Make a broker your bestie

Finance is a big part of real estate, but it's often not an agent's speciality. Kirsty Dunphey explains why having a trusted mortgage broker on speed dial can be a good thing.

Organising finance is just one of the hurdles buyers need to overcome to buy a home.

Often it’s the source of much pain.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Establishing a good relationship, built on trust and understanding, can make a real estate agent look like a superstar in the eyes of their buyers and their vendors.

Recently I received a distressed call from an agent seeking my help.

“I’ve just had a banker scare some young first home buyers of mine by saying no bank in the country will ever approve the contract they’ve just
signed, is this true?” she begged me.

“My clients are in tears.”

In a quick conversation I was able to explain to her why that bank wouldn’t do the deal and gave her two banks that would.

It was enough to reassure her clients that it was ok to sign the contract.

With their permission, we called the client later that afternoon and had them booked in to see us.

Had the situation not been fixable, I would have been able to tell her quickly so she could go back the clients and move on to securing a deal that would work.

A knowledgeable broker can make an agent’s life so much easier.

I know, I was an agent for 20 years and now I’m a mortgage broker.

Got a deal where finance is declined?

If the clients are keen, a good broker can tell you if it’s a definite no or if it’s just a no with that lender.

Got a deal where the property or the client is tricky?

A great broker knows how to finance a property:

  • That is too small for most lenders
  • On too much land for most lenders
  • Partially incomplete
  • Fire damaged
  • On a block with a weird zoning

Or for a client with:

  • A small deposit
  • No deposit
  • Unusual income
  • A high reliance on government income (single parenting pension, family tax benefit A and B)
  • New income (first payslip or sometimes no payslips yet)
  • One recent year’s self-employed income that’s much higher than their previous year’s
  • Credit impairment (defaults, poor credit rating)

A great broker will be:

  • Reachable and responsible. You’ll want to be able to run things past them quickly.
  • Honest and direct. You’ll want to know if there’s a deal there quickly or not.
  • Be conducting high enough volume that they have high levels of knowledge with many lenders across their niches, time frames and policies.
  • Someone who you click with and would feel comfortable referring your clients to (service ethos, communication style, general personality all pay a part here).

Here’s what you don’t want to base the relationship on:

  • How much business the broker promises to refer you or how much they’ll pay you for your referrals.
    I don’t pay agents for referrals and I don’t request any referral fees in return.
    Ultimately a good referral relationship works not because of what you’ll get, but because of what you feel the person you’re referring to will give to the client.
    A satisfied client is 10 times better than a commission fee for a referral that may or may not eventuate if the person you’re referring to isn’t on their game.
  • How long they’ve been in the game. You probably don’t want a rookie broker on their first day being your go-to person. But a broker who’s been doing 20 deals a month for three years will be light years ahead of a broker who’s been in the game 20 years but only does three deals a month.

Here are six questions to ask a broker you’re checking out to see if they’d be
someone you feel like developing this kind of relationship with.
Treat it like a job interview.

  1. Are there any banks that will lend to someone who has only been casually employed for four months with no other employment history? (The right answer is either yes and they can tell you the bank, or let me find out for you and I’ll get back to you in a particular timeframe. A great broker doesn’t need to know everything straight away, but they do need to be able to find out quickly.)
  1. If a first home buyer was buying a $380,000 property tomorrow, what’s the minimum level of deposit they’d likely need? You want the broker to be able to quickly/ roughly work out something like this
    with minimal fuss and have a handle on the current first home buyer incentives.
  2. If I had a client who was self-employed and 2018 was their start-up year, but their 2019 financials were amazing, are there any lenders who will only look at their 2019 figures? See answer for Q1.
  3. What are some low variable rates right now for owner occupiers? For a broker, the ‘right’ bank for a client is rarely just the one with the lowest rate right now. You want them to be able to explain this to you and why, but you also want them to be able to rattle off a few low rates as well to show they know their stuff.
  4. What type of lending business are you not involved in? You want a broker who can tell you eloquently what they specialise in – residential, asset (car loans etc), commercial, credit impaired, self
    employed and doesn’t promise to be the oracle for all lending.
  5. What’s your quickest lender right now? If I had a deal that was most of the way through the finance timeframe and needing to be approved in four days, who could do it and could you meet those timeframes?

The beauty of finding a mortgage broker you trust is like having every bank on speed dial.

I’ve had agents call me about deals I’m completely unrelated to, asking me if that property will work with a certain lender or what issues/timeframes to expect, or asking if they should be worried about something a client has told them.

I’m happy to be their sounding board and give some guidance where I can.

If it’s not my speciality, I refer the agent on to someone else who can provide that help.

It’s not about being the broker for every client the agent deals with, it’s about being a trusted partner and resource they can rely on.

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Kirsty Dunphey

Kirsty Dunphey is a former real estae agent and award-winning mortgage broker recently ranked 86 on the Mortgage Professional Australia's Top 100 brokers list.