Honesty is the most important aspect of dealing with mortgage brokers. Unfortunately not all brokers are forth coming with certain information that would allow you to trust them and make an informed decision about the deal they recommend. Don’t get me wrong not all mortgage brokers are bad. Just don’t underestimate the influence that commission has on their recommendations. And, as always there are bad eggs in every industry. Being aware of the following broker sins will help you pick a trustworthy broker and make sure they get the best deal for you. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Sin 1: Favouring their loan product. You need to be aware if the mortgage broker is also a lender, i.e. do they have their own loan products? If they do, and they offer there own product, there needs to be a clear, understandable reason why their product is the best choice for your situation. Sin 2: Being influenced by commission. Brokers get commission from the lender you end up borrowing from. You need to ask if the broker has special incentives for referring you to a specific lender i.e., do some lenders pay more commission? If so, this may lead them to be biased about which lender they recommend to you. They may be inclined to recommend you to the lender that pays the most; regardless of whether this is the best choice for you. So again you need to be given a clear and understandable reason why the product and lender is the best choice for your situation. You also need to find out how big a range of lenders the broker deals with. They can’t claim to find you the best loan product on the market for your needs if they only deal with 20% of lenders on the market. Sin 3: Hiding the real cost of the mortgage. Make sure the broker provides you with the comparison interest rate, when looking at or comparing any home loan products. The comparison rate shows you the real cost of a home loan by taking into consideration all the foreseeable fees and charges associated with the loan. This is so you can easily compare home loan products. Sin 4: Withholding information. Know the whole deal. You need to know the whole service provided by the broker. Do they provide ongoing service and assistance after you secure your loan? If so, find out for how long. Also, what are the fees involved? Theirs and the lenders. All this needs to be made clear before any papers are signed. Sin 5: Allowing client ignorance. Make sure you understand what the benefits and the drawbacks are for you. You need to have it explained to you in a clear way so you can understand it. This is so you can weigh it up and decided for yourself if refinancing is actually in your best interest. There is a bad practise in the mortgage broker industry called churning. Churning is the act of refinancing for the sake of commission even though there are no benefits for the mortgage owner. Making sure you understand the benefits and drawbacks of the refinancing deal yourself will make it impossible for you to fall victim to this practice. Sin 6: Being Uninsured Do the brokers have their own professional indemnity insurance? This protects professionals against liability claims resulting from negligent work. All lenders will have it. However the brokers should not assume they are covered by the insurance of an umbrella organization. The broker needs to know for sure if they are or are not protected. Sin 7: Being Unqualified. Is the broker qualified to give you lending advice? In every country there are reputable authority organizations that provide mortgage brokers with credentials, provided they undertake certain courses. Find out who these organizations are and make sure the broker you’re dealing with is a member or has been given credentials.
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