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The 10 questions you should ask to ensure you choose a reputable mortgage broker

The 10 questions you should ask to ensure you choose a reputable mortgage broker
The 10 questions you should ask to ensure you choose a reputable mortgage broker

Are you licensed to recommend credit? All mortgage brokers are required to hold an ASIC credit licence (ACL) or operate as a credit representative under a licence holder. Ask to see evidence and do you or own checking on the ASIC website using its “professional registers” search engine.

 


 

Are you a member of the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) or Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA)? Industry body membership is not mandatory, but all reputable brokers should be a member of one of these organisations. Membership requires higher education benchmarks and other professional and ethical requirements.

 


 

What lenders are on your lending panel? A broker’s lending panel is the lenders they are accredited with to recommend loans. Get a list of a broker's lenders and do some research. Most reputable brokers would offer a mix of banks, non-banks and mutual lenders. Be wary of broker who only has a few unknown lenders  as the broker may have failed to gain accreditation with some of the bigger lenders.

 


 

How many lenders are you likely to recommend? Most mortgage brokers will have at least a dozen lenders on their “panel” and sometimes as many as 30. However, they are unlikely to be able to recommend loans from all these lenders, so you should find out which lenders they are most familiar with and ensure you are comfortable with this selection.

 


 

How long have you been a mortgage broker for and how many loans have you written? It’s important to gauge the level of experience of your broker. If he's a rookie, his knowledge may be limited and you may feel more comfortable with someone who has more experience. It's also worth asking how business is going and if he's been busy.

 


 

Which is your favourite lender and why? Brokers are required by lawyer not to recommend unsuitable loans to borrowers. Many, though, will have a lender they recommend more than others, and you should find out why. Valid answers could range from lowest rates and fees to excellent customer service. Brokers are paid by commission and other incentives (such as volume of business), so make sure you’re not just making up the numbers for them.

 


 

How do you make your recommendations? Many brokers will input your information into some kind of software program to come up with a list of suggested lenders and loans. However, it is also the duty of a mortgage broker to consider your holistic financial needs and your personal circumstances. A broker should have good product and market knowledge and good people skills and should not just rely on their computer software to come up with recommendations.

 


 

 

Can I speak to one or two of your clients? This is a great way to assess a broker's performance for yourself and whether previous clients were satisfied with the service they received. You can also check a broker's website for testimonials and do a Google search to see if her name pops up in relation to a dispute or if they have made the news for the wrong reasons.

 


 

Do you charge a fee? Most brokers are free as they are paid by lenders, but some do charge upfront fees for their mortgage advice. A broker should disclose these fees upfront, but it’s worth checking. And if they do charge any fees these should be for additional services above and beyond determining a suitable loan for your needs.

 


 

What service do you provide post settlement? A broker should provide continuing service to her client after the loan has settled. Brokers who “set and forget” will leave you high and dry if you run into problems. Most lenders pay brokers a monthly trail commission as an incentive to provide good post-settlement customer service, but even if they don’t a good broker relies on word-of-mouth referrals and recommendations to grow her  business.

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