When it comes to purchasing a property, choosing the right mortgage broker is arguably one of the most important steps in the process. A good broker is a godsend for anyone who doesn’t have much foreknowledge of mortgages or financial services in general. They’re a fount of valuable knowledge for first-time buyers, and they’ll usually handle most of the initial legwork for you when it comes to seeking and securing a mortgage lender.

Not all brokers are created equal, however.  While most will generally act in your best interests, there are a few out there who will leave you regretting ever reaching out. Shysters who’ll fleece you in the interest of a quick buck, inexperienced or downright incompetent fools who will leave you with a terrible mortgage (or no mortgage at all).

The good news is that it’s fairly easy to avoid both camps if you know what to look for. Here are a few questions to ask for exactly that purpose. Depending on how a prospective broker answers, you’ll know right away if you should work with them or walk out the door.  

What Distinguishes You From Other Brokers?

I love this question, solely because it lets you determine whether a broker is actually knowledgeable and detail-oriented, or simply a smooth-talking salesperson. Pay close attention to how your broker answers here – vague statements and generalizations are a huge red flag. A good broker will be able to tell you, in exhaustive detail, how their firm stands apart from the competition.

And that’s exactly what you should demand.

What Loans Are Best-Suited For Me?

Next, you’re going to test your broker’s knowledge. A skilled broker will be able to analyze your unique circumstances as a buyer. They’ll be able to offer you a short-list of lenders, plans, and loans that mesh with your wants and needs.

And most importantly, they’ll be able to explain why those mortgages are a good fit. At this point, it may also be worth asking them about what lenders and institutions they’re accredited with, as well.

Do You Have Any Client Testimonials I Can See?

Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to find out what other people are saying about the broker. While this is certainly something you can do with a Google search (or several), it’s nevertheless valuable to see if the broker will offer you that information of their own volition. If they seem hesitant or defensive, then there’s a good chance they’re hiding a plethora of negative reviews.

And there’s a better chance you should walk the other way.

Closing Thoughts

While you don’t necessarily need to work with a mortgage broker, it can be immensely helpful, especially if you’re new to the buying process. Just make sure you choose the right one. Do a bit of research beforehand, and ask the questions outlined above when you sit down with them.