Mortgage brokers are in an interesting position.
They’re in the business of money-wrangling, but they’re also in customer service. They probably have operational objectives or performance targets to meet, and they also need to keep their service standards high.
If they don’t deliver in both of these areas, they’ll go out of business. Brokers need customers to exist, just like humans need oxygen and chocolate to operate effectively.
But, there’s one key difference in the customer service standards mortgage brokers should abide by: the customer is not always right.
Wait – stay with me! I’ll explain.
Have you ever felt like you’ve paid an ‘ignorance tax’ just because someone knows that they’ve got the upper hand in a service dynamic?
I have. And it really annoys me.
When you come to a mortgage broker, or to any professional offering a service for that matter, you’re vulnerable. They know more than you, possibly a lot more. There’s inherent inequality in the power dynamic of this relationship, and unfortunately, there are plenty who exploit it.
There’s a few different ways this can play out. The professional might completely drain your funds before you get anything to show for it. They might sell you a ‘special deal’ that is anything but. They might capitalise on your relative lack of understanding to just pad out their service with fluff and frippery that’s of no value to you. Or, in the worst-case scenario, they might lock you into an unsustainable contract or service arrangement that does more and more damage to you and your bank balance with every day you’re tied to it.
Mortgage brokers are dealing with your money, so they’re dealing with your livelihood. Your livelihood sustains your life. As such, they are dealing with your life.
They have a responsibility to not play fast and loose with your life, right?
Here’s what this boils down to:
If you come to a mortgage broker seeking a loan, they are duty-bound to make sure the loan is a good fit for you, now and into the future. This mean that it must:
- be realistically manageable
- take into account your ongoing circumstances, objectives and financial requirements
- allow you to have a lifestyle you’re comfortable with while you’re repaying it
- include reasonable buffers
- incorporate all associated costs (and I mean ALL!) Surprise hidden fees are not the delightful type of surprise. They can be game-changing, and not in a good way.
The loan arrangement facilitated by your broker should be the best possible arrangement for you, all things in the list above considered.
Failing to properly consider any of these things could be deemed negligent and compromises the integrity of your broker. If you’ve got one and they skimmed over any of these things, or allowed you to skim over them, ditch ‘em.
Therein lies the rub…
Your mortgage broker should ensure that you’re fully cognisant of what you’re entering into. While you’re responsible for your own money, your mortgage broker is responsible for educating you, and this includes educating you about your own money and financial circumstances. It might feel a bit uncomfortable being held to account. You might feel a bit miffed, like someone thinks they know better than you about your own finances. But, they probably do! That’s why you’re working with them.
Sometimes, your mortgage broker might disagree with you. They might point out things you should take into account, and other things to be aware of. They might tell you flat-out that they won’t get you the loan amount or conditions you want, because they don’t think they’re sustainable for you.
That’s their job.
Good customer service shouldn’t be synonymous with sugar-coating the facts or saying yes to your every fancy, just to retain you as a client. Good customer service means treating you and your money with respect and care. So, if you do find a broker who tells you things you don’t want to hear, you’re in luck. They’re on your side.