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The Best Mortgage Brokers2023Expertise Laurels
2023Expertise Laurels

The Best Mortgage Brokers

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Frequently Asked Questions


    It’s the American dream to buy property, and almost everyone who purchases a home does so with the help of a mortgage broker. It can be intimidating when you don’t know where to begin, what information is necessary, and how to receive a loan. A mortgage broker acts as an intermediary between the applicant and the financial institution.

    The mortgage broker’s role includes comparing loan terms across lenders to find applicants the best options, collecting paperwork the financial institution needs to analyze the application, and guiding the buyer through the underwriting and closing processes. Mortgage brokers can significantly simplify the home buying process.

    Can mortgage brokers work across state lines?

    Yes, mortgage brokers can work across state lines. However, each state has different licensing requirements for mortgage brokers. Customers should ensure their broker can legally work in another state before going across state lines. Lastly, don’t forget the mortgage process is often time-sensitive, so being in different time zones can be problematic.

    How do mortgage brokers find lenders?

    Mortgage brokers work independently and act as a bridge between the client and the lender. They reach out to several lenders to form a network and build professional relationships with those they work with often. They use lenders who best meet a client's rates and terms, and some lenders only do business through mortgage brokers.  

    What credit score do mortgage brokers use?

    There are two credit scoring models in the United States: FICO and VantageScore. Mortgage lenders typically prefer to use FICO. However, each credit bureau uses a different version of the FICO score:

    • Experian uses FICO Score 2
    • Equifax uses FICO Score 5
    • TransUnion uses FICO Score 4

    Do mortgage brokers help with refinancing?

    Yes, mortgage brokers can help with refinancing. Individuals who have a solid credit score will typically go to their bank to refinance their mortgage. However, if you don't have excellent credit, a mortgage broker may be able to secure you a better interest rate than you could get on your own.

    You pay a fee to the mortgage broker, so you'll want to consider this fee versus your savings in your cost-benefit analysis.

    Can you work with two mortgage brokers?

    You can definitely work with two mortgage brokers. The advantage of using multiple brokers is that you'll have two people reaching out to several lenders to secure the best rate possible. However, you must ensure you provide matching information to all your brokers. If two brokers provide mismatched information about your application to the same lender, it can send off red flags and delay your approval process.

    Do mortgage brokers get better deals?

    Yes, a mortgage broker should be able to get you a better deal. Mortgage brokers go to several lenders on your behalf and find the one with the best terms and interest rates. However, note that some mortgage brokers have preferred lenders. A broker may bring you their preferred lender's offer, even if it's not the best one; however, this isn't a regular practice.

    How do mortgage brokers get paid?

    The customer or the lender pays the mortgage broker. By law, it's illegal for a mortgage broker to accept payment from both parties. Additionally, thanks to the Dodd-Frank Act, a mortgage broker cannot have hidden fees or base their commission on their customer's interest rate.

    What makes mortgage brokers different from loan officers?

    Loan officers are employees of a single lender. For example, if you go to a bank for a mortgage, you'll deal with their loan officer. They’re paid a set salary and receive bonuses; however, they can only offer loans from their bank.

    A mortgage broker works independently or for a firm, and they’re paid by the client or lender. Mortgage brokers can approach several lenders, giving individuals many more options.

    What is the difference between a commercial mortgage broker and a home loan broker?

    A commercial mortgage broker deals with real estate loans for businesses. The loan for the commercial property is given to the company, not the individual. As a result, the approval process reviews the financial health of the business. In comparison, a home loan broker helps individuals gain a real estate loan for their property.

    How much do mortgage brokers make?

    According to, the average salary for a mortgage broker in the U.S. ranges between $75,344 and $99,498. However, this can significantly vary depending on the state you work in, bonuses, and other factors.

    How do mortgage brokers get paid?

    How a mortgage broker gets paid entirely depends on who they work for. If they’re an independent contractor, all of their income comes from their clients or lenders. If the person works for a brokerage, they may be paid a combination of a base salary and bonuses from closed deals.

    How much do mortgage brokers make per loan?

    Mortgage brokers typically make between 1% and 2% of the total loan amount on each deal closed. The client or the lender will pay this fee. The mortgage broker does not receive their payment until the loan is approved and finalized. 

    Can mortgage brokers work across state lines?

    Yes, mortgage brokers can work across state lines. However, each state has different licensing requirements for its mortgage brokers. To legally close a transaction, you must be certified in the state of the transaction. Additionally, it's helpful to know the state's closing process, as this can change from state to state.

    What is a surety bond for mortgage brokers?

    A surety bond is a legal contract that binds three parties — the obligee, the principal, and the surety. Surety bonds are typically required to receive a license for operating as a mortgage broker. When a mortgage broker gets a surety bond, it's a legal guarantee they'll perform their obligations to their customers as required by law.

    Is it difficult to pass the mortgage brokers’ test?

    Upon completion of educational requirements, you must pass the mortgage broker test to receive your license. It's a two-part test called the Safe Mortgage Loan Originator Exam, and it can be a bit challenging. Out of almost 87,600 national test-takers, 57% passed on their first attempt. The test includes both a state and national portion and requires a minimum score of 75% to pass.

    Do mortgage brokers need to be licensed?

    Yes, all mortgage brokers need to be licensed. Individuals need to complete a 20-hour class that goes over state and federal laws for mortgages and other important information. Next, individuals take the official test with the National Mortgage Licensure System.

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