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Broker Business – Simple Rate Sheets

Mortgage-Rate-SheetMortgage planners get bombarded with rate sheets and other lender emails each and every day.  It’s interesting (if you think about mortgages a lot) to compare these emails and observe how different lenders present their data. 

Readability and convenience should mean everything you would think.  After all, we brokers are forever time conscious. 

Some lenders, however, don’t seem to stress themselves out over presentation. 

So when it comes to user friendly rate sheets, we thought we’d speculate on what separates the good from the not-so-good…

Generally speaking, our favourite rate sheets:

  • Summarize all major changes since the last update in bullet format at the top of the email (minor changes should lie below or in a PDF)
  • Have simple tables with columns for term, rate, rate hold period, finders, and exclusions (the major “fine” print).
  • Use color to highlight important guidelines and changes
  • Have the BDM’s phone, cell, and email at the bottom
  • Use UPPER CASE sparingly
  • Include a link to the lender’s broker site

The rate sheets that aren’t so hot tend to:

  • Use plain text with no formatting (They’re like reading a newspaper with no headlines and a continuous sea of text.)
  • Use improper text wrapping, justification, or line breaks (so text appears inconsistently formatted)
  • Have minimal white space
  • Are font-happy (Some BDM’s make it a mission to use as many different font styles as possible per email–eye clutter supreme!)
  • Force you to open a PDF to see the rates (emails are so much faster)
  • Force you to log into their website to see their rates (Even worse!  And no, “security/confidentiality” are weak excuses when it comes to rates.)
  • Show both “posted” and “discount” rates (Posted rates are superfluous to most these days, and qualifying rates can be indicated elsewhere.)
  • Are repetitive (Some lenders will happily add to your email load by sending rate sheets with no changes!)

If you’re a broker that likes your rate sheets formatted different than above, let us know in the comments section.  Maybe your BDM will be watching.

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Last modified: April 26, 2017

Robert McLister is one of Canada’s best-known mortgage experts. A mortgage columnist for The Globe and Mail, interest rate analyst and editor of MortgageLogic.news, Rob has been covering Canada's mortgage market since 2007.