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Applying for a mortgage can be confusing, complicated and time consuming. To get the best terms, it’s a good idea to shop around and submit applications to several lenders. A mortgage broker can handle a lot of the legwork for you to help you save time and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

What Does a Mortgage Broker Do?
Unlike a loan officer, who is employed by a single lender and receives a salary and bonuses in exchange for writing mortgages for that lender, a mortgage broker works independently or for a brokerage firm. A broker works with several lenders and is familiar with the terms they offer, as well as their requirements and processes. This inside knowledge allows a mortgage broker to anticipate potential problems that might prevent or delay a loan approval.

A mortgage broker can obtain copies of your credit report, verify your income, and complete and submit loan applications to several lenders on your behalf. After you’ve received and compared offers, the broker will work with the lender of your choice, as well as your real estate agent, underwriters and attorneys, to finalize the transaction.

How Is a Mortgage Broker Paid?
Mortgage brokers are typically paid a percentage of the loan value. That percentage may depend on the company that employs the broker, the lender and the characteristics of the local real estate market. A mortgage broker may be paid by the lender, or the borrower may pay a fee that is rolled into the loan amount. A mortgage broker is only paid when a loan closes.

How to Choose a Mortgage Broker
To choose a qualified mortgage broker, seek references from family members, friends or coworkers who have personally worked with a broker. Your real estate agent may also be able to make a recommendation.

Talk to several brokers before making a choice. Ask about their training, level of experience, communication style and fees. Verify that each has a current license, read online reviews and find out if any past clients have filed complaints against them. Consider the attributes of an individual broker, not the reputation of the company, when making a decision.

Save Time and Minimize Stress
Many homebuyers, particularly those purchasing their first house, are overwhelmed by the process of applying for a mortgage. A mortgage broker can guide you through the steps, save you a tremendous amount of time, and help you avoid stress and get the best deal. Ask people you trust for referrals, and talk to several brokers to find a good match.