Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a savvy real estate investor looking to secure another property for your portfolio, you will always want to find the best broker for the job. The greatest strength of today’s marketplace is also its greatest weakness: the marketplace is filled with many great mortgage broker options to choose from. The real 64 thousand dollar question (or $603,000 in today’s dollars) is which broker is right for you and how exactly do you vet that person? We have devised a series of five questions that you can ask your next potential brokers to ensure you get the best one.
#1. If I were to speak with a former client of yours, what would they say about you?
This is not only a great job interview question but a perfect question to pose to your potential brokers. If they are honest, they won’t sugar coat what their past clients would say about them in this instance. What they perceive that their past clients will say about them is very telling. Pay attention to what they say here and then compare that to what their past clients actually say about them (in person or in online reviews). The difference may be startling. If there is a huge gap in what they have to say, then you should look elsewhere for a broker.
#2. Why should we go with you over an online mortgage app that may cost less?
This question helps you determine if they know how to properly value their services and how to articulate that. If this question stumps or frustrates them, then the broker may not understand what the advantages of dealing with a broker in person are compared to using an online service. If they can’t say it, then how can they deliver it? Online options should be seen as healthy competition and not a threat.
#3. Which lenders do you work with and why?
It’s no secret that brokers and lenders have commission deals worked out. Everybody wants to get paid, and that’s not the problem. The problem is that some brokers may recommend lenders to you that may not be a good fit for your financial situation. Ask your potential broker who they work with and then do some research on those institutions to see if any are a best fit for you. If not, then you may have to pass this broker over or ask them if they are flexible enough to go outside their favorite lenders to get the best deal for you and not just the highest commission for them.
#4. Where did you get your training and education in lending and brokerage?
Like a job interview, which this really is in a certain sense, you’d want to know the education and qualifications of your applicants to see how they stack up against the competition. If you can learn a little more about your potential broker’s background and experience level you can narrow down your search for the one that is going to do the best job for you. If they aren’t straightforward in their answers, then they may have something to hide and that makes it easy for you to pass on them and find a more open broker. Not all the best brokers will have fancy educations, but they will be upfront about it and hungry for your business.
#5. What are your areas of expertise?
Do they primarily work in commercial real estate loans and do private and residential on the side? Do they specialize in first-time homebuyers or are they more involved in securing loans for investment properties? The answers to these questions should give you a great idea as to how you will be prioritized in your broker’s schedule and how they are able to best leverage their expertise and experience to get you the best loan at the best price. You wouldn’t take your sick grandma to the vet even though they have a PHD, right? Getting a broker with the right area of expertise will make your real estate dreams come true.