Choosing a mortgage aggregator, especially if you’re new to mortgage broking, can be overwhelming. You’re faced with lots of different options, and will ultimately wonder ‘what is right for me?’. Whether you decide on a mortgage broker franchise model or a non-franchise setup, it’s important to do your research first. Here are some handy questions to ask yourself when starting the journey.
1. What is important to me?
When it comes to mortgage aggregators, one size does not fit all. What suits one broker may not be ideal for another. For example, if you’re a banker transitioning into mortgage broking, you will likely need a whole lot more support that an existing broker. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself what you value and what’s on your ‘wishlist’ before you make a decision. This will ultimately direct your choice.
Are you looking for support to grow your business or get leads in the door? Or have you got your sights set on building a large, multi-faceted business which several service offerings? Do you just want access to a great CRM to make management easier? Sit down and make a list of your top three needs, and as you do your research note down the aggregators that check all three. These are your finalists.
2. Do I want to be a business or a broker?
This question comes down to how large you want to grow and if you’re up for managing other people and building a real business. Businesses are more than one person. If you want to build big, this may be for you. However, you’ll need the infrastructure and support from your mortgage aggregator to get you to the next level. If you want to keep it small, you’ll be a broker – i.e. a one man (or woman) operation. Consider how much of an income you can get out of this structure, and if you’ll want to one day go take it further. Work out what you want for yourself and your customers, as your end-goal in this area will also sway your decision on choosing a mortgage aggregator.
You may even have dreams to become a complete customer solution, as opposed to just offering mortgage broking. If you have your sights set on offering services beyond home loans – i.e. insurance, investment strategies, specialised products and services – then it’s essential to determine if your mortgage aggregator will allow you to offer this in addition to home loans. Some aggregators may have limitations on what you can offer, so be sure to do your research on this. Maybe you’re not even considering growing beyond mortgage broking right now, but you might one day so you’ll want to ensure you have the option.
3. Where will I fit culturally?
This question is important, and you won’t be able to answer it until you meet with the mortgage aggregator in person. You’ll usually get vibes during the enquiry process as to how they operate. Do they feel rigid and formal? Or do they seem relaxed and welcoming, with a sense of humour? All this matters because you’re going to work closely with them, and you don’t want to be left stuck in an uncomfortable situation. At Platinum People Group, we’ve experienced that every time we follow our ‘gut’ we build great relationships and partnerships.
4. Do I need help with marketing?
The ability to market and provide exposure for a business comes naturally to some. You may be the kind of person who is always attending networking events, having good conversations and throwing your business card around like mad. Or maybe you’re active on social media and have an understanding of how you want your website to look and how to set up campaigns with Google Adwords. If this isn’t your forte, or you’re unclear on a marketing strategy, then you’ll need some support in this area. It’s important to look into how much marketing support your mortgage aggregator will provide, as this is what will help you attract clients and referral partners.
5. Lead generation and support
Many (but not all) mortgage aggregators provide support in accessing leads. This is great news for some mortgage brokers! If you’re sick of advertising, cold-calling and nagging your friends and family for more referrals, you’ll probably be overjoyed with this. But before you get too excited, look into how the aggregator plans on providing you with leads. How many will they offer? Will they be ‘hot’, high quality leads? Or will you essentially be wasting your time on people who don’t need or want home loans, or find yourself shopping around to find the best rates? Ensure you ask the right questions – how are they getting these leads? How high quality are they?
Some aggregators don’t provide leads, but offer something more powerful: an introduction to a referral partner. This can be far more strategic as it allows you to develop your own lead source. As the old saying goes, “teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”.
6. Ongoing costs
Depending on the type of the mortgage aggregator you choose, there will be different pricing structures in place. You may be splitting commissions with your mortgage aggregator or paying a mortgage broker franchise fee (plus potential operation and marketing fees). Don’t be turned away by seemingly high cost structures (unless they are outrageously high). If you’re giving away slightly more commission in return for better infrastructure and support, it may be worth it. If you’re enabled to build a better, stronger business in the end, then slightly less commission now may result in more value one day when you come to sell it. More importantly, it may help you run a more efficient business where you can write more business, hence make more money anyway. When it comes to cost, weigh up what’s important to you in the immediate and long-term.
If you’d like help choosing a mortgage aggregator that’s right for you, Platinum People Group can help guide you in making your decision. We’d love to hear your story and discuss your options, so get in touch for a no-obligation phone consultation.