Are you a natural-born problem solver? Do you possess that rare combination of talents that makes you good with people and good with numbers? Does real estate get your heart pumping? Do banks and the financial world fascinate you? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you might have a future as a mortgage broker. Intrigued? Well, you’re in luck, because we’re here to tell you how you can make this your dream job.
First, let’s take a look at what mortgage brokers actually do.
“A mortgage broker is a contractor who analyzes mortgage loan products and counsels customers on loan availability, qualification requirements, interest rates, and terms,” explains finance writer Kristine Tucker. “A mortgage broker doesn’t actually loan any money, and only serves as an intermediary between the lender and the borrower.”
What is a mortgage broker’s salary?
In return for helping home buyers shop different banks and financial institutions for the best mortgage loan options, you can make a decent salary in a mortgage broker job. But like most jobs, the pay depends on where you live and your experience.
The salary comparison website PayScale reports that a mortgage broker’s salary ranges between $29,362 and $197,489 per year, with $51,856 being the average pay.
If you’re an independent broker, you’ll probably work on commission per mortgage loan brokered. But if you work for an established mortgage brokerage, you might also earn a salary and benefits on top of commission for each loan.
Because pay varies significantly from job to job, be sure you understand the real estate and home loan markets for your area and the salary range you’re most likely to earn for your desired position.
Advantages of a career in mortgages
Of course, snagging a comfy salary isn’t everything (although pay matters a lot). Is brokering loans rewarding or even fun?
Shayna Rabaiotti, an Arizona mortgage loan officer with Guardian Mortgage, has this to say about it: “It’s such an amazing feeling when I get to see my clients’ reactions after they get their keys to their new home.”
Rabaiotti also notes that mortgage loan brokering is a good transition career.
“After being in the customer service and sales industry for over 15 years, I find that I really enjoy helping people, which is why I was so drawn to this,” she says.
Here are the basic steps you need to take to become a licensed broker:
Step 1: Take the pre-licensure class
All mortgage loan brokers must be licensed. Aspiring brokers need to complete a pre-licensure program, a 20-hour class that will cover relevant federal and state laws and financial regulations around mortgages, loan officer ethics, mortgage origination, and more.
These classes, as well as the official test, are administered by the National Mortgage Licensure System. Check its website to find a mortgage licensure program in your area.
Step 2: Pass the NMLS test
You must pass something called the SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator Test. Everyone takes the same national test, but there’s also a state portion unique to your own region’s rules and regulations pertaining to mortgages.
You can take this exam whenever you choose—you don’t have to wait for a specific time of the year. Once you pass it, you’re in and can start brokering mortgages.
Step 3: Get to work
Since job success as a mortgage broker depends on connections with clients and lending institutions, most mortgage brokers get their first jobs at established brokerage firms with existing relationships in place. You might want to check the job prospects in your intended market before you start the licensure process.
Step 4: Continue your education on mortgage lending
Once you have your mortgage broker license, it’s your responsibility to keep up on the latest developments on mortgage lending in your area.
To keep your license current, you’ll be required to take a certain number of hours of continuing education courses each year. It’s similar to what accountants, doctors, and lawyers go through, and it ensures that you can do your job accurately and will give your clients the most up-to-date mortgage loan information.
Brokering mortgages is a job that demands constant attention to the changing real estate and lending landscape.
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