I became a broker after working as an assistant to the director of The Loan Room, Martin Bennett, for two years. During this time, I fell in love with the home loan journey, the excitement of telling clients when their loan had been approved, or hearing that they had finally found their dream house. It was the ability to help people that drew me in and continues to motivate me.
I have learnt so much this year. I wish I could share everything, but let me just share with you five of the most valuable things I have learnt so far:
1. Educate yourself
I work with an incredible team of brokers who, even before I became one myself, taught me invaluable lessons about the industry. When it was time for me to start the process of becoming a qualified broker, I also enrolled in the Finsure Broker Academy. I would definitely recommend anyone who is new to the industry, particularly if you are going out on your own, to consider doing your study through this course. It is a great supportive way to learn and meet people in the same field and position.
2. Surround yourself with support
If there is one thing I underestimated in becoming a broker, it was how much I would need support. When you start working for yourself, you need to be your own biggest motivator, which is terrific when you first start. But when your settlements slow down (and they will at some point or another), your internal drive can start to slow down as well. Make sure you surround yourself with people who believe in you; that way, when you’re feeling a bit panicked or in need of direction, you have someone to contact.
3. Live without your income before you transition
If you are going to become a broker without any PAYG income, it’s really important to prepare for the transition. You are only paid for a deal a month after it has settled, and you’ll soon learn how long it can take for a settlement to be delayed. You need to prepare your savings and your partner for what life will be like without your income. I would give you some tips on saving, but you’re becoming a mortgage broker—what would you tell a client? Put that into action.
4. Tell everyone
People often ask where most of my business comes from. My response is that I ask everyone I meet, "Do you have a mortgage? Do you want a mortgage? Let’s talk." I’m only half joking. I really have told everyone I know about my job change. I have educated those around me what I can do for them. If they’re saving for a house, I create a scenario so they know how much they’ll need to have saved. If they have a loan, I ask if they have the best rate. You get the idea. They have in turn become my biggest advocates and referral sources.
5. Want it more than anything else
There have been so many times this year that I have dreamt of what two PAYG incomes would look like for my husband and me. The holidays we could take, the clothes I could buy—but as much as I would like these things now, I want to be a better mortgage broker. The first 12 months have been hard, but what keeps me going is how much I want to be a broker.
This can be a hard industry and setting yourself up in it doesn’t always come easily. However, if you can focus on what you want in the future instead of now, you’ll be reaching your goals before you know it.
If I could round all this out with one thing, it would be like this: The deal will work itself out. Ask for help from your aggregator, from other brokers, from your BDM. That is not the hard part of this job; finding consistency is. So set yourself goals, break them down and work towards them. Becoming a mortgage broker is so much more than a job. It’s a lifestyle that affords incredible opportunities.
Emily Abbott is a mortgage broker with Melbourne based company, The Loan Room. Having worked for two years as an assistant to the director she made the leap to become a broker in the middle of 2016. She works with a terrific team of brokers and has clients all over Australia who range from first home buyers to investors.