Samantha Cordon is a reporter for Mortgage Introducer
Brokers just rip people off. This is the perception held by a portion of the public about the broker’s role in the mortgage process.
And it’s why I think many people go straight to their own bank to discuss their options – which will be greatly reduced because they are restricted to what their bank can offer them.
As a former broker it really pisses me off that people still think that brokers are doing them a disservice.
It is simply not true and the hard work brokers do behind the scenes is completely undervalued.
Customers with complex circumstances who don’t fit the 2.4 model of the ideal family, who don’t keep every bank statement they have been issued since birth and who have lots of unconventional income sources are, let’s face it, not only normal, they’re also hard work.
But that is where the job satisfaction lay with me and the feeling I got when the mortgage offer appeared out of the fax machine – which was how it was done then – made all the running around worthwhile.
It’s not just a case of looking at the best fixed rate on a sourcing system which some customers perceive is all a broker does.
That’s why many of them believe they can go to a price comparison web site and do the same job themselves.
In some cases this may be the right choice if they have completely straight forward circumstances and are financially savvy but the moment they struggle to provide proof of a detail they have declared, the wheels fall off and they are declined that mortgage.
For me, that is where the value brokers offer lies: fighting my clients’ corners in the face of an impending decline, when they could clearly afford the mortgage and did not pose a risk to the lender or themselves.
All good brokers know that sometimes you have to put up a strong argument to keep the lender from pulling the plug just because the customer cannot provide the exact documents required – even though the deal makes sense for both parties.
I was always honest straight away with clients – if they had unrealistic expectations based on their circumstances then it’s best to say so at the outset rather than over-promise and under-deliver.
But, once I had assessed my client’s circumstances and matched a product to their needs, it would take a lot to knock me off my course.
Like I said all this goes on behind the scenes and the trick, which I am sure brokers would agree, is making it look simple.
It’s not an easy job and making it look effortless is a skill which can sometimes work against brokers because customers wrongly think that they could get the same results on their own.
Having been there myself, the determination to get clients the best mortgage to suit their needs is a much underrated quality. And it’s worth shouting about.
It may be a bit of a double edged sword to let clients in on the battles brokers wage with lenders on their behalves but it crucial that people really understand the value brokers offer.