A mortgage broker is one of the many jobs in the world of real estate and may be an excellent option for those looking to pursue a career in real estate. While many people think that working in real estate only means being a salesperson, there are many options, such as being a mortgage broker, that can be just as rewarding but with very different day-to-day duties.
According to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA), there are currently about 2700 mortgage brokers working in the province and over 13,000 mortgage agents who could become brokers.
Being a mortgage broker can be a rewarding job with good pay, but it will take some time and education before you can get there. This article will cover the path one must take to start working as a licensed mortgage broker in Ontario.
What does a mortgage broker do?
A mortgage broker is a professional in all things mortgages. Most people will use a mortgage when they buy their home, but it can be a bit of a complicated process for those who aren’t experienced in the topic. Many buyers only start learning about mortgages in earnest once they start looking for a home and may not even know where to start or what to look for. This is where a mortgage broker comes in.
A mortgage broker acts as a middle person between borrowers and lenders. They help borrowers to shop around for different lending options and find a mortgage that works best for their needs, and they help lenders by connecting them with qualified borrowers. Mortgage brokers have a deep knowledge of how mortgages work and the different lenders offering loans. They also work to develop relationships in the industry which can help them to access exclusive rates and offers for their clients.
What is the difference between a mortgage broker and a mortgage agent?
A mortgage broker and a mortgage agent have similar jobs, though a mortgage broker is a more advanced position in the same field. Mortgage agents work under a brokerage, while mortgage brokers are capable of being the broker of record for their own brokerages, opening up new possibilities for how they want to run their business.
All mortgage brokers must begin as mortgage agents as part of the prerequisites for getting their licenses. The difference to clients is minimal, but to the agents themselves, becoming a broker represents a big next step in advancing their careers.
You may also hear about mortgage specialists. Mortgage specialists are also trained to work with mortgages and help clients explore their options. However, a single lender primarily employs them to sell their own products rather than working independently to compare many lenders. A mortgage specialist working at a lender may or may not be a mortgage agent or broker.
How do I become a mortgage broker in Ontario?
Because the role of a mortgage broker is a more advanced position than a mortgage agent, the process for becoming a mortgage broker can be lengthy. Luckily, the process for getting there is clearly laid out by the FSRA.
Part one: Complete mortgage agent requirements
The first step to becoming a mortgage broker is to first get licensed as a mortgage agent. You can skip this section if you already have your mortgage agent license.
To become a mortgage agent in Ontario, you will need to complete an FSRA-approved education program offered by a few different institutions. These courses will teach you all of the foundational concepts of mortgages as well as the practices of a mortgage agent.
In general, these will take a couple of weeks to complete, and you will then have two years from completion to apply for a mortgage agent license. Though rates vary between providers, mortgage agent courses can cost around $400.
There are also a few other requirements to be licensed, such as being an adult resident of Canada and being employed at a licensed mortgage brokerage and being authorized to deal in mortgages. Once you've met all the requirements, your brokerage will help you to submit your license application to the FSRA. There is a licensing fee of $941 that you may need to pay. Otherwise, your brokerage will cover the fee.
Part two: Complete mortgage broker requirements
To become a mortgage broker, you must be a licensed mortgage agent for at least 24 months of the prior three years before you apply. The process for becoming a broker is much the same as the process for becoming an agent, including completing the approved FSRA education program. Due to the lower number of people pursuing a broker's license, there is only one program for mortgage brokers in Ontario offered by Mortgage Professionals Canada.
The broker's course is provided in two phases, the first being an online component and the second being an in-class course. Each takes about a week to complete and will cover the responsibilities and skills required to run a legally compliant brokerage and manage a team. The program costs $495.
After completing the mortgage broker education program, you will have three years to apply for licensing with the FSRA. Luckily this time, there is no fee to apply. Once again, the principal broker at your brokerage will help you to apply for your mortgage broker license.
Once you become a licensed mortgage broker, you may feel like you're at the end of the process, but you're only just beginning! You now have the freedom to start your mortgage brokerage, build your team and work to further your business. Though being a mortgage broker may come with more requirements and responsibilities, it also offers huge opportunities for growth. Good luck!