For the housing market spring is just around the corner. Multiple offers and increasing home prices are signs that buyers are entering the spring market early. As a result I have been speaking with many new clients over the last two weeks and two of their stories have led me to write this article.
Before I show you what to look for in a bad Agent let me first offer a short but accurate summation of what makes a good one. Mortgage Agents are invaluable sources of information and industry connections; they offer a professional and personal service in a sometimes impersonal industry.
As in any industry, there are always bad apples… They are pushy, inefficient, and misleading. My most recent conversation with a new client of mine named Val revealed an upset, and bullied woman who decided to fight back. She contacted a Mortgage Agent who upon their first face to face meeting convinced Val to sign mortgage documents with little explanation regarding the details of the contract. She signed them because she felt pressured by her Agent to do so but she asked him to put the deal on hold as she felt uneasy. He was charging her a broker fee and he was pushing a mortgage product that did not suit her needs. She was called 3 times a day following the signing and when Val finally told her Agent to cancel the deal he intimidated her by telling her she had already signed the papers followed by the phrase ”You don’t want me to go there.“ Val is not the type of person to stand for unprofessional treatment so she called his head office and tried to find out why he had behaved so poorly. He apologized to her, lost the deal and hopefully his Broker will prevent him from this sort of behavior in the future.
The truth about your rights as a client of a Mortgage Agent is that you can terminate their services and any signed pre-approval, approval, or application at any time, as long as it’s before the funding of the mortgage or loan. One caveat however, is to make sure you are not signing a document that actually says you are obligated financially to the bank or the Agent in any way till that funding date comes. A very important aspect of our job is to educate our clients, and a requirement of our profession is to insure our clients know exactly what they are signing and fully disclose the costs and conditions of the mortgage agreement.
The next case I witnessed involved an Agent that was either extremely misinformed or an outright liar. Decorated retired United States Marine Raymond had the displeasure of doing business with this person. With two weeks financing conditions on his purchase agreement Raymond needed to get an answer from a lender. He contacted a local Mortgage Agent and asked him for help in preparing his mortgage, as a landed immigrant from the US. He was not familiar with our banking system and turned to someone he hoped would have the answers. He was told upfront that there would be a fee for this type of service and Raymond would have to come up with $2000 out of his pocket. Broker fees have their place, for example, when the lender is not paying an Agent for the deal or the discount arranged with the lender comes at a great deduction in commissions. However these fees have to be applicable and warranted. This Agent attempted to justify his fee by wasting a week of the financing condition, calling Raymond daily and asking for documentation one piece at a time. This seemed only to keep up the appearance of work being conducted in between requests. During that week he did not even approach a lender for an answer. This Agent even went so far as to tell my client that there is a law in Ontario that your wife must be on the mortgage with you. Was the Agent misinformed or blatantly telling a lie? It is difficult to ascertain but in the end, Raymond, did not receive the treatment he deserved. Raymond fired the Agent and I acquired his approval for him shortly after.
Both these stories illustrate bad experiences prospective homeowners have encountered. The purchase of a home, one of the biggest of your life, is about you!! If you ever feel your Agent is telling you something that just doesn’t seem right, question it. If he can’t explain it to your satisfaction then remember that the internet has become an excellent source of material be it via bank websites or discussion forums. An even better plan is to call another Agent such as myself, one of the good guys. I am always willing to listen and offer you an honest opinion on whether or not your current Agent is giving you the service you deserve.
Don’t lump all Mortgage Agents, good and bad, together. Most of us are honest and trustworthy and only want to do what is best for you. We bring to the table experience and business sense and an excellent network of resources. When you are shopping for a Mortgage Agent remember it is about you!!! That means giving you the straight facts and straight answers to your questions, anything less should be questioned.
Centum One Financial Corp
Toll Free: 1-866-728-3708