Arguably one of the most underappreciated roles in the home-buying process is that of a mortgage broker. Often prospective home buyers turn to their banks for their mortgage needs. However, an experienced mortgage broker can be the difference between a good mortgage deal and a great mortgage deal that can save thousands of dollars in the long run.
"Being in financial services, it's our job to keep a constant finger on the pulse of the financial industry and news," said a Nova Scotia-based broker. "We cannot control interest rates, but we can keep a close watch on indicators for protecting our clients against unnecessary costs."
A successful broker works hard to differentiate herself while functioning in a highly competitive environment. One way to do that is by staying current with constantly changing rules and guidelines; especially true today with recent government changes highlighting an even greater need for mortgage professionals.
Moreover, the demand for instant connectivity and direct communication has given rise to cutting edge product offerings including: various mortgage calculators, digital guides for buying your first home, and online mortgage approval and tracking system, like the Canadian lender First National's Merlin, a portal that gives brokers real-time status for every stage of a deal.
Borrowers can also access online mortgage management tools that helps keep tabs on your mortgage.
According to an Ontario-based broker, gone are the days when people called your office and waited to hear back. Clients want to be able to connect with brokers and access information right when they need them.
Consequently, many brokers participate in social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter in order to share useful information in a timely fashion. Plus, it's a great place to interact with millennial clients.
Increasingly, brokers are working collaboratively with other experts to meet some of their clients' home-buying requirements that may fall outside the broker's area of expertise. "Working with some of the top minds in the business, sharing ideas and best practices has been of mutual benefit to all involved," said the Nova Scotia-based broker.
The results speak for themselves. The Nova Scotia broker was contacted as a last-ditch effort by a client whose mortgage application was rejected by her bank after it pre-approved the mortgage for a property the client was under contract to purchase.
"We were able to complete a thorough review and restructure her financial picture much more favourably, significantly reducing her monthly obligations and subsequently securing her purchase financing approval, with her own bank," added the broker.
A broker's role isn't limited to helping Canadians buy homes. "Their job is to understand a client's long- and short-term goals, based on the life stage they're at, and then offer advice closely aligned to the client's financial situation," said the Ontario-based broker.
It's a sentiment that is echoed by brokers across Canada. "Our business is primarily relationship driven and is customer-centric from start to finish," said the Nova Scotia-based broker. "We walk them through the mortgage from beginning to end, which is particularly valuable to first-time home buyers who walk away with a new level of understanding of how the mortgage ties into their overall financial picture in the short and long term."
This content was produced by The Globe and Mail's Globe Edge Content Studio, in consultation with First National. The Globe's editorial department was not involved in its creation.