So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: Do you feel well prepared for a similarly active market next year? What will your business strategy be?
We’ll continue with more of what we’re already doing, which is making sure services levels can be delivered the best they can.
With people working from home for the last year we have been more discerning in making sure that everything works, and we have enough resources and staff.
If you’ve got enough staff you will always be able to provide a good service.
I believe it could still be tricky to manage because no one really knows what’s going to happen, but we’re working on the premise that next year is going to be as busy as this year.
We have just got to make sure that we don’t drop the ball.
As we operate in the first-time buyer and shared ownership space, we would appreciate it if lending could loosen up a bit in that area as we know lenders have a lot of cash to give.
There is a lot of demand, but it does depend on how the cladding situation plays out. That needs to be sorted out by the major housing associations.
The demand will stay, but whether the supply of risk-free shared ownership properties and homes for first-time buyers will be there, I’m not sure. Otherwise, this could be a hindrance to next year’s activity.
Despite the end of the stamp duty holiday and the potential for a base rate rise to come sooner rather than later, there seems to be plenty of optimism that the market will remain active in the coming year.
Demand for property seems unlikely to dwindle as the future way of working continues to open up broader opportunities for movers, and the nudging up of mortgage rates has already heightened the focus of borrowers on the need to review their mortgage.
With that in mind and in order to further our growth aspiration, we have already been recruiting this year to boost capacity which should serve us and our customers well. The changes to the way of working have meant that recruitment has often been conducted virtually and that looks like an important part of the current employment market.
Remote working is likely to be something that will appeal to some, and offers us new opportunities to recruit from a talent pool that isn’t limited by region.
The remortgage market is likely to remain a key focus as some borrowers face the very real chance of the base rate climbing. Looking after existing customers is something that we’ve always had a close eye on but there’s no room for complacency and it will remain a focus for us.
Maintaining useful, timely and informative communications to educate and help existing and new customers will be an important area for advisers.
Last but not least, technology should offer further developments and efficiency, which is always going to be a critical consideration in a busy market.
We’re still quite a new business, we set up last July, mid-pandemic, after we were made redundant. It’s just myself and my wife at the minute.
We had a great start, and it has continued to be that way.
We haven’t spent a penny on advertising and our strategy is to promote ourselves more on social media, educating people rather than putting out salesy content. We’ll be doing more of that as it seems to draw people to us.
We’re also looking to implement more systems because we’re very manual driven at the minute where I complete mortgages and my wife does the administrative work. We do want to expand eventually to bring in more advisers and administrators, so we know we need a proper process in place.
We’ll work on more automation and finding a proper CRM system. That should make things slicker.
So far, sharing the work while looking after the children has gone well, but my idea was always to have a team. However, since we’ve set up that has changed slightly because we’ve been able to work around our home life.
If anything, the expansion has been put on hold while the kids are still young as we don’t want to add the stress of managing people. Saying that, once the processes have been brought in, it’ll be easier to expand.
We’re working towards it but there’s no timeline.
In general, we feel prepared for the same level of business next year. If we can get through pandemic homeschooling and setting up a new business, we’ll deal with everything else one way or another.