The Interview… Darryl Dhoffer, mortgage, equity release and protection specialist at The Mortgage Expert
In December, in the shadow of a year that brought disheartening interest rate rises, and with it, chaos within the mortgage market, TheIntermediary and Newspage set about the giving the world-wearied broker a well-deserved boost.
Shedding common formalities and leaving the stuffiness of typical industry events behind, the search for the ‘Best Broker in The Universe’ began.
Enter Darryl Dhoffer, mortgage, equity release and protection and hairpiece specialist at The Mortgage Expert.
Dhoffer, a self-proclaimed “Mortgage Geezer”, was awarded the coveted title in light of his experience in the market, and not least his tongue-in-cheek approach to industry commentary.
As the overall winner, The Intermediary sat down with Dhoffer to talk all things mortgage market – from his humble beginnings to his current approach as an adviser.
Destined to be a broker
Referring to himself as a “common snob”, Dhoffer’s roots lie in South London, which he has now left behind for his new home in Bedfordshire.
Following his schooling at Haberdashers Askes Hatcham Boys School, which he admits he “couldn’t wait to leave,” Dhoffer had a number of changes in profession before settling on mortgage broking.
“I flunked at quantity surveying,” he reports.
“[Then I] was a session musician for a few years, [and] then got into sales and marketing in the print industry.”
However, with varied experience under his belt, Dhoffer explains that it was marketing that eventually led him to a life in the mortgage industry.
Starting off as a founder of a marketing company back in 2005, Dhoffer specialised in promoting lenders and master brokers.
It was this initial interest, coupled with the arrival of the Credit Crunch in 2008, which ultimately led him to become a mortgage broker in 2015.
“I was always destined to become a broker,” he explains.
“I prefer helping the man or woman ‘down the road’, as opposed to lining corporate companies’ pockets.”
Since his entrance into the market in 2015, Dhoffer has seen the housing market rise and fall, and “learnt a thing or two along the way.”
But beyond the wider market trends, at the heart of his approach, the consumer has always remained a top priority.
He says: “The cost-of-living crisis is hitting people hard, and we need to remember that they are the ones paying our bills.
“We need to be service-driven and put their needs first.”
In his efforts to deliver on this promise, Dhoffer also notes that being a directly authorised (DA) brokerage can be of great benefit to the customer journey.
“The Mortgage Expert is a direct authorised broker, and that’s a good thing,” he says.
“I have worked both sides of this coin.
“Being DA is about finding ways to help the broker and the client, whereas appointed representative [AR] is more about reasons why they shouldn’t or can’t help a broker or a client.
“I’m truly passionate about helping people get the mortgage they deserve, and I’m always looking for new ways to do that.”
Power of social media
One of the novel ways in which Dhoffer aims to help potential and existing clients is through his innovative use of social media.
During his time in the industry, Dhoffer has seen the market constantly evolve and adapt to keep up with the modern world, and this includes an increased reliance upon social media platforms.
He explains: “I’m a big believer in the power of social media to connect with new clients.
“I’m not afraid to speak my mind, and I’m not afraid to challenge the status quo – and I will.”
Despite a tumultuous 2023 for the entire sector, Dhoffer predicts a “muted 2024,” with a potential base rate cut in the Spring, as well as in the Autumn.
He also predicts that the ongoing lender rate war will continue beyond just the new year flurry.
He says: “Lenders need to be ultra-competitive in the product transfer and remortgage arena. And I think they will be!
“First-time buyers could also have a real spike from Spring onwards, and debt consolidation will be ever-present.”
Dhoffer also calls on lenders to improve broker processes following the turmoil of last year, particularly when it comes to the appeals process.
“Lenders need to have a suitable and adequate procedure for appeals”, he begins.
“This process needs to be fair and transparent for everyone involved from valuation appeals to broker panel removal appeals, and the regulators need to ensure this is robust, concise, and actioned now.”
With a wealth of market experience, a strong social media presence and a willingness to remain outspoken, Dhoffer reflects on his new title as the ‘Best Broker in The Universe’.
“I’m here to shake things up and make the mortgage industry a better place for everyone,” he says.
“Is that enough for me to be the Best Broker in The Universe – who knows, but my clients think so, and that’s all that matters!”
Speaking on the more traditional industry events, Dhoffer believes it is time for a revamp.
“Awards ceremonies are outdated, over-glamourised, and everyone involved need to take a long hard look at themselves,” he adds.
“We need to commend the true professionals, not just the same old usual suspects, and put the consumer at the heart of what we all do – after all they pay our bills and it should be their votes that count, in these awards.
“So why I got nominated – who knows – must be the wig!”