How to choose a mortgage broker?

After a previous post in this forum I recieved several helpful emails from different loan officers/mortgage group types. My problem is that I have no idea which one of them I should be working with. What kind of criteria should I be looking for?

Throw a dart.

Ask for references.

a really big dart! ;D

All kidding aside ,the best way is to get a referral(s)

Your decision has to be based off of who you feel the most comfortable. All LO’s have pretty much the same products at their disposal. You want to find the ones who are familiar with investors and are willing to help you attain your goals. Not theirs.

I would definitely find one who is well versed in CRE and owns/controls several properties. Shoot, maybe I should jump back into actively marketing for loans…I just described me. :slight_smile: Unfortunately, I’m too busy doing my own deals to help.

Make sure they are an investor themselves for a couple yrs, can provide you with at least 3 referrals that are investors as well.
Make sure you feel comfortable with them and they return phone calls promptly. I hate a broker that does not return calls the same day or within a reasonable amount of time.

Ask around, referral is key… I would call the top real estate agents in town and ask the very same question. RE Agents should be able to give you the best answer based on their first-hand experiences.


You ask a wide open question. I have been in the business for 18 years on both the residential and commercial side. Here are my thoughts on how to pick the right person. I think these principals are valid in any situation, not just financing. There are a lot of inexperience folks in the industry. There are also a lot of experienced folks that just do not treat people right. The residential lending industry is a tired, worn out creature whose practices have become frustrating and tiring for most consumers. Unfortunately the only folks that do not see this are the folks in the industry, but you are not alone as the consumer is well aware of it I think they are tired. That being said, here is what I would do:

  • references, references, references. If they cannot provide, walk away. Also remember that a smart person only gives good references. Ask them for the last 10 clients they helped regardless of outcome. If they balk, then I would walk. I have always said that saying “no” is not bad for business but the way you handle the “no” and deliver it does. Talk to folks the rep could not help as well as those they did. The result may be different but if they are professional, friendly, knowledgable and concerned then it will come out in both cases.

-Ask how long they have been in the industry. There are very many talented young people in the industry and we work with them all the time but odds are the longer you have been around the better you will be and identifying the solutions quickly. Although not always the case, the older folks know when something is possible and when not. Younger folks that need to learn by experience tend to promise a lot and deliver less.

-Investigate the company they work for. The way the company operates and the reputation of the company will tell a lot about he employees just as the employees tell a lot about a company. You want a rep that will take ownership of your inquiry and a company that will be accountable for the behavior of that rep. VErify the company’s license and consumer complaints. Both are usually available on line in the State’s public records. go to and it will lead you to all available public sites by State.

-Never under estimate the qualities of personality and character in business. We have passed on $25 million bankable commercial deals where we would have made a lot only to turn around and take a little $200,000 deal with tough problems to overcome. Our decision was simply based on the personality and character of the client. If it cannot be professional, friendly and courteous, and if the person you are dealing with does not have the same concern for your business or transaction that they do for their own, then the expectation of fighting through a moment of adversity to a positive end is probably low. No matter how good a loan prospect seems, there will always be one challenge, mess up or glitch that will need a focus to solve. When things are friendly and built on genuine concern, we find that everyone involved generally becomes solution driven. When they are not friendly, concerned, or caring then they usually sit around and point blame and nothing gets solved.

-Work with someone who is an expert at the type of financing you need. The products are so varied today that reps that know FHA like the back of their hand may not know the details of Prime financing or Sub-prime financing. We specialize in larger residential loans, commercial developement and builder products and credit lines and credit issuances. We are not experts at residential subprime loans although we are pretty good with conforming and Alt A products. I would not try to help a client with a sub prime loan because it would not be fair to them.

-Know what it is that you need. One of the biggest mistakes I think the consumer makes in this industry is not learing more about things before they talk to the mortgage person and depending on the loan rep for that counsel. The only way to decipher the ability of that person is to know what you need and what you do not. The game is all about matching needs properly.

-Does the rep listen more or talk more. I am naturally a talker and love to talk to folks about all types of things. In our initial conversations with folks we try to get them to talk more and we do more listening. WE are not the experts on their situation, they are and not listening only leads to a mismatch of programs and needs. We also lead conversations away from the loan request and onto other thins The true character and personality of a person will come out quickly when you get away from the actual loan request. We do this so we come to understand the person. It goes back to the personality and character thing discussed above. But, it should also work in reverse and often a client that leads a conversation away from the loan request and on other things can pick up pieces of personality and character that are not revealed in discussions of the loan request. People tend to be more themselves when discussing things close to their hearts. The reps that are not going to value you but only their commission will be quick to move back the request.
I do not know how many times I have heard loan reps say they just do not have time to waste talking to the customer about their vacation or their dog or something else that is important to them. Clients are for a life time and knowing them and what is important to them helps you help them better. Remember that home financing is directly connected to most people’s family. If you do not have a feeling for the importance of their family values how would you ever come to understand the needs of their home purchase. Look for someone that moves the relationship beyond the immediate transaction and you will often find someone that will have your best interest at heart.

I hope this helps. There is much more on this subject that could be expressed.

From the length of that posting you like to type as well as talk. Just kidding. That was a good post. Very informative for newbies. However, you forgot to mention that once an investor finds someone good to work with; to treat that person in a professional manner as well. That is one of the multitudes of reasons why realtors have gotten such a bad name. No loyalty. Jumping from lender to lender to save a few dollars will cost you in the long run.

Hello Christopher,

I could not agree with you more, both about the loyalty and liking to type.
Loyalty is something often lost. We have lost a lot of real estate agents because we simply did not think the borrower was ready for homeownership and the programs afforded to them were more likely to have them lose their homes that retain them. We simply have took the stance that we would not get involved if we had doubts about the client’s ability to retain home ownership. Once we pass on something like this, the real estate agent is quick to change partners.

An interesting turn around on it is that we get twice the amount of opprotunities to help people from other groups that share that concern. Many counseling groups and community service groups that work with people preparing them for homeownership find our approach fits and have aligned with us. Many churches and ministries have replaced the real estate agents on our referral lists. Again, matching personality and character is the key to lasting and growing business. Our business is better today for staying true to our approach than if we bent our views.

That being said, we do have real estate agents who share our views and have a great appreciation for them.