Shopping it Around with a Mortgage Broker

When a young woman goes shopping, she doesn't mess around; finding the best deal is worth taking the time and doing it right, and that may include using a professional shopper.

Apparently, shopping for a house mortgage is not much different for Canadian 20 and 30-something women; they are the demographic most likely to use a professional mortgage broker, according to the 2009 Mortgage Consumer Survey [pdf] conducted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

The survey found that 25 to 34-year old Canadians make up 42% of consumers who use an accredited mortgage professional, while female purchasers make up 43%.

First-time home buyers are also much more likely to use a mortgage broker than the general public, and that number is on the rise, sharply - from 35% in 2007 to 44% this year who favour brokers.

Loyalty to lenders (e.g. traditional banks) is down significantly among first-time buyers - from 65% in 2007 to 47% loyalty this year.

1/4 of All Mortgages Involved Broker

The CMHC survey shows that from June 2008 to June 2009, one quarter of all mortgage transactions were arranged through mortgage brokers. Aside from the first-time buyers, young and female demographics discussed, the use of mortgage brokers remains stable amongst other Canadians.

Working with a mortgage broker may make the most sense for first-time buyers, to help sort out the complicated formulas required and to minimize damage to one's credit score.

Reasons to use a mortgage broker include:

    •    Independent, unbiased advice; as a freelancer, the broker won't favour one bank or credit union over another based on anything except rates
    •    Access to as many as 40 government and CMHC-approved lenders
    •    Negotiates rates with lenders directly, on your behalf
    •    You pay no fee (the broker charges the lender)
    •    The broker educates you on all your options including: open, closed, high ratio, first, second, conventional, CMHC-insured, HELOC, VTB mortgages, prepayment privileges and penalties, reverse mortgages, private loans, and more.

Financial Privacy Issues

However, be wary when sharing your personal financial information; make sure that your mortgage broker has been accredited by a body like the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals and complies with provincial laws requiring education, training and licensing standards. Like in any industry, malpractice by a few brokers has resulted in mortgage fraud (a form of identity theft).

You should check and see if your mortgage broker is  licensed and in good standing with your provincial regulator:

  • SFSC in Saskatchewan

Have you used a mortgage broker or know someone who has? Share your stories, or questions, below.


  1. Allen 10/12/2010 at 8:02 PM

    I was reading the other day of the registry now required of the brokers and that soon the new guidelines would include Bankers as well. As I read it , it seemd rather harsh. Any opinion from the Mortgage Brokers Association?

  2. Mortgage Calculator Canada 04/05/2011 at 8:18 AM

    If you have tip-top credit and enough cash for a big down payment, I suggest you at least try to shop for loans directly through mortgage lenders. This advice comes from the basic principle that it's best to cut out middlemen whenever possible. Every middleman has to be paid, right? Information is so accessible these days that shopping for interest rates on your own is pretty easy.

    If your loan-shopping is complicated by a lot of factors, that's when a mortgage broker can really be worth the commission.

  3. Hire Agents 09/27/2011 at 6:04 AM

    I agree with Mortgage Calculator Canada but we should take advices from mortgage brokers regarding shopping tips.

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