Thinking of using a mortgage broker to help you find the right home loan? Choosing a home loan can be time-consuming and confusing. It’s much easier to let a mortgage broker do all the legwork for you. But first, you should take a look at the pros and cons and know what questions to ask.
What is a mortgage broker?
A mortgage broker is essentially a financial adviser who specialises in helping you find a home loan. Acting as the ‘middleman’ between the lender and you, mortgage brokers are responsible for more than half of all home loans in Australia, making it a multi-billion dollar industry.
What do they do?
Their first job is to assess your financial situation, create a snapshot of your credit-worthiness, and help you determine the type of home loan that’s right for you. They should offer you a variety of options from a number of home loan providers.
It’s important to note that mortgage brokers generally offer lending products from a number of different financial institutions, NOT all lenders on the market. A good mortgage broker will take the time to understand your goals, explain your options, and help you with the paperwork.
Potential pitfalls of using a broker
Having a broker arrange your home loan can save a lot of time and hassle, but you really have to do your homework first. Like any industry, the quality of service can vary from broker to broker. And remember – much like a real estate agent acts on behalf of the seller and not the buyer – mortgage brokers are acting on behalf of the seller of the loan (the financial institution) and not you as the buyer.
A number of lenders now act as brokers too, so it’s important to determine whether you’re dealing with an independent broker offering a range of loans, an agent for one lender only, or someone who does both. Find out exactly what their role is and how they’re being paid, so you can objectively compare the loans they recommend.
7 questions to ask before choosing a broker
- Does the broker offer a wide range of home loans from a variety of lenders including banks and non-banks? The wider the choice, the better the chance of finding the right loan for you.
- Is the broker really an agent for one lender in disguise? As mentioned above, some lenders operate as brokers too, so make sure you establish exactly what their role is.
- What qualifications and experience does the broker have? Ask for references from previous borrowers.
- Does the broker charge a fee? Many brokers don’t charge borrowers for using their service, but some do, so make sure you ask about fees upfront.
- Does the broker disclose all commission and payments? This will help you judge whether a particular loan is being recommended because the broker is being paid an attractive commission.
- Are the loans offered by the broker researched and rated? Ask for a formal comparison of recommended loans including the upfront and ongoing fees and the AAPR (average annual percentage rates).
- What service does the broker offer after the loan negotiations are complete? Are they still available for ongoing enquiries about your loan? What if there’s a dispute between you and the lender?
The right loan for the right home
Once you’ve decided on the right home loan for you, it’s vital that you choose the right home builder. With over 30 years experience, Hallmark Homes is a family owned and operated business building around 400 homes a year in the prime real estate areas throughout South East Queensland including Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Lockyer Valley.
To find out more, you can visit one of eight Hallmark Homes’ display centres at Burpengary East, Ipswich, Ormeau, Pimpama, Plainland, Springfield Lakes, Sunshine Coast and Yarrabilba.
If you’re thinking of building a new home in South East Queensland, the team at Hallmark Homes is ready to help. If you have any questions about our home designs or house and land packages, please contact us today.
This article is for general information purposes only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. Please consult a financial expert for information that relates specifically to your circumstances.