There are a wide number of mortgage lenders in Toronto — and finding the right one and going through the application process can be a painstaking (and disappointing) process. That’s where a mortgage broker comes into the picture — they can help save you time and money by finding a suitable lender at the best mortgage rates.
A licensed mortgage broker assesses your financial situation ahead of time to match you with financial products, whether you’re buying a home for the first time or you’re looking to take advantage of the equity in your property. They can also help you with the application and negotiation process to make the process more streamlined.
However, while the goal is to help you secure Toronto real estate through the most ideal lender, you also need to do some homework to find the most ideal mortgage broker, says Michelle Kam, a real estate agent and mortgage broker. Choosing the best Toronto mortgage broker to meet your needs means doing some research and interviewing to ensure you’re a good match, just like you would when choosing a real estate agent, she adds.
Gauge Their Track Record
Like any real estate professional, you should be able to find some information about their performance from past clients, says Michelle Kam. That might mean they have a website with client testimonials or they can provide you with direct references from previous clients that you can follow up on.
While you’re asking for references, you can also find out how long they’ve been in the Toronto real estate business and any related education and how long you can expect to wait to close a deal with your requirements in mind. You should probably also ensure they have the proper insurance to operate.
Ensure They Ask Questions Too
Interviewing a Toronto mortgage broker is not just about you asking them about their professional qualifications, but also about them asking you questions to better gauge your needs, says Michelle Kam.
That means they should be asking you a number of questions to find out what your goals are. For example, they might want to know whether you’re looking to keep your fixed monthly mortgage payments low or you want variable rates — this kind of information is valuable to a mortgage broker when they’re shopping your loan around.
Taking the Time to Explain the Process
Buying Toronto real estate for the first time can be a stressful experience, admits Michelle Kam. That’s why you should work with a Toronto mortgage broker that puts you at ease, while explaining all of your options depending on your situation.
Aside from keeping you informed throughout the application process, a mortgage broker might also suggest ways to improve your credit score quickly when you first consult with them. This can help you secure more favourable rates from lenders.
Talk to a Toronto Mortgage Broker First
Finding a suitable Toronto mortgage broker to determine what you can afford is an important step before you set your heart on a Toronto real estate property, explains Michelle Kam. It’s not ideal to spend time choosing the best property and then learn it’s beyond your borrowing means, she adds.
Even though you might have been with the same bank for years, it doesn’t mean they will give you the best rates or even approve you. It pays to explore all of your options, which is one of the reasons why a mortgage broker is valuable.