We are a small company with three mortgage brokers and an IFA. We set up originally around 15 years ago and grew organically. Our business mainly comes from our website, repeat business, and recommendations.
Where are you based and where do you operate geographically?
We are based in Huddersfield, but business comes from all over the UK via business generated from our website.
What are the main issues impacting your local market?
Locally and nationally the issue seems to be a massive shortage of housing stock. For example, I had an existing client ring me at 10am and say she wanted to view a property and needed a decision in principle. I said I would ring her at 12 noon.
At 11am she rang me and said the agent had stopped taking bookings as they already had over 30 viewings booked and the property only came on the market the same day.
With such demand and with a shortage of good housing many clients cannot find a suitable property. We have over 100 clients with mortgages agreed actively looking for properties.
What challenges are you facing as a broker?
Initially, when the pandemic started, we couldn’t see clients face-to-face, we had issues gathering documents from clients. We were getting documents via text. WhatsApp, email and post.
Collating the documents and information became very time-consuming. It soon became clear that we needed a better solution, and we developed a bespoke online system, where clients could upload documents in their own time with a unique checklist for their case type, purchase, remortgage etc.
The challenge for us is competing in the online space with the bigger players. We don’t have millions of pounds budget to spend on website and content marketing. We cannot compete with such companies with competitive search terms such as “remortgage deals”.
But we can use our knowledge and expertise to create engaging content in niche areas of advice. For example, we now have many pages ranking in the top 10 search results for smaller search terms such as “mortgage with annex”.
Producing good quality content has been challenging and time-consuming so this led us to employ a full-time member of staff to create and publish the content.
What are the main opportunities for brokers in your area and nationally?
Although lead generation via websites is a major opportunity, we think that using an existing client bank for cross-selling opportunities to maximise revenue per client is often missed by advice firms.
Ensuring each client gets a comprehensive protection recommendation makes sure they fully understand the need to protect their mortgage commitment and family.
We have had several clients make a claim recently and the financial help they got made a huge difference to their situation. Having an in-house IFA within our business has also helped many of our clients sort out their pensions.
Another area of opportunity is rate switches verse remortgage. It is important to review each client’s needs and ensure that a rate switch is the best and cheapest solution for them.
Procuration fees can be bigger for a remortgage and often clients’ needs change with many now needing an offset mortgage.
A full remortgage review also ensures any original protection solution is reviewed properly or gives another opportunity to educate a client about the need for protection if they did not take protection originally.
What could lenders do to help further your business?
Service levels with lenders have dropped considerably recently. Some lenders we use have named business development managers with whom we have built good long-term relationships over the years. These relationships can often move cases that seem stuck in the system to offer.
If other lenders followed a similar model, then this would make a massive difference to brokers allowing clear information before application and moving cases through the application with names and accountable business development managers is a very important part of our process. Lenders that don’t have such people in place will be losing out on business.
What sets you apart from the competition?
Our logo says it all really “Your Needs Ahead of Ours”. Ever since we started we have put our clients’ needs ahead of our own. Putting their needs first comes through in everything we do and the client can tell.
Whether that is replying to a question a client has on a Sunday morning or whether that is working late into the evening to submit their application before the rate gets withdrawn overnight. Service matters and this is shown as we now have over 500, 5-star Trustpilot reviews.