Boasting builder father whom he spent his teenage years assisting on construction jobs, it was almost inevitable that Jonathan Lee would become involved in the Australian property industry in some form. After finishing high school, Jonathan studied building surveying and became an estimator at a well-established development company.
In 2012, he decided to become a mortgage broker after a friend suggested one of the mortgage broking franchise models.
"I already had a keen interest for property with an investment property of my own and a background within the development industry, so I decided to investigate the opportunity further by attending a franchise information session, ‘Jonathan says.
"When I was dealing with clients as an estimator. It became clear that the average Australian was confused by the many financial options available and most were afraid to take that step into the property market.
"It was astounding to me how many people were diligently paying off their mortgages, leaving their precious equity un-utilised and not taking advantage of investment opportunities.
"It appealed to me that. By becoming a mortgage broker. I could assist clients in achieving their financial goals by structuring their finances in a way that was appropriate for them and in turn, guiding them through the purchasing process."
Jonathan cites clients developing their property knowledge and growing their asset base with confidence as rewards of his job. Challenges of the role include "copious amounts of paperwork" and "dealing with certain lenders when they're adopting rigid policies that hinder rather than assist the application".
"Low interest rates have definitely made the brokerage market more competitive. with savvy customers shopping around more than ever. However, as with any service industry, I strive to differentiate myself from the competition by offering more than just a low interest rate,'' he says.
"I work with clients to understand their needs and goals and then create a plan of attack that will not only allow them to achieve their unique needs and goals. but build long-term successful portfolios.
"The introduction of the National Consumer Credit Protection has resulted in more paperwork requirements in recent years, adding more time to loan processing turn around. In addition, the changes to the Privacy Act this year have given lenders more visibility on client credit history, encouraging clients to manage their financial conduct more stringently."
But Jonathan believes mortgage brokers are here to stay.
"The emerging market is first homebuyers who want to get their first home but don't want to ask mum and dad how to do it. They have usually moved out of home already and are independent but are unsure how to buy a home," he says.
"Those most likely to use a mortgage broker are people who are fed up with talking to a different person every time they walk into a bank branch to get some information.
"Brokers are like your dentist - they will be there for you throughout your life. You can visit them for general check-ups, or more serious matters."
Australian Property Investor Magazine - January 2015