Being a mortgage broker has its drawbacks

If you think being a mortgage broker is an easy, high-incomejob, read “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Success as a MortgageBroker” by Daniel S. Kahn and Marian Edelman Borden. This new book revealsthe benefits and drawbacks of being a mortgage broker “middleperson”between the mortgage borrower and the lender.

The key author, Kahn, is a successful mortgage broker.Co-author Borden is a professional writer obviously hired to “polish”Kahn’s writing. Although the book puts a positive “spin” on being amortgage broker, it dances around the details while it explains thegeneralities of the job.

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Even if you don’t want to ever become a mortgage broker, thebook provides a valuable perspective into the mortgage brokerage business,which will be especially valuable to everyone involved with real estate,especially real estate sales agents, investors and home buyers.

Kahn, a New York mortgage broker who purchased his businessfrom his boss, provides valuable insights into the daily operations. However,he is very general in his explanations without many specific examples from hispresumably vast experiences.

Mortgage brokers play an especially valuable role in thehome mortgage and commercial mortgage finance business. Not only are they”order takers” for home buyers, but experienced mortgage brokers canoften obtain “impossible” mortgages from obscure unknown lenders.Unfortunately, the book fails to explain this major mortgage broker advantage.

The book’s hypothetical “plot” involves astruggling mortgage broker, Max, working in a mortgage brokerage office makingcold calls to homeowners who might want to refinance and sitting at Realtorweekend open houses to offer his mortgage services to prospective buyers.

Equally important, the book explains how Kahn became theowner of the mortgage brokerage where he formerly worked as a struggling Max.Along the way, the author emphasizes the type of personality required to be asuccessful mortgage broker, such as enjoying working with individual homebuyers and owners with an eventual goal to become the brokerage owner.

Although the book lists the minimal requirements for amodern mortgage broker, such as computers and software, it is very generalizedand non-specific. “Hire a computer professional to help you learn andmanage the software and technology you need” is as specific as the bookgets.

In the section about qualifying prospective home buyers fora mortgage, Kahn explains a few details, such as highlighting the “backend ratio” and “front end ratio” to learn the maximum mortgagethe borrower can obtain. However, the book neglects to emphasize the importancefor the mortgage broker to obtain a borrower’s written pre-approval letter orcertificate from an actual lender.

Chapter topics include “The Inside Track of aFast-Moving Industry”; “The Perks of the Job”; “A Day inthe Life”; “Test Yourself”; “Book Smarts and StreetSmarts”; “Where the Jobs Are”; “Becoming a Market andFinance Expert”; “Networking 101”; “Get Connected”;”Qualifying the Buyer Before and After He Shops”; “Lenders,Documents and Details”; “The Mortgage Application Process”;”Fixed Rate, Adjustable, Hybrid: Matching Mortgages with Clients”;”What’s the Point?” “Serving the Public Interest and Earning$$$”; “Non-Conforming and Commercial Mortgages”; “ForSeniors Only”; and “Striking a Balance in Life.”

As I studied this book, I kept saying to myself “Tellme more.” This should have been a great book because co-author Kahnobviously has far more mortgage brokerage knowledge than he shared. It remindsme of those very generalized career pamphlets you probably read in yourhigh-school library or counselor’s office when trying to decide on a jobchoice. On my scale of one to 10, this disappointing book rates a seven.

“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Success as a MortgageBroker,” by Daniel S. Kahn and Marian Edelman Borden (Alpha-Penguin Group,New York), 2006, $19.95, 280 pages; available in stock or by special order atlocal bookstores, public libraries and

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center

Copyright 2006 Inman News

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