Choosing a Mortgage Broker

Real Estate Agent with Lawton Associates /

When you are getting ready to buy a home, one of the toughest decisions is choosing a mortgage broker to work with. This is especially true in today's rocky mortgage market where you don't know who to trust. These are confusing times, so you need to make sure that you are working with a mortgage broker you can rely on.

There are two main types of brokers to consider:
*First, there are mortgage officers associated with specific lenders, like Bank of America or WaMu or Countrywide. They will work with you to find the best deal from their company, and if you are already a customer with them, they will want to keep you as a happy customer.
*Second, there are independent mortgage brokers and they are able to run your profile with a wide variety of lenders to find you the best deal. They are not beholden to any one lender and will want to create a lasting business relationship with you.

Both type of mortgage brokers are fine, but I recommend getting a personal referral from a friend, family member or colleague. If someone has had a successful experience with a mortgage broker, there is a better chance that you will too. (I believe that referrals are the way to go for many personal decisions, from mortgage brokers to dentists to nail salons)

It is also wise to work with someone local, as they will know about special incentives and programs offered by local governments, such as first time homebuyer programs or special rates for certain professions like teachers.

Be careful using any mortgage contact you might get from the internet. While they might offer enticing introductory rates, they could be anywhere in the country and will most likely be more interested in getting you into a mortgage rather than finding the best mortgage for you. The personal connection is not there and probably cannot rely on them.

Finally, no matter who you choose to work with, make sure to get everything in writing, especially any fees associated with the transaction, and get a complete copy of the transaction paperwork. And, if you ever need a mortgage referral in the East Bay, just let me know.

I know there are also a lot of mortgage brokers here on AR.  Any other tips to add?

Comments (5)

Dave Woodson
Dave Woodson - Chesterton, IN
Not the Average Agent

I would agree with you 100% about finding someone from the big ones on the internet, but I am on the internet that is why I do what I do here on AR. 

Dave Woodson

Indigo Financial Group

Apr 16, 2008 08:34 AM
Jennifer Butz
Not yet determined - Lilburn, GA
This is very true, but I am also on the internet as well and I am a mortgage broker. From the information you provided does help. I think we should be able to give this to our agents and our buyers as another resource so they can understand.
Apr 16, 2008 08:36 AM
Mary Smartt
Lawton Associates / - Berkeley, CA
Smartt Moves with Mary Smartt
Dave & Jennifer~Thank you for responding so quickly!  Of course, most mortgage brokers use the internet as a marketing tool.  What consumers should be wary of is blindly responding to enticing deals from unknown companies they see on the internet without doing the proper research.  Especially those flashing ads promising deals that are too good to be true!  Finding someone you can trust and build a professional relationship with is the way to go.
Apr 16, 2008 08:50 AM
Mike Mueller
Tech and Social Media Consultant - Walnut Creek, CA

I'll add my two cents - work with someone local for another reason.

Chances are this is the single largest financial deal you will be involved in (as a homeowner).  Wouldn't you want to sit down and meet this person face to face?   Wouldn't you want to see their eyes when they say they are going to find the best loan that fits your needs and goals, at the best price and fees?

There's a lot of people I've met and wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them.  We all get that feeling from time to time.  Then there are others I have met that I would go into battle with.

The internet can't replace that.  Besides, if the mortgage guy turns out to be a lying stealing rat, it's sure easier to pop into their office and let them know what you think of them if they are local vs. booking a flight to LA!

Active Mike


Apr 16, 2008 10:14 AM
Mary Smartt
Lawton Associates / - Berkeley, CA
Smartt Moves with Mary Smartt

Mike~Your two cents are always appreciated...even your three or four cents!  You are absolutely right.  When we are dealing with huge transactions all the time, it is easy to lose sight of the fact of how major a mortgage is for most people. 

Apr 17, 2008 04:39 AM