Get Inman via Facebook Messenger
Our top headlines delivered once a day.

If you think being a mortgage broker is an easy, high-income job, read “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Success as a Mortgage Broker” by Daniel S. Kahn and Marian Edelman Borden. This new book reveals the 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 a mortgage broker, it dances around the details while it explains the generalities of the job.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

Even if you don’t want to ever become a mortgage broker, the book 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 business from his boss, provides valuable insights into the daily operations. However, he is very general in his explanations without many specific examples from his presumably vast experiences.

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

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

Equally important, the book explains how Kahn became the owner 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 a successful mortgage broker, such as enjoying working with individual home buyers and owners with an eventual goal to become the brokerage owner.

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

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

Chapter topics include “The Inside Track of a Fast-Moving Industry”; “The Perks of the Job”; “A Day in the Life”; “Test Yourself”; “Book Smarts and Street Smarts”; “Where the Jobs Are”; “Becoming a Market and Finance 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”; “For Seniors Only”; and “Striking a Balance in Life.”

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

“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Success as a Mortgage Broker,” 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 at local bookstores, public libraries and

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