There are now fewer home office brokers than ever before, The Adviser has discovered through its research, but that doesn’t mean to say they are any less valuable
When mortgage broking first emerged as a profession, a majority of brokers worked from a home office, choosing to conduct home visits with their clients.
Today, the story is a little different.
Over the past two decades, the mortgage industry has evolved significantly, to a point where a majority of mortgage brokers now work out of an office and will, in many cases, conduct client interviews there.
In addition, according to Loan Market’s national director of sales, Mark De Martino, statistics show that brokers who do opt to work out of an office rather than from their home prove to be higher performers.
“The statistics speak for themselves,” Mr De Martino says. “If we look at the brokers in Loan Market, our highest performing advisers operate out of offices.
“Brokers who work out of offices are ultimately more efficient. Their clients can come to see them, which cuts out a lot of travel time.
“In addition, brokers who work out of an office generally have the space and capacity to hire additional employees, which can reduce the time they spend on administrative tasks and free them up to meet more clients.”
Mr De Martino’s comments are supported by Shore Financial’s director, Theo Chambers, who believes clients are likely to have more trust and confidence in a broker who operates out of an office.
“Sometimes clients like to come and see where you work to know that they are affiliating themselves with a reputable organisation that has both size and scale,” Mr Chamber says.
“While home office brokers still exist, I think the industry is changing and I think we are seeing less of them.”
Alliance Finance and Property’s Nicolas Jarvisto has experienced the difference between the two first hand: “I have sat on both sides of the fence – I ran a home business for six years and then took a small office,” he says.
“The additional ‘expense’ is only a few grand a year and I write more business now than I ever did working from home. I will add that I do more business finance than residential and that business-based clients like coming to an office to deal with someone.”
However, not everyone agrees with Mr Chambers and Mr Jarvisto, with many arguing that brokers who work from home should not worry that their trustworthiness or reputation might be questioned.
Choice Home Loans’ Gavin Best, who has also worked out of an office and from home, says working from home is now his preference.
“I had an office and it was rarely used because most customers preferred me coming to their home,” he says.
“The office simply eroded profits for no return. I actually did more business when I closed the office as I had less non-productive time.”
BC Home Loans’ Brad Collett believes clients “don’t really care” where they meet a broker so long as the broker finds them the best mortgage for their needs.
“I work from home, have a large client base and have never been busier,” Mr Collett says. “I see clients at their work, home or over a car bonnet. They couldn't care less if I have an office or not.
“Perth is very spread out – I have never asked clients to travel around the capital city to meet me and never will.”
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