Your home is usually the largest purchase you’ll make in your lifetime, but it’s amazing how few people invest the time and effort to make sure they’re getting the best deal on their home loan. Instead, many people adopt what they think will be the simplest option and approach their current bank to avoid the hassle of finding a more competitive loan—and that’s where a mortgage broker can help.
If you’ve never used a mortgage broker before, they compare a variety of home loan products from a range of different lenders to help you find the one that best suits you. However, not all mortgage brokers are the same.
To encourage more people to shop around for a better deal and remove some of the pain of finding a good mortgage broker in Canberra, we’ve pulled together some of the key things to look for when choosing a broker.
What to look for in a mortgage broker
- Access to a large lending panel. In an ideal world mortgage brokers would be able to compare every home loan on the market to find you the best deal, but in reality, mortgage brokers will only compare loans offered by the panel of lenders they work with. In short, the more lenders they have on their panel, the more loans they’ll be able to show you. To ensure you’re getting a good picture of the range of loans on the market, look for a broker with access to a broad range of major lenders, as well as some smaller non-majors.
- A transparent commission structure. You should also consider how the broker will be paid. mortgage brokers are generally remunerated for their work by the bank or lender that you choose to go with, so it shouldn’t cost you as the customer any more to use a mortgage broker than to approach a lender directly. However, how much they earn from successfully selling a loan could vary significantly between each lender, potentially creating a conflict of interest when recommending a product or lender. All mortgage brokers in Canberra must disclose any payments, bonuses or incentives they will receive from the lender in return for the sale, so it’s worthwhile asking them outright how much they’re set to earn so they can’t pull the wool over your eyes.
- End-to-end service and support. Some brokers are very transactional in their approach, largely focusing on the loan upfront but providing very little additional support when needed. Property transactions can be very complex and if your broker isn’t willing or able to explain products, interest rates, loan structure, repayment options and the settlement process in detail, you may find yourself in hot water down the track when something doesn’t work as you anticipated. As the industry has evolved, many of the larger banks have become more selective about which brokers they choose to accredit, often focusing on their level of experience, support systems and capacity to deliver ongoing client support once the loan has settled, so if a broker has some major lenders on their panel, that can be a good indication of the level of service and support they provide.
- Local and independent. It’s also a good idea to look for a local Canberra mortgage broker that operates independently, without any connections to a bank. It may come as a surprise, but a large number of brokerage firms that claim they are impartial are actually wholly or partly owned by a bank. By choosing a local and independent broker, not only will you be more likely to receive unbiased advice, but because they recruit, employ and train staff from the region, you’ll also be supporting a local business to make a positive contribution to the Canberra community and economy.
- Reviews from previous customers. Finally, make sure you also do a little research to find out what previous customers had to say about their experience using the various mortgage brokers in Canberra. Mortgage brokers are essentially sales agents who want to win your business, so instead of blindly believing everything they tell you, take the time to read through some online reviews to see if you can get some valuable insights and a more balanced view of what to expect if you go with them.
The Canberra mortgage brokers according to you
To make it easier to find a good local mortgage broker to help with your home loan, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best Canberra mortgage brokers based on your feedback and other online reviews.
Located in Marcus Clarke 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.
They 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.
They’re also 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 Google review from Adz HB: “…dealing with clarity has been amazing from the start, their attention to detail, communication, high level of industry knowledge and experience stood out at all times.”
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.”
Who did you pick?
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback on the best and worst Canberra mortgage brokers.
If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Please comment below detailing your experience with Canberra based mortgage brokers? Who would you recommend? Who would you use again? Who would you steer clear of?