First of all, let’s clarify what Mortgage Agents and Mortgage Brokers actually are, because there are A LOT of people out there offering mortgage services who carry a variety of titles. In order to be a licensed Mortgage Agent, you must take an accredited program, offered through a few different sources such as the Canadian Mortgage Broker’s Association, obtain at least 60% on a written exam and then be vetted and approved by FSCO – the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. In addition, as with many other professional occupations, you must carry professional liability insurance, also known as Errors and Omissions Insurance.
Once you have been an active Agent for at least two years, you have the option of taking an additional course and exam to become a licensed Mortgage Broker. This additional designation allows individuals to create their own Brokerage if desired and sponsor other Agents and Brokers through their Corporation.
Individuals working through a financial institution, such as a Bank or Trust Company are not required to be licensed under the above rules as they are covered by the Bank Act and are limited to offering the products and services that their employer offers.
So…. now that we’ve cleared that up, why should you use a licensed Mortgage Agent or Broker? Let’s highlight some of the top advantages to you!
1. Specialists not Generalists
You may have a personal banker through your financial institution that you have dealt with for many years and have formed a strong and trusted relationship, which is awesome! However, that individual typically has to advise you on many different areas of your finances such as RRSPs, RESPs, bank accounts, credit cards, creditor insurance, loans, lines of credit AND mortgages. They end up knowing a little about a lot and may not have the time or resources to stay abreast of industry changes and guideline amendments.
Licensed Mortgage Agents and Brokers are SPECIALISTS. They do Mortgages… period. Through professional associations and affiliations they have access to up-to-date industry news and information and can best advise you on how these regulations and changes affect you!
2. Choices and Options
There are many different lenders available in the financing market and many of them specialize in a particular type of mortgage or client. While a Mortgage Agent or Broker also has access to products from the Banks and Trust Companies, there are many individuals who do not fit the lending criteria of these institutions. Self employed individuals often have a difficult time proving sufficient income to qualify for credit products and there are many people out there that have had personal or financial challenges that have affected their credit history. Many of our lenders will offer workarounds or less restrictive qualification criteria for these types of individuals and allow them to obtain financing when it wasn’t previously available to them through the traditional channels.
3. Save Time and Money
Have you ever gone searching for the best rates on your mortgage? How many different financial institutions did you visit? How much time did that take, not only driving around but the several different meetings required, not to mention the waiting time between requesting the appointment and the actual meeting date. When you deal with a Mortgage Agent or Broker, we do the shopping for you. We get regular updates from our lenders with up to date product offerings and rates.
4. Save your Credit Score
When you were doing your own shopping around in item #3 above, you may have actually gone through the application process with some, if not all, of those financial institutions. This causes multiple enquiries on your credit bureau which can impact your credit score. An experienced Mortgage Agent or Broker will run one application with a credit bureau and then analyze the information to make the best choice of lender for your unique situation. Let us do the legwork for you so you can concentrate on other areas of your life!
5. Save on Fees
There are many potential costs that come with arranging a mortgage. The lender may charge a fee, there will usually be an appraisal required, legal fees, home inspection, etc. By working closely with our lenders we know which ones are willing to cover some costs for clients and how the fee structure compares across multiple companies.
Your Licensed Mortgage Agent is your personal and trusted advisor. We represent the interests of you, the client and work diligently to obtain the right product, with the appropriate lender, at the best rate possible. We are able to offer a variety of options to suit your needs and will walk you through the benefits of each so that you can make the best choice possible for you and your family!
Brenda St Amand is a licensed Mortgage Agent in Barrie, ON. Working with 11 others Agents and Brokers through Mortgage Sense Inc., she has access to over 30 different lenders and their product offerings. As a financial professional for over twenty five years, Brenda is known for always putting her clients first and being flexible and understanding of their needs.