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How to Become a Mortgage Advisor

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When many people imagine mortgage advisors, they probably imagine an old, bald man with a little pot belly hunched over a cheap desk covered in endless paperwork or perhaps they imagine a young, fierce looking woman in a tight business suit with over-whitened teeth preparing to get one over on a bamboozled first time buyer.

Whatever you think, you couldn’t be further from the truth. You may be surprised to hear that according to The London School of Business and Finance 86% of Mortgage Advisors describe their job as enjoyable and rewarding.

I agree.

Becoming a mortgage advisor is not only financially rewarding – with independent expert Mortgage Advisors earning up to £70,0000 a year plus commission- it’s also emotionally rewarding; there is nothing better to me than setting a young family on their way in a property that I know they are going to cherish and make many great memories in.

Don’t get me wrong, An advisory role requires long hours, plenty of dreary paperwork and when dealing with particular clients the patience of a saint but the great news is the housing market is keener than ever for budding new Mortgage Advisors and it’s never too late or too early to start pursuing this illustrious career path.

What Do I Need to Do to Become a Mortgage Advisor

Ultimately to become a mortgage advisor you need to complete a Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMap) course – which is considered the industry standard and is offered on a variety of online learning platforms and institutions- or you can do the Certificate in Mortgage advice course at the Chartered Insurance Institute. Let’s have a look at the differences:

CeMAP

The Cemap is made up of three modules (Levels 1,2 & 3) if you are taking an online or virtual course it will usually take about 6 to 12 months depending on your lifestyle, ability and personal preference.

Online CeMAP course costs differ usually falling between the £400 – £700 mark. The virtual Classroom set up that a lot of websites offer, which offer more support and guidance are generally slightly more expensive. If you are planning on funding this yourself it is certainly worth shopping around.

Certificate in Mortgage Advice

This course is broken up into three units that can be taken in any order but it is recommended by the CII that you take the initial core unit first.

The course in Mortgage Advice takes 100 hours to complete and finishes in a multiple choice exam.

The cost of the courses needed to be taken to be certified works out roughly at just over £400. This price is also dependent on whether you are a member or non- member.

Checks

Before you can be certified you will have a credit check as well. Nobody’s going to trust a mortgage advisor that’s being chased by loan sharks.

You’ll also be asked to go through a series of procedural government background checks. These are to check you have no previous criminal convictions that make you an unideal candidate to handle large sums of money from members of the public.

I Don’t Have That Kind of Money

These course fees are a great investment as you’ll quickly be flying up a profitable and rewarding career ladder. However, if you find these prices intimidating and think you’re less than likely to succeed in paying for one of these courses there are other options.

There are three other generally accepted paths the Mortgage Advisor Paradise:

·      Apprenticeship

·      Working your way up

·      Trainee Schemes

The advantage of these routes over an online course is that they develop your experience and knowledge of the financial sector; teach you how to work effectively with customers and clients; and perhaps even make you some business contacts that will be useful on your way up the Mortgage advisers career ladder.

Apprenticeship

If you want to take the Apprentice route you’re going to need 5 GCSEs from A* – C and two of those need to be in Maths and English.

The course lasts around 15 – 18 months, in which you learn on the job the skills and practice of working as a mortgage advisor. It includes some online learning and ends in a final assessment with a fun role play to see how you cope in the fast paced environment of advice.

The pay is not likely to be very appealing ( More than likely it will be £8.20 if you’re under 25 and £8.72). This is a bit of a kick in the teeth but you’re saving a lot of money by not paying for a level 3 course, it’s a supportive environment where you can learn the trade from people already doing it and who knows, you could be earning big money later on down the line.

Work Your Way Up

Working your way up from a customer service facing job in a bank might be a more achievable and more stable route into a career as a mortgage advisor than an apprenticeship, if you’re a bit older, have dependents or just need a more stable income generally.

You can study alongside your job and take your time working towards developing yourself for a Mortgage Advisors job.

The downsides are getting onto a training program like that in a workplace can be competitive and working a customer service role as a bank teller can be soul destroying for some people. Also, companies that are willing to train you as a mortgage advisor – which as we know is not cheap- will expect some amount of loyalty; if your plan is to be a bigshot independent Mortgage Advisor helping celebrities buy they’re six new mansions… perhaps you’d better add a few extra years onto your career plan.

Trainee Schemes

Trainee schemes compared to the other two options can be very lucrative but are harder to come by. Trainee schemes are often for those fresh out of university with a relevant financial degree. While getting onto a scheme without a qualification is unlikely. It’s not unheard of.

They will have high expectations of candidates, but promise high rewards -sometimes 6 figures- for candidates that succeed and stick with the company for up to three years.

In my opinion, if you have the ability to apply for one of these schemes it is worthwhile and lucrative but they are fiercely competitive and if you prefer to move at a slower pace it may not necessarily be the environment for you.

But What Does It Take To Be Good at the Job

So now you know how to get the right training and experience to get the job of your dreams. The question is: Have you got what it takes?

Being a mortgage advisor is one of the most exciting career paths you can walk along but it’s not for the faint hearted and it requires a particular set of skills and qualities that clients and banks consider to be essential.

Customer Service Skills

If you’re not a people person, forget working as a mortgage advisor. Building a relationship with clients is essential to the job. You have to have exceptional conversational skills; making sure you’re listening to your clients’ needs so you can find them the perfect fit for the future of their family or for  the future of their business and then articulating the benefit of your knowledge and experience to them.  Being persuasive and being able to close deals is a key skill that is the name of the game (especially if you want to make commission).

Maths

The work requires a strong grasp of maths. This is something that you are always developing in the work and becomes second nature pretty quickly. However, trainee courses and apprenticeships employing you to train for a CeMAP will expect a basic foundation in maths and if you don’t have a natural aptitude for it you may lag behind or even be dropped from the program.

IT

Similarly to maths, if you are a bit of a technophobe you may have to throw-out your typewriter and abacus and fetch that dusty old computer out of the closet. You’ll be reading graphs, inputting data, working with Mortgage CRMs, emailing and making decisions based on a variety of advanced automatized systems. Working with computers these days is a large part of the job, it is a skill that can be developed but invaluable if you already have some ability.

Working Under Pressure

Properties cost a lot of money, and often clients have emotional attachments to their property investment and you have to bear the weight of their hopes on your broad shoulders. This level of personal responsibility can make the job very time sensitive and you’ll find yourself often bringing work back home. If you want to have a clearer work life balance it can be very difficult to achieve in a high pressure role like this. However, the stresses of the workload are often balanced by the rewarding nature or seeing your clients happily settled in their new homes.

Problem Solving

Analytical thinking and a keen eye are crucial in any financial sector job. You need to quickly and accurately read a lot of data and be ready to pivot in a new direction in an instant. Markets are constantly moving and competitors are always creeping around looking to snipe one of your potentially lucrative clients. It’s as fast-paced as a game of premier league football and if you don’t keep your eye on the ball, you’ll likely be sitting out on the bench pretty quick.

Ambition

You’ll be aware by now that the field of mortgage advice can set you up pretty well financially if you work hard, gain experience and a decent reputation work in the right place and have the right kind of clients you could be earning an enviable sum. These positions only come to true grafters and people willing to pull their weight. Certainly you don’t earn 6 figures if you’re not deeply competitive and enjoy solving puzzles and overcoming challenges. It’s a big ocean out there and if you’re not the shark…you’re dinner.

What Kind of Mortgage Advisor Should I Be

Now that you have the information, the training and the skills to become a Mortgage advisor. You need to know about the various different types of Mortgage Advisor that exist.

Tied Advisor

Being a tied advisor literally means you are tied to one lender. This is a much more simple style of Mortgage advice that means you have less to offer and client and more than likely will earn less money than other kinds of lenders.

However, this can be a great training ground if you eventually do want to climb the ladder and it can be a nice environment, working in a smaller team and having to do less research and associate with multiple lenders.

Multi-tied Mortgage Advisor

This is a little bit more complicated and a little bit more lucrative. You will have a range of Mortgage lenders to deal with and usually those lenders will be chosen by the institution you work for – mainly big banks – as the ones most likely to benefit your position.

The job is fulfilling and often lucrative, getting to work with a wide range of clients and colleagues. If you’re a people person then this is probably the arrangement you’re going to enjoy the most.

Independent Mortgage Advisor

This is by far the most lucrative advisory position. It’s the best deal for your clients and therefore tends to be where more affluent clients come for advice. You have the advantage in this area of the property industry of not being tied down to specific lenders, so you’re able to offer clients top quality deals from the specialist software you have at your disposal that other Mortgage advisors would not be able to find.

This is not a position you should expect to get straight out of your CeMAP course. There is a lot more to being an Independent Mortgage Advisor than you learn on your certification courses. You need to know how to run a business and you need to have enough prestige behind you that clients are likely to come to you for your experience, rather than a bank that can offer a more competitive price point.

This position is for those seeking financial freedom, who don’t like being told what to do and want to make much larger sums of money. It sounds very appealing but it can be very isolating being in a position like this and this environment can often be like working in a pressure cooker.

If you this is the kind of position you want you need a cool head, an insane work ethic and years of experience.

How Can I Be a Great Mortgage Advisor Once I’ve Finished Studying

There are a few financial education institutions in England that provide space for you to level yourself up once you’re in the working world. Keeping up to date with the financial sector, improving your practice and networking  are all possible both digitally as well as at events scattered throughout the year.

The London Institute for Banking and Finance

If you want to be more than a good mortgage advisor membership with a society like LIFBF is essential. Through LIFBF you have access to their Continuing Professional Development Scheme (CDP) which is essential for maintaining your professional practice post qualification. Here you can log your hours of work demonstrating your ongoing learning and allowing you to stand head and shoulders above the rest.

LIFBF also provides great networking events, prestige lectures from financial industry leaders and private access to linkedin groups.

If you’re local to London you might even pop your head into the Henry Grunfield Library, where you can access their research tools and their industry analysis.  

The Chartered Insurance Institute

Similar to the LIFBF you can access their CDP Scheme which allows you to continue updating your professional practice.

The CII also boasts benefits such as legal help, specialist societies where you can associate with other mortgage advisors and all advise each other, it has 50 local institutions as well a wide global network. Potentially if you live in a more remote or rural area of the country, this might be a better fit for you.

Chartered Banker Institute

This institution has unlimited CDP access as well as boasting powerful networking opportunities in the professional banking world for the competitive price of £60 per annum for certified members.

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