"Our class that graduated from the Just Mortgages academy has a group, and there is also another local group of brokers that I can ask for advice and support if ever I need it."
During the pandemic the mortgage market has remained remarkably buoyant, and to continue the nautical metaphor, brokers have been swimming in a flood of clients looking to purchase properties. This rush for housing has attracted a wave of new brokers, and encouragingly, these have come from a range of different sectors and backgrounds.
Three of those who have recently joined the broker fraternity are Emma Gascoigne, Seema Gohil and Gethin Davies. Each from different circumstances and experiences, all three recently graduated from the Just Mortgages’ academy, and have been discussing their experiences so far.
What was your role before you became a broker?
Seema Gohil: I used to work on Harley Street at a dental practice, although I wasn’t putting my hands in anyone’s mouth. I was working with clients to co-ordinate treatment and help them sort the finance required, as I’m sure you can imagine, Harley Street dentists are not the cheapest!
Emma Gascoigne: I’ve had previous experience in financial services and my last role before I joined Just Mortgages was at Nationwide. Before I joined Nationwide I worked in travel, and lived and worked in Australia for a year-or-so around 2007.
Gethin Davies: Before joining Just Mortgages, I’d spent most of my career in hospitality and catering. From bartending I worked my way up to restaurant and bar manager, and then moved into a national auditing role.
When did you decide you wanted to become a broker?
Seema: I had a really positive experience with my own mortgage broker, and I’ve always loved working with people, especially when I get to see the smile on their face (quite literally) when I help them to achieve what they want. I decided to do my CeMap while still working full-time and from there, decided to join Just Mortgages due to the support network they provide.
Emma: I never knew what I wanted to do specifically in financial services, but I knew I always wanted to work in it. I like to get to know people and brokers get to make those personal connections every day. Building those relationships with clients is what I love, alongside sales – which definitely brings out my competitive side. So being a broker gives me that balance between working with people, and also allows me to compete to place the most business.
Gethin: Deep down, I’ve always wanted to be a broker. I was put on furlough after the pandemic hit, and this gave me the push I needed to do my CeMap qualifications. Although completely different in some ways, there are a surprising number of transferable skills from hospitality to being a broker. You need to be flexible and able to work long, sometimes unsociable hours. You need to be able to tailor your approach for every client. You need to manage your time and also do a lot of due diligence.
What’s your experience been like since you became a broker?
Seema: After three weeks of intense training with Just Mortgages – we did a lot of role playing, which took some getting used to – things have been incredibly busy. Thankfully there’s a great support network at Just Mortgages and I know I can call another adviser if ever I need guidance.
There is a huge amount to learn, particularly all the lenders’ criteria, but it will become easier as I become more experienced. The training team from Just Mortgages are in constant contact to make sure I have everything I need to succeed.
Emma: Since I started, one of the things I’ve appreciated is the WhatsApp groups. Our class that graduated from the Just Mortgages academy has a group, and there is also another local group of brokers that I can ask for advice and support if ever I need it.
This advice has been crucial as business was booming in March, things calmed slightly in June and July but have picked up in the last few weeks of August and early September. One of the key things I’ve learnt is that you need to be able to spin lots of plates as a broker.
Gethin: I’ve loved the buzz of the mortgage market, I can’t stand being quiet, so being busy has been great. I always set myself high targets, and as I’ve come from outside of the industry, I want to prove that I can still achieve record results.
The variety of lenders’ platforms has been a real eye-opener, some are easy to use, and others, let’s just say are less intuitive.
What advice would you give to those thinking about becoming a broker?
Seema: Don’t be afraid, I had been doing my previous role for 14-years and I’m so glad I’ve taken the plunge. The support is there, if you work with a company like Just Mortgages you’ve got a big network to give you advice. I’d say, try your CeMap and if you like it, talk to mortgage brokers. It’s really demanding at times, but also a really exciting and rewarding job.
Emma: Do it! I wish I’d made the leap earlier. It was hard to rip the plaster off as I was comfortable in my previous role, but I’m really glad I did. I wanted to prove I could be a mum and also have a career, and being a broker has allowed me to do both.
Gethin: My advice would be to go for it. I’ve not met a mortgage adviser who hasn’t been more than happy to give me five minutes of their time and I get loads of support from the Just Mortgages team. The Just Mortgages academy is great if you want to learn the ropes, it gives you great understanding of the basics. But like learning to drive, there is a lot you find out once the training wheels are taken off.