What Skills And Qualifications Does A Mortgage Advisor Need?

by Tanya April 05, 2024

As a mortgage advisor (also known as a mortgage broker) you guide individuals and families through one of their life’s most significant financial decisions—buying a home.

A mortgage advisor’s main goal is to find the most suitable mortgage to meet their client’s financial situation, needs, and goals.

To excel in this field, you must master a range of skills beyond mere knowledge of mortgages.

This article will delve into the key skills required to succeed in mortgage advising and provide insights into how to hone these skills for a successful career journey.

What does a mortgage advisor do?

A mortgage advisor provides advice on mortgages and home buying and assists clients (individuals and businesses) in finding, selecting, and applying for the mortgage products that meet their needs.

Mortgage advisors will carry out many tasks, including meeting clients and talking to them about their finances, assessing affordability, researching mortgage products, providing appropriate and impartial advice, offering different mortgage products, assisting with applications, etc.

Types of mortgage advisors: independent, tied, multi-tied

Independent mortgage advisors

are also known as whole-of-market mortgage brokers. They must consider mortgage products from all providers across the entire market. unbiased advice on a wide range of mortgage products from across the market.

Unlike tied or multi-tied advisors, they are not restricted to specific lenders’ products. They also have a duty to consider a broad range of mortgage products and are obligated to recommend the best option for their clients’ needs.

Independent advisors may charge a fee for their service, but they can often access deals that might not be directly available to consumers.

Tied mortgage advisors

Tied mortgage advisors are tied to one mortgage lender and usually work for them, i.e. in a bank or building society.

These advisors work for a specific lender and offer mortgage products from that lender only. Their advice is limited to the products their employer provides, which might not cover the full market range.

Multi-tied mortgage advisors

Multi-tied mortgage advisors can offer more products than a tied mortgage adviser, but it is still from a limited choice of providers.


Mortgage advisors can be generalists or specialise in specific mortgage products, e.g. residential, commercial and buy-to-let.

They can be employed or self-employed.

Getting the appropriate qualification

There are many different routes to becoming a mortgage advisor: university, college, private training, an apprenticeship, or direct applications. Individuals could also do work experience to help them enter the role.

College/private training


To become a mortgage adviser, individuals must complete a Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP), an industry-standard qualification approved by the FCA. It is a Level 3 qualification, equivalent to an A Level, and most employers will require individuals to hold a CeMAP.

There are no formal entry requirements for the CeMAP. However, individuals should have good Maths and English skills, so a GCSE in these subjects would be advantageous.

The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF) has further information on the CeMAP qualification. There are also numerous college and private training companies offering this qualification.

Certificate in Mortgage Advice

An alternative to the CeMAP qualification is the Level 3 Certificate in Mortgage Advice offered by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). It is also recognised by the FCA and is equivalent to the CeMAP.

If you’re based in the USA, you need a high school diploma or GED. Then, you need to complete pre-licensing training through the National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS). This is a 20-hour class that offers education on federal and state laws pertaining to mortgage brokerage. Read more here.

University degree

Individuals do not have to have a degree to become a mortgage adviser, but it can maximise their chances of success if they have a degree in a relevant subject.

Such as:

* Accountancy

* Business management

* Finance or financial services

Individuals are not guaranteed success with these degrees. However, these degrees will demonstrate to companies that they are keen on the job and may give individuals a competitive edge.


There is a mortgage adviser apprenticeship, which usually takes about 12 months to complete. To be successful, individuals will usually need five GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English and Maths, for a Level 3 (advanced) apprenticeship.

Opportunities are found on Government’s Apprenticeships and Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

Applying directly to employers

Some banks and building societies offer mortgage adviser training schemes where they will train individuals on the job and may also pay for them to do relevant qualifications. Other organisations may also have trainee or internship roles.

It can be a good route for those struggling to pay for courses, as they can sometimes be expensive.

Understanding the mortgage industry

The mortgage industry encompasses all activities related to the origination, funding, and servicing of mortgage loans.

The mortgage industry is influenced by economic factors, government policies, and interest rates.

The mortgage market is constantly changing, with interest rates fluctuating, lending regulations changing, and housing trends shifting.

It’s essential to stay informed about current market trends and developments through professional development opportunities such as workshops, seminars, and industry conferences.

Through various types of mortgage products, such as fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, and government-insured loans, the industry offers financing solutions tailored to the diverse needs of borrowers.

Here are the key stakeholders in the mortgage industry:

Borrowers: Individuals or entities seeking to obtain a mortgage to purchase real estate.

Lenders: Financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions, that provide the mortgage funds to the borrower.

Mortgage Brokers: Intermediaries who match borrowers with lenders, based on the borrower’s financial situation and the lender’s criteria.

Real Estate Agents: Professionals who assist in finding and purchasing property, often liaising between borrowers and other stakeholders.

Loan Officers: Representatives of financial institutions who work with borrowers to initiate the lending process.

Underwriters: Individuals responsible for assessing the risk of lending to a particular borrower, based on their creditworthiness and the value of the property being mortgaged.

Appraisers: Professionals who evaluate the market value of the property being purchased, ensuring it meets or exceeds the loan amount.

Title Companies: Entities that research the property to ensure it has a clear title and often provide title insurance to protect against future claims.

Escrow Companies: Third-party entities that hold funds in an escrow account during the buying process, ensuring that money and property ownership change hands at the appropriate time.

Mortgage Servicers: Companies that manage the loan after it is issued, handling day-to-day tasks like collecting payments, managing escrow accounts for taxes and insurance, and communicating with the borrower.

Government Agencies: Entities like the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK or the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in the US, which set regulations and may also insure or guarantee certain types of loans.

Insurance Companies: Providers of private mortgage insurance (PMI) for conventional loans or mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) for government-backed loans, protecting lenders against default.

Investors: Entities or individuals who invest in mortgage-backed securities, essentially providing the capital that lenders use to make new loans.

Legal Advisors: Lawyers or legal firms that advise stakeholders on legal matters related to the mortgage process, including contracts, disputes, and foreclosure proceedings.

Regulatory Bodies: Government or independent bodies that oversee the mortgage industry, ensuring compliance with laws and regulations.

Each stakeholder has a vested interest in the process, whether it’s to ensure the borrower successfully purchases a home, to profit from the lending or servicing of the mortgage, or to regulate and oversee the industry to maintain financial stability and protect consumers.

By familiarising yourself with these basics, you’ll be better equipped to advise clients effectively and navigate the complexities of the mortgage landscape.

Building strong communication skills

Communication lies at the heart of effective mortgage advising.

As a mortgage advisor, you’ll need to communicate with clients from diverse backgrounds and with varying levels of financial literacy, in person and on the phone. So you need to be clear, professional, and patient.

Explaining complex mortgage terms and concepts in simple, understandable language is crucial, ensuring your clients fully comprehend their options and make informed decisions.

Additionally, active listening skills are essential for understanding clients’ needs and tailoring your advice accordingly.

Trust is paramount to successful communication. In the client-advisor relationship, building trust and credibility requires integrity, transparency, and a commitment to always acting in your client’s best interests.

Cultivating problem-solving skills

No two clients are alike, and each may face unique challenges or obstacles along the way.

Strong problem-solving skills are essential for navigating unforeseen issues and finding creative solutions.

Whether addressing credit issues, exploring alternative financing options, or negotiating with lenders on behalf of clients, the ability to think critically and adapt to changing circumstances is crucial for success in this field.

When you make your clients feel comfortable and well-informed throughout the process, then they will be more likely to come back for future services or recommend you to others.

Embracing technology

Technology plays a crucial role in the mortgage industry, streamlining processes, enhancing efficiency, and improving the overall client experience.

As a mortgage advisor, embracing technology and leveraging tools such as mortgage calculators, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and digital communication platforms to enhance your productivity and effectiveness is essential.

You can stay competitive in a rapidly evolving landscape by staying tech-savvy and embracing innovation.

Practicing ethical conduct

Ethical conduct is non-negotiable in mortgage advising, where the stakes are high, and clients rely on your expertise and integrity to guide them through major financial decisions. Adhering to ethical standards means acting by laws, regulations, and industry best practices, avoiding conflicts of interest, and always putting your client’s interests first.

By upholding the highest ethical standards, you can build a reputation as a trustworthy and reliable advisor, earning the respect and loyalty of your clients and peers alike.

Continuing education and professional development

Mortgage advising is a dynamic and ever-evolving field that requires ongoing learning and professional development to stay relevant and effective.

Whether you pursue advanced certifications, attend training programs, or seek mentorship from seasoned professionals, investing in your continued education is essential for advancing your career and maintaining a competitive edge in the industry.

By committing to lifelong learning and personal growth, you can continuously enhance your skills, expand your knowledge, and excel as a mortgage advisor.

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The first Millennial blogger in the UK. Twitter @_luckyattitude

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