This busy period is undoubtedly having an impact all the way through the mortgage market so, this week Mortgage Solutions is asking: Are you working longer hours to maintain current business volumes?
Due to the tsunami of mortgage and protection enquires in the last few months, the life of a mortgage broker is way beyond the average person’s nine to five.
With a limited number of lenders currently in the 90 per cent loan to value (LTV) market, we find ourselves glued to the laptops at 7am trying to secure our clients 90 per cent deals.
With rate changes and criteria changing almost daily, we have to make sure the application is submitted, and the client secures the rate that was given to them at the approval in principle stage.
During such challenging times, and in the fast-paced market we find ourselves in, managing the client’s expectations is in itself a full-time job.
The hours here at Pam Brown Mortgages have definitely increased and are 100 per cent more stress filled, and some days feel like a pressure cooker. However, all the increased hours, stress and higher expectations are worth it in the end when the client gets their new mortgage deal or new home.
Mortgage business owners and self-employed advisers will tend to work whatever hours are needed to get the job done.
The drive and working ethos of those working for themselves is naturally different, and most will think nothing of dealing with clients over weekends and in the evenings. At the moment, this can also involve early morning starts, to try and secure funds using online systems where there are tight limits on the number of new applications some lenders will take.
I find that the working life of a small business mortgage adviser is rarely a nine to five position, and never has been. Such advisers have the flexibility to rise to the occasion when business volumes increase, as at present.
So, we are working longer hours than normal, but we did have a lengthy quiet period earlier in the year to provide contrast.
Also, with the ongoing uncertainty about whether a second wave will close us down again, or whether house prices might fall and lenders restrict loan to values even further, we need to write business where we can.
There has to be an acceptable work-life balance, but at times the balance will be tilted more towards work, and so we simply roll with it. Fortunately, the mortgage market has recovered rapidly and many advisers will be making hay whilst the sun shines, ready to pay for that long overdue holiday next year.
The simple answer is ‘yes’.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen a significant increase in activity.
Working predominantly in the new-build sector, our activity levels are always buoyant but the last three months have seen a 30 per cent surge in business, ranging from initial enquiries and qualifications through to mortgages being submitted. Our normal working practice is a seven day a week operation and we have continued with this throughout the crisis.
As a business we are well positioned in terms of our systems and infrastructure and we have adopted some of the latest tech in our industry to handle the increase in demand.
Interestingly, the spike in activity levels has helped us shape some of our future working processes which will undoubtedly help us grow our business further over the coming years.
The current challenges in the market, such as lender LTV updates, additional underwriting requirements and product changes, mean that our adviser and support teams have been working longer to ensure that our service is not compromised and that we are meeting the expectations of all of our customers.