The role of a mortgage advisor can be an incredibly rewarding and lucrative role, although it certainly comes with plenty of stresses, long hours and a bucket load of paperwork. In this guide, I’ll explain what it takes to become a mortgage broker, what the role involves and what you may expect to earn.
What do mortgage advisors do?
A mortgage broker, also known as a mortgage advisor, is a professional who works with clients to find and secure the most suitable mortgage products for their needs.
They act as intermediaries between borrowers and lenders, helping clients navigate the complex world of mortgage products and lending institutions. Mortgage brokers assess a client’s financial situation, provide advice on mortgage options, and help them through the application process.
They also negotiate with lenders on their clients’ behalf to secure favorable rates and terms. A mortgage advisor provides a valuable service to those seeking to purchase property by helping them find the best mortgage products for their financial situation.
How much do mortgage advisors earn?
The amount you can earn as a mortgage broker will depend on your level of experience and whether you are employed or work for yourself. There are also various types of mortgage advisor job roles, such as working in a bank solely selling their products or working as an independent mortgage broker.
A typical starting salary for an employed mortgage broker is around £20,000 – £30,000 without commission. However, with commission, it will usually far surpass this.
Generally, after a few years of performing well, it’s reasonable to expect an income of around £45,000 – £70,000. And the longer you’ve been trading, the more repeat clients and referrals you’ll have.
Self-employed brokers’ income may be less stable to begin with. However, it can be significantly higher than employed brokers writing a similar level of business.
How long do mortgage advisors work?
Most employed mortgage brokers are usually contracted to work around 35-40 hours a week. However, during busy periods, they may work in excess of this, potentially working extra hours in the evenings or on weekends.
The level of administrative support provided by their employer can impact the hours worked. For example, if they work in an estate agency or for a bank, they may be required to work a Saturday, perhaps weekly or twice monthly. Self-employed brokers may work more hours initially while they look to increase their pipeline and run the business.
List of duties
- Assessing client financial situation
- Providing advice on mortgage options
- Guiding clients through the application process
- Negotiating with lenders for favorable rates and terms
- Completing required paperwork
- Ensuring compliance with industry regulations
- Maintaining client relationships and building a referral network
- Keeping up-to-date with industry trends and changes.
Mortgage advisor benefits
Being a mortgage advisor has many benefits, including:
- Flexibility in working hours and location
- The potential for uncapped commission, meaning higher earnings
- Opportunities for career progression, such as team management or specialising in a specific mortgage type
- A rewarding career that helps clients achieve their dreams of homeownership
- Not requiring years of studying, unlike other financial careers such as becoming a chartered accountant or financial analyst
- The ability to work for yourself and enjoy the freedom of being your own boss.
Types of mortgage advisor jobs
Whole-of-market mortgage broker
This type of mortgage broker provides access to mortgages from the entire market. They are not tied to any specific lender or group of lenders and can, therefore, provide clients with unbiased advice on a range of mortgage products from different providers
Tied/multi-tied mortgage broker
This type of mortgage broker is tied to a specific lender or a group of lenders. They can only offer mortgage products from the lenders they are tied to, limiting the range of options available to clients. Multi-tied brokers have relationships with several lenders, but they still have restrictions on the range of products they can offer.
Bank mortgage advisor
This type of mortgage advisor works for a specific bank or building society and can only offer mortgage products from that lender. They may have access to exclusive deals and rates offered by their employer, but their advice will be limited to the products available from that particular bank.
Employed vs Self-employed mortgage advisors
Advantages of being an employed mortgage advisor
84% of mortgage brokers are employed, here’s some of the reasons why:
- Guaranteed minimum income: providing financial stability and peace of mind
- Paid holidays: allowing for time off to recharge and relax
- Don’t need to do tax returns: Not having to worry about completing tax returns, as taxes are deducted automatically from their salary
- Management support: Access to management support and guidance, helping to develop skills and progress in the role
- Other benefits: Potentially having access to additional benefits, such as healthcare or pension plans, depending on the employer’s offerings.
Disadvantages of being employed mortgage advisor
Being an employed mortgage broker has its disadvantages, including:
- Job security: Potentially less job security, as they are dependent on their employer for income and may be at risk of losing their job if the company faces financial difficulties
- Micro-managed by their employer: with less autonomy and independence in decision-making
- Less flexibility: Potentially having less flexibility in their work schedule and location, depending on the employer’s policies and requirements.
Advantages of being a self-employed mortgage advisor
Being a self-employed mortgage broker has many benefits, including:
- Being more tax efficient: They can deduct business expenses from their taxable income
- Flexibility: in working hours and location, allowing for a better work-life balance
- Higher earning potential: The potential for higher earning potential, as they are not limited by a set salary and can earn more based on their own efforts and success
- More commission: Not having to give a portion of their earnings to an employer, as they are their own boss and keep all of the money they make.
Disadvantages of being Self-employed
Being a self-employed mortgage broker has its own set of challenges and disadvantages, including:
- No paid holiday: Not having paid holiday or sick leave, which can impact their income and ability to take time off work
- No Pension: Not being auto-enrolled in a pension scheme, which means they must manage their own retirement savings and planning
- Getting a mortgage: Potentially facing more difficulty in getting a mortgage, as lenders may view their self-employment income as less stable and reliable than that of an employed borrower.
Employed or self-employed? That is the question
The decision to become an employed or self-employed mortgage broker is a personal one that depends on multiple factors, including your financial situation, level of experience, motivation and the options available to you.
There are different types of self-employed mortgage brokers as well. Some individuals choose to be self-employed for a brokerage that provides them with leads, and while they may not have a basic salary, they take a percentage of the commission, which is usually a larger percentage than if they were employed.
Alternatively, some choose to set up their own company and take all of the commission, which can offer more autonomy and control over their business but require you to find all of the leads.
Ultimately, the decision to become a self-employed mortgage broker requires careful consideration of the potential benefits and drawbacks, as well as a strong understanding of the industry and market.
Some mortgage companies provide all the leads to their self-employed brokers, which can offer more certainty regarding the level of business. However, companies that require their brokers to source their own leads often offer higher commission splits. Alternatively, some companies offer a hybrid model where brokers receive a combination of leads from the company and generate leads on their own.
Self generated leads
- Social media: Using social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can be a great way to connect with potential clients and generate leads. You can also create and share content to establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry.
- Buying leads: There are companies that specialise in selling mortgage leads to brokers. This can be a convenient way to get a steady stream of leads, but it can also be expensive and the quality of leads may vary.
- Introducers: Building relationships with estate agents, independent financial advisors (IFAs), and other professionals who may refer clients to you can be an effective way to generate leads.
- Networking: Attending industry events and networking with other professionals can help you build relationships and generate leads. You can also join industry groups or associations to expand your network.
- Marketing: Creating targeted marketing campaigns can help you reach potential clients and generate leads. This can include online advertising, direct mail, or email marketing.
- Referrals: Satisfied clients can be a great source of referrals. Asking for referrals and encouraging satisfied clients to share their experiences with others can help you generate new business.
To become a mortgage advisor in the UK, there are specific qualifications that must be attained. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the regulatory body for financial services in the UK, requires that all mortgage advisors hold a minimum level of qualification.
The required qualification is the Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP), which is awarded by The London Institute of Banking and Finance. The CeMAP qualification consists of three levels, with the first two levels covering the essential knowledge required for a mortgage advisor and the third level being focused on specialist mortgage advice.
The first two levels of CeMAP cover topics such as the mortgage process, regulation and legislation, types of mortgage products, mortgage repayment methods, and the mortgage application process. The third level of CeMAP covers specialist areas such as buy-to-let mortgages, equity release, and commercial mortgages.
How long does it take to pass CEMAP?
Passing the exams to become a qualified mortgage advisor typically takes a few months of study, but intensive courses are available that can condense the material into a matter of weeks.
In addition to the CeMAP qualification, mortgage advisors are also required to complete Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours to maintain their knowledge and skills. This involves attending regular training sessions, industry events and keeping up-to-date with changes in the market and regulation.
Becoming a qualified mortgage advisor can take several months of study and exams.
Desirable qualities for a mortgage broker include:
- Good communication skills: Mortgage brokers need to be able to communicate clearly with clients, lenders, and other professionals in the industry. They should be able to explain complex financial information in simple terms and be able to listen to their clients’ needs and concerns.
- Attention to detail: Mortgage brokers need to have excellent attention to detail to ensure that all documentation and information is accurate and complete.
- Analytical skills: A mortgage broker needs to be able to analyse financial data and market trends to help their clients find the best mortgage products.
- Sales skills: Mortgage brokers need to be able to sell their services and persuade clients to choose their recommended mortgage products.
- Organisational skills: A mortgage broker should have good organizational skills to keep track of deadlines, appointments, and paperwork.
- Ethics and integrity: A mortgage broker should have strong ethics and integrity to act in the best interests of their clients and provide honest and transparent advice.
- Persistence: Mortgage brokering can be a competitive and challenging industry, so persistence and determination are important qualities for success.
What experience do you need to become a mortgage advisor?
While there is no set required experience to become a mortgage broker, having a sales background or experience in the financial services industry can be beneficial. Individuals with experience in areas such as banking, car sales, energy sales, estate agency, insurance selling or recruitment are often good fits for the role.
This is because the skills required for success in these fields, such as effective communication, relationship building, and problem-solving, are transferable to the mortgage industry.
So you’ve passed CEMAP, now the real work begins and you’re off to find a job as a mortgage advisor, here are some tips that will help you with the application process:
- Write a CV: Your CV should highlight your relevant skills and experience, including any sales or financial services experience you may have. Emphasize your qualifications, such as CeMAP and any other relevant training or education. Make sure your CV is easy to read and visually appealing.
- Write a Cover letter: Your cover letter should be tailored to the specific job you are applying for and should highlight why you are a good fit for the role. Use the cover letter to expand on your CV, and explain why you are interested in the position.
- LinkedIn: Being active on LinkedIn can help you connect with recruiters and potential employers. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and includes all relevant experience, qualifications and education. Engage with industry professionals and share content related to the mortgage industry.
- Recruitment agencies: Registering with recruitment agencies can help you access job opportunities that you may not find otherwise. Make sure you research reputable agencies that specialise in financial services and have a good track record of placing candidates in mortgage advisor roles. Keep in touch with the recruiters regularly to ensure they are aware of your availability and skills.
Entry points as a mortgage advisor & progression
If you’re newly qualified, you’ll likely start as a trainee, but here’s an overview of the general career progression scale for a mortgage advisor:
- Trainee mortgage advisor: This is an entry-level position for those who are starting their career as a mortgage advisor. In this role, you will receive training and support to learn the job and develop your skills.
- Competent mortgage advisor status: After completing the necessary training and gaining some experience, you can become a competent mortgage advisor. This means you have met the required standards and can offer advice to clients.
- Senior mortgage advisor: With more experience and knowledge, you can progress to a senior mortgage advisor role. In this position, you will typically handle more complex cases and may have additional responsibilities such as training and mentoring junior advisors.
- Management roles: Experienced mortgage advisors can move into management roles such as team leader, branch manager or area manager. In these roles, you will be responsible for managing a team of advisors, overseeing their performance, and ensuring that targets are met.
How to look for jobs as a mortgage advisor
When looking for a job as a mortgage broker, there are several ways to go about it:
- Update your LinkedIn profile: Change your LinkedIn status to “Looking for work” and update your profile to reflect your experience, skills, and qualifications. Be sure to engage with industry-related content and connect with recruiters and industry professionals.
- Register with recruitment agencies: There are many recruitment agencies that specialise in financial services roles, including mortgage advising. Research reputable agencies and register with them, making sure to keep your CV up to date.
- Check job boards: Many job boards, such as Indeed and Reed, list mortgage advising roles. You can set up job alerts to receive notifications when new jobs are posted.
- Network with friends and family: Let your friends and family know that you’re looking for a job as a mortgage broker. They may know someone in the industry who can provide leads or referrals.
- Attend industry events: Attend networking events and industry conferences to meet people in the industry and learn about job opportunities.
In addition to competency-based questions, the interview may also assess your knowledge of the mortgage industry and your ability to understand and communicate complex financial information.
Make sure you prepare for the interview and have researched the company you are applying with. You should also practice answering common interview questions and be ready to give examples of how you have dealt with difficult situations in the past.
When answering questions, it’s important to demonstrate your analytical skills, attention to detail, and ability to work well with clients. You should also showcase your ability to adapt to new situations and be proactive in finding solutions.
The interview is an opportunity to demonstrate your suitability for the role and show that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to be a successful mortgage advisor.
Examples of competency-based interview questions:
Here are some examples of competency-based interview questions that may be asked during a mortgage advisor interview:
- Can you describe a situation where you had to handle a difficult client and how you resolved the situation?
- Give an example of a time when you had to work under pressure to meet a tight deadline. How did you manage your time and prioritise your tasks?
- Describe a situation where you had to solve a complex problem for a client. What was the problem, and how did you go about finding a solution?
- Can you tell me about a time when you had to persuade a client to choose a particular mortgage product? How did you convince them, and what was the outcome?
- Give an example of a time when you had to manage a large workload with competing demands. How did you prioritise your tasks and ensure that everything was completed on time?
- Describe a situation where you had to adapt your communication style to suit a particular client. How did you identify the client’s needs, and what approach did you take?
- Can you give an example of a time when you had to take the initiative to solve a problem without being prompted? What was the problem, and how did you go about finding a solution?
- Describe a situation where you had to work collaboratively with colleagues from different departments or teams. How did you ensure effective communication and achieve a successful outcome?
- Can you tell me about a time when you had to learn a new product or system quickly? How did you go about acquiring the necessary knowledge, and what was the outcome?
- Give an example of a time when you had to provide exceptional customer service to a client. What did you do to ensure that the client was satisfied with the service, and what was the outcome?
In summary, the role of a mortgage advisor is exciting, rewarding, and challenging. If you’re considering joining the mortgage industry or thinking of switching companies, we’re always on the lookout for quality prospects and would love to hear from you.