A day in the life of a Toronto mortgage broker

April 19, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

Day in the life of a #Toronto Mortgage Broker | CanadianMortgageCo.comWhat a mortgage broker really does

Every so often I get a question from people that makes me realize that, in general, most people have no idea what I do.  They assume that I must sit in my office fielding calls and working on my computer from 9 to 5.  Or, the opposite view is that I must spend my day lurking around the offices of bankruptcy trustees.  The reality is quite different.  Here are some highlights from a typical day:

5:00 a.m. Wake up and go for a run

I’m currently training for the Mississauga Half-Marathon in May.  It’s my first, so I’m starting to freak out a little, but I find that nothing beats a great run for starting off the day.

7:00 a.m. Grab the first of many cups of coffee and get everyone at home organized for their day

I’ll also be checking emails, scanning Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looking at my schedule for the day.  This first look is a frenzy of multi-tasking.  Think of a cross between an airline attendant and police officer directing traffic.

8:45 a.m. Driving to Mississauga office

I used to work from home, but found that I am MUCH more productive working in an office environment.  My colleagues are helpful, fun and supportive, and inspire me to get my butt in gear and get more productive (and okay, we’re all a little competitive, or we wouldn’t be in this business).   On the way in to the office, I’m making the first of many calls to check on details for mortgages in progress, documents that have been submitted for lenders to review, and checking with real estate lawyers to make sure they’re received instructions they’re waiting for from lenders.

9:15 a.m.  Phone calls, emails and texts with lenders on behalf of a client

Yesterday evening I met with new clients, and their financial situation is a little tricky.  They have a great income and a good down payment, but they also have had credit issues in the past, so not every lender will accept them.  They’ve put in an offer to buy a home and the clock is ticking – their financing clause expires in five business days.  I already have an idea which lenders will be the best fit, but to save time, I need to discuss their mortgage with several of my lenders, ask questions about what conditions the lenders will ask for, figure out what rate they will offer, and what perks the clients will get with their mortgage.

11:00 a.m. Lender education session

Our group is big on learning the ins and outs of what each lender’s niche or niches are.   As soon as a situation is a little out of the ordinary, such as people who are self-employed, new to Canada, real estate investors, and so on, there are some lenders who have the capacity to handle these clients and some who don’t.  It’s not just reviewing a rate sheet to see who has the best 5 year mortgage rate today.  It’s learning which lender is going to be the best fit for each client so that we can deliver what our clients need.   We’re lucky – we’re big enough that the lenders come to us.  Makes my life a lot easier!

12:15 p.m. Brainstorming lunch with a real estate colleague

I’m a huge advocate for financial literacy and education, so I do a number of seminars each year.  The biggest issue is how best to get the word out that we’re doing them!  Currently I’m in the thick of first-time home buyer seminars in Mississauga (email me if you want to come to one and I can give you the deets), so we’re discussing marketing plans, art work, and the ins and outs of Canada Post mail delivery and postal routes.

1:15 p.m. Conference call with clients to review options

I now have the details to be able to discuss the pros and cons of the two best lenders for my credit-challenged clients who are purchasing.  We discuss the options and agree on a course of action.  I already have the package ready to submit to the lender, so I do a final review and send over the mortgage application, credit bureau, offer to purchase, and MLS property listing.

2:00 p.m. Meet new first-time home buyer clients to review their goals

I meet with first-time home buyers as far as a year or two in advance of their property purchase.  It gives us a good time frame for planning – if there are credit issues, more down payment required, and/or issues with income, we can take steps to get things in line by the time they want to purchase.  In this case, after taking an application, we review the credit report that the clients brought with them, and discuss the price range they’re thinking of buying in.  Today, these folks are super-organized – they’ve also put together a budget with their financial planner, which outlines their spending and what they would ideally like to pay for their mortgage and taxes.   Since this is not typical, I often refer people to the tools on CMHC’s website for home buying – they are terrific.  A couple of issues crop up with the credit report for this couple – they have credit cards that have balances which are quite close to the limit.  We talk about the impact this is having on their credit score, and I make some suggestions for improving their credit.  A give them my usual cautionary message;  don’t go on a spending spree, acquire new credit, reduce limits on credit cards, buy a new car, or anything along those lines.  This can have a major impact on your purchasing power.  Do use your credit cards monthly, pay them off in full if you can or at the very least make sure you make the minimum payment, sock away as much extra cash as you can for your down payment and closing costs.

3:00 p.m.  Emails and phone calls

At this point in the day I’m usually super-busy with calling and emailing lenders and clients.  The underwriting departments are often wrapping up at this point, so it’s the final rush to get questions answered on both sides, and check on the status of documents being reviewed.   I’m reviewing my to-do list and checking to see what’s left to take care of, and starting to review what needs to happen the next day.   And since I have clients I need to meet later this evening, I’m pulling together the documents I need and getting organized for that.

7:00 p.m.  Meet clients at a High Park area coffee shop to sign mortgage commitment and related documents

I’ll often meet with people outside of office hours to make sure we can move things forward on a timely basis.   Since I’ve been working as a mortgage broker, I think I’ve visited more coffee shops in the city than in all the years of my life combined!  (Luckily I do love coffee!)  Tonight, we find a private table, review the mortgage commitment and lender conditions, talk about next steps, and gather up the documents the clients have brought to document their income and down payment.  Once I get back, I scan and email the whole shebang to the lender for review.

If you’d like to read more, check out the Credit 101 articles, or the articles in the Mortgages 101 and Investing 101 tabs.

And please let me know: how does this compare with what you thought I did to earn my living?




Photo credit: [c] Michael Jastremski for openphoto.net

Filed in: About, First Time Homebuyer, Purchase, Refinance | Tags: ,

About the Author (Author Profile)

I'm a Toronto Mortgage Broker. My focus is on saving people time and money in financing and re-financing their homes. Am passionate about helping people make informed choices, giving back, and helping to improve financial literacy in Canada.

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