I am the managing director of Boon Brokers, a fee-free, whole-of-market, mortgage, insurance and equity release brokerage.
Prior to the start of the coronavirus pandemic, all of our operations were face-to-face with clients and paper-based.
We have now switched the business entirely to paperless remote operations and we continue to invest in our bespoke database and client profile system to optimise the user’s experience.
Where are you based and where do you operate geographically?
Even though our offices are based in Norfolk/Suffolk, we service clients on a national basis through our sophisticated and bespoke systems.
What are the main issues impacting your local market?
The overwhelming issue impacting our local market is the recent surge in house prices. This is particularly impacting our first-time buyer clients who notoriously struggle to raise a deposit for the first home purchase. Gifted deposits from family and friends and becoming more and more common due to this issue.
What challenges are you facing as a broker?
A significant challenge for our brokers at the moment is the changing product ranges from lenders. Due to the significant change in the external environment recently, lenders are constantly changing their strategies.
For that reason, we try to keep our process as efficient as possible to ensure that clients can secure the best mortgage product available on the market as quickly as possible.
What are the main opportunities for brokers in your area and nationally?
There is a significant opportunity emerging in the Equity Release market. Every year demand for equity release products is rising. This is largely due to the cost of living crisis but also because homeowners are becoming more familiar with the product and its benefits.
However, new brokers need to be aware of equity release companies to avoid. Equity Release is a highly regulated market and I would suggest that brokers only recommend products that have been approved by the Equity Release Council.
What could lenders do to help further your business?
Lenders need to stay on top of their service levels. Forcing brokers to wait for over an hour at times to talk to call operators is unacceptable but those sort of hold times have not been uncommon in the market recently.
Also, even though most lenders are now updating their systems, many lenders have legacy systems that need modernising urgently so that brokers can maximise their efficiency.
What sets you apart from the competition?
At Boon Brokers, we offer a fee-free, whole-of-market, and directly authorised service. This is quite unique in a market where the average mortgage broker fee is £500.00 according to the Money Advice Service.
From our own market research, clients are starting to realise that they do not need to pay a broker fee to acquire an excellent service. We have created a comprehensive guide on this topic via our website. As a result of our fee-free model, we are acquiring a large volume of clients from those brokers that do charge and claim to offer a better service.
We are very proud of our service level, which is reflected in our Trust Pilot reviews. Our aim is to offer a personalised experience to clients whilst still maximising the benefits of technology to give clients an efficient journey from the initial enquiry to mortgage offer stage.