Branching into the commercial space has marked a natural evolution of this award-winning regional broker’s business.
Speaking to SME Adviser, regional broker Brenden Lowbridge of Investor Loans Network NSW has said that while his business previously concentrated on specialising in one area, it has “naturally progressed” into offering construction loans.
“I'm a specialist in the sense that we work with property buyers, and in particular property buyers who, if they're not already, probably have an intention of investing down the track. So, they may not be experienced investors to begin with, but they're thinking about it,” Mr Lowbridge explained. “Even if they're just buying an owner-occupied property, usually in most cases they’ve got an investment mindset about where they'd like to go in the future.”
“It's always been that we'd rather specialise than go into motor vehicles and all these different avenues. However, the natural progression was that as our clients grew, they wanted to take on bigger projects, and a duplex turned into a triplex and a triplex turned into six units, and all of a sudden, they couldn't do it as a home loan product.
“So, we sort of naturally had to evolve with our customers, and we're finding more and more that we're getting involved in that space, and assisting them with their construction finance.”
Mr Lowbridge said that he’s found branching into commercial lending to be “a lot different” to what he is accustomed to.
“It's not as process driven, it's not like ‘Here's the criteria’. I had a deal just recently, which I thought was definitely going to get approved and the lender wouldn't do it in this case,” he said.
However, he highlighted that the initial challenges can be overcome by developing a comprehensive understanding of the market.
“When you understand [which lender] has got the appetite and the best way to put it forward, I think it's been a good challenge,” he elaborated.
“But [it takes] a lot of time as well, so you've also got to be careful that you get an indication from the lenders quite quickly because otherwise you find yourself wasting weeks and weeks on a transaction that may not proceed,” he recommended.
Mr Lowbridge has featured in Young Broker of the Year for SME Adviser’s sister publication The Adviser, and recently won Best Regional Broker at this year’s Better Business Awards in NSW.