A person is a person, whether they’re a stranger you pass on the street or the current U.S. President. So why do we clam up when we have to talk to perfect strangers about our financial eligibility to buy a house?
Well, probably because we HAVE to talk to them about it. Nobody likes being forced, and unless you can come up with enough cash to buy a house outright, or your great Aunt Fonda died leaving you an immediately accessible inheritance, you are, *pardon me*, shit out of luck.
The good news? Mortgage brokers make their money as a commission from your transaction. What this means is they’re in the service industry. They are literally there to help and serve you. No need to fear! Do they represent a large financial conglomerate hell-bent on draining you of money through interest? Yes, but it’s just their day job. So, don’t take it all too personally.
Remember: they want to get you to work with them; that’s how they make money. So it’s in everyone’s best interest that they be obliging and kind, after all, this is a substantial life decision you’re about to make. You should go into it feeling at ease. You are not on a conveyor belt being inspected and potentially cast aside if you don’t fit the proper criteria. You, my friend, are a shiny new toy that they really want to play with. Own it.
This is also why it’s important to shop around. Find a broker who understands your situation and wants to help you–but most importantly makes you feel like they’re being helpful. Todays’ market has brokers up to their ears in new loan applications, which can take out the personal touch. But your broker should still be responsive, communicative, and available to you. If they can’t be, find someone else. This isn’t a decision to go into without support.
Now that you’ve had a pep talk, you’re ready for the logistics. Let’s get into the nitty gritty.
Coy is not the game to play when meeting with a mortgage broker. There is one goal: figure out how much house you can afford and if they’ll give you the money. Don’t be surprised when it’s 5 minutes in and they’re already asking you for your social (they need it) and your annual income (it’s kinda required). They have to run a soft credit inquiry to verify your information. Now before you get anxious, this won’t impact your credit score that you’ve worked so hard on. It’s just a peek, not a full-fledged look. Also, they do this all day long, so don’t feel like they’re going to sit back and judge you.
I don’t know if this makes you feel better, but the average mortgage broker makes approx $85k a year (location dependent) so, it’s not like they’re rolling in the dough either. They may be the gatekeeper to you and that money, but they’re willing to open the door, you just have to provide the right keys.
Remember: they want you to buy a house, as much as YOU want you to buy a house. You’re united on team buy-that-mother-f*cking-house-or-bust. Too much? Too much. Anyway..
Mortgage brokers work in a typical office at a bank. For an initial pre-approval, this conversation can happen either in-person, virtually, or exclusively through email depending on your broker. It’s incredibly convenient to start the process based on whatever your needs or wants are. If you feel better talking with someone face-to-face, great! That’s an option. If you’re limited on time and don’t care to meet the person at the end of the email chain, also great! Make this process work for you, not the other way around.
At the end of your meetings, you’ll either walk away with increased knowledge on your readiness for home ownership, or you could be the proud parent of a brand new baby mortgage. Whichever option is yours, feel confident in knowing that a mortgage broker is on your side, every step of the way.