Buying guide

Working with a mortgage broker in New Zealand

Learn how a mortgage broker can help you through the homeownership process.

Last updated: 4 August 2023

Learning about mortgages is a very specialised world and for this reason, the majority of buyers use a mortgage adviser to help navigate their journey. They’re usually free and they’ll help you with a multitude of decisions from how to split your mortgage over fixed and floating terms, which lender to go with, and how Official Cash Rate rises will affect your mortgage payments.

What you’ll learn:

  • What to expect from a mortgage adviser
  • What happens after pre-approval mortgage
  • How lenders structure their mortgages
  • How the OCR affects your mortgage

What to expect from a mortgage adviser

Mortgage advisers are a go-between who deals with banks or other lenders to arrange a home loan for you. CoreLogic Head of Research, Nick Goodall, says with the interactions it’s had with banking organisations, around 60% of mortgages are brokered by mortgage advisers. These finance advisers work on commission typically paid by the lender, a percentage of the amount loaned. Some advisers may also charge a fee to the borrower as well so you should ask about this early on. Ideally, you’ll have someone recommended to you by friend or family or your agent.

Questions to ask potential mortgage advisors

The Financial Markets Authority, which regulates mortgage advisers, suggests some key questions to put to mortgage advisers at the outset:

  • Do you offer loans from a range of lenders?
  • How are you getting paid and does this differ between lenders?
  • Why did you recommend this loan to me?
  • Can you show me a couple more options including the cheapest cost?

One of the main areas a mortgage adviser will help you with is getting pre-approval on a home loan. They’ll go through your bank accounts, examining your spending habits, your savings, debt and assets before sending the bank the relevant information. Note, that some banks won’t work with mortgage advisers.

A loan pre-approval, says Mortgage Lab, is an offer, typically known as a Letter of Offer of Finance, from a bank or lender indicating the maximum amount they’re willing to lend.

The offer will often have conditions attached, says the First Home Buyers’ Club. These conditions will include the buyer organising a registered valuation for the lender and a copy of a signed sale and purchase agreement that they approve of.

Jarrod Kirkland, Mortgage Lab General Manager

Mortgage Q&A with Jarrod Kirkland, Mortgage Lab General Manager

Do you pay a mortgage adviser when they help you with a home loan?

Jarrod: Mortgage advisers are paid by the lenders for their services, so in most cases we won’t charge a fee. In certain circumstances, where commission is not payable, we may charge a fee but this is disclosed as early as possible. We’re obligated to always do the best for the client, deal with a number of lenders who pay us, which I believe takes away any bias. If a client goes directly to a bank, their bank isn’t in a position to offer an opinion on the other lenders in the market.

What should you bring to your first meeting with a mortgage adviser if you’re using one?

Jarrod: No paperwork, but you should have a good handle on your personal finances including a budget. Payslips would help if you don’t have a clear idea of how much you earn. The first meeting though is a “getting to know you and what’s important meeting.”

What happens next after you have pre-approval?

Jarrod: When you’re pre-approved and you come across a potential house you want to put an offer on, it’s good practice to email the property listing to your mortgage adviser to check for suitability. Your pre-approval is general and may rule out certain properties like plaster homes, rural properties or new builds. A good adviser will be able to provide property specific feedback once they’re viewed the listing.

You’ve found the house you want to put an offer in on, what happens next?

Jarrod: Now it’s time to engage a lawyer to help you draw up your offer. Most good advisers will be aware of the conditions to include but it’s vital a lawyer helps at this stage as the contract is legal in nature.

How do people typically structure their mortgage?

Jarrod: Most people, without guidance, will fix their mortgage for one term and will often do so based on the cheapest rate at the time without any thought as to what may happen at the end of the fixed term. I’ve always split mortgages over several terms to spread the interest rate risk with a floating component (offset or revolving credit). This allows the client to make lump sum payments without paying a penalty and to offset interest with funds that may be sitting idle in their transactional and savings accounts.

How much will the loan cost if you pay it over a 30 year period?

Jarrod: This depends on how much you’re borrowing and the interest rates being used but, as an example, a $500,000 mortgage at 6.5% over 30 years will cost you $1,137,186. The same mortgage over 20 years will cost you $894,054.

If you want to pay your mortgage off faster, what kind of loan can you get?

Jarrod: If you want to pay your mortgage off more quickly there are products around to help you minimise the interest paid. These include offset mortgages or revolving credit mortgages. Any spare cash you have lying around in your other bank accounts is offset against the mortgage to minimise interest. These products are better for those with high disposable incomes though savings can be made for those with smaller disposable incomes.

To pay your mortgage off faster, put simply, you need to increase your repayments. A personal budget is your best friend here, something your mortgage adviser should be able to help with.

Will mortgage rates always go up following an Official Cash Rate (OCR) rise?

Jarrod: Mortgage rates don’t always go up with an OCR rise. Banks are regularly forecasting what the OCR is going to do so you might find that in some instances, the OCR rise has already been factored into the rates. And, sometimes, the banks won’t pass on the full cost of the OCR rise either as we’ve experienced this year.

What are mortgage rates forecast to be doing this year?

Jarrod: Rates are expected to increase into the new year of 2024. A softening of previous predictions has surfaced. My guess would be a slight increase which would then level off, with some slight retraction into the New Year. As we can’t be sure of what rates will do, I always like to discuss the “what ifs” with my clients.


Karina Reardon
Karina Reardon

Head of Strategic Partnerships -

Karina has worked in the mortgage sector for the last two decades, and is considered an industry expert. As a content author she has a database of financial advisers who share her weekly commentary through their social and digital channels. A well-respected and popular member of the industry, Karina was recently recognised as one of the ‘Elite women in mortgages 2023’.