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Real estate agents tend to get most of the credit when it comes to helping consumers purchase their new homes. But many other important players are involved in making a home purchase happen – including mortgage broker.

Depending on how many mortgages they broker and the state of their individual real estate market, a mortgage broker may provide comfortable living.

Mortgage brokers must receive special training to do their job, but a college degree is not required. Those with a knack for hard work and client relationships can achieve great success throughout their careers.

Here are a few things aspiring brokers should keep in mind and six specific steps they should take to earn the title.

What is a mortgage broker?

A mortgage broker creates mortgage loans by working with both home buyers and multiple lenders. Mortgage brokers can work for a brokerage firm or bank, or they can be an independent contractor.

Some consumers may prefer working with a mortgage broker over a loan officer because the broker’s job is to help borrowers find the loan that best fits their situation, even if it involves less than the original credit history.

What they do?

Mortgage brokers work with both clients and loan companies to find mortgage loans for home buyers.

  • Part of this process involves completing due diligence on potential borrowers, including finding out their financial history, obtaining a credit report and verifying their employment.
  • Mortgage brokers then present this information to lenders, usually applying for pre-approval on the client’s behalf, and then discuss the best loan options with the client.
  • A mortgage broker is also expected to ensure that offers from creditors are in compliance with all local and federal laws.
  • During their relationship with the real estate buyer, the mortgage broker must also ensure that the borrower understands the process and completes all necessary documentation.


Good with numbers

Mortgage brokers need to be financially savvy. They should have a thorough understanding of concepts such as budgeting, saving, money management and investing.

Strong in building relationships

Cultivating and maintaining relationships is also a big part of being a mortgage broker. Therefore, mortgage brokers should work on their interpersonal and communication skills to maintain good working relationships, which can come in handy during negotiations.

Detail oriented

Because they can manage multiple clients at once, they should also be detail-oriented and able to juggle multiple deadlines.

How long does it take to become a mortgage broker?

The length of time it takes to become a mortgage broker will vary depending on whether a prospective broker chooses to pursue a higher degree, which is not required. However, earning a two- or four-year college degree in a field such as finance or business administration—or even pursuing a master’s degree—can help build relevant skills and give a broker leverage to earn a higher salary.

After that, the novice mortgage broker will need to take the following steps:

1. Pre-licensing course

Complete a pre-licensing course from an approved provider (usually 20 hours) to learn about mortgage origination, ethical issues, and federal and state regulations.

2. Pass the exam

Pass the licensing exam administered by the National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) by scoring at least 75 percent in each section of the exam.

3. Get a bond

Mortgage brokers must obtain a bond as a guarantee to their clients that they will comply with all regulations and best practices in the business. The amount of the bond will vary by state and the broker will have to pay a percentage of the total amount of the bond based on their own financial history, credit score and past business dealings.

4. Submit the request

Aspiring mortgage brokers eventually submit an application and fee. They will also need to receive a criminal background check as part of this process. New mortgage brokers who are also opening their own brokerage companies will need to submit their business plans and other details to the NMLS. However, state-by-state guidelines vary and can be found at NMLS Website.

5. Build a network

Since a mortgage broker’s business relies heavily on relationships with various lenders, real estate agents, and other professionals in fields adjacent to real estate, it’s important to start building those relationships right away. Creating lasting relationships with clients – who have the potential to become repeat clients – is also very important.

6. Keep training

A mortgage broker’s training does not end after they pass the exam. Brokers must complete at least eight hours of training each year to renew their licenses, but the exact requirements vary from state to state.


Mortgage brokers easily earn an annual salary higher than the U.S. median personal income of $63,214, according to the latest data from World population overview.

Many factors can contribute to how much a mortgage broker earns annually:

  • Geographical location
  • What kind of company they work for (or whether they choose to be an independent contractor)
  • Regardless of whether they receive commissions or bonuses

According to a survey of 143 salary reports from Indeedmortgage brokers earn an average base salary of $101,997 and earn an average commission of 2.25 percent for each loan made.

PayScale reported the average base salary for mortgage brokers at $64,630 a year, but with typical bonuses between $2,000 and $50,000 and commissions between $12,000 and $178,000, based on data from 57 mortgage brokers.

Meantime, Glass door reported an average salary of $133,650 per year with estimated additional pay (including bonuses, commissions, tips or profit sharing) of $57,820 per year.


Gain experience

Even before getting a license, it can be very helpful for aspiring mortgage brokers to get an entry-level position with a mortgage broker or other lending institution to learn some tricks of the trade and start making connections within the industry.

Don’t stop learning

Stay in touch with the latest industry regulations and trends by keeping up with continuing education courses and read on industry news.

Practice resilience

Finally, train yourself to be resilient so you can better handle whatever the housing market can throw at you. Whether it’s rising interest rates, the rush to buy a home, or something else, get ready to shift quickly and stay calm.

Work a mortgage broker it’s not easy – but it can be very rewarding for individuals who seek the right training and have a natural aptitude for numbers, relationships and fast work.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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