So you're ready to buy your first house, have chosen your neighborhood and know how much you want to spend. With all the excitement, you've likely skipped one of the most important steps in the home buying process: finding a mortgage broker. With so many professionals trying to offer their services to you, finding a mortgage broker can be a daunting task. Both mortgage brokers and traditional banks are hounding potential borrowers for applications, and it may be a bit overwhelming for first time buyers. The following information may be able to help you find a top notch broker with relative ease:

How Does a Mortgage Broker Help You Buy a Home?

Mortgage brokers act as middlemen between you and potential lenders. They take all of your relevant information and attempt to match you with a lender that meets your needs.First time home buyers use mortgage brokers primarily because they aren't sure which lender to go to. They may also have special connections with lenders who are more lenient with their qualifications.

When Should You Hire a Mortgage Broker?

Because mortgage brokers play a crucial role in the approval process, you should hire one immediately after you've decided to purchase a home and are ready to begin applying for a loan. They will take your application, review it and submit it to relevant financial institutions.

Does Location Matter?

Many clients prefer to have a physical meeting with potential mortgage brokers to determine whether or not he or she will be a good fit. In most instances, location does matter and you should choose brokers who are close to your home or the location you intend to purchase.

Who Pays for the Mortgage Broker?

Mortgage brokers can be paid a number of ways by both the borrower and the financial institution. If the lender closes at an interest rate above the current market rate, the broker may be paid a commission on that amount. They can also be paid by loan origination costs, which are shouldered by the borrower. If a loan is more trickier to process, the mortgage broker will make more money and may charge more upfront fees.

Tips for Finding a Mortgage Broker

Because of the large number of mortgage brokers that may be vying for your business, you must verify each one and use a number of factors to determine your decision:

  • Fees - Ask how much the mortgage broker will charge after the loan has been approved.
  • Referrals - Make sure to check referrals from previous clients. If the broker is unable to provide referrals, it may be best to stay away.
  • Only choose mortgage brokers that are registered with a professional organization in your state. This will ensure that he or she isn't fraudulently trying to obtain your information or scam you in any way.