Sorry, long post.
My OH and I are building our first home together, as we didn't know much about the process, we went around to a few Mortgage Brokers to discuss our situation and ended up choosing someone from Aussie. We did not have a straight forward situation as OH is a sub-contractor and we had spent last year in the UK so did not have 12 months worth of history for his income.
The guy we originally chose was very friendly, but very smooth, a little too smooth actually. Perhaps this should have been our first warning. He claimed we would have no problems getting this through if we did XY&Z. So we did.
He came back to us later saying that the ONLY bank we could get to even look at our application was one of the big 4. Thats fine we said, go ahead. Six weeks later after much promise and bravado from our Broker, we got a letter in the post from this big 4 bank saying thanks but no thanks. Application denied. We were devastated. I called our Broker and he clamied to not know anything about our application being denied. I still wonder about this now as surely if he was "so active in calling this bank to follow our application" he would know where they were at with it?
He then claimed he could get them to appeal the decision so got us to chase around some more information and sent us away with a promise to do his best. It was officially denied two weeks later again.
We were obviously stressed and upset about all of this. We asked our broker is there is anything else we can consider. My parents very kindly offered to be guarantors for our loan, so we informed our broker of this and he said "good, great, we can do lots with this, you'll get a loan, no worries". Tried to get him to come meet with my folks so we could discuss the nitty-gritty, but he had stopped calling me back, I got the feeling he had lost interest in us as perhaps he didn't feel we would get approved again and therefore he wasn't up for commission?
He eventualy came back to us saying, once again, only one bank (not a big 4 this time) would even look at us, even thought my parents were going guarantor and offering more than 20% of the mortgage as security. But as we knew we weren't ideal applicants to begin with we said OK, what do we need to do? He then came back again and said, oh actually the bank won't look at it anymore, but another bank will if we ask your parents to withdraw $175,000, give it to you as cash and then we go in and get you a 60% mortgage. $175,000!!!!! Thats not going guarantor- thats asking for a whole truck-load of cash!
We were completely not comfortable about this and told him we would discuss with my parents and let him know. Regardless of this I think we both knew we would never ask mum and dad to cough up that sort of money and no doubt they would have said no anyway. I left him a message with a couple more questions that my parents wanted to ask and asked him to call me about our application and what we want to do. That was a month ago and we haven't heard from him since.
I have no problems with his personal treatment of us and he always called us back within an hour or two (excluding the last occassion obviously), but I can see now at he was just chasing that cash... at least thats what it feels like. He was prompt and curteous when he thought he could get a mortgage for us and commission for him, but once that went away he was evasive and then completely disinterested. I would never reccommend him to another person.
On the up-side, my OH had happened to keep the number of a reputable borker someone reccommended to him when we were first looking. We called this guy, explained our situation and the fact we had been denied previously and asked what he thought. He was knowledgeable and infomative and said he would look around and get back to us. He did so quickly and we submitted another application through him, with my parents as guarantors with another of the big 4 banks. One that interesingly enough we had been told by our other broker that wouldn't even "look at us". We got conditonal approval after 3 weeks and are currently waiting on unconditional to come through shortly.
Our second broker made the first seem like a used car salesman, greasy and completely full of spin (no offence to any used car-salesmen out there). We would thoroughly reccommend him to anyone looking for a Broker within a heartbeat. he made the whole process so effortless and easy, and this was with him in Canberra and us in Perth, so we've never even met!
Would I use a Broker again? Absolutely. But only one that has been reccommended to me or I have heard good things about. I think there are quite a lot of cowboys out there still.