks have done a great job of spelling myths about our role. That we are the opposite to those things. Use a Bank because brand matters. Trust in what you know – trust in a logo hanging on the door, in a window and on a sign. That is the Bank’s motto. The ironic part of this statement is that Brokers provide close to 35% of the overall market share to the Bank’s business.

We also get to negotiate the best rate based on the client upfront. Have you ever wondered why a Bank offers one rate, a Broker offers another, and the original Bank then matches the broker’s rate? Is it odd to you that the Bank puts the onus on the client to demand better; whereas a Broker demands better upfront! We believe that every client should not have to worry about the negotiating side of the mortgage process. That is what we get paid for. Our primary goal is to facilitate the mortgage, build a long lasting client relationship so that we can guarantee future income by supporting those that make us successful – ie., a working wage to support our family! We have a direct interest in that transaction because that transaction comes down to the client. I worked for a Bank for many years. They too serve a purpose and that purpose is to make money for their shareholders while simultaneously building brand recognition. It is this Brand Recognition that brings clients thru their door and it is the same brand recognition that makes people believe they are being offered the best because loyalty must count for something.   It does and they will but you have to work extra hard to get it. A broker works harder to secure it in a faster and more productive way. So yes, on average, Brokers have the ability to secure better rates based on a specific product that is specific to the client and their needs; and the clients get to spend more time doing what they need to do which is work, raise a family, pick out new paint colours, or whatever is important to them. Brokers help you save time so you can spend more time doing the things that matter to you.

There is also a huge misnomer circulating out there that Brokers will cost you more with their astronomical fees and hidden agendas. We do laugh often at this statement but the reality is this inaccuracy was placed out there as a means to discredit us. It’s like a court case – reasonable doubt will prove your innocence. Reasonable speculation about costs will surely help those set on discrediting us win. In reality, very few deals have Broker fees attached. Those that do typically do not fit the “standard” mortgage financing policies. They could be self employed individuals that do not claim an income. They could be someone who has gone through financial upheaval in the form of Bankruptcies or foreclosures. It could be a business transaction or a private deal where we do not get paid direct by the institution that funds the mortgage. The ONLY time we charge is when we do not earn an income from the source (Lender), and more time than not the client is disclosed this fact upfront. Lawyers get paid for their time and energy. Realtors get paid for their time and energy. Even appraisers and home inspectors get paid for their time and energy; but why is it believed that Mortgage Brokers should be different. We work long days and sometimes long nights. We don’t take holidays because our clients need us.

We truly work 365 days out the year. We care beyond measure about what happens in our client’s lives. We have laughed with many. We have cried with many. We given hugs and comfort because sometimes that’s all we can do. We are not the Banks! We are people, humans dedicated to the well-being of every one of our clients. We strive for success but success isn’t always measured by how much we have but rather by how many we have helped.

I am Kari Gares, and am proud to be called a Mortgage Broker

On November 30, 2015, posted in: General Mortgage Options by
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