How to Pick a Champion Mortgage Broker

by on February 2, 2012Tim Houghten

Today you don’t need just another loan officer. Your quest to choose the right mortgage broker is about finding a bold champion who will go to battle for you.

Why no Ordinary Mortgage Broker Will Do

how to pick a mortgage brokerContrary to the popular misconception that getting approved for a home loan is simply a matter of credit scores and figures, today it is often more like entering a gladiator’s arena.

Besides battling against increasingly tougher lending and credit guidelines, knowing how to pick a great mortgage broker will protect you from bait and switch tactics, unscrupulous lenders who will demand a larger down payment at the last minute and will ensure you close on time, protecting your deposit money. We aren’t just talking about the difference in being approved or denied, or a few extra dollars a month, but your ability to buy or retain your home and tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

What to Look for in a Champion Mortgage Broker

Those who want to know how to really pick a mortgage broker who will blaze the way to a great home loan victory need to be on the look out for the following qualities.

  • Reputable and honorable
  • Skilled and experienced
  • Brave and courageous

How to Pick an Honorable Mortgage Broker

Signs of a Shady Lender: When to run Away

A. You are quoted an interest rate without being asked detailed questions.
B. You are rushed into applying or having your credit pulled.
C. You are asked for any type of money upfront.
D. The broker tells you everything you want to hear.

Signs of Reputable Mortgage Brokers

A. They are members of professional associations like the Chamber of Commerce and local chapter of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.
B. What are others saying about them? Check the Better Business Bureau, consumer comment sites like Yelp, and Google them. Remember that people will always complain; it is how these complaints are handled that really counts.
C. Check their mortgage broker license status with the state online.
D. They will sit down and try to understand your individual goals and situation to match you with the best possible loan for your personal needs as well as presenting a variety of options.

How to Pick a Skilled Mortgage Broker

Just having a mortgage broker’s license or working for a big name bank doesn’t automatically make someone a skilled mortgage broker. It can take years to learn the ins and outs of the business and how to get the best deals for consumers. No book knowledge accurately prepares a mortgage broker for what it takes to get loans closed. You want a battle-tested champ who has honed his or her skills on the front lines. Getting your loan approved means mastery of volumes of information as well as talented technical skills at bringing together appraisals, title searches, insurance and loan programs, and all of the the many, many people involved at every level. The truth is that getting your loan approved is often about who your mortgage broker knows. It can take a while to build these relationships, but once they have been in the business for a few years they can get head underwriters on the phone and V.P.s who can override senseless underwriting conditions to get your loan request expedited.

Find out how long the broker  has been in the business, and test him or her  out with a few questions. Does she  respond quickly? Can he give you answers  on the spot? Is she proactive about helping you to avoid potential issues?

How to Pick a Champion Mortgage Broker

What really makes the difference between a champion mortgage broker and the rest is that he is motivated and willing to go to battle for you. She won’t lay down and accept a denial and she won’t accept delays from your appraiser, title company or insurance agent. He will fight to get you the best loan possible and ensure your closing happens on time. You want the Conan the Barbarian of mortgage brokers on your side.

How to identify them?

1.  They won’t be afraid to turn away your business if you insist on just getting quoted a rate instead of allowing them to find out what you really qualify for.
2.  They won’t just tell you what you want to hear to get your business.
3.  They can be overheard hammering an underwriter on the phone and educating them about how the guidelines should be interpreted.

There are great home loans out there to be had, and interest rates have certainly never been better. So choose your champion mortgage broker, and have him or her help you purchase the home of your dreams or slash your housing payments.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

cate waterman August 4, 2014 at 10:17 pm

why do banks charge an extra fee in the mortgage (about $4000.00) if we plan on renting the home we are buying until we are ready to retire… the credit union did not have an additional fee


kay March 6, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Can you recommend a list of lo companies/brokers?


Rick Perez May 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm

How are you? My name is Rick Perez, I am an experienced mortgage broker for 17 years, In 2013, I funded over 36 million dollars in mortgage home loans, and was rated one of the top producers in San Francisco. My goal is to help educate my clients in the mortgage industry, find the best solution, and accomplish a goal with the least amount of cost, and best interest rate that will meet the clients expectations. If you have any questions regarding a mortgage loan please call me at your earliest convenience. I look forward to your response.
Rick Perez
415.423.1431 X 1275


Mary Landers December 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I have been living in my home now for 7 years. It is a rent-to-own. We now have $10,000 towards the down payment. My score is low to mid 600. My house is valued at about 70 or 80,000. Maybe even lower. Buying the house would lower our monthly payments of $1195. I have no idea how to go about finding a loan officer to help me purchase this house. Please help.


Rick Perez May 22, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Dont worry, purchasing your home, yes, I consider the home your renting your home. Mary, you have invested time, materials, and up keep to the property. There are plenty of ways for you to qualify, the most important step is to plan a step by step process to accomplish that goal. Please call me at your earliest convenience, and I will do my best to help educate you through the process. My experience is well over 17 years in the industry, hopefully my expertise will help guide the purchase of your home.

Sincerely, Rick Perez
415.423.1431 X 1275


Austin Vincent December 3, 2013 at 2:40 am

When looking for a mortgage broker it a good idea to enquire from friends, relatives or even colleagues who have recently bought a home or built one. This will help you in making a decisive decision on who to use as the right mortgage broker. Before you settle down on a particular broker it is important that you carry out a research and find out the different services and rates they offer as far as securing a home loan is concerned. Some mortgage brokers offer special deals to their clients. Therefore, find out about the details and information that is included within those special deals.


Jay July 20, 2013 at 6:46 pm

My wife and I have some credit challenges that we need to work out but our currently paying $1,325.00 in rent which is more than a mortgage would cost if we owned this same home. The purchase price of the home in 2009 was $168,000.00. Our scores are all in the mid 500′s. So my first question is what can we do at this point to try to find a way to purchase a home in $140,000.00 range? The second scenario is that my parents who have credit scores in the upper 600′s and low 700′s have stated that they would get a mortgage in their name. They would like to use the USDA program if at all possible. They own their home outright that appraises for over $235,000. They live in a different state and I understand that the USDA program has to be for primary residence. Is there any way that they would be able to secure a USDA loan?


Rick Perez May 22, 2014 at 6:03 pm


There are many programs for your parents to help, this plan has to be brought to the table and then formatted corrected. Also scores can be increased instantly with proper guidance, my goal is to disect your credit score and fullfill a plan that will allow not use your parents. Your parents can be a second option, but I have always believed try to purchse on your own. Please call me with any questions. I look forward to your response.


Rick Perez
415.423.1431 X 1275


Earl Johnson May 3, 2013 at 10:36 am

I am a Vet and I’ve had two successful mortgage with the VA prior to now.
I have tried to refinance with Wells Fargo bank and USAA. Both were denied do to high debt load, but the purpose for the refinance was to gain a lower interest rate, Eliminate my FHA Ins. and reduce my short term debt.
MY wife has and issue on her credit with Macy/Filene but I has a sign Document from court that show the debt has been paid and I have a minor medical bill ($595)
with Gilbert Emergency. The VA paid $6000.00 to that hospital and informed me to not pay more. I have a letter to that effect.
This was all explained to the enrollment agent but the underwriter were not informed of this. I need an agent that will fight for me.


inez Garcia June 6, 2013 at 11:35 am

Apparently you are trying to do a conventional loan , getting rid of MI ? If this is the case , then you don’t need to have your wife on the loan , if you quality with out her income . is there any room to add any of your other debt to the loan? if so this can also lower your debt to income ratio. Did your loan officer work it in different scenarios ?


Todd March 23, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Well I have tried everything to get my mortgage refinanced. I bought my home from BoA 6 years ago and never have been late on a payment. Since my interest rate is 8% all I wanted was to re-finance. However, because I have a HELOC they say they can’t do anything. This seems like a joke. I even spent a week with their advisor. Any good suggestions? By the way my HELOC that BoA gave me was one of the NON-BACKED loans. Which they won’t touch with a ten foot pole now.


inez Garcia June 6, 2013 at 11:36 am

what is the balance on your Heloc ?


Wilma Underwood February 16, 2013 at 8:13 pm

I tried to get the reverse mortgage,but was turned down because there were no houses in my area sold,so they had nothing to compare with. Is there any other way to get one?


Shannon O'Brien February 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Hi Wilma,

My suggestion is to speak with a HUD housing counselor. You can find them listed by state at Just Google “HECM” and look for a link to housing counselors.

I’m sure there’s a lender out there that wants your business bad enough to do the work required to come up with some comps.

Good luck!


Nootropics March 24, 2012 at 3:25 am

I enjoyed your useful blog. good contribution. I hope you produce others. I will continue watching


Ron Borg March 18, 2012 at 5:46 pm

When you pick a mortgage broker, you are picking a loan officer and a company at the same time. Unfortunately, just because someone belongs to the National Association of Mortgage Brokers or because a company decided to pay the Better Business Bureau’s fee, doe not make them reputable.

The first thing you should do is verify the loan officer’s license and that of his company.

If he/she is properly licensed, the next step is to search their name in Google. When you search put “loan officer” or “mortgage broker” after their name. If nothing shows up, be wary. Top quality mortgage loan officers can be easily found. If you were to search my name, you would find articles I have written, some reviews, and if there was anything negative, it would probably come up in or or some other website like that.

You should speak to at least 2 or 3 different loan officers before making a choice. See if they are willing to spend the time with you to explain closing costs, APR, various loan programs etc. If they rush you off the phone or try to push you into an application, move on. Get good faith estimates from all 3. Compare them carefully. Then, based on your 3 conversations and the estimates, go with what your gut tells you. Don’t go with a “salesman”. Do go with an “adviser”.


Kisha July 28, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Thank you for the advice..Very much appreciated!


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