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Mortgage Broker Guide

How to Become a Mortgage Broker

Are you passionate about helping individuals and families achieve home ownership? Do you like working one-on-one with the public? If so, then a career as a mortgage broker could be an excellent option for you.

In the last decade, the housing market has experienced upward momentum, with more consumers pursuing their dream of owning real estate. Mortgage brokers help educate clients on the loan process and current market while also securing them the best rates for a loan. The individualized care a mortgage broker offers first-time home buyers or individuals and families looking to refinance a home is needed when navigating the real estate market.   

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What Is a Mortgage Broker?

A mortgage broker is a trained professional who serves as an intermediary between financial institutions that offer real estate loans and borrowers seeking to buy real estate. Mortgage brokers depend on strong communication, negotiation, and sales skills to find the best loan options for their clients. Additionally, brokers are responsible for collecting all of the necessary financial paperwork, such as income, employment documentation, and credit reports, to best assess a borrower's potential for a loan. 

Typically, there are two types of mortgage brokers: tied and independent. Tied brokers are limited to certain financial institutions and their offers, while independent brokers can advise on the entire market and find the most competitive deal for their clients. Most tied brokers are employed directly by a bank or institution, increasing their job security. Independent brokers work as self-employed individuals but value the freedom to be unbiased in their recommendations to clients.

What Does a Mortgage Broker Do?

The day-to-day responsibilities of a mortgage broker can include:

  • Learning more about each client's finances and personal circumstances.
  • Researching and recommending options based on the market, a client's situation, and their risk profile.
  • Helping first-time buyers secure their mortgage. 
  • Finding offers for those looking to refinance or upsize.
  • Ensuring a client can afford their mortgage now and in the future, if the interest rate rises significantly.
  • Educating a client about how the product works, including options and penalties.
  • Completing mortgage applications on behalf of clients.
  • Assisting older individuals in releasing equity from their homes.
  • Providing additional mortgage advice (e.g., what to do in cases of divorce or death, how to find mortgage insurance, etc.).

How Do I Become a Mortgage Broker?

To become a mortgage broker, you first need a high school diploma or GED. Then, you need to complete pre-licensing training through the National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS). This is a 20-hour class that offers education on federal and state laws pertaining to mortgage brokerage. Earning a bachelor's degree in accounting or business management can further assist in your journey of becoming a mortgage broker. Either of these degree programs will provide a strong foundation in business ethics, sales, taxation, management, and more. Next, you must take and pass the NMLS licensing exam. You must achieve a 75% on both the state and federal portions of the exam to pass. Upon passing your exam, you'll need to register and establish your mortgage brokerage as a legal business. This process involves abiding by your state's guidelines and requirements for business registration. 

After passing your exam and registering your business, you’re ready to apply for your mortgage broker license and secure your mortgage broker bond. State requirements can vary, but in general, to obtain a license, you need to pass your exam, pay a licensing fee, obtain the appropriate bond, and submit your licensing application. Broker bonds are contracts that protect clients if a broker were to break the rules of operating as a broker in their state. For example, if you approve a client for a loan you know they cannot repay, a claim can be filed. Bonds not only protect your clients but also provide validity for your work. Once the state reviews your application and requirements as satisfactory, they will approve your application and send you your mortgage broker license.

The next stage in your career involves building relationships with other professionals and establishing clients. A new mortgage broker spends most of their time networking and establishing relationships with real estate agents, lenders, financial advisors, and accountants. These collaborations will help provide a steady flow of clients to your mortgage brokerage business. Most client relationships happen through referrals, so continuing to foster strong relationships within your community and industry is vital. Finally, being a successful mortgage broker requires consistent learning. It's always helpful to regularly update your knowledge and skills with professional development opportunities and training. 

Best Degrees for a Mortgage Broker

Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 41 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Account executive
  • Business analyst
  • Program manager
  • Director or senior director
  • Vice president

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.

Accounting – B.S. Business Administration

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?...

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?...

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 41 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Accounting manager
  • Financial director
  • Vice president of finance and operations
  • Chief financial officer
  • Forensic accountant

Take your first step toward CPA certification and learn how to use GAAP, ledgers, and journals.

Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,675 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Executive director
  • Chief strategic officer

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.

Accounting – M.S.

Become better qualified to pursue a greater variety of public...

Become better qualified to pursue a greater...

Become better qualified to pursue a greater variety of public and private accounting positions:

  • Time: 70% of grads finish within 23 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,675 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Accountant
  • Accounting manager
  • Internal audit manager
  • Senior accountant
  • Other specialized finance roles

This MAcc program is designed to prepare you for the CPA exam and also the CMA or CIA exams.


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What Skills Does a Mortgage Broker Need?

A successful mortgage broker requires a variety of professional and interpersonal skills, most notably: 

  • Openness: Clients will have to share sensitive personal and financial information with their mortgage broker, so you need to quickly establish yourself as trustworthy.  
  • Communication: As a broker, you must know how to break down and explain complex information to others in a simple way.  
  • Numeracy: When negotiating in the market, you must be able to calculate quickly and clearly explain different figures and financial information to your clients.
  • Attention to detail: Small details matter when obtaining offers for a client, and your attention to those details will make a huge impact on finding the best products available to them.
  • Time management: You'll be required to manage numerous clients at the same time and secure mortgage offers for them in a timely manner. 
  • Flexibility: Clients sometimes need to call or email you outside of office hours, particularly for time-sensitive deadlines, so flexibility in your work schedule is important to foster. 
male budget analyst

How Much Does a Mortgage Broker Make?

$84,716

According to Indeed, the average salary for mortgage brokers in the U.S. is $84,716. Income for brokers is largely dependent on the level of experience, location, and whether they are self-employed or work for a financial institution. Brokers are mostly paid through a 1% to 2% commission of the loan amount upon closing.

What Is the Job Outlook for a Mortgage Broker?

No Change

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job growth for all loan officers, including mortgage brokers, will show little to no change between 2020 and 2030. Even so, mortgage brokers will continue to be essential as financial intermediaries between borrowers and lenders. 

Where Does a Mortgage Broker Work?

Varies

The work environment for mortgage brokers largely depends on whether they are tied or independent brokers. Tied brokers will spend most of their workday in a corporate setting within a bank or financial institution, whereas independent brokers can work from their own office or home remotely. 

Interested in Becoming a Mortgage Broker?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this exciting career.

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