September is National Mortgage Professional Month. It was designated to pay tribute to all of the mortgage professionals who are a part of helping potential buyers realize their dream of home ownership. When you're looking for a mortgage professional, particularly a mortgage broker, what should you look for?

1. Established relationships with a wide selection of mortgage lenders - When you hire a mortgage broker instead of going direct with a specific lender, you have a professional who can shop around and find the best offers and programs to fit your unique situation. Essentially, they do the comparison shopping for you. The greater the number of lenders a mortgage broker works with, the more options they'll have available to present to you.

2. Well-endorsed by former clients and has a list of them who are willing to talk to you - The measure of a good mortgage broker is having a long list of satisfied former clients who are thrilled with the services they received. Any worthwhile broker should be able to easily provide references (former clients) who will happily chat with prospective clients about their experiences with that broker.

3. Has been in business for several years - Ideally, you want a mortgage broker that has worked in the industry in some way for several years. The best brokers have been around long enough to see the changes and the ebbs and flows of the market over time. As a bonus, the longer they've been in business, the more time they've had to build up the network of lenders they work with.

4. No high-pressure tactics - A good mortgage professional will meet with you and answer all of your questions about the process, the types of options you might have, fees and points (the ways a broker gets paid for their service) and what lenders they've worked with recently. For any questions they don't have an answer for immediately, they should be able to follow up with you after your meeting within a day or two with those answers. And they should do all of this without making you feel like you're talking to a used car salesman.

5. Doesn't gamble with rate locks - When you lock in a rate with a lender through a mortgage broker, they should provide you with a loan commitment letter from the lender showing the rate you've locked in, the date of the rate lock and when the rate lock expires. Some brokers will wait to submit the rate lock to the lender in case the rate drops, then charge the customer the higher rate but submit the lower rate to the lender and pocket the difference. This is unethical and can cause a customer to lose a rate that was affordable but increased and put their loan in jeopardy.

Buying a home is often the most expensive investment most people make. It's important to make sure the mortgage professional you're working with is trustworthy and can help you get the best deal for your new home. Following our quick guide of things to look for in a mortgage professional will help you find the right broker for you.