When the time comes for mortgage brokers to move into their new – or perhaps their first – premises, there are several options, so it’s important for the space to suit their requirements as well as those of their clients.
For many brokers, their first office is a home office. My business, 1st Street Home Loans, began in a home office in 2002 and it provided a good starting point. The main advantage of having an office at home is the affordability. Without having to pay additional rent, a home office gives brokers a good chance to establish themselves and build a client base. For some brokers, this set-up might work indefinitely, especially if they are willing to meet clients out of the office are able to maintain an appropriate work-life balance.
With the rise in online business, many inner-city suburbs have shared workspaces in which business owners have access to a desk, Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, a kitchen and possibly other facilities. These spaces offer brokers a way to have an office without having to rent an entire commercial space. As most shared offices are new and modern, they provide a comfortable workspace and a place to meet with clients. With a range of businesses and business people in one place, co-habitation work areas can also offer great networking opportunities. For brokers who like to work in peace and quiet, these spaces may not be ideal as they are often hives of activity. While there are meeting rooms available, they are often in demand and are not always accessible. Brokers should keep in mind that clients who value privacy may not want to discuss their loans in such an open setting.
A retail shopfront office gives brokers a street presence with good potential for branding. At 1st Street, our shopfront office has large window decals with our brand and messaging. This type of office enables brokers to have a landmark-type office that creates an open-door feel. It can also lead to walk-in business, but some brokers may want more privacy and less disturbance from local passers-by.
For many brokers, a corporate-style office in a high-rise building offers the ideal working environment. As well as creating a professional image, a high-rise office may have views that can impress some clients and enhance the broker’s reputation. Being located in busy areas, these types of offices can also bring brokers closer to a large number of potential clients, most of whom are professionals, which lenders view in a favourable light. Brokers should keep in mind that a high-rise office can be difficult to access for many clients, and the brokers themselves, as parking is limited and often expensive.
Depending on the requirements of a broker and their clients, there are a range of good options, especially for sole operators who can embrace technology and be truly mobile. If a workspace enables solid productivity with the opportunity to have a well-organised environment, and if it’s as client-friendly as required, then it should be suitable. When it comes down to it, you can always move.
Jeremy Fisher, director and founder, 1st Street Home Loans
Jeremy Fisher is one of the most awarded mortgage brokers in the industry and winner of the Australian Broker Association’s prestigious ‘Australian Broker of the Year’. Since 2001, Jeremy has settled in excess of $750 million worth of property loans and delighted clients with exceptional results and highly personalised service.
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