f you’re looking for a mortgage on a home purchase — or to renew one on a home you already own — is a mortgage broker or a bank your best option?
The main difference is a bank mortgage officer represents only the products their institution offers, while a mortgage broker is an intermediary who works with multiple lenders and is paid a referral fee by the lenders. Mortgage brokers are regulated in Ontario by the Financial Services Commission and require a licence.
While traditional banks still are used for mortgages by the majority of homeowners, “use of brokers is trending upward,” notes Monica Guido, manager of client relations with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. “It’s higher among first-time buyers. Finding a deal, or the desire to get the best rate, is the key reason people use a broker.”
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Because mortgage brokers work with many lenders, including major banks, small lenders, insurance and trust companies, and private funds, they often have access to a better rate.
In 2017, 39 per cent of homeowners used a broker to arrange their mortgage, up from 33 per cent in 2016, according to CMHC. On average, consumers consult with 4.5 mortgage professionals when seeking a home loan, including 2.4 lenders and 2.1 mortgage brokers.