For most of us, buying a home is one of the largest purchase decisions we will make in our lifetime. Be it an inner-city apartment or sprawling suburban sanctuary; there are a myriad of places that Canberrans call home. And, as the local real estate market heats up, many of us are considering making a move to the next step on the property ladder.
Whether you are a first-time buyer, an upgrader, investor, or downsizer, you are likely to have something in common. And that is the need to secure a loan to assist you along this purchase journey. This loan, or mortgage, finances the purchase with real estate serving as collateral.
The beauty of a mortgage is that it affords an opportunity to purchase a property without needing the full amount up front. With a deposit, assets, secure employment, and good credit rating, potential suiters can own the home of their dreams today. But mortgages are complex things.
They come in all shapes and sizes, with different rates, fees, and options. Mortgages also come with a choice of bells and whistles. Features like off-set accounts and redraw facilities each provide greater choice for borrowers. And with everyone from multinational banks to local credit unions offering mortgage products, the options are almost endless. Add to this, nuances in your personal situation and finding the right loan can become a tedious task indeed.
A financial services arm, brokerage assists with this exact dilemma. Mortgage brokers are professional loan negotiators. Their skills lie in securing competitive loans for clients. As intermediaries between purchasers and lenders, mortgage brokers suggest loan solutions to address need. So, to help you finding a great broker, we’ve provided some helpful hints below.
What makes a great mortgage broker?
Great mortgage brokers are loan sourcing experts, masterminding competitive options on your terms. They make the whole process easier and smoother; and can make it more affordable in the long run. Here are some aspects to consider while evaluating your mortgage broker:
- Qualified & licenced. The best mortgage brokers are equipped with the right credentials. At the very minimum your broker should hold a certificate IV or diploma in Finance and Mortgage Broking. The most qualified brokers hold a Bachelor of Business specialising in Financial Planning. In addition to qualifications, your mortgage broker must also hold an Australian Credit License (ACL) as issued by ASIC. License holders adhere to high professional standards, so look for these over representatives.
- Industry affiliated. The most reputable mortgage brokers are affiliated with Australia’s leading industry bodies. Membership indicates support of ethical practises and adherence to strict codes of conduct, which of course benefits end consumers. Check for memberships with the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) or the Finance Broker Association of Australia (FBAA).
- Lender accreditations. Generally speaking; the more options a broker can offer you, the better the outcome. So, to maximise your options look for a broker who works with a broad panel of lenders. The best mortgage brokers are accredited with a wide range of banks, lenders, credit unions, and building societies. After all, mortgages come in all shapes and sizes, so hunt far and wide for the right loan solution. Importantly, understand the type of relationship your broker has with each lender, and whether they have a preference. Why? See below.
- Fees & commissions. While some mortgage brokers will charge for their assistance, others may offer their services free of charge. Interestingly, this is because lenders tend to offer commissions for referred business. These commissions can include lump sum payments on settlement, plus monthly trail payments for the loan’s lifetime. An unbiased product selection is important, as it ensures the best rates and terms for you. The best brokers offer full transparency, so enquire about commissions from lenders and how these are paid.
- Local and independent. By nature of their profession, mortgage brokers are incredibly well connected. And while these connections are vital to their success, some run deeper than mere accreditation. It may come as a surprise to know that some brokerage firms are wholly or partially owned by lenders. While this ownership undoubtedly offers many advantages there can also be drawbacks that impact a borrower’s options. By choosing an independent mortgage broker you are giving yourself the best chance of unbiased advice. And when locally owned, you are supporting a business to make a positive contribution to the community.
The best mortgage brokers in Canberra
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
Located in Allara Street in Canberra City, they’re locally and privately owned. Most importantly, unlike many others in the industry, their brokers don’t earn commissions. They pay their brokers a base salary, and any bonuses they can earn are largely based on compliance and customer satisfaction, meaning there’s no financial incentive for them to recommend one product over another. They also have access to a panel of more than 30 lenders including all the major banks.
Clarity Home Loans place a strong emphasis on service with company standards that ensure their brokers fully explain not only the home loan process, but the entire property transaction from start to finish including what’s involved from each party at each stage. They have great relationships with all Canberra conveyancers and can guide you through everything from applying for any grants or concessions, to preparing for settlement.
While they’re experienced in all facets of property finance, they’re particularly skilled in helping manage the transition between selling an existing property and buying the next property (which is arguably one of the most confusing property transactions to navigate). They’re also great if you’re looking to refinance or consolidate debts into a single loan.
Clarity Home Loans are well-equipped to help with investment loans (explaining everything from loan products and interest rates, to repayment options and potential tax benefits) and commercial property loans.
They’ve also received loads of positive online reviews, like this RiotACT review from Caroline T, “I highly recommend Radka Paulovicova from Clarity. Our original lender (the bank we had been banking with and who had approved our original loan) were proving to be a nightmare. With only three weeks to settlement (with even less business days because Easter and ANZAC day holidays were in the middle) I called Clarity and explained our situation to Radka… From that first meeting, Radka took control of the process, she identified a new lender with a loan approval processes that would work for us. Her communication skills are excellent and she went above and beyond to make sure every t was crossed and every i dotted so nothing could slow the process down.”
Founded locally in 2016, AdvisorCorp offers holistic financial advisory services to both individuals and businesses in the Canberra region. A key specialisation is the procurement of mortgages for purchases, investments, and also refinancing.
Their expert team of mortgage brokers do the heavy lifting sourcing the right loan and terms with their extensive panel of lenders. And they don’t stop at finding the finance, they assist with the entire process from preliminary paperwork through to final approval.
For a personalised and polished boutique feel with highly experienced Canberra brokers look to AdvisorCorp.
Melissa Ryan shared this glowing review on Google, “As current clients of AdvisorCorp we have continually been delivered the best service and professionalism from the entire team.”
Founded in 2010 by Directors Nick Fife and Michael Slater, you’ll find their Canberra office in Lathlain St in Belconnen, but they also have offices in Goulburn and Wagga Wagga. With more than 30 lenders on their panel including several major banks, they can show you hundreds of different loans and help you manage the process from your initial application through to approval and settlement.
In addition to home loans, they also provide conveyancing, financial planning, legal and insurance services, so are one of the few mortgage brokers in Canberra that can say they honestly provide end-to-end property and financial services.
As part of the Australian Finance Group (the largest mortgage broking group in Australia), they also have access to IT systems which allow them to manage much of the lodgement process online. They’re also participating members of the Credit Ombudsman Service (a dispute resolution service provided by ASIC), which gives you access to external support if you have an issue or complaint about their service or professionalism.
Previous customer Sally Friend had good things to say about them, commenting “Fantastic! Great help! Michael is top bloke!” in her Facebook review of them.
Based in Forrest (in Canberra Avenue), they’re not limited to home and investment loans—they can also help with vehicle, equipment and personal loans. With access to hundreds of different loans, they can manage the whole process for you, including handling all the negotiations with your chosen lender.
They can show you loans for almost any type of property purchase whether you’re looking to buy, invest, renovate or review your current loan. They’ll do all the paperwork, manage the application process and take it through to approvals and settlement, allowing you to be relatively hands-off. If you’re strapped for time, their brokers can also arrange to meet you at a time and place that suits you to make the process easier.
They’re a great option for first home buyers, happy to explain everything from your borrowing capacity and repayment options, to eligibility and conditions for the first home buyer grant. They’re also able to offer plenty of tips and advice if you’re thinking of building a new house of building a new house or apartment.
Their brokers can explain the various benefits and drawbacks of every type of loan in depth and they take the time to discuss the other fees and costs of buying a property like stamp duty, legal/conveyancing fees, building and pest inspections, lender costs and mortgage insurance.
Rioter Mark_74 also gave them a good rap, commenting “I highly recommend Joel Defazio from Casa mortgage services. He got me a good rate on my home loan in a timely manner and kept me updated at all times.”
For helpful financial services related to your property purchase check out our articles on the best the best financial planners, the best tax accountants, and the best conveyancing lawyers in Canberra. If you are considering a commercial purchase be sure to read our article on the best commercial mortgage brokers in the region. And, if you are ready to kick off the property search check out our article on the best real estate agents that Canberra has to offer.
Your experience with mortgage brokers in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the mortgage brokers listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.