Find a Mortgage Broker
Last updated on 23 Oct 2020
Finding the right home loan is easy with expert help
Learn more about Mortgage Brokers
How to find a mortgage broker near me
Applying for a home loan can be stressful even in ordinary circumstances. But if you’ve faced financial challenges or credit-related issues, applying for a home loan can be a painful experience. To try and avoid this stress, consider consulting a mortgage broker as they can help you identify suitable home loan choices and also negotiate with lenders.
A broker based in your neighbourhood may also know mortgage providers more familiar with local conditions such as the average wage people earn and how much they tend to borrow. The expertise and local connections offered by mortgage brokers may be difficult to find through any other single source.
What is a mortgage broker?
A mortgage broker is usually a loan industry expert who helps everyday Aussies get a home loan. They offer a wealth of experience in dealing with lenders when applying for home loans and can be especially helpful to those facing difficulties in applying or whose applications have been rejected.
Further, mortgage brokers can help you decode the complex jargon used by lenders in the terms and conditions of a loan. In some cases, mortgage brokers may also negotiate with lenders and get you more competitive home loan interest rates.
What does a mortgage broker do?
Given their specialised knowledge, mortgage brokers may be able to assess your financial profile from a lender’s perspective. They may also advise you financially while helping you shortlist lenders and apply for home loans that are suitable for you.
In terms of payment, mortgage brokers generally receive commissions from lenders and may not charge you for their services. Usually, you can count on a mortgage broker to assist you throughout the home loan process until the loan is approved and paid out to you. In some cases, you can continue asking the mortgage broker for financial advice, although this may be a paid service.
Even if you have applied for a home loan before, you may have to compare interest rates and loan terms again, as well as checking your eligibility with each lender. A mortgage broker, being a licensed expert, will likely have easier access to this information and may even offer you a more extensive range of options. This can save you a lot of time and hassle in selecting the right home loan lender.
Consulting a mortgage broker may also reduce the risk to your credit rating incurred by applying for loans too frequently despite rejections. Making multiple home loan applications tends to impact your credit score negatively and makes being approved for a loan more difficult. A mortgage broker’s guidance may improve the chances of a lender approving your home loan application, and at a lower cost. As a result, you won’t need to submit repeated or multiple applications.
Are there different kinds of mortgage brokers?
Mortgage brokers operate either on their own or as part of a mortgage franchise, also called a mortgage aggregator. You can also consult with an online mortgage broker, via email or Internet messaging rather than by visiting a physical office. Before you speak to a broker, consider checking if they are familiar with your neighbourhood and finding out which lenders are on their lender panel. You may also want to look at the broker’s experience, and ask your neighbour or another area resident for their opinion about the broker.
When you speak to a solo-operating mortgage broker, be sure to ask about their lender panel, which usually comprises the lenders they’ve interacted with often over time. This can be both a positive and a negative thing, in that you can deal with someone with an established, possibly local presence, but you may not get the range of loan options accessible to larger brokers. It is also possible that a broker working on their own cannot negotiate with lenders as effectively as a franchise broker who may have dealt with the lender in other areas as well. You may, however, rely on a solo broker to offer a more personalised, customised service.
With franchisee mortgage brokers you may get access to their franchise’s arguably superior lender network. Franchisees also often receive advanced training, which means you get more qualified advice. However, you may not get as personalised advice from franchisees as they handle a large number of customers. Also, a franchise broker may not know many local lenders, particularly informal lenders who cater to people with specific financial issues. You should also check if the franchisee broker tends to recommend lenders who pay higher commissions.
If you are looking for convenience or are unable to meet a mortgage broker in person, consulting an online mortgage broker might be another option to consider. Online mortgage brokers will likely give you similar advice via the Internet and at a time you find more convenient. You don’t need to worry about the broker’s business hours or the wait times in their office. In some cases, you may even be able to have an at-home consultation with the broker visiting you.
Before you consult a broker, you need to be sure of what kind of home loan you want so that you can ask the broker relevant questions and seek more specific guidance. For example, you may want the broker to suggest a home loan with features like an offset account or a lender that may approve self-employed applicants.
You may want to confirm that the mortgage broker is licensed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), which you can do by checking the ASIC’s three professional registers. You can also check if the broker is affiliated with the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA), which is the industry body responsible for ensuring standards and recommended practices.
When should I see a mortgage broker?
People usually consult a mortgage broker if they have doubts about the home loan application process or aren’t sure about which lender to approach. Mortgage brokers bring in financial expertise and experience with multiple lending situations that may not be available to you elsewhere. Even if you are familiar with the language used by home loan lenders, you may still struggle with the application process. If you’re a first-time home loan applicant, selecting the loan offer that seems tailored to your needs almost always means relying on others’ financial advice.
If you’ve suffered bad experiences with lenders before, applying for a home loan through a mortgage broker may make the process easier this time around. Most mortgage brokers have the knowhow to deal with the unusual circumstances borrowers may face, such as poor credit history. Some mortgage brokers also assist people with special circumstances, such as senior Australians and those dependent on welfare payments or pensions. You can also consider approaching a mortgage broker if you need advice about multiple loans or about refinancing an existing loan.
How do I find a good mortgage broker?
Ideally, you want to deal with a mortgage broker who understands your specific financial circumstances. You can search online for a mortgage broker, or try searching through the MFAA or the ASIC lists. But before you contact a mortgage broker, you may need to do a little homework.
For instance, comparing different reviews of mortgage brokers may be useful in verifying the mortgage broker’s credentials. Apart from having an ASIC license and MFAA affiliation, the mortgage broker should also have enlisted with an external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme such as the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) or Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). You may want to check if they carry professional indemnity insurance which can help you recoup any financial loss caused by issues with the broker’s advice.
Alternatively, you may find brokers from some of Australia's leading broker organisations, including Australian Mortgage Options, Folio Mortgage & Finance, and SAMLoans, as well as numerous other national mortgage broker organisations and aggregators. However finding a mortgage broker is something RateCity may be able to assist with thanks to the RateCity Broker search, providing a nation-wide network of mortgage brokers for you to search from.
What are some questions I should ask mortgage brokers?
The first question you need to ask a mortgage broker is about the fees they charge. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to pay a mortgage broker any fees for recommending a lender, although you may have to bear the costs for seeking additional financial advice.
You should also ideally consider finding out about the commissions they are being paid by the lenders on their panel. Usually, if the broker only guides you until the loan is approved they may receive an upfront commission, which is a percentage of the total loan amount. In case the broker continues to advise you even after the lender approves your home loan application, they are usually paid a recurring or trail commission which is as a fraction of the loan amount pending repayment.
It may also be useful to see how many lenders the mortgage broker suggests when advising you on home loan options, and whether this includes lesser-known or online lenders who can’t pay high commissions. You can usually gauge the depth of the mortgage broker’s experience by the variety of financial institutions they work with. Consider also asking the broker about the interest rates and other terms they have been able to negotiate in the past with lenders recommended to you by others.
In some cases, the lender may offer an attractive rate that is only valid for the first year or so, by which time you may no longer be dealing with the mortgage broker. Also, consider checking whether the interest rate is affected by your initial deposit. You should have all the information regarding the terms of the loan offered to you before you sign the loan agreement and be able to compare them with the lender’s standard loan terms. Caution is necessary, as any variations may affect the repayment options available to you.
You need to remember that the mortgage broker acts as the middleman, easing the process of getting information about, and applying for, home loans. You should be able to compare and confirm the mortgage broker’s information on the lender’s website. Ultimately, you should be the one choosing the lender, the loan, and the loan terms. If you are unable to ask the mortgage broker critical questions, you may not get the kind of service you deserve.
How mortgage brokers can help you
Mortgage brokers can get you a better deal
Finding a bargain and haggling down the price at your local markets is one thing, but researching home loans and negotiating with a bank is another. A mortgage broker is a resource you can use to help find you a home loan with an affordable interest rate, including special mortgage offers that aren’t normally advertised. Their relationship with the lender can also help them to negotiate a better deal on your behalf.
Mortgage brokers can help you complete your application
Home loan applications can be complicated, and lenders don’t always make their paperwork crystal-clear to borrowers. An experienced mortgage broker can manage the home loan application process for you, helping you to save time, avoid rookie mistakes, and improve the chances of your application being quickly processed and approved.
Mortgage brokers can help you understand your loan options
If you’re not familiar with home loans, it can be hard to know which bank you should apply with. And even if you’ve done your research, a mortgage that looks great on paper may have special requirements or hidden costs to consider.
A good mortgage broker can help you work out which home loans are not only affordable and ideal for your needs, but offer features and benefits that can help you achieve your financial and lifestyle goals.
Mortgage brokers know mortgage lenders
Mortgage brokers work with banks and mortgage lenders every day, and can offer an insider’s view of their home loan credit policies. They can give you a better idea of how strict some lenders are about their paperwork, how long you can expect to wait for a response to your application, and which lenders are easier to deal with.
They can also tell you which lenders offer other banking services you may find valuable, from easy branch and ATM access to smart apps and bundled deals on other financial products.
Mortgage brokers can find loans to match your special needs
Every borrower is different, but if you’re in an unusual financial situation, or want something special from your mortgage, you may need a non-standard mortgage structure. A local mortgage broker can take you through home loan options that aren’t typically advertised, and help you work out a loan structure that suits your specific requirements.
Mortgage brokers can give you a stress-free home loan experience
Australian mortgage brokers can walk you through every step of your home loan journey and beyond. Even after you’ve signed on the dotted line, your broker can make sure you keep enjoying great value from your loan, and offer options to refinance if required.