To ensure the customer gets the most appropriate mortgage deal available to match their needs, mortgage brokers use many specialised professional systems. These tools, including sourcing systems, affordability systems, lender criteria comparison tools and customer relationship management (CRM) software, provide insight into the mortgage market not otherwise available to the customer.
Affordability systems do the vital work of calculating the maximum loan each lender would potentially lend to a borrower. This can be sensitive to a multitude of factors, including borrower income and expenditure, age, loan to value (LTV), employment status, and type and term of the mortgage, among many others. Affordability systems may also flag situations where borrowers fall narrowly outside a lender’s criteria, as they may be able to restructure their affairs to fit (for example, by a small increase in their deposit). This provides a baseline from which the broker can work. Two of the most popular affordability systems brokers use are Mortgage Broker Tools and Affordability Hub.
Sourcing systems allow brokers to identify the best deals by filtering and ranking mortgage products by a number of factors, including the lowest initial interest rate, the overall cost (including fees) over the product or mortgage term, or whether there is a free valuation, free legals or a cashback. The broker can then explore scenarios that trade-off elements such as the duration of the mortgage, the length of the initial fixed, discounted or tracker term, or the deposit amount against the interest rate charged. By tweaking the precise conditions according to borrower’s preference, the broker can create a shortlist of potential lenders. Mortgage advisers commonly use sourcing systems from providers such as Iress, Mortgage Brain and Twenty7Tec to source the best mortgage products for their customers.
Criteria tools allow mortgage brokers to understand and compare the lending criteria of competing mortgage lenders. This can be critical in avoiding mortgage applications that are rejected without consideration for policy or procedural reasons. For example, an otherwise ideal mortgage product may be rendered unsuitable because the lender will not finance flats above commercial premises. SmartrCriteria, Knowledge Bank and Criteria Brain are all popular criteria sourcing tools used by mortgage brokers.
Once the decision has been made to proceed with an application, customer relationship management (CRM) tools let the broker streamline the application process and minimise complexity for the borrower. CRM tools can assist in form filling, organise and store essential paperwork securely, allow e-signing and e-verification of documents, centralise communication between broker, borrower and mortgage lender, and let the borrower monitor their application. CRM systems can also help mortgage advisors to continue adding value for their clients long after a mortgage has been approved, by notifying the borrower of important upcoming events, such as the need to renew their mortgage insurance or the imminent end of mortgage product.
Brokers use all the tools above, together with other elements such as their market knowledge, and expertise navigating lender’s systems and completing mortgage application forms, to save their clients’ time, money and hassle. This can be especially important for borrowers with non-standard personal circumstances or financial situations, such as the self-employed, where the help of a suitably qualified professional can be vital. You can find the best-rated mortgage advisers for expert advice in our mortgage adviser directory.